Some of the greatest moments in life get branded into our memories: Branded Moments
Shannon has moved 2,000 miles away from her abusive husband and “choice” ignorance of family members. She grabbed her four children, and got on a plane with the last bit of her savings so her children did not have to live and learn in an abusive environment.
As she got off the plane in the farthest place away from her husband, she breathed a sigh of relief as she walked off the plane. You would think she has grabbed her children and took them away from their home. She has brought them to a place where she does not know anyone. She has no money and no place to stay. However, she feels for the first time in a long time that life has possibilities. She feels for the first time that her children have a future full of possibilities.
Branded Moment: Random encounter with a stranger in a coffee house. She ran into the coffee house to grab her Americano with a stevia, like she did every other day. As she is waiting for her Americano, a man stood next to her and smiled. She turned a bit red, put her head down and let out a shy smile. He said, “you have a great smile and great taste in coffee.” She tilted her head, looked up at this tall handsome man and shook her head and looked down at the floor again in shame. He followed up with a quick little, “Adesso è il momento: la vita per ora è un dono” in a strong Italian accent. She gave him a quizzical look; he said it means “Now is the time – life is a gift for now.” He turned and walked out the door.
She got home and laid her children down to sleep. As she gave them a kiss on the forehead and recalled what the man at the coffee house said that quote hit her in her heart — she wasn’t sure why. She knew she could not live the life she was living now. Hiding her blemishes and scars. She recalled a story she heard in a church service she attended years and years ago. It was about a woman who was shunned by leaders, men, community members and at the time she felt she could not relate. Now, now….she feels like that woman. She feels judged, ridiculed and like nothing. She is surviving not thriving.
At dawn “Jesus” he appeared again in the temple courts…The teachers of the law and the pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? They were using this question as a trap to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Go now — live. That is how Shannon heard it, it’s time to live. As long as she was living with her husband, she was not living. She was standing accused, ashamed and humiliated. Only Jesus can remove accusations, shame and humiliation, and turn them into strength. Strength enough to walk away, strength enough to know that there are possibilities.
Do you need a Branded Moment in your life? The great thing is, you don’t have to wait for a stranger to start making changes in your life. Stop allowing words to become stones in your life. Let Jesus Brand a Moment in your life with possibilities.
You don’t have to be alone in this world. Find a church to belong to and remember it’s okay to ask for help. All you have to do is ask and God will come. May not be in the way you expect it. It may seem like silence, but He will come.
When Peter cried out to Jesus, He answered “immediately” Matthew 14:31.
• Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. “Living and Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.