Well yesterday was my first experience with New Orleans.
I walked with my husband down the streets... some of them beautiful... some of them flat out terrifying and so very sad.
Yes I went down Bourbon Street.
I have never been to a city like this one. I usually feel rather safe where ever I am and don't scare very easily. Of course this has gotten me in trouble many times.
In my life I have ended up in many places I had no business being. What made it worse was that I was in these places with no protection or covering. I was indeed very foolish in my days of rebellion against my God.
I had actually planned to come to Mardi Gras once when in these days of rebellion. After walking down this street on the arm of my protective husband, I know that it was God's intervention that stopped this visit. I believe my plan was actually to come to the Mardi Gras after I met my husband, it was meeting him that stopped that road trip. I had him on my mind, not Mardi Gras.
I shudder to think of what might have happened had I been so foolish to have come to this place during that time as a 21 year old woman, who would have at that time no doubt been intoxicated and blind, and without the covering of God, or my father, or a husband.
I thank God for His times of divine intervention.
We made it to Bourbon Street and my husband looked at me and said "Are you ready?" My hands began to sweat immediately and my stomach went in to knots. But yes I was ready.
The smell was different on this street, my husband described it as a mix of urine and vomit, like the smell of the nastiest night club bathroom you had ever been in... and yes that is how the entire street smelled. We both know that smell well from our own days of rebellion against God and His ways.
There was a sense of iminate danger, and the feeling of knowing that this was a place of evil.
I walked with a death grip on my husbands hand. Yet I walked with confidence and assurance because I had two of my greatest protectors with me, my God and my husband.
This was a moment that I was reminded of one of the reasons I love my husband.
He sets his guard around me as if he is my own personal body guard, and he is. When I am on the arm of my husband I truly do not worry, no matter what is going on around me. I knew someone would have to go through him to get to me and he walks with me on his arm in a such a way that says, "She is mine, you touch her, or say or do anything out of the way to her to hurt her in any way and I will kill you."
This is also the way I always felt when I went somewhere with my earthly father. I knew if I was with my Daddy, all would be fine. I still feel that way when with him.
I have been blessed with protection.
As I walked down this street and saw these women, sitting in the doorways, barely clothed, my first thought went to my flesh of fear of my husband seeing them and desiring them over me. Hate and jealousy almost springing up over women who hadn't even saw me or my husband yet.
Then as I walked, my heart quickly became heavy with sadness for these women... where were their protectors?
In my days of rebellion against God I shook off my protectors. I told my God and my earthly father (not out loud mind you, just in a spiritual sense, I never lost my fear of God nor my Daddy, I know this is what kept me in those days, my fear and underlying respect of them both) that I didn't need them and I went my own way. It was the wrong way and I got hurt. I still bare the scars of this rebellion.
There were men walking up and down this street, but they were there to exploit these women, not protect them. They were here to use them and destroy them, not rescue them. Here was Satan walking in and amongst these men and women blinding them with drunken intoxication and lust of the flesh and the momentary pleasures of sin and binding them in heavier and heavier chains.
I looked at these men and these women and I know that was once me. I know that could easily be me again if I do not stay under the protective arm of my God and my husband. I know this because as we turned off Bourbon Street and up another block, the beauty of New Orleans was seen.
The old buildings with the iron railings. The ferns on the balconies. The horse drawn carriages. The sound of street jazz music playing in the air.
How easy it would be to come in here on this street and have a glass of wine or mixed drink..., then have another..., and then find yourself back on Bourbon Street....
The devil knows what he is doing.
There was an entire street we walked down that was lined up with booth after booth of "psychics". What was interesting about this was they were set up right outside the front door of a huge beautiful church building. Now I do not know if this is an active church or just a building now, but how very sad the sight was. It reminded me of the days of Ahaz that I studied in Isaiah and how the people brought the idols into the temple of God... and no one cared.
Oh church we must get busy. We can't just keep living our lives behind our stained glass walls and pretending that there are not people out their in chains that need set free.
As we walked down these streets I wondered what would happen if I ran up and down these streets shouting "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;..." (Rev 18:4)
Then I had to ask myself, if God really asked me to do that, would I obey?