redeemed

“What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?
I’m having a few days where I’ve gone off schedule and I seem to be being taken to a place where in a number of different ways I’m hearing the same message. The same blessing. The same truth.
I had a huge realization yesterday, which came to me after prayer with someone else.
Yesterday as I prayed I remembered something I picked up on the beach on Good Friday 2014. It was a white stone. It had caught my eye at the end of a long, painful, weeping, honest time talking to God. A time during which I had brought all kinds of things to the cross to leave there. As I left the beach I’d told God that I needed something to show me that He was taking all that I’d given him; that He understood the difficulty I experienced in handing those things over, and that He loved me. You may remember if you read my blog back then that I looked down and it seemed that every shell was heart shaped, and then a bright white stone caught my eye. ‘That’s how I see you’ whispered my Father.
I had forgotten all about the stone. It’s in a safe place, but I hadn’t looked at it or thought about it in a long time. As I prayed it came to my mind and I asked God to help me believe the truth of it. It was only afterwards that my friend told me that just before I mentioned it she’d been asking God to give me some sort of sign, some physical thing that would remind me that I didn’t need to carry shame anymore. I knew something was happening because when I mentioned the white stone the intensity of the silence in the room was palpable.
Afterwards she reminded me of the significance of white stones in the bible – indicating acquittal and freedom. Used as a token to indicate that the bearer had the right of entry to an event or banquet. I had forgotten those meanings, but they speak of the truth that I keep being told, but which I find so hard to hold on to. I am free. I have been acquitted. I’m welcome at the banquet.
It was then that I realised that part of my continuing pull and tie to the other is because I have believed that I can only be accepted and acceptable if he is not. My shame is linked to how he is regarded. I have been linking my ‘guilt’ or innocence, my forgiveness or condemnation, to the judgments that are being made about the other I was involved with. It’s been as if we are on either end of a see- saw and if he goes up then I must go down. If he is judged to have been culpable in our relationship then I am less culpable, if he is not judged culpable then I must be the one to bear responsibility for all wrong doing.
With all of those thoughts in my head I went to see the film ‘Wild’. Words spoken at the end of Cheryl Strayed’s journey (a journey she undertakes to try to pull a broken life back together) grabbed my heart:
“What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”
I’ve believed that I should be working for my redemption. That I should be proving that I am committed to my marriage, and that no feelings remain for the other, and that I am an acceptable person to have around. But what if those things will not redeem me? What if I kept doing all that I am doing now and I was never redeemed?
I will not be redeemed by those things, because the redemption has already happened. Not one single thing that I can do will make a difference to that. Not one single thing or judgment that is made about the other will make a difference to that. He could be held up as the finest Christian man around, bearing no responsibility for what took place, and even that will not make a difference to my redemption. My redemption is complete. In Christ.
I suspect that those who know me well, or those who’ve been part of my journey through my writings, may wonder why it has taken me so long to grasp this.
It’s because it’s so hard. It’s hard to believe the enormity of the truth of the gospel when it applies to sinful, broken, messy me. But I do believe it and in the past 24 hours I have felt it loosening some chains; cutting some ties and filling my heart with a sense of freedom.
Grace. I can’t get enough of it.”

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