Thursday, April 11, 2013

Redeeming Love

Have you ever thought about redeeming love? Or radical grace? I hadn't until this past year and here is why. 

For as long as I can remember I felt like I was at war. Even as a child, it was this feeling of perpetual battle. To stay light, to stay joyful, to somehow believe in good when so much sadness and pain surrounded me. I was determined to believe in love and in the goodness of people even though my circumstances didn't reflect that. My story, like everyone’s, has so many layers. 

Last year after I lost my uncle to cancer, my grief, at times, has been overwhelming and close to unbearable.  I know it's partially because he represented a sense of home and a true north in my life, and I never imagined my lifetime without him. But it’s also because it triggered other loss I never fully grieved. The grief  my childhood held:  of the abuse I experienced at a young age,  my parents’ divorce,, the loss of the relationship with my dad, and being on my own at seventeen….. to name a few. Last Fall I bought my first self help book, on grief nonetheless. As I read it there was a whole chapter on complicated bereavement. Or as one of my best friends termed, compounded grief, as I read those words….. it clicked. 

The loss of this person in my life had triggered so much pain that had been lying dormant for so long. I realized that I had been like a wounded soldier walking around with bullet holes, but charging on with no awareness to my very real limitations. (Or massive denial)  But when there is nothing left to distract you from the reality, there is no choice but to turn the mirror on yourself and see the damage. What you thought was painful ends up being total heartbreak. Many people do not know my story, and it’s not because of shame, or trying to live another life. It’s made me who I am- every broken, joyful, complicated, stubborn, letter writing, whimsy loving part of me. I am thankful for the experiences I've had along this journey because in this lifetime I can see people in pain and relate. Empathy is a real thing and it's powerful. 

Tonight as I sat listening to a song by Hillsong called, Oceans- Where my feet may fail, it was as if these words had to leave my heart and make it to this page. The past twelve months of my life have radically changed me and my faith. I literally have cried probably an entire water tower full of tears this last year. They've come from sadness, joy, weariness, hope and the very real grace that the Lord has washed over me.

Amidst the chaos that was my youth, I have such a powerful memory of being fourteen and knowing that I stood at a crossroads for my life. That I could choose to walk down the path that circumstances were drawing me down, or to trust God enough to pave a new road, and I chose that day to trust Him.  I have fallen, and hijacked His plans so many times. At times I’ve even left the journey all together. But last year He came to me in the valley, took my hand, said hello, and started walking with me again. He had been right there the whole time but I wasn't paying attention. Silly me.

I share these small parts of my story to really expose the power of the Lord’s redeeming love and His grace that changes the game. People have experienced far more devastating battles and circumstances than I, but I do know that for me and my story, standing where I am today did not happen by my own strength. The past several months of my life have felt divinely set up. From books that were literally written to me, friendships that touch your soul, incredible opportunities, evident healing happening within my family, to seeing God use the utter brokenness of my heart and restoring it to a depth I didn't know I possessed.

Being aware of God’s very real movement in your life is like witnessing a master artist paint an extraordinary piece right before your eyes. The ordinary becomes breathtaking and you can see Him in all things, in the smallest most ordinary moments.  It’s humbling to see how He can take the shattered mess of your heart and start to create something beautiful out of it. The power of redeeming love cannot be captured by words. But His pursuit of my heart has been an experience unlike any I’ve ever known.

I do not know how long it will take the battle wounds to heal, but they are. Through grace, redeeming love and pursuit of joy(#whimsy2013), the heartbreak is being used for good. My feet may fail but I believe the Lord is right there ready to catch me before I fall.

Next time I sit down to write I hope the words that need a life are defining Whimsy 2013 or the dream team I get to work with everyday. But for now, this is what needed a platform. Take a minute and pay attention tonight. Breathe deep and know you are loved beyond anything you can possibly imagine.

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"- Hillsong
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine.