Story…Redeemable, #2

Back in April, 2014 the (in)Real Life conference was based on telling your Story.  I was blessed to attend this video conference with a group of women who were meeting together at a book launch retreat in Tennessee. This retreat was a gathering of women who had all been on Jo Ann Fore's book launch team for her book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice. It was a perfect combination, a gathering of women who were excited about the message of Jo Ann's book,  and the conference about telling your story!

We listened to speakers talk about Story and we talked about telling our own stories over the weekend, but there was one point in the weekend for me that seemed to be a living illustration of the importance of story. That point in time occurred in an outing we took to a store called Redeemables Upscale Resale

Redeemables is a wonderful store filled with all kinds of treasures. The two energetic and fun ladies who run the store, Debbie and Sherry, take pleasure in taking unwanted items and restoring and/or repurposing them…"redeeming" them into beautiful treasures. 

 Their motto: "Everyone is redeemable and most everything is redeemable!"

When we entered the store they had us gather around them as they shared their own story of how their friendship became this wonderful partnership. They lived out their motto not only in the fulfilling of this longtime dream of owning and running this store, but of the ministry of redeeming lives through their involvement with Rise Up , a youth development and mentoring program that  Sherry and her husband had begun around 20 years ago. Sherry and Debbie met while working in that ministry. 

This store represents not only redeemed objects but redeemed lives as they also employ and train young women who were students from the Rise Up program. As these girls work in the shop they see, touch, and experience a very visual illustration of the patience and work it can take to 'redeem' an item…to take something broken and restore it to something that is even more original and creative than before it was discarded. They also experience the love and grace that it takes to redeem a life. 
I loved this store and these women for being that living illustration of how our own stories can reveal and illustrate the redemptive work of our savior, Jesus Christ. 

If we allow Him into our lives, He takes those broken places…
 those things in our lives that we look on with shame,
 those things that make us feel like a failure, 
 those things that make us feel we can never be important or useful again,
 those things that we think are damaged beyond repair…
He takes all of that and weaves into us something gloriously beautiful, forgiven, redeemed, loved and valued! 

Do you have a story? Of course you do! If you have lived for long in this broken, fallen world you have a story!  

But what is the point of sharing our story if we are still walking in our broken state?  The enemy of your souls wants to destroy each and every one of us. He spends his time wreaking havoc in our lives…tempting us to do the very things that will wreck our souls and break our spirits. But we don't have to allow him the victory over our lives!!

We have only to accept the work that Jesus did on the cross…that act of redemption in 'buying back' our very heart, soul, and spirit…covering the sin in our lives with His life's blood so that we could be forgiven and restored not to religion, but to a very real and intimate relationship with God and to a life of real and lasting joy. We have only to surrender ourselves into His hands, and trust that the process, this healing journey that He is taking us through, is for our own good and His glory. 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  ~Romans 8:28

I hope that you understand what that relationship has the power to do in your life.  I want to talk a little about that in my next one or two posts. How His story intersects with our story, and how that makes it worth the telling…why it makes the telling a necessity. 

(Be sure to read the next article in this series: Story: The Conflict #3.  If you didn't catch part one of this series, you can read it here: Story…The Great Connector.)

You...your story? Redeemable! Are you walking in the redemption or are you holding back?