Wednesday, October 2

Everyday Redemption

I stared at the List of Things to Do, completely stumped. In black text on a stark white background, it read: Write down your testimony. Practice it so you can tell others. Wait. What?
It's that everyday kind of redemption... (Photo: elizabetht on flickr)
I was 18, and had received the assignment to write down my testimony in preparation for a short-term missions trip to Venezuela.

I’m boring, I thought to myself. My life is boring. Who would want to hear about me?

I grew up in a Christian home and asked Jesus into my heart about 800 times by the time I lost my first tooth. I never had to overcome a drug addiction or a life of prostitution. I’ve had doubts about whether or not God is truly good or why evil exists in the world, but I’ve never walked away from my faith, never felt like I had one of those once was lost, now am found kinds of stories. My parents were stable and loving, and I can count on one hand the number of times I heard my Mom swear (there was that one time she got singed by a hot pan…). If anything, I was too sheltered – no MTV or alcohol or Smurfs for us, thank you very much – which as a parent I’ve now come to realize isn’t exactly a bad thing.

So when I was asked to write down my story, I hesitated. And although I got something on the page and memorized it, I never really felt comfortable with it.

Who am I, to talk about my faith?

The trip itself was eye-opening: Helping with Vacation Bible Schools and concerts in the barrios, inwardly comparing the sleekness of our first-world, middle-class digs with dingy buildings built haphazardly on top of each other like so many mismatched LEGOs, gaining life experience by eating arepas and plantains, hugging small children with bright eyes and knobby knees, experiencing the cacophony of life and hope and faith in the midst of poverty.

I ran across my scrapbook from that trip just last week. And as I looked through it and remembered those two life-altering weeks, I had the same thought then that I had so many years ago.

I’m boring, I thought to myself. My life is boring. Who would want to hear about me?

And then I’m ashamed. Not because I don’t have an amazing story, but because when I stop and think about it, and reflect on the life I've lived – I do. No, I haven’t had to overcome addiction or prostitution. But I’ve wept in anguish over the loss of a sister to cancer. I’ve spent weeks worrying over a child born too early, spent hours in the company of hushed voices and beeping machines in a hospital NICU. I’ve found the courage to be a journalist despite my shy nature and the fact that my heart pounds out of my chest every time I pick up the phone to call someone. I’ve found the joy in choosing to spend my life with a man who knows my secrets and self-doubts and loves me anyway, the wonder and terror and fierce love found in cradling a child in my arms and knowing that they are mine in a way that nothing else has ever been – bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.

You see, I have a story – and so do you. My story, be it ever so humble, is one of redemption. It’s an everyday kind of redemption, a story of good intentions and epic failures, sweeping joys and quiet sorrows.

And it’s a work in progress, this everyday redemption of mine.

This weekend, I’ll be attending Bridging the Gap’s fall retreat. The theme this year is “Redeemed.” And I. Can’t. Wait. Because I know that God has amazing things planned for all of us, ordinary women experiencing everyday redemption. (For more information, look here.)

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (Romans 12:1, MSG) 


4 comments :

  1. This is precious, Kristin. So precious.

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  2. I so identify with you, Kristin! I always wished for a more exciting story - one out of the movies. But, growing up in a loving, Christian home I didn't have the excitement. I remember talking with a friend who had overcome many difficult things and she told me how important my "boring" story is for others to see that people can have normal, everyday lives.

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  3. Kristin, Isn't it just like the enemy to convince us that His amazing work in our lives is "boring"? I love that you are able to see the exciting work of his hand in the grieving, suffering, and overcoming found in an ordinary life spend for HIm. I praise God for your story and that you are willing to share your gift with words here. I'm so glad I stopped by!

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