Redemption Stories, Part 2

I enjoy listening to other people’s stories, especially men and women  who really love Jesus because of their redemption from a rocky past.

I think about the lady who annointed Jesus’ feet with perfume and washed His feet with her tears…

All of her sins were forgiven! She was so thankful. 

I know that I can look back  over my life and see all my past sin, pain, guilt, shame, and hurt–I’ve been healed from so much!–that God’s goodness is overwhelming in comparison. 

Some people get really uncomfortable about such open displays of gratitude. “Can’t you tone it down a little?” they ask. 

All Jesus says is, “It’s okay. I really appreciate your act of worship, your sincere devotion.”

There are many Christians who feel like they did Jesus a favor by accepting Him, but what did we have to offer?

Enough baggage to fill a cargo plane? 

Empty attempts to gain the approval of others?

In Romans 8:17, it says that we are joint heirs with Jesus, meaning that we are each other’s inheritance. 

This is awesome news for us because it means that all of God’s blessings are given and not earned. Though,  it got me to thinking:

Jesus got the bum end of the deal. 

 I don’t mean this disparagingly, either.  It’s just that in light of His great sacrifice it’s hard for me to be real uppity about how awesome I am. 

Without Christ, I am nothing and I have nothing, so all I have for Him is gratefulness and a heart full of worship.

This is why I get so excited to hear redemption stories and to share my own. 

We were redeemed at great cost and the chance at a do over is more than we could ever imagine. 

Relational poker and icebergs

I would be a terrible professional poker player because my ability to bluff is nonexistent.

Within two hands I would be slap broke.

But emotionally? Now that’s a different story.

You will probably find it hard to believe, but I am a very private person. Yes, me, the girl who is posting a blog every day for an entire year. But, really and truly, it’s only about 300 words a day. That’s not a lot when you think about it.

If you’re familiar with the writings of Ernest Hemingway, you know about the Iceberg theory.

icebergtheoryHe only shows readers the tip of the iceberg while the rest is submerged underwater.

And maybe, if you’re like me, your first thought goes to the Titanic.

It’s dangerous to think that there’s this whole other level to relationships, a part that you can’t see by only hanging out with someone at work or church or school.

Relationships take a lot of time to build. It’s really not that far fetched to think that you have to navigate relationships like the Titanic should have navigated the waters–with caution.

You can’t stay surface level and expect to have deep, meaningful relationships.

I can’t play games of relational poker, always bluffing and keeping my cards close, and expect to find myself surrounded by a community of relationally minded people.

And you can’t either.

At some point we all need to share our stories–the good times and the bad times–because that’s where hope lives, the places where darkness turned to light.

Not everyone is like the person(s) who hurt you so deeply. Give others a chance to prove that to you.

No more poker face, okay?

You and I can’t exist outside of a community, so let people in.

Must Read: Who You Are

 Who You Are by John Croyle is one of my favorite books.
I bought it in February and I have read it three times this year!
If you are not familiar with John Croyle, he used to play football for the University of Alabama (UA).  His son, Brodie, also played at UA and then played six years of professional football.
But, most people don’t know John Croyle from his football years. They know him as the director of the Big Oak Ranch, which is a home for abandoned, abused, and neglected children.

I’ll put a link to their website at the bottom of this post. 

Who You Are is a book about not letting your past define you. Mr. John draws from his 40 years of experience with at-risk kids who have defied the odds and found hope because of Big Oak Ranch.

I highly recommend this book to those who need a fresh reminder that a bright future is available to anyone who wants one. No one is beyond hope.

This book has encouraged me to keep walking down the road toward my own bright future.  I think it can help you on your journey as well.

Big Oak Ranch website: