Redeemed. Redeemed…

redeemedThe writing I do in my head is beautiful! As I walk at the dog park or fold laundry in the basement, words, lines, and ideas float through my mind and I am awed at their perfection.

First chance, I grab pen and paper and fix down the words that hang like masterpieces in my brain.

This fixing destroys them, or, rather, it unveils them. What I imagined as a Renoir is nothing more than a child’s cartoon drawing. “What happened?” I wonder. “Did I remember it wrong? Was it not really that beautiful to begin with?”

I am not alone in this, not as a writer, nor even as a person. We all long for perfection. We plan perfect dinners, evenings, vacations, outfits. Those are small imaginings. Bigger are our dreams of ideal families, marriages, lives, homes.

This fascinates me. Why do we have this obsession with perfection when we have never, not ever, experienced it?

And isn’t it ironic that though we long for perfection, our very natures seem bent to ruin any good we do encounter?

A few days ago I bought myself a new MudLOVE necklace ( It says “Redeemed.” I picked this one over others that read “Blessed,” “Believe,” “Hope.” I picked it even over the “Set Free” necklace, which I bought last year but then gave away to a young man in Africa this past summer.


MudLOVE does not have a necklace that reads “Perfect” or even “Perfected.”

That’s not surprising. Few of us are that egotistical, at least outwardly.

Perfection implies there is no need for any kind of change, no need for redemption. If something is perfect, it simply is. There are no marks of fixed flaws, no evidence of past issues.

Yet Christ told us to “be perfect, even as the Heavenly Father is perfect.” (

Impossible—which was pretty much the point.

Which brings me back to redemption.

I look at my reference tools and find the definition of “redemption” that fits the Biblical idea of the word: “the buying back of something.” But when I switch to the thesaurus, it’s the synonyms that catch my attention: “recovery, renovation, reclamation (I like that one), restoration, revitalization.”

Yes, I think. This is what I do with my writing. I tinker, trying to reclaim a bit of the perfection the words seemed to have when they floated through my head.

But our perfection is more than a puff of smoke in our Creator’s mind. There once was perfection, when our actuality matched His design. Now, however, there can be no more perfection. We’ve been marred. So there must be “the buying back,” accomplished by the unmarred Christ, whose Perfection stepped in for us. (

So the positional perfection, the positional redemption has been accomplished. But what about all the synonyms? I don’t continually feel or act restored, recovered, revitalized.

I look at my necklace again. “redeemed.” There is a period after the word.


Bought back—past tense, completed? Yes.

Still being revitalized, reclaimed, restored?


Redeemed. AND Redeemed…

Word Play: Sacred

This is Emily's creation, who both took the pic and added the graphic. using the app Rhonna. Merry Christmas, everyone.

This is the creation of my daughter, Emily, who both took the pic and added the graphic. using the app Rhonna. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Awhile ago I became fascinated by the interplay between the words “sacred” and “scared,” that with the shift of just one letter, such an amazing change is made. Then I played more with the letters from those words, and discovered I can also spell the words “care/cares/cared,” “scar,” and “red.”

So, though I am NOT a poet, I wrote a poem.




Created sacred, we once walked with the Sacred Himself,

Till, rejecting communion, we chose independence

And broke away from Sacred Life.

The rupture scarred us to our very core.

Scared of the Sacred, we hid, pretended, postured.

But–oh blessed Word work–the Sacred Himself took on our Scar and bled red with lavish care

To move us from scared to sacred,

From scarred to Life.

A weekend away–with a purpose

He has been urging me to do this for, quite literally, years!

On Monday night I was evidently ready. So when my husband said, “Go away for the weekend. It will be good for you,” I did not sigh and say, “You’re right. I should, but now…?”

This time I nodded. “Ok.”

So Friday afternoon I checked into a hotel he’d booked for me (he feared I would back out when I was faced with the reality of spending money on myself) and carried my bags up to a room that had no human presence in it other than my own.

It was unnerving.

But good.

I had a specific job for the evening. About a week ago I was accepted into the Redbud Writers’ Guild ( and I received a request from a member of its Board of Directors for a whole list of things, one of which was a one/two-sentence description of my reason for writing.

My reason for writing.


I knew my usual answer—that I can’t seem to NOT write—wasn’t what I wanted to have next to my name. That’s not really a reason; it’s a negative statement.

I decided to look at some of the other writers’ descriptors. I read nearly all of them. Then I visited many of their Websites and blogs. I cried over the tough things some of them are going through and rejoiced at the amazing ways God is using them and their writing gifts.

While I enjoyed all their sites and writing, I identified with only some of their reasons for writing. Many have a particular “niche.” I don’t. Many have writing that flows out of a particular ministry. Mine doesn’t.

In between all this I looked up verses (in three different translations) that have the words “write” or “writing” in them.

I read and thought and prayed and jotted down notes.

And I was reminded of what I learned a long time ago.

I love story.

I love it because I have this deep-down-in-my-gut belief that every story, no matter how small, no matter how terrible, is somehow part of God’s big, grand, beautiful story. In this STORY, God, as Joseph puts it so well, turns all things meant for evil into good. Not a single part of anyone’s story is wasted. Each one plays a vital part in God’s sweeping epic.

Years ago, in an inservice at work, I took a Strengthsfinder test. Top on my list of strengths was “input,” which was described as “a craving to know more,” a desire “to collect and archive all kinds of information.”

What? I thought—but then I read the bigger description at the back of the book. In the long list of the kinds of things “Input” people like to collect is this: STORIES.

Teaching was my main career focus at that point. There wasn’t much time leftover for writing, but when I read that, something in my heart hummed.

It’s true. “Story” is the theme that links all the writing work I do.

By the end of my first night away, I had three possibilities, all related. I’ve since added a fourth. They’re below. If you have a minute to vote, I would appreciate your feedback.

If you have any suggestions and you don’t mind sending me a comment, I would appreciate that, too.

Thanks for reading,