Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's about Redemption

 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 
John 21:15-17

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:10

When I first felt called to come to Nyankunde over a year ago, I knew that God had something special in mind for me while here. I knew that I would have direction for the next steps to take in my life. Little did I know what else He had in store for me. 

When I first arrived here, I found it strange at first to hear a mixture of Swahili and French, rather than Swahili and English that I've heard when in Kenya. Hearing the Swahili brought back memories of the two months I spent in Eldoret, Kenya while in medical school. Memories that were good, yet also painful. 

I remember having a good walk with the Lord when I arrived in Kenya. I remember that I read my Bible daily, and was comfortable in prayer. It was while there that I felt called to long term missions. Yet at the same time, it is also when I feel I started to drift away a little...I wanted control in one area of my life...one area in that I wanted to direct and do as I pleased. I could tell this was not pleasing to God, but it's easy to start talking yourself into things once you've started.  I have struggled to turn this area back over to God in the nine years that have followed. I have come to realize in the last few months (perhaps a year, but the realization and acceptance has been growing) that the real problem has been a lack of true repentance. 

And so, it was in hearing the Swahili again that these memories came to mind. Painful reminders of my sinful thoughts and behavior which cried out for repentance. God wants me, and ALL of me, all parts of my life, and I needed to give that back over to Him. I felt shameful of my actions, of trying to keep this part of my life from Him. I felt shame in seeing and remembering the hurt relationships as a result of my actions, perhaps causing others to stumble in their walk with God. 

Then one day in February, while laying on the floor, crying my heart out to God, I heard God respond: (not in an audible voice, but in my thoughts)

"Laura, do you love me?"
"God, you know I love you."
"Feed my lambs."

"Laura, do you love me?"
"Lord, yes, I love you."
"Take care of my sheep."

"Laura, do you love me?"
"Yes Lord, I do love you!"
"Feed my sheep."

Just as Jesus restored Peter after he had denied Him three times, he was restoring me. He was letting me know that I'm forgiven, I'm redeemed, and set free. Those things I've done in the past that weren't healthy for my walk with Him? Forgiven. Totally, unequivocally, and irrevocably forgiven. 

Dont' get me wrong, I've asked for forgiveness before, and I know I've received it. But one thing I had lacked was the one thing He desired-true, utter repentance. That is the difference. That is what finally occurred in both my mind and heart, bringing me to my knees before God. And that I where I received Grace. It is where Jesus redeemed me from my past, so I can go on living a different future. I know it won't be perfect. I'll have to keep giving this area of my life back to God over and over again. But I no longer live with guilt. 

So this Easter I'm especially thankful for the events that happened so long ago in Jerusalem. I'm thankful for his sacrifice on the cross, and rising from the dead. I'm thankful that we are no longer dead in sin, but alive in Christ. I'm redeemed, I'm redeemed, praise the Lord!






3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free…" Romans 8:1,2

Rebecca said...

Beautiful.

Halley said...

Laura, I am so proud of you for doing God's work, and I'm so glad I have the honor of knowing you.

I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for a blogging award: the Liebster Award. Hopefully more people can see what you are doing, pray for you, and be inspired by you!

For more info, you can go to my blog http://halleygentil.wordpress.com and find more information on the post entitled Liebster Award!

Even if you don’t accept the award, I still think you and the work you do are amazing. :)