23: Who Jesus Says We Are: Redeemed

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAt least twenty of my twenty-three years have been spent going to church. I knew about Jesus from the time I was a toddler, and gave him my heart at the tender age of five. Unlike so many millennials, I never looked back or considered taking a different path. And I was good. I never got in trouble at school, was part of lots of extracurricular activities, sang solos at church, watched the babies in the nursery, didn't go to parties, didn't have sex, and didn't take part in anything that was illegal. In 2009, I graduated from high school and immediately went to a small liberal arts Bible college an hour away from my hometown. I was so good. I don't tell you those pieces of my story to puff myself up in any way, but just to let you know that on the outside, I'm a champion at looking like I've got it all together. I've even managed to convince myself a time or two by actively ignoring the upheaval and mess behind the scenes.

Yeah, I said it. I am a mess. If you need proof, see here, here, and here.

What I failed to mention in that tiny paragraph is that even though I might look good on the outside, I miss the mark of righteousness on a daily basis.

I have lied, cheated, stolen, abused, gossiped, taken for granted, and wasted.

I have chosen anxiety when offered peace, and I have chosen depression, self-loathing, and self-pity when offered joy.

In my haste to be loved by you, I have said thank you, but no thank you to the Lover of my soul.

If you've spent your life as a good girl, I know that you get this. But maybe you haven't spent your life as a good girl. Maybe you've spent your time living in what might be seen as rebellion. Maybe you've made some bad choices, and even though those things seemed to be fun at the time, you're wondering now if someone could ever love you or see you as a whole person. Maybe you bear the weight of those decisions, and you wonder how you can keep carrying it alone. Maybe it was back in high school and college, or maybe it was last week.

Regardless of what sort of circumstances you've come from or are facing today, we all bend under the heaviness of this life. We are, each of us, prone to wander.

We search for quick solutions, hasty cover-ups in lieu of turning towards the patiently wooing Savior. We've been doing it since the dawn of time.

What I find so amazing about the Garden narrative is God's response to Adam and Eve's sin. When the Almighty enters the Garden, He knows exactly what has taken place even before man and woman admit their wrongdoing. He knows exactly where they are, and instead of storming in to shout, He quietly asks a question: where are you? 

Where are you? I love you. I want to be with you. 

See, He knew when He created us that we would fall short. And yet, He infinitely loves and relentlessly pursues our hearts.

He knew when He created us that He would send Christ to hit the mark in our stead.

He lived a perfect life and died so I wouldn't have to. He made a way for me to return to the Father.

Redemption has always been at work.

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And when we ask, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us.

That heaviness we carry? We are free to exchange it for His grace.

I got to help lead a girl to Christ in our church's youth group last night. Our pastor had given the salvation message and read about taking up our crosses daily to follow Christ. I told her that sometimes daily is an understatement. In fact, most days I have to take up my cross at least hourly.

I told her how much this good girl who has been reared inside the walls of a church needs Jesus every minute of every day, and how Jesus is so faithful to meet me -- even in my pain. Even in the middle of the messes I make when I make the wrong decisions. Even in the messes that other people make that may very well alter the course of my life.

I told her that He is the Redeemer, and that even though those painful parts of the story are always going to be there, they have been made new. They have been healed. And even though we don't know or understand it at the time, He is always preparing us for something beautiful.



The Conversation Starts Here: 

How have you seen Jesus redeem the broken pieces of your testimony?

How can I pray for you today?

{Leave your questions + answers + thoughts in the comments below.}



Some Fine Print:

This is the twenty-third of thirty-one installments to be posted throughout the month of October. To view the entire table of contents as it is made available, click here. You can receive the entire series in your inbox for free by subscribing via email (no spam, just my heart by way of weblog). Please feel free to pass these words along to a friend. Sharing is caring!