Cross, My Heart

THE CROSS DID NOT BELONG IN THE DARK.  It was a thin silver chain I wore around my neck.  From it hung a cross made of glass squares cut to look like small diamonds.  Each piece of glass reflected the light of the sun around me, though my world had become very dark.  A gift from my daughter, this necklace was a treasure to me.  It represented love and hope; it stood for forgiveness I didn’t believe was mine; it was a tangible piece that tied me somehow to a past I had walked away from.

I never wore my cross necklace when I was working in the club.  I would gently remove it from my neck as I prepared to leave for the night, carefully leaving it on the bathroom counter of the condo where I lived alone.  When I returned in the early hours of the morning, my skin no longer feeling like my own, I would clasp the necklace safely around my neck once again.

I believed I wasn’t worthy of what the Cross represented, and with every opening and closing of the clasp I thought I could separate myself from the love and goodness it held.  

The removal of my necklace and placing it back on my body became a ritual for me.  It was a denial of myself when I took it off, a refusal to see who God created me to be.  A woman heading out into the night to sell herself a dollar at a time did not deserve the love of a Savior.  I would come home feeling broken and beaten and, though I still didn’t feel deserving of grace, I was desperate to feel like I had stepped into some kind of light. That little glass cross gave me that, and I felt a little less haunted by my day as I went to sleep.

One night in the club I was mechanically going through the graceful choreography of moves I had created in the years I had been on stage.  There were men and there was money…each move was designed to attract and seduce…I looked alive and flirtatious, but I was numb and dead on the inside.  I bent over to pick up money that had been tossed on the stage, and my cross necklace hit me in the chin.  I was horrified.  My skin burned with shame, and as soon as I left the stage I went to the dressing room and put my necklace away.  Sadness filled my heart as I thought of how wrong it seemed to bring Jesus into such an evil place.

JESUS IS LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS.  When Jesus took his last breath on the cross, darkness fell across the whole land and the light from the sun was gone (see Luke 23:44-45).  Jesus, the Son of God, died in a world that had gone completely dark.  Do you think, then, that He is afraid of the darkness in our lives?  Jesus died in the dark so we can live in the light.  He spent His life showing love to the lost, meeting people right where they were, allowing Himself to get close to outcasts, healing the hurting, and bringing to life people who were dead.

It doesn’t matter what you have done or how dark your life is…Jesus is for you.  Maybe you are an addict, a prostitute, a stripper, a liar, maybe you are prideful, a gossip, and maybe your heart is hard and you can’t imagine how Jesus can change a wreck like you.  Well, guess what?  I thought the same things.  In fact, I was many of those things!  But we are loved by Jesus in spite of what we have done.  Change begins when you invite Jesus into the dark places in your life and into your heart.  There is no place so dark that the love of Jesus can’t shine.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.  John 1:5

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