Meredith White's Reviews > The Scarlet Thread

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers
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Sep 30, 11

Read from September 28 to 30, 2011

After reading Redeeming Love, I couldn't wait to pick up another Francine Rivers book. The Scarlet Thread highlights the life of two women, generations apart but of the same family. Enduring differing but similar hardships, it is their ultimate reconciliation with their Savior that binds these two women together. Per the title, the scarlet thread is represented in a quilt made by the earlier of the two women. Interwoven throughout is a scarlet thread representing Jesus/God and is throughout each of the differing patches. In particular, I love how she points on at the end that the final patch is a stone wall with a red thread coming down, representative of Rahab, one of the woman in Jesus' lineage (a harlot) and the rope instructed by the Israelites that she would need to hang from her window in order to be saved - neither woman had been a prostitute in the book, in the typical understanding of a prostitute. On the contrary, both of these women had been hurt by others (and had also done some hurting themselves); however, they had been 'prostitutes' who sold their souls to other gods. It is in the end that they return to Jesus and give their soul to Him, letting down their own scarlet threads, and the presence of the scarlet thread (Jesus) that is throughout their own lives. They make a point at the end of the book - we think that we are in control of our own lives, and that decisions are solely ours; however, Jesus is there, using every situation and choice to bring us back to Him. In that sense, everything does work for good, if we allow ourselves to return to Jesus.

While this book wasn't as engaging and soul clenching as I found Redeeming Love, I can say that I was enraptured by the outcome of the book. There is a way that Francine Rivers writes that tends to stir my emotions, and challenge me to take a deep look inward. In particular, this story is a constant struggle - the later woman finds herself in a place where by worldly standards it would be easier to blame her husband for his own infidelity and not take stock of her own decisions and choices; however, in the end she is brought to the realization of how she herself had a hand in the outcomes, and she too must ask for forgiveness though her sin doesn't seem to be the same equivalent. What a gentle reminder this was to me that sin is sin - there is no varying degree of less bad or worse sin, only the degree of the consequence.

Part of me wanted to argue throughout the book on behalf of both parties - in some cases, I wanted to shout to the second woman (Sierra) to just be honest with her husband and let things go, and on the other hand, I wanted to shout on her behalf, how could someone betray her. Perhaps this is because one of my personal fears is rejection and betrayal. That was eye opening for me, and probably a great reason why I haven't 'put myself out there'. I wonder why this is, because I grew up in a home loved and what I considered accepted for who I was. I suppose that this is something for later soul searching.

Things that I found profound and want to remember about this book:

#1 The sins of the father are on the son: This profound piece of scripture made me consider, what sins have I committed that will be on my children and my children's children? What must I change IMMEDIATELY and repent from in order to absolve this from their future? Also, what sins did my parents commit that might be on me now? Perhaps knowing and understanding may help me to better deal with myself and my own actions.

#2 Weeds in a garden: Gardens are a theme throughout - there is a point where the apparent growth of weeds strikes a point: if we allow the weeds to grow, they will choke the flowers of life. What weeds have I allowed to overrun my garden because of sadness, fear, jealousy, vindication? I think that their are some weeds I need to pull, but I can't do it on my own.

#3 Nothing ventured nothing gained.

#4 Sometimes people need forgiveness more than we need to hold onto a grudge.

#5 So blind to my own pain that I can't see the pain of others: Toward the end of the book, Sierra focuses on her own pain, and how at times she was blinded by her own pain and unable to see the pain of others. Right now, I am so blinded by my pain, and I've wasted precious time that I could have used to ease the suffering of others. For me, I must now put myself aside - I have had plenty of time to nurse my wounds, consider the cost, fixate on regrets and be selfish. How can I allow God now to change my heart into one after His own?

#6 I think I need my own community: Another character in the book, Aunt Martha, is reflected on by Mary (the woman/relative who made the quilt and wrote in a special journal outlining her life roots and her trip across the Oregon Trail). She speaks to her character and how she is adored and revered in the community. A woman of integrity, she is quick to lend a helping hand and slow to gossip or speak poorly of others. Generous to a fault, this woman (who had no children or husband of her own) is who I wish to be - one who is known for her character rather than her tongue, known for her calm rather than her irrationality, known for her quiet rather than her volume, known for her generosity rather than her stinginess and selfishness, known for her lack of fear replaced by the courage of the Lord, and known for her relationship with Christ as center (not as strange). Such a woman - such a model. I think in a sense I need my own community, which is frightening for I know what it implies...

I have so much to learn and so far to go - I think that I will try picking up my journal again and jotting my life down. Who knows, maybe it will serve to support and encourage another young woman in the future. In the meanwhile, I know that my heart was challenged by this book, and I intend to begin with immediate changes. I am thankful to Francine Rivers for using her writing gifts to share these messages with young women like me.

“Life isn’t static, Sierra. Thank God. It’s constantly in motion. Sometimes we find ourselves caught up in currents and carried along where we don’t want to go. Then we find out later that God’s hand was in it all along.” ~Marianna Clanton, The Scarlet Thread

“Oh, Lord Jesus, do {what you did for my mother} for me. Please. You know me better than I know myself. Open the doors and windows and let the Holy Spirit move through me. You are welcome in my house. Come into me, into my foyer and my living room. Wander at will through my parlor and kitchen. Be with me in my bedroom and bathroom. Go through every closet and every drawer, from the basement to the attic of my life. I belong to you, Father. Stay with me forever. Jesus, please remove everything in me that doesn’t glorify you. Make me your vessel.” ~The Scarlet Thread
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