I have been compelled to write this note for quite some time but I have been at a loss for words, something that is quite unusual for me. Tonight I woke up and here I am at 4am, knowing that I absolutely have to write this and post it today.
I know this is for someone. And whoever you are, know that God loves you so much that He has decided that I shall not have rest until I say these things.
Okay so a few days ago I had a dream. Well let me start from the beginning, last Sunday I was in church and I heard a phrase in my head. Redemption song. Now before you all go off on a Bob Marley tangent, let me tell you what it meant. The preacher had just called for people who had made mistakes they considered terrible and that had derailed their whole lives to come forward for prayer. Let me tell you, I was among the first up there. I have messed up in this my short life, if not for the Grace of God…well…anyway that is another gist for another day. But I noticed that the altar was filled with people.
I started thinking about women, as I often do, for this is my particular calling and I kept hearing the phrase “Redemption song” I started thinking that this might be the title of a play I would write for my church…anyway I tabled the thought for later.
Later on that week, a thought came to me, “write a facebook sermon!” Now mind you, I’m no preacher (Just a woman trying to figure this life out and by the grace of God willing to share as I go along) so I pushed it away. I mean come on, Facebook is so public and what would I say on this matter anyway?
Then I had a dream, where I saw a woman I cared about being accused and being held hostage because she was ashamed and hiding. I kept telling her, why are you hiding? This is why Jesus died! When I woke up, I wondered what it meant and I realized that the woman is a symbol of all of us.
I know what it feels like to be accused. I know what it feels like to hear a voice in your head telling you how because of what you have done in your life, you are messed up.
Sometimes the very places we are supposed to be able to go to get comfort and direction are the very places where we are accused the most. I know so many people who have gone to church to receive redemption and then they get accused by the holy holy brethren.
I know of women who have become sexually promiscuous yet they hate the act itself. In fact afterwards they hate themselves. They act out of a self destructive compulsion. They may self medicate with various forms of material items but inside they feel damaged and broken.
Now here’s the thing. Perhaps that’s you. Somehow deep inside you feel that you can never hope for better than where you are now. Maybe a man has called you a slut and told you that you could never do better than him. Maybe someone has demeaned you for something that happened to you. Maybe you were raped or abused and your abusers have convinced you that you asked for it and you deserved it. Maybe you chose this life at one point but now you wish you could erase the past and start again.
Maybe you are a woman that hides from God because of past sin. The kind of sin someone told you could never be forgiven. Maybe you were told your actions were an abomination before God. Perhaps you had an abortion. Perhaps you have done something else.
What I want to tell you is this? You don’t have to hide and feel ashamed. True, maybe you didn’t make the best choices. Believe me, I have more than been there. And maybe the people in your life (perhaps professed Christians) spend their time spouting off judgmental statements…I know all about this too, I used to be one of those people, until I saw that I wasn’t anything special, that I could be just as messed up as the next person, and if not for grace! I would fall even deeper into that dark place.
I have this to tell you, Jesus has redeemed you. One day, I will tell you my story about how He redeemed me, but today I have to tell you He came to redeem you. Redeem means to liberate, to release, to rescue…it also means to make amends for, to compensate for, to exchange, and trade in.
Look at your Bible and see how many times Jesus showed mercy and love to women. I think that there is something to be said for that. I am speaking to women today even though the message is the same for men, but I believe we as women we have a way of self flagellating and punishing ourselves. A man can compartmentalize and move forward and still retain his self worth even after he messes up, meanwhile a woman holds onto the shame and guilt even when things are not her fault. Consider the relationship between a cheater and a cheatee…
Jesus wants to offer you hope. A way out. Even as I write this I know that different people of different faiths will read this. But what I want you to know most of all is that you don’t have to stay in a place that makes you unhappy because you believe you are worthless and ruined. You don’t have to feel trapped and you don’t have to keep making choices that are hurtful to you because you want to atone for your choices. Jesus has redeemed you. You are not worthless but priceless. Not ruined but renewed. If you felt trapped, know that He has set you free and He has already atoned for your sins.
If I found a great shoe store, I would tell you.
If I found a great hair stylist, I would share.
How can I not tell you when I have found something that makes me feel whole again?
This holiday, my dearest wish for us all, is that we sing that redemption song…and I’ll even set it to Bob Marley’s melody!
Be well, be happy