Redemptive Love

shawshank2.jpgIf you’re a judgmental cynic like myself, you might notice that I have included a cheesy picture to go along with the point that Love is Redemption. I had to. Because it is my picture. Because I am redeemed.

The picture is from a movie that I may never have seen. The image highlights my present state. What I see is beauty. I see:

1) Rain. I have spent my whole life hiding from the rain, to protect myself from feeling the effects of it throughout my soul. I’ve been so afraid to feel pain that I hide parts of myself to avoid the risk.

2) Dark. This guy is standing in the dark, but facing the light. The light illuminates his mannerisms, the way he releases his agony with all of himself. He passes the pain back to the Mighty One who can handle it. Who already knows all the sorrow.

3) Release. This guy is standing firm in the rain, not cowering to it. Not clinging to, or grasping at it. Just standing there, open-handed.

The Lord has shown me so much in the past week that I’m dizzy, giddy, exhausted, and renewed, all at once. He showed me (some of) my spiritual blindspots. Becoming aware of my own sin broke my spirit, but He quickly restored it, stronger than ever in Him. Not with platitudes or flattery, but with pure love. That left me dizzy, but He steadied me with His strong arms. And…He wasn’t done with me! That was just the beginning. This weekend I went to a training to be a Redemption Group trainer. I’ve mentioned them a bit on here, but basically they are spirit-led God-seeking groups in which we identify our idols, fears, issues, and their roots. These are all things we think we want to know when we’re struggling, but…it’s hard and painful. What kind of weirdo wants to know everything bad about herself?

Me.

I want it.

I found out I’m a judgmental, fake, lost, faithless monster.

And He loves me anyway.

I realized I’ve been hiding my fears behind band-aids–worldly comforts, analysis, and excuses.

Which He stripped off me, all at once.

I learned that every single time I notice a sin in someone, it’s because that’s a common theme in my own life.

And He forgave every one of those.

He’ll forgive them again tomorrow, when I’m likely to run back to my old ways.

He’ll be there, hating my sin, but loving His daughter, gently drawing me back to the truth.

I am free from the chains I stubbornly connect, day after day, to my own wrists. Chains of social anxieties and expectations. Pressures of pleasing people who will never approve of me anyway. I am free of the burdens I wrapped around myself to avoid pains of this world, and the previously unsettling stillness now resonates with the sweetest stillness. I am rejected by man, but beloved by God. I am His child, and will not try to be anyone else’s.

This song is my anthem. If it would fit on a banner, I would wave it all day. Please listen until you get to the best part: “You split the sea so I could walk right through it. You drowned my fears in perfect love…”

Those words express my feelings, but His direct words always get to the point. The most important summary is that MY NAME, is written in HIS book. I didn’t earn it, but I appreciate it, and I will live like the child He made me to be.

Revelation 3:5 “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”