Thursday, February 24, 2011
Redeemed, How I Love To Proclaim It
I've been thinking about redemption lately. The act of God taking something that is wrong and making it right again. Taking what was originally beautiful but made ugly, and making it beautiful again. And I realized, this has been the theme of my life.
I look back on my childhood and grieve for the little girl that didn't want to be a little girl because nobody really thought much of little girls other then that they were cute. I didn't want to be cute...I wanted to be smart and adult and I wanted people to pay attention to my words and thoughts. To notice me. I wish I could go back and tell her just how much she would miss being a little girl; just how precious and loved she was even though she didn't notice.
I look back on my teen years and I hurt for the young lady that was so confused and alone and whose heart was ignored, stuffed, and trampled on. That self-inflicted so many needless heart-wounds, just trying to fit in and be acceptable. Who bent over backwards trying please and just ended up broken anyways. I wish I could go back and tell her to forget the conflicting voices of men and follow God from the very beginning. That her heart wasn't "evil" or "rebellious" and her desires weren't "fleshly". That she needed to find out what was true about herself from God alone, not men.
I look back on the budding young woman, flushed with the newness of love. Conflicted, torn between where she thought God was leading her and what everyone else was saying. Confused because what she'd always thought to be true was turning out to be a man-made paradigm, built from fear and not of God. Being drawn to a man who showed her, for the first time, what unconditional love really meant. I would like to go back and tell her to cling to him and never let go. To forget the years of trying to please others who could not be pleased and to follow God. To not waste those years, with their tumultuous emotions and struggles, and to claim the life she wanted and knew was right.
I look back on the woman who was a new bride, who adored her man and thought he was perfect and just wanted to be the perfect wife for him. Who read untold number of books and tried ridiculous things all in the name of "being a godly wife". Who, when her wonderful man fell from the pedestal she put him on (thus proving he was human after all), almost completely lost herself trying to get him back up there (where he really didn't belong and didn't want to be anyways). Because all the books said if that happened it was her fault for not being good enough. I wish I could go back and tell her that no one is perfect and all those books were crap and should've been burned or used as toilet paper. That her false castle needed to come down so a better, real, more lasting one could be built.
I look back on the tired new mother who thought she had it all figured out....until the babies came. That thought she must somehow get her children to fit the description in the child-training books. And when they didn't, somehow believed that she was a failure and her kids would grow up to be brats and heathens. All the striving to "do it right", the pressure to mold her kids "right", and the feelings of failure when they all just didn't fit the mold. I wish I could go offer her a hand, let her know that her children weren't meant to fit anyone's idea of The Perfect Child. That she was a great mom and the best thing she ever did was give up on know-it-all parenting books (and being a know-it-all parent).
I wonder if the older me will look back on the now me and wish she could tell me not to worry, that it's all going to be OK.That God really does take everything in our lives and weave a beautiful tapestry from it.
Because even as I look back and wish that things could've been different, I can see God's fingerprints all over my life. I can see things that I thought were ugly then, used by Him to make something beautiful now. I can see the shaping, the directing, the love and mercy that surrounded me even though I had no idea it was there. I don't believe for a moment that God "caused" bad things to happen in my life. But I would be blind if I couldn't see how He took those things and turned them around, redeeming them, making them beautiful again. What was intended for evil, God grabbed a hold of, turned it inside-out, and unleashed it for good. I keep wanting to go grab something else from my past and run to Him with it, like a little child, holding my hands open before Him, eagerly asking "This too, God? Can you redeem this too?"
I am amazed. And sometimes, honestly, angry still. Because part of me wonders....did those things really need to happen? Did I really need to suffer that? Couldn't God, if He was really all-powerful, have made my life good without the evil? I don't know. Would I be the person I am today if anything about my past was different? I don't know that either.
But this I know: Redemption. This is about so much more than salvation. This about our lives. This....is everything.
A wise man once said that there was a time and place for every purpose under heaven....the good and the bad. That God makes everything beautiful in its time. I hang on to that with everything I have. I look back and I see it, I look forward and I hope for it. And for now, in the in-between time, I proclaim it. And I marvel.
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy-
His child and forever I am.