Five Years of Redemptive Love

Five Years of Redemptive Love

Originally posted here on May 17, 2013


Today marks five years since college graduation. And you know what that means! Cue the reflection train, coming around the bend. Because there’s nothing I love more than a 1,000 word evaluation for every significant (and insignificant) milestone in life.

I already feel sorry for my future children.

But we’ll cross that wordy bridge when we come to it! For now, let’s do a quick review. Since graduation, I’ve:

I wish I could have seen my face had I been told all of that five years ago.

I’m going to drive around the country for 3 months by myself? … I’m going to hustle through countless part-time jobs to pursue a career in writing? … I…run? … I like brussels sprouts? … I’M CREATIVE?!?!

These things would have thoroughly confused me, because I had no idea who I was when I walked across the stage and received my diploma.

Literally: no idea.

This song has been on repeat, to the exclusion of almost all other music, for nearly a full week. (Seriously…just ask iTunes. If there really is a little band in my speakers like I thought there was when I was a kid, then they are exhausted and begging for the broken record to finally break for good. Sorry, guys! Play on!) I didn’t even realize it until I took a closer look at the lyrics that it truly is the story of how the Lord has worked in my life thus far.

Take from vandals
All you want now
Please, don’t trade it in for life
Replace the feeble
With the fable
Wake up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

All these victims
Stand in line for
The crumbs that fall from the table
Just enough to get by
All the while
Your invitation
Wake up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

I had no idea who I was when I graduated because I had spent years believing lies. And the lies are crafty, as is the Liar. They infiltrate quietly and take root. Then they grow into something that overtakes your whole life. It’s a seamless transition, since you didn’t even notice that a seed had been planted in the first place.

That’s where I was in 2008: wholly deceived without ever consciously consenting to it. I didn’t believe much of anything true at that point because I was so overtaken by lies about myself and how I deserved to be treated. Because I perceived it as truth, I had a fairly dismal outlook on how life was going to go from that time on.

God began to whisper real truth to me that summer: that I was worth more, that I was loved, that I was His. But I couldn’t hear Him through the noise of the lies. So He showed me instead.

He opened up a whole world of beauty to me through the lens of my camera. I had no idea what I was in for when I ordered that thing – I thought I just needed a creative hobby to counteract my life in an office cubicle. But God had different plans (as He usually does!). He used color and light and stopping time in a frame to speak clearly and powerfully into my life, “Wake up from your slumber. Baby, open up your eyes!”  I’ll never forget sobbing in the parking lot at WalMart after I got into my car and opened up my first package of prints. I was floored. I couldn’t believe how much beauty I had been blind to, and to what lengths God had gone to get me to see it.

Those initial whispers of truth turned into shouts of redemptive love – a term that Google defines as, “acting to save someone from error or evil.” I was so filled with joy when I read that because it’s definitively what God did for me. Through unexpected gifts, one adventure after another, He invited me into a life of more, and has faithfully and forcefully shaken me awake each time I’ve been tempted to go back to the lies. His love has pursued me and never given up. It’s a true love story in which He replaced the feeble with the fable, giving me a beautiful new story to replace the old broken one.

That line from “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” jumped out at me this morning. Because most would consider my five years of post-college work as a flop on paper. If the hundreds of “no’s” I’ve received in reply to my resume are any indication, that fact is truth. But that’s the beauty of the past five years: I know what the real truth is. I know who God is, and I know who I am, and I know that no outside factor – not lies, not rejection, not failure, quite literally, nothing – has any power over me. So there is no fear of what the next five years might bring, because I can clearly see how His truth has and is and will triumph in my life, permanently. It makes me so overwhelmingly grateful that my heart bursts every time I think of it.

Please consider this an open invitation whether we’ve known each other for years or you’ve just stumbled over this post unexpectedly (hi! I’m glad you’re here!): if you can’t see the forest for the trees, if you feel like the forecast on life is mildly to moderately to majorly hopeless, if the last thing you believe in is God’s love – oh my word, let’s go have a lot of coffee, because I understand. I’ve lived there. But it’s so much better over here in this new neighborhood where truth dwells. And I would so love to hear your story and tell you more about how Jesus redeemed mine. You can get in touch with me here. It would make my day to hear from you!

How’s about you guys? How’s life? Has your five year plan gone according to plan? Do you have a redemptive love story to tell? I’d love to know! Please feel free to leave buckets of reflective comments; you know I’m on board with that!

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