Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

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Keziah’s Diary: Sacrifice

I’ve always known that what I was doing was wrong, but I loved the way Jesus accepted me. He didn’t push me away or condemn. It seemed the most natural thing in the world for me to kneel before Him and tell Him how sorry I was for all my sin. He put a finger beneath my chin and lifted my head. ‘I forgive you Keziah,’ He said, looking into my eyes. A weight rolled off me.

I decided not to go back to prostitution. Jesus teaches that if we put God first in our lives, then He will provide what we need. So I’m going to stake everything on that.

Shortly afterward, Jesus was invited for a meal by Simon, one of the local religious leaders. I made up my mind to go along too. Jesus has been so kind to me that I wanted to give Him a gift; the most precious thing in my possession was an alabaster jar of perfume. It was a family heirloom that I’d somehow managed to keep when my parents threw me out.

I was already at Simon’s house when Jesus arrived, along with some of the other ‘town riff-raff’ as Simon calls us. It’s common in our culture to do this.

I couldn’t believe how Simon snubbed Him. It’s common courtesy in our culture to give your guest a kiss on the cheek when they arrive, wash their feet, and to give them olive oil to cleanse their hands. There was none of that. Absolutely no manners. Simon was going out of his way to be rude.

I was horrified that they would treat Jesus in this way. He should have been an honoured guest, as a well-known travelling teacher. More than that, I believe Jesus is God come to earth.

What could I do? I know the shame and embarrassment of being insulted in public.

Jesus didn’t appear to be bothered. But I was bothered for Him.

Tears formed in my eyes. This was so wrong! They spilled down my cheeks, and then it came to me. I had no water but I could wash His feet with my tears. I knelt beside His reclining chair and let my tears drop onto His dusty toes. I’d brought no towel with me, so I let down my hair and dried His feet with that. Gratitude for Jesus’ complete acceptance and forgiveness of me, a sinful woman, almost overwhelmed me. I leaned down and kissed His feet again and again.

Then I stood and broke open my alabaster jar, and anointed His head with the perfume. The fragrant scent filled the room.

Simon and his other guests were looking on and nudging each other, clearly disapproving of my actions. They muttered at one another and gave both Jesus and me dirty looks. But through it all, Jesus sat peacefully, accepting my worship. If He’d pushed me away or even said quietly, ‘Okay Keziah, that’s enough now,’ I’d have been devastated. But He didn’t. Jesus accepted me and my sacrifice of worship for Him.

 

 

Loved and Secure

I gazed at the television screen in awe. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Everyone else in the surgical theatre – and there were a few – was tuned out as I drank in the beautiful sight of our two-day old twins.

The surgeon was talking, nurses and technicians bustling about getting everything prepped, Adi snapping away at the screen with our non-digital camera.

Long before I was ready to stop gazing, the screen was switched off and I was arranged on the edge of the operating table, legs akimbo, for our babies to be transferred back to me.

ZygoteI’d been unprepared for the rise of strong maternal feelings that exploded inside me when I called the hospital the day before to find out whether my eggs had ‘taken’. As soon as the lab technician assured me that both had taken and were dividing well, a lioness inside me lifted her head and roared.

I was a mother, and I would do anything to protect my kids. If it had been allowed, I would have spent the next twenty four hours in the lab gazing at those two tiny, fragile lives in the petri dish. They were mine and woe betide anyone who dared to be careless around them.

I loved our tiny twins, who we nicknamed Two and Three, from the second I knew they were conceived. I still love them and can’t wait for the day I will finally meet them face to face and wrap my arms around them for a lifetime of missed hugs.

It hit me this morning that God feels the same way about me.

Except He loved me long before I was conceived. In fact, He loved me so much before I existed that He made sure my parents met so I could be conceived.

He loves me. Just as I couldn’t tear away my eyes from my little ones, He gazes at me with love and delight. He sits beside me and counts every hair of my head. He watches over me when I sleep and is with me in every activity.

I am loved. And so are you.

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