I've spent much of my free time during these snow days rereading Books 1 and 2 of Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion Series. I first read these when I was working in Tuscaloosa with the campus ministry, and the words provided so much hope, humility, and purpose during those dark days. The story of a young faithful Christian woman who survived the fall of Jerusalem, Roman slavery, and persecution with such grace inspired me and touched me deeply.
For years, I recommended them to anybody who would listen, but somewhere along the way, I lost the message--the literary appreciation overshadowing the truth. Rereading them has totally brought me full circle and humbled my spirit in a way that I know I have needed. Although God brought me out of those dark days, I have continually struggled with so many of the aftermaths--forgiveness, trust, the sanctity of the church, the validity of the church.
Rereading this story, in a different place, in a different time, in a different set of circumstances, has opened old hurts, doubts, and fears that remind me of a time I would rather forget.
However, I should hope to never forget that time as it is a part of my story, and rereading these words reminded me about passion, determination, and fearlessness of the supernatural kind... the kind you experience and know has not evolved from your own strength, the kind that I did once experience...and I thank God for that gentle reminder.
As I became more captivated with each section, I realized that I already knew the end of the story... yet knowing that end did not keep me from sleepless nights of devouring every word, turning each page with fresh anticipation, reading each dog-eared, tear-stained page with hope and promise. The end left me no less satisfied, but even more affirmed.
It reminds me of another amazing book with its own wear and tear, full of my tears and joy, hope and promise. I'm thankful to also know the end of that story, even more thankful the author wrote me into it.
In this different time, different place, different set of circumstances, I look forward to immersing myself back into that truth with inspired anticipation as I turn each page.
I also am excited about sharing that story with this sweet person: