purity

I was recently asked to share: “What does purity mean to you?”

Purity begins with my Creator, who made me in His image and likeness. Thus, my body, mind, and soul are sacred. I am worthy of authentic love because when His hands formed me, He declared my inherent value by calling me His own.

My heart is worth fighting for.

I am called to give and receive selfless, edifying Christ-centered love – a love that is life-giving. First and foremost, I am in a relationship with Jesus Christ, my first and truest Love, and everyday what I say and do should be a reflection of this – ultimately strengthening our union.

Purity is the totality of my being. It is choosing to live in the freedom and joy of Christ’s all-fulfilling, satisfying love. Choosing not to settle for the lies of the world that seek to confuse, destroy, and abandon me.

I’ve tasted both. I’ve bought into the lies. I’ve had moments when real love felt lost and inconceivable. Christ redeemed my heart. He whispered, “I want more for you,” and he gave me beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61).

Pursuing the virtue of purity is an ongoing commitment. {translation: it’s hard work} A fierce commitment to prayer for strength and virtue no matter what our relationship status is. It requires lifelong endurance, forgiveness, and mercy. The moment we think we’ve figured it out, Satan sneaks in. In essence, purity means living each day in the truth and joy that I am the bride of Christ – wanted, pursued, and loved by the One who gave His life for me. His love reveals my worth. Each day I try imperfectly yet persistently to seek to know His authentic love and let it be known through every part of me.

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.” Hosea 2: 19

IMG_4186.JPGPhoto credit: Elissa Voss

heart + arms

The more I hear the word mercy tossed around in conversation, the more I wonder if we truly comprehend its meaning and let it seep into our souls.

So far, my favorite explanation comes from Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. He provides a simple two-fold definition of mercy that blew every other explanation out of the water.

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Mercy = God’s heart and arms

1. His heart is moved to compassion from seeing our suffering.
2. His arms are moved to action and he intervenes.

So what’s the catch?

We must open our hearts to his love and let Him in. By acknowledging our weakness and brokenness, we make room for God’s intervention. Our greatest weakness is exactly where the power of Christ’s mercy is revealed.  Much like the prodigal son, we must come to the realization that we need a Savior, and let the deep hunger in our soul lead us home. We take one step and our Merciful Father takes a million. In fact, he runs toward us with arms wide open, celebrating the opportunity to swoop us up into his arms once again.

A step further.

Mercy means that amidst our total weakness and frailty to trust in Jesus, he rescues us. He enters into our mess, and he suffers with us. He never asks us to be fearless, but instead he enters into our trembling and wipes every tear from our eyes. Even though we fail to recognize that he is holding us in his arms, he will do it a thousand times over. He patiently waits for us to trust in his compassionate love, and he never gives up on us.

We don’t have to be strong. We don’t have to be fearless. We simply have to utter the words, “Jesus, I trust in you.” In saying these words we look all of our brokenness and fear in the face and say, “My God is bigger than you so I don’t have to be.”

Our God takes JOY in rescuing us from our brokenness. Alleluia.

More mercy, please.