Sunday, October 28, 2012

First Hello - Part Three: Redemption

 Long before customer Rewards cards, there were S & H green stamps. Retailers wanting to build consumer loyalty would offer them with every purchase.

 I remember checking out groceries at the Alpha Beta store with my mother. Bea, our usual cashier  would smile her red lipsticky-smile, hair all in a 60's 'do', wish my mom some cliche farewell and hand her a receipt with a couple sheets of green or blue stamps.

My chore as a child was to lick and stick them in little 4x6 inch booklets. If there was an extra large stack of stamps,  I might get a wet washcloth in a saucer to save my tongue.

After collecting a good amount of filled booklets, then off to the local Redemption Center we would go. The cavernous store offered new merchandise in exchange for a bunch of green and blue sticky rectangular pieces of paper stuck in skinny books. We would walk out with a boatload of new merchandise like an electric mixer, badminton set, or everyday silverware.

That was my earliest experience with the concept of Redemption.

To Redeem:

To turn something of little worth into something of true worth. 
Offset the bad effect.
Exchange for something of value.
To free from the consequences of sin.
To repair, restore.

Most of the time the word sounded archaic and church-y to me. Other than with blue chip stamps, I had trouble relating to it.

                   But now I treasure the word.                  

I sensed it when I first gave my heart to Jesus, around the same time as my daughter's relinquishment. For the  difficult situation that a teen-age pregnancy presents, there seemed to be a lesser-evil-of-an answer than terminating. I wish I could say the thought never entered my mind. But Psalm 139 changed it and by adopting out I was able to provide a child-less couple with a baby and find myself a fresh start. All the things that had brought me to this place were left behind. And I thought that was it. A new life in exchange for the old.

I never expected God to continue the redemption of adoption well into midlife. He had given me so much already in a great husband and another beautiful and practically-perfect-in-every-way daughter named April, plus 4 great boys. That was enough blessing. Enough restoration.

But then, Surprise!! He knocked me out with a phone call on my 50th birthday that brought the daughter I had given up 32 years before, back into my life.

And 5 years later,  
The First Hello.

The chance to finally see her, face to face and take another step in that relationship, was more than I ever dreamed of; more than I deserved. Oh and she has 2 beautiful children. I met grandchildren I never knew I had.

Grace is like that.

Yeah, that's just like our Jesus. Surprising us with something spectacular 

just when we've settled

into the tattered couch of just ok.

God is even extending restoration to other parties in the story: the father of my daughter has since come to faith. And oh,  that my daughter will heal from the inner difficulty they say adopted children struggle with.

Deeper levels of healing are ever open to us, ever waiting for us to reach up and grasp.

And redemption knocks so quietly at first
Inviting us, igniting a deep thirst
To be whole again
Find our soul again

Me, Robin, Aaron, Daughter

Daughter and husband

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair
 - Crystal Lewis

I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord
-Darrell Evans

When only Love could make a way
You gave Your life 
For a Beautiful Exchange
- Hillsong United

I'll be always taking those sticky stamps of mistakes and mis-steps to my Blessed Redeemer.

Yup, this girl has done made a trip to the Redemption Center ...
                                                                 ... and walked out with a truckload of joy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh how lovely. How beautiful His gift of redemption at every level. Thanks for the hope-filled, genuine, joyful story you have told so well. I also love the pics. :-)

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