Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Redemption

She'd done it all.
Her whole life.
Read her Bible.
Prayed.
Memorized Scripture.
Sent money to the missionaries overseas.
Asked God to forgive her for every wrong.
Dressed right.
Never used bad language.

So why the emptiness inside?
Why the feelings of inadequacy, the feeling of never being enough?
-not kind enough
-not smart enough
-not talented enough
-not spiritual enough
just.not.enough.

She struggled too, with judging people. Except, she didn't call it struggling...or judging.
After all, she knew how a person ought to dress. 
She knew that following Rules #1, 2 and 3 always produced Results #4, 5 and 6.
Most people either got what they deserved, or just didn't know how they ought to live.

Her heart didn't break for the lost.
In fact, she didn't really want to enter into their messy world and contaminate herself. 
She was kind of ashamed to admit it, though.
Jesus himself had sent His disciples into all the world.

Who was this "world" anyway?
Was it her ungodly neighbors whom she'd never met?
Was it the people who spent their weekends making decisions they'd later regret?
Was it the people who didn't hold themselves to the same standard of perfection as she did?

And then one day, God gently entered her perfect world and turned it upside down.

It started innocently enough. 
She'd been praying to go deeper with Jesus.
She also had an encounter which began a real friendship with someone outside her cultural boundaries. 
Someone who was so very different from her.
Someone who was just so full of Jesus that it poured out into their conversations, their messy lifestyle, their everyday, mundane moments.

She began to ask questions.
Questions she'd been trying to ask her entire life, but kept stuffing them down, for they were too dangerous.
How could her friend be so full of Jesus but not follow "the rules"?

She asked God to show her His heart
-His heart for people.
To see people the way He saw them.

And bit by bit, God stripped her of all her beliefs, rules, and guidelines. 
He tore away the security of always knowing the right answer to every question.
 He took her to a place where her only answer was Jesus.

Her reputation took a huge blow, too.
 She had known love, acceptance, and approval everywhere she turned. 
But as God changed who she was on the inside, the outside began to change too.
People turned away.
A few stayed around, but most people didn't know what to do with he new her.

She began to see her nasty, stinking pride for what it really was.
No longer did she live to protect her crazy perfect image.
Now she was living for the approval of Jesus, and Him alone.

Did she get it right all the time?
Certainly not.
She fell and stumbled a lot.
When she was flat on her face, in her old pit of selfishness and arrogance, she would hear Jesus softly say, "I love you, daughter. I always have."
And His grace would gently pick her up, brush off the dirt, and set her back on her feet again.

She loved sitting outside at night and watching the stars.
She'd be so overwhelmed that the Creator of the universe cared about her!
She talked to Him about everything, for now, it wasn't a prayer time to be crossed off a to-do list, but a relationship to experience.
It didn't need a start time or a stop time.
Conversations with Jesus flowed through her day as easily as breathing.

Life didn't necessarily get easy-
it just changed from a production she had to "act" in to a life she could "live" in.

She was now free to love others without judgment,
 without having to be right every time, 
without proving herself.

The love and gratitude she felt towards her Savior flowed out of a heart that had been set free,
not a heart bent on performance.
She knew Jesus wasn't done writing her story.
There would be hard things in the future.
But now she was able to thank Him for the deeply painful parts,
 for truly, those experiences were the springboard for the rest of her life.
She had needed those encounters with people outside her cultural boundaries,
she had also needed the mind-numbing pain when Jesus stripped everything familiar away,
as well as the intense pain of pruning, rejection, and questions. 
Without that, she would never have found the freedom and joy she experienced today.

Today she can walk with a light in her eyes, 
a fire in her soul,
 joy in her steps, 
and purpose and meaning in each day.

Because of Jesus!

5 comments:

  1. Yes indeed. It is a journey isn't it. Wonderful Grace of Jesus! This post has been my journey as well!

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  2. Praise Jesus for redemption! This is so beautifully written, my friend. And you are beautiful inside and out. Blessings to you and your sweet family.

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  3. I just love this. Not only is it so sweetly written but it says so much. It says that perfection cannot lead us to the cross, only our sin can lead us to Him. Thank you!

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  4. Wow, this sounds like we should get together! When are you coming to see me??

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  5. Beautiful! I totally get this. Rejection is painful, yet knowing the peace of Jesus is priceless. Blessings on your journey!

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