"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.