"What a story of redemption!" my friend stated quietly. The conversation had started with a simple question about a visitor my family had hosted recently. But the answer wasn't simple, and I had shared a story of abuse, attempted suicide, multiple losses, and much anger. My sweet friend had listened, given me support, and finally simply said, "What a story of redemption!"
I'd never even thought of it. I guess I've always thought about redemption as what God does for us after we die, when we stand before Him, righteous because of His Son's sacrifice on the cross. I've looked forward to that redemption, when my soul was cleansed of all the bad decisions, wrong actions, and lost times in my life.
I wasn't even quite sure what she meant. I asked her to clarify, and she said, "Look what God has done in your life! You came through all of that, and you are living a redeemed life!" A light came into my heart when she said that: She was right. God has already redeemed me.
God took this broken child of an abusive father and a deeply depressed mother... this lost, angry young woman who walked away from the church for many years... this betrayed wife of a pedophile (unbeknownst to me until revealed by my child)... this twice-divorced woman who made many wrong relationship choices along the way... this mother who couldn't even protect her children from evil within and out of her home...
and taught her to love and trust again.
And yes, what redemption!
Even though I have walked a different path for more than a decade, I have held on to my previous definitions of self (broken, damaged, betrayed, hurt) for far too long; I am redeemed! Redeemed here and now, in this life. I have been thankful to God for this life He has given me, but I've never thought of it as redemption, and it is.
Thank you, my friend, for opening my eyes. Thank you, God, for placing this dear friend in my life.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
That's when I sent the student to her room and put my hands together in prayer. Almost immediately, I was nudged to take the girl a notebook and a pencil, so I did. And I told her that when she had written (whatever she wanted), she was to bring it to me.
I read it.
My heart broke...
I know that helpless, hopeless, worthless feeling that she was expressing. I've been there. Feeling dumb. Feeling unimportant. Feeling like nothing...
So I pulled her into my lap and told her that I love her, even when I'm mad. Always. Forever. There is nothing she could do to lose my love. Nothing.
Then I went on, again nudged by God: I told her that when she feels that worthless feeling, she needs to remember three things:
1) It's temporary. Everyone feels bad sometimes, but it doesn't last forever. It's a temporary feeling that should be treated as temporary.
2) Satan loves to whisper these things into our sadness, our anger, our worry, our lives. They are lies! I gave her some "Truths" to counter those lies, including "You are a precious child of God, and He loves you."
3) You are never alone to deal with this. Dad and I love you more than words could ever say, and your birth mom and birth dad love you that much, too. And God loves you and is with you always.
That little one snuggled in, sobbing, for a while. Then she apologized for her attitude and I apologized for mine. We cuddled a little longer, then she popped up and said,
"Well, Satan's not in charge!"
and proceeded to tear the paper out of the notebook. She said, "I know what I'll do to him (Satan)!" and she ripped that paper full of lies to shreds.
I gave her a high-five and hugged her, then we went back to the math.