The Heart’s Hidden Places
Ever find yourself guarding hidden places in your heart? Maybe several? I do. Are you ashamed to have felt certain emotions? How about a physical flaw? Too embarrassed to expose it even to those who love you? Oh, yeah.
Might your hidden places include spiritual struggles? Those nagging, pesky, and sometimes debilitating battles that take you to your knees in abject remorse? Yup. Too many to count.
*Join our chat below and qualify for next Tuesday evening’s drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. It’s easy-peasy.*
**Congratulations to Jane Waughtal (pen name Jane Quail), winner of the drawing for an Amazon gift card!**
Hidden Places Covered in Dust
When I close my eyes and allow my memories to drift to the surface from their hidden places, I see a school girl and even a college student of the ’50s and ’60s. She’s pushing a wheelbarrow of insecurities. The weight of her load keeps her from expressing herself freely. Oh, she’ll happily write some lines that sound good but don’t scratch the surface of what’s lurking in the dark corners of her inner self.
She comes across as mature and confident. But she knows the truth. She’s just a country girl, a farmer’s daughter, who lives on a dusty road miles out of town. Her school friends are daughters of ranchers, bankers, doctors, and store owners. Even those whose fathers are farmers own homes in town, not out in the sticks where the wind stirs up dust clouds that can blind a girl to all but what’s at the end of her nose. Hidden places abound in dust storms.
Hidden Places: A Girl’s Attire
This girl dons clean, neat, well-maintained clothing each morning. But her outfits can’t rise to her circle of friends’ standards. To the contrary, her girlfriends frequent the little boutique on Main Street where the racks and shelves bulge with the latest fashion, sassy dresses and skirts and blouses cut from the highest quality fabric and trimmed just so. You see, this girl’s clothes are handmade. Her mother seldom purchases an article of clothing. She sews and teaches her daughter to do the same. But the old sewing machine is locked up tight in a hidden place.
Hidden Places: A Girl’s Ride to Town
Her friends’ parents deliver them to school in brand-spanking-new, clean-as-a-whistle Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and Chevrolets. They drive over city streets and rarely venture into the countryside. But this girl’s father buys second-hand family cars in whatever color is available–and affordable. She lives down an unpaved road where cars and the school bus stir up dust clouds that choke the passengers. She feels dusty–and a bit embarrassed–when she steps off the bus next to one of those new, clean cars delivering her girlfriends with not a speck of dust.
Hidden Places: A Girl’s Home and Hearth
Her friends live in homes with central air conditioning and “help” who become invisible when guests are around. They chat about what’s going on in the neighborhood–a mysterious place where she can’t imagine living. Her friends share a bond she’ll forever be denied, a familiarity borne of shared streets and playgrounds, riding bikes, service clubs, private swimming pool memberships, Sunday dinner at the one fancy hotel, and vacations in distant locations.
Hidden Places: A Girl’s Privileges
This girl’s mother is as old-fashioned as they come. Not only does she sew–eegads–but she won’t allow her daughter to wear a bathing suit in a “mixed” crowd. Take dancing lessons or attend dances. Wear hemlines above the knees. Play basketball or try out for cheerleader or twirler, not with uniforms above the knee, for pity’s sake.
Nor is this young girl permitted to miss Sunday morning and evening or Wednesday night church, not even for an end-of-school-year or slumber party or a ball game. Her friends’ll go to church with her first, or there’ll be no party. And forget more than a handful of dates with anyone who refuses to go to church with her. Em-bar-ras-sing!
Hidden Places: Bringing Them to the Light
Hearts can hide anything from anyone–even oneself. But never from God. Six decades down that dusty road of the ’50s and ’60s, that girl finds herself throwing open the windows of her heart more and more often. Fresh wind gusts through, flinging dust to the trash pile where it belongs.
What changed? For one, years. Decades of them. For another, a new pair of spectacles with lenses that correct faulty vision. Gradually this girl’s world came into focus. Homemade clothes? Evidence of love beyond measuring. Hems to the knee and below? A sign of a mother who cared more what she believed her God expected than twittering teens. And that second-hand car covered in dust? A possession made noble by the driver who held her head high and thanked God she didn’t have to walk.
Above all, the girl’s concept of God’s grace came into focus. And with it, the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit, whose dust bin is bottomless. I should know. I kept an extraordinarily dusty house for a very long time.
Would anyone have guessed? Not for a minute. But that’s the idea when you’re all about hiding your faults, missteps, and outright defiance. Isn’t it?
Hidden Places: Another Girl, Another Time
Which brings to mind the heroine of my coming novel, Book 2 in The Women of Rock Creek series–The Mending of Lillian Cathleen–which follows The Calling of Ella McFarland. Once destitute, battered, and abused, Lily has reason to hide. But can she live that way forever? Can she rise above the lowliness of her young life? Or will her past forever define her?
Stay tuned for coming news on the release of Lily’s story …
~ ~ ~
Dear Lord, we praise and honor Your holy name. You are holiness itself. Strength. Sustenance. Understanding. And love. Infinitely kind, You’ve provided the cleansing agent required for every dusty house–Jesus Christ, who takes away the sin of the world.
We’ll thank and praise You throughout all eternity.
~ For Jesus’ sake