Saturday, May 10, 2008

Redemption

I've never been one to believe that everything happens for a reason. Because we're living in an imperfect world, bad stuff just happens. Life doesn't always go our way. And when crappy things happen, I don't think it was always for some ultimate purpose that we just can't see yet. I certainly don't believe that God made painful things to happen to us as part of His Great Plan and that one day we'll look back at all the pain and loss and say, "Oh, so that's what all that suffering was about."

I was reminded tonight at our church in L.A. the story about Joseph and how twisty his life was, how so often evil had the upper hand. He could have walked out. He could have slit his wrists. He could have cursed God and died. He didn't though--he let his heart stay open and let God shape his character. That's what it's all about. It's not about things working out in the end. It's about us becoming better, more compassionate people.

That being said, I do believe that everything is redeemed. After all the hard work of not getting bitter or numb due to the crap life throws our way, I do believe we'll see redemption because God is good and He can't be anything else.

For a couple of years there, Mother's Day was not a fun holiday for me. I think I will always be hyper-sensitive to women on this day. Tonight at church, they showed a video of different women talking about the experience of being a mother, and I could hardly enjoy it from thinking about how childless women who long to be mothers must feel watching it. I know how they feel. Motherhood was a club I wasn't allowed membership to for a while, and Mother's Day was especially hard since all the members were celebrated and paraded about.

"Character is formed when life doesn't turn out the way you were dreaming."

Our pastor said this tonight, and boy is he right. If we keep ourselves open, difficult circumstances can really make something beautiful. I wrote that quote down and beneath it added, "...but God redeems ALL."


There is a couple in our church here who did our pre-marriage counseling and eventually become our friends. We love these two people dearly ( They actually are some of the dedicated friends who wrote letters of recommendation during the long paper-chase process for the adoption.). These two never had children. After a particularly painful loss a couple of years ago, we were talking with them one day, and Dave told us something that I will never ever forget.

They had tried to conceive a child earlier in their marriage, and it just wasn't happening. Neither of them felt comfortable pursuing fertility treatments (I don't know if they ever considered adoption). The years went by and both started working in counseling and eventually doing all the marriage counseling in our church. One fall, they started a seminar based on the Love, Respect materials (really wonderful stuff, by the way). As they were standing on the stage one evening getting the seminar started, Dave looked out at the people there and realized it was mostly young couples, some married and some not. It suddenly occurred to him that, if he and his wife had ever had kids, the majority of those people out there were the age their children would have been.

Tears welled up in his eyes when he told us this, as they are now in mine as I write it down. He said that he felt God was showing him that He was letting the two of them parent and nurture all these couples, that He had given them children, more than they might ever even know.

God redeems. God loves us. He's with us. If you doubt anything on this earth, don't doubt that one.
"My words could not say, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart."

9 comments:

Stephanie said...

Oh, Lori, what a post! This brings tears to my eyes.

Happy Mother's Day, my friend! Hope Abe feels better soon!

With love,
Steph

Karen said...

Lori,
Thanks for this post. It was just what I needed to read today -- as I spend yet another mother's day without being a mother. Maybe next year:)!

the albertsons said...

I have three children, and I hate mother's day. Weird, huh? But it's because of what you said... I have so many hurting clients, and so many hurting friends. But I'm conflicted, because I also want to honor my mother. But I also hate being honored, because my children are an honor to parent... so I want to give honor to God, not have honor given to me. Anyway, thanks for these words Lori.
love
becca
(how many times did I write "honor" in this comment? five. I need to branch out.)

Amy said...

Lori...
Great post. I hear ya and amen it all. There were a few years that Mothers Day was incredibly painful for me as well... I have written the same lines before regarding there being a club forming that I wasn't a part of. (I really think you might enjoy/relate to a little project Josh and I have recently completed...you can't enjoy it until February 09 though....) :)

Again, Great post!
Amy

jen said...

Happy Mother's Day!

love, Jen

Jennifer and Jody said...

I heart this post. Wonderful. Thank you.

Happy Mommy Day! Club member!

Jennifer

jill said...

Happy Mother's Day. I agree that this day can be a loaded one for many reasons and I remember it when it wasn't a fun day for me. Today I'm thinking about you and so happy that you are a mother today. Enjoy every minute of it.

Melissa said...

Amazing. You know its funny but at Mosaic we also talked about Joseph today and Job and about all of the horrible things that happen in this world and how could a loving God possibly allow this to happen. Much the same sermon you had. Isn't that interesting? It was a good one and certainly one I needed to hear right now.
I am so thankful that this year you got to celebrate Mother's Day. It must have meant a lot to you. Congrats! Hope all is going well for you.
Miss you!
Melissa

LISA said...

Tear jerker...