The Ultimate Gift

“You cannot amputate your history from your destiny. My past is something that Jesus takes hold of and makes into a destiny. That’s called redemption.”             – Beth Moore

July 25, 2012                                                                                                                                   Life. What is this fading, uncontrollable, beautiful mystery called life? When you think of life, what kind of title would you give it? How would you write about it? What would your summary be?

From the moment of conception – no, even before – our lives were masterfully orchestrated and known from the beginning to the end.
I have a name, I have a purpose, I have a destiny.
And I have no control.

What does it mean that God knows my life from its obscure beginnings? All my plans rephrased into His plans? My best intentions – or worse – stopped or allowed by the King of the Universe, holding the reins to all that breathes?
How do I react to this? How do I respond?

Tiffany* lives in a trashy trailer park, full of trashier men who hang around. She’s only fifteen and she isn’t pregnant anymore.

Andrea* dreams of art school and makes plans, but where the money will come from, nobody knows.

Serena* fights with her mom and feels like she can’t ever get it right. She ridicules others – oh, so hatefully – from a bed of wounded insecurity.

Edith* makes out with guys at all hours of the night, barely clinging to her virginity. Her dad addicted to crack and heroine, and her mom brutally mean to her.

Jenae* is the most insecure girl I have ever met. She asked, “Do you like me?” “Do you think I’m pretty?” “Do I look stupid tonight?” all in one hour, her face haunted with deep sadness.

Autumn* sits quietly and it’s like I can see her brain working, always working – thinking deeply, processing. She yearns for the real answers to life.

Chelsea* – full of energy and charisma, yet shrouded behind a veil. There’s more to Chelsea than what meets the eye. She has a story to tell.

Mary* says she hides in a closet and covers her ears when her parents fight, because she gets scared. Her eyes plead for love. She’s always looking for a hug.

And from their obscure beginnings, God knew these young women’s pasts, stories, and the number of their days? He knows their destinies?
I cry, “Why, Lord?” and press into this Man of Redemption.

If I could have one thing…I’d ask for their hearts to be redeemed, their souls restored for eternity, their lives made new.

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Do you believe in miracles? I do.

The day after I penned the above words in my spiral-bound journal, I was sitting in VBS class with all of the lovely girls I wrote about, never imagining the glimpse of God-redemption I would get to experience with my wounded girls. Miss Susie was teaching and she asked, “If you could ask God for a miracle what would it be? What do you want to be different in your life?”

The class was silent. No one moved and shy glances were cautiously exchanged. Susie waited, and I couldn’t resist.

“I just wrote about all of you in my journal yesterday.” They looked up at me, as I began and someone muttered something about what I could find to write about them in a journal. “I had no idea that Miss Susie would ask this question – If you could ask God for a miracle what would it be? – but I wrote in my journal that if I could have one thing, I would ask that all of your wrongs be made right and your hearts be redeemed.”
The girls just stared and a lump formed in my throat. “I really want that for each of you. I know that you live hard lives. Jesus wants to redeem your life. He does! And I want you to get to live that kind of beauty.”

“Miss Renee! Miss Renee, if you wanted that for us and your wish came true, we wouldn’t need anything, so do you know what I would wish for you?” It was Serena* talking – brassy, insensitive, obnoxious Serena*.
“No, what?”
“Miss Renee, I would want you to have that baby you want to have. I would want you to be a mom. You’d be such a good mom.”

It was my turn to stare. Stare through the salty tears welling up in my eyes.

“Me too, Miss Renee! I think you should be a mom, too.” Edith* joined in.

“That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.” I could hardly grasp what I was hearing. Their lives were full of so many wrong things, and their wish for a miracle was for me?
Their love, the ultimate gift. This mercy being offered, this giving from the deepest places, this grace, all redemption; a miracle itself.

*Names changed for privacy.

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4 thoughts on “The Ultimate Gift

  1. *tears* aw, Rainy…I was already getting teary before I read “Serena’s” wish. You are doing an amazing thing, being there for these dear girls. I wish more of us would develop the huge heart of compassion and honesty that you have. May the dear Lord continue to heal your own heart as you try to bring some healing to others!! ❤

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