What pops into your head when you hear the word "redemption"?
What does redemption look like to you?
For me, I always saw redemption as something beautiful and happy, accomplishment and a success point, the end of the road when you walk into the bright shining light and leave the storm behind. I saw it as being able to close the chapter and move on to the next one that would of course be full of rainbows and singing birds (I watch a lot of Disney movies).
It's a word God has been, to be completely honest, throwing in my face for some time now.
Me, being oh so full of knowledge and wisdom, kept shooting back that I was not capable of facing redemption in my story yet...I was not yet seeing the rainbows and sunshine in ALL areas of my story.
If you haven't noticed yet, I'm a somewhat...stubborn human being. My precious Father knows this all too well and with patience gives me many signs, whispers, and hints...but usually ends up getting my attention by simply yelling it out, placing it in my lap, or throwing it in my face.
I really have no right when I nanny, to complain about the "selective hearing" the kids sometimes use because, well, I do the same thing. I am VERY selective about what I hear.
I take that back...I am not selective about what I hear, but instead selective about what I chose to obey and hesitant to dive into the tension that comes with obedience.
I had been wrestling with this for some time and this past weekend I was at the Dot Mom conference (love that I am so blessed to be in a job that includes conferences) and let me just say...God used Priscilla Shirer to throw it in my lap, yell it, wave it in front of my face. Now I'm still not "there" yet, I'm still human and still slightly arguing with God about the next step, knowing what He has told me, but afraid of what that may look like, however I am opening my eyes and ears and holding out my hands so that I can get a taste of this redemption.
I am someone who doesn't mind dealing with confrontation, get it out on the table, hash it out, move on. I believe this is a valuable trait to possess, but it can also mean that I have trouble getting back into my own story. There is a balance between living in the past and living in the tension of your story, allowing God to use it as the platform to reach an audience. Priscilla taught on Luke 5 and I will never do her talk justice, but it was a wonderful reminder that we are allowed to step out of the boat, step out of disappointment and frustration, clean our nets, feed our souls....but at some point we need to step with Jesus back into the boat. Step back into that disappointment and pain and watch as Jesus uses it as the platform for teaching.
This collided hard with my struggle with redemption.
I'm realizing that redemption isn't necessarily comfortable or easy. Redemption isn't the pretty little picture of how we wanted things to turn out. The road to redemption is messy. It's a beautiful picture, but only if we can strip away the image we create in our minds of what it should be. It's not forgetting what has happened or walking away from what has happened. It's living in the tension of it, healing from it, and being able to step back in with a new healed soul and a new perspective so that what you went through can be used to Glorify Him.
I'm finally starting to open my eyes and see that, although it's not what I thought I wanted, it's a more beautiful picture than I could have ever created in my own little human mind.
I am becoming beautifully redeemed and I pray with all my might that it is an ever changing, ever-growing, ever-learning process that I will be able to radiate to others so that they too may experience it's beauty.