Hands and house

Hands and house

Thursday, March 28, 2013


I witnessed something today that was profoundly beautiful,
my amazing friend,
restraining her equally beautiful little boy.
Holding him down so he would not hurt himself,
telling him she loved him...
after he spit in her face,
knowing that these sessions go on and on for hours on end,
as a precious little boy tries to make sense of the pain and the trauma that has happened in his life,
because now that he has a family, it finally can break the surface and pour out like burning fire
through rage and anger and spitting and biting
as he bucks against the love of a family that is forever no matter what.
...still tonight, hours after being there, the tears come so easily...
yes because of the pain,
but mainly because of the beauty.
Tonight, I am realizing just how much I have allowed myself to cheapen what redemption really means.
Today is Ravenna's Gotcha day.
8 years ago today in a stale, hot room in China I became a Mama for the first time.
It was beyond beautiful,
and yes, I look at those pictures and see them so marked with the fingerprints of the Lord's redemption both in her life and in mine.
But, it is so easy to look at a picture like that and call it redemption...
...and in every sense it was redemption...
but it was only the beginning.
I so often look for redemption in the quick flash...
the abandoned child brought to the orphanage,
the homeless person given a meal,
someone surrendering in prayer,
the apology given...
dare I say, a picture of the cross?
Yes, every single one of those things is redemptive...
but it is only the beginning.
A Gotcha day picture starts a journey that sometimes leads to restraining, and being spit on, and hearing "I hate you", or "I want to go back"
or it means sitting on the floor of my child's room as she sobs in the closet and begs for me, then as I reach close kicks me away.
I means wanting to be safe arms and hating that safe arms sometimes have to hold down instead of hold close.
Because sometimes letting the pain out is part of the path to redemption.
It means hours of sitting in therapy rooms, hospital rooms, counseling offices.
It means watching and entering in to the struggle without having the answers or knowing for sure the outcome.
It means trying one more time when you've got nothing left.
It is my friends who lead a marriage ministry and fight so hard for crumbling marriages,
who step in a listen when words are daggers and pain is so real...
and then go back again and again to help those couples take one more step towards grace.
It is our pastor who gets up almost every week to speak truth and call us to come closer to the One who can heal us, even when we hold so close to the safe and familiar .
...it is the One who promises to never leave, never forsake, always be there over and over and over again as I stumble and fall and bloody my knees...
the One who died on the cross fully knowing I would not understand what that act of redemption did, the journey it began?
That He went fully knowing I would turn my back
or walk away and spit in the face of my Savior, pushing Him back even now when the pain gets too deep...
a journey of drawing near then falling back,
loose ends always dangling.
Yet He still went,
and still stays,
and still reaches,
and still speaks the promise of a love that never leaves,
one that will walk the shattered path of healing if we let Him.
Can you see it?
The beauty?
The relentless holding that cries out to the broken places, making a way for the pain to gush forth?
Bringing with it the space to be redeemed, to truly heal?
The act of redemption stands, stunning....
Am I willing to be led, held down, drawn into the deep ragged journey of redeeming as well?
"...who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s."
Psalm 103:4-5


Carla said...


Renee said...

Powerful Shannon. It feeds my soul to read what you share. Holding you all in prayer.

Chrissie said...

Amazing beauty and truth in your words.

Elizabeth said...

thank you


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