An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

October 27th Stephen and Kathleen's Wedding

The Great Exchange-Redemption

     One of the things I have discovered that God loves to do is redeem things in our lives. No matter what mess you have made, how bad things look, or how much you have lost, God is standing right beside you orchestrating redemption just for you.
     What is redemption or what does it mean to redeem something? The dictionary definition states, “to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something, to save from evil or error, to gain or regain possession of something, to exchange something.” Our society does not use the word redeem much unless we are talking about coupons, but uses ‘exchange” instead. 
     What is it that you need for God to exchange for you? Think about it for a moment. What matters to you, matters to God. We live in a fallen world where life interrupts; sometimes suddenly, occasionally tragically, often times unexpectedly. I think that is why God is in the business of redeeming things just for us. He loves us too much to leave us in the place life drops us. Redemption is actually what he specializes in.
      So what do we do when life interrupts our plans and dreams? I have found by experience that we simply hang on to God. We wait for Him to work in our lives to redeem. This often times rubs the impatient the wrong way. As Americans, we are not good at even waiting in the line at the grocery store. But it is in those times of waiting that we get to experience the joy of holding His hand. Psalms 73:23 states, “Nevertheless, I will be with you, I hold you by the right hand.” (NIV) It is in that journey that we get to know Him better if we choose to not blame him.
     I have a personal story of redemption. A little over three years ago, I sat on the deck with my late husband, The conversation began with, “Kathleen, sit down, we need to talk.” I knew we needed to discuss some things neither one of us wanted to talk about but we had to. I sat at the end of the table, where he usually sat and took a deep breath.  Even in his physical weakness, due to a rare cancer,Joe was leading his family. “Things are not going the way we want them to. My life insurance policy is in the front desk in the file. When I am gone, call USAA and they will walk you thru the whole process,” he said. “You won’t have to worry about a thing.”  “They will help you,” he continued. My mind and body exhausted from caregiving and fighting for his life, was swimming with questions. I suddenly felt like I was in very deep water and the waves were way over my head. I found it hard to even breathe as my eyes filled with tears.
  Then he continued, “You are not made to live alone.” His eyes filled with tears and his voice began to crack. “I love you but want you to know, you have my permission to go on with your life and find someone else,” he struggled to say. I had to turn my face away. I did not want to hear those words anymore than he wanted to say them. We had  been friends, lovers, parents, and partners for 30 years. I could not imagine life with out him. I knew out of his great love for me, he was saying the words he never thought he would have to say but he wanted what was best for me. Joe took his last breath a few days later.
     Three very long and lonely years rolled by as I struggled to discover life without him. “How do you live when half of you is gone and your heart is broken,” I often thought. I have discovered, you live one day at a time holding his hand in the journey. Sometimes holding his hand for comfort, other times when fear knocks on the door and many times holding tight trying to find the joy in living again.
     So what does this have to do with redemption? This past weekend, I sat on the very same deck again, except with another man. We were laughing and enjoying the beautiful weather and both working on our wedding vows. As we finished writing we shared with each other the promises we were going to make to each other. All of a sudden, I remembered the day three years ago I sat in the very same spot in tears feeling like my life was over. The very place that had been so painful, was now a place of redemption. I thought how kind God was to redeem the place that had been so painful was now my place of new beginnings. 
     The journey has been a long and difficult one but my heart has expanded, gotten stronger and actually thrived holding His hand. God gave me a chance to experience His redemption. He has exchanged the thing I feared most as I have let go of my past life, for something new, good and full of fun and adventure.
My redheaded sons with their mom before the wedding-they walked me down the aile
      Psalms 107:1 states, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Psalms 107:6-8 says, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.” I am not quoting this scripture. I have lived and experienced it and the experience has made me rich.
     Where are you right now in your life? Are you hanging on by a thread? Are you mad at God because of where this world has tossed you and you are blaming Him? Perhaps you just need your knees strengthened to stand and wait for Him to redeem. He will. I promise because He is faithful and good. Psalms 130 tells us to wait for him to exchange things for us and verse 7 states, “hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is FULL redemption.” (NIV)
     Life is not perfect for me still. In the 2 1/2 months I’ve been engaged, my dad has been hospitalized twice, a deer came out of no where and hit my car causing a wreck, work deadlines, wedding planning and a few hours ago I found out my aunt passed away. Life in this world continues to throw me curve balls but I am learning to hit the ball out of the park as I hold his hand to swing the bat. I have grown in my love for my redeemer, my friend Jesus. He is faithful. He is good and he is with me, helping me dance thru the valley into new life.
      Will you join me in moving to the rhythm of his song of redemption for your life? Listen, look and wait as he orchestrates your shattered dreams and interruptions. And as Jesus said in Luke 21:28, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (NIV)
     

Celebrating with my daughter



Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. She can be heard on Sunday mornings from 8:00 am to 9:00 am on The REV FM, 94.3. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

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