My Life's Stories
Inspired by the testimonies of others and the invitation given to me a few weeks ago to share my own, I have created this space on my blog to share My Story. Here is the introduction and an invitation to read along as I share My Life's Stories to give a Testimony of God's Goodness. Along the way, I hope you will also be inspired and equipped to start recording your story.
I have stared long and hard at a blank page and blinking cursor, trying to come up with words that articulate accurately the memories and emotions that flood my mind when I consider the content of today’s My Story, "An Unexpected Redemption."
Perhaps I start with this word--redemption.
If I asked you to define this word, redemption, I am guessing you’d provide something along the lines of, “the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.” Which is very accurate and most certainly true. But what I have learned, especially through the experience you will read about below, is that redemption is not simply reserved for our moments of error, sin or evil. There is so much more power to be discovered in the grace of this word.
Sometimes there are things that happen to us that bind us up and hold us captive in such subtle ways that we may not be consciously aware of their hold on our emotions or mind. Our soul is lacking in wholeness because of them but we have no idea that these little spaces of loss are there and in need of redemption. There is just this little piece of hurt that rests below the surface--undetected, unnamed, yet vulnerable to the arrows of the evil one.
Until the light comes and shines on them. Until healing enters through the most unlikely person, place or experience. Until the truth of Scripture moves from mind to heart to tangible representations in the testimony of our real, actual life.
Redemptive relationships. Redemptive experiences. Redemptive places.
And it is these light-shining-bright, healing, Scripture-coming-to-life parts of our life’s story that usher in a kind of redemption that doesn’t just save but restores, refreshes, and renovates the rooms of our memories and soul that are barren, boarded-up or broken-down.
You see, what I learned through the birth of my third baby was that redemption isn’t just for the day you choose to follow Christ and accepted his grace. Christ’s blood is still active--a flowing river of grace that covers every single part of your life. Redemption didn’t just come to save you from hell, it came to restore every morsel of who you are so that you can live full of freedom, power, and in wholeness.
A doctor. A doula. A back-up doula/birth photographer. A baby. A delivery. A promise from Scripture. And an intimate God who is intricately involved in the miracle of birth and the miracle of setting a soul free to trust He is who He says He is. A God who says,
“I see a lie you are believing that you don’t even see. And in my goodness, I am going to set you free from it. I am going to show you through this experience, these people, this place that I am your deliverer. You can trust me. You think you are being strong by telling yourself you will just take life as it comes and be thankful for what you have. But I am saying, I sent Christ for more than that kind of life and that way of thinking. I came that you might see that I see what you don’t see. I see what is holding you back. True strength is to know my promises and claim them--not just over your life’s journey, but over the human moments that make up your life.”
On November 28, 2012 a baby girl was set in my arms immediately after she came into the world. This was a moment I had never known. I believed I would be just fine if I never experienced this specific kind of moment because I thought that was trust. When I gave birth to my oldest I waited nearly four hours to meet him. And my second baby, I also had to wait for hours to meet her too. I had no idea how much missing out on the first few hours of my first children’s lives had hurt me until that day Elim Jo was set in my arms within seconds of being born.
Unexpectedly, I began to cry. I was completely overwhelmed and caught off guard. The tears were shed in gratitude of a safe, surgery-free delivery. They rolled down my cheek as I felt the truth of God’s nearness. Later, I would realize my tears were also for the loss of these moments that I didn’t get with my older children. I didn’t know what I had missed with them until I had it that day with baby Loween #3.
But God knew. He knew that hurt was deep, set in the uncultivated place of my heart and he used this precious moment to dig it up and help me see it. The ground that was dug up that day was ready to be planted with the seeds of some promises I hadn’t had the strength to fully claim or believe in before--redemption and deliverance. I had been praying for a safe delivery of my daughter, but God knew I needed my own deliverance of heart, mind, and soul. I needed to see he was redeeming those lost moments from my past experiences.
As you read the Pixar Storytelling version of this part of My Story, I pray that you too will consider reflecting on a promise of God that is hard for you to find the strength to claim. I pray too that you will be inspired to go to Scripture and find every verse you can that relates to the promise you need to claim for what you face right now. And I pray that on the day he answers your prayers with an experience, a relationship or a place that his answer will go deeper into the soil of your soul than you can even imagine.
You and me, we serve and worship a God who rescues us through miraculous and human experiences. A God who has given us promises He will keep. A God who has redeemed us at the cross. A God who never stops redeeming us from both the seen and unseen things that wound, bind or hold us captive.
Photo credit: Abby & Brandon
Event: Go & See Retreat Spring 2019
Location: Lake Darling Resort, Alexandria, MN
Caption: Jaclyn doing one of the many things she loves: inspiring, instructing, and encouraging women to live out of who God made them to be, no matter their season, location or vocation.
Jaclyn is a wife, mom, educator, visionary, and avid runner who uses her writing to pick up and examine life, culture, faith and running, probing to discover the awe of God who is sovereign over it all. Join her on her journey at jaclynloween.com. She is a firm believer in the powerful, effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out theGreat Commission. Because we are stronger, healthier and lovelier when living on mission together, she desires to help others know their unique design and purpose for such a time as this.