This Messy Road

Redemption.

Resurrection.

I have been working on resurrecting and redeeming a significant area of my life.  What’s funny about marriage is that one person’s pain affects the entire family. This area bleeds into every aspect of person, marriage, and family. It has become messy, neglected, and necrotic.  Through no fault of mine, it’s wounded and oozing, infected and dying.  And it’s been like that longer than I care to admit.

So, with every thing in me and all of my strength, I am trying to redeem this area.  I’m asking God to resurrect it before it’s too late.  The proverbial gloves are off and I am fighting.  Hard.  I have taken great comfort and strength from Christ’s passion on the Cross that redeemed us.  His death on the tree to resurrect our souls from sin.  I keep envisioning His death that led to His resurrection.

I figured as I started this painful journey that it would be a process.  But I pictured it all wrong.  I thought it would be cycle, a clean and clear journey to personal redemption.  Pain from sin to realization of this sin to pain from fixing to healed.  Simple.  Easy.  Done.  I expected heartbreak and woundedness only once.  I would journey through it, we would fix it, and we would be healed.

Life is never clean.  It is not easy.  And our journeys are never done.

Instead, it’s been a mess.  It’s more like my three year old’s artwork–a giant picture of scribbling with no discernable beginning or end.  Just simply lines strewn all over the paper.  Chunky lines of many colors, reds and yellows, greens and blues, whites and blacks.  Colors blurring and blending into oblivion.

The process has been broken, messy.  Full of hurt and pain.  Terrible pain.  Neglect.  Abandonment.  Hurt.  Broken hope. False promises.  Deep sorrow.  And, like my son’s artwork, the colors of it all blending and blurring with no definitive beginning or end.  We process one hurt, overcome one hurdle, reach a good place, only to be plunged back into deeper but different pain and sorrow.

Have hope.

My husband keeps saying this.  But, I struggle to grasp it.  I wrestle with believing it.  So much grief.  So much sorrow.  So many unhappy endings.

The plunging back into pain and grief wipes out any carefully constructed and long awaited hope I have finally achieved.  The moving from one wound, one sorrow to another has frequently thrashed my slowly growing hope, instead reinforcing the easy belief that the necrotic sin-filled infection will win.  That because this hasn’t been simple, cyclical, and easy, the enemy will win.  And I will lose.

But, if I am going to compare overcoming serious woundedness and grave spiritual infection to Christ’s Resurrection, I am forgetting how ugly His journey was as well.  In only seeing His hanging and dying on the Cross, I am not looking at the bigger picture.  His passion and death did not begin on the Cross.  It began days earlier, when one of His dear ones sold Him to the enemy.  His was betrayed by one of his closest friends.  And that was when His journey of betrayal and pain began; that’s when His path through suffering to resurrection and redemption began.

It was not a simple, clear, easy path to the Cross.  He went from one pain, one wound, one rejection to another.  From being beaten to being stripped of His clothes.  From abandonment three times of his friend, to being forced down a road with a cross larger than Him on His shoulders.  From being spit on and mocked to being nailed to a cross.  His journey was violent and messy, blurred with blood and tears.  No easy start, no simple middle, no neat ending.

I realized all of this today, as I stood with my husband in the kitchen dancing to old country music.  As we dig in and root out sin and pain and deep woundedness, the process is not going to be simple at all.  It will not be clean.  And it most certainly will not be easy.  There will be many times of pain, repeatedly visiting old wounds.  Back steps and little victories.  There will be anger and sadness.  There will be questions and forgiveness.  There will be late night discussions and frequent desperate prayers.  The road will be long, the journey complicated and messy.

But each step is one towards resurrection.  Towards redemption.

I realized one more thing, too.  When my sweet boy hands me his admittedly messy artwork, full of color and blurred lines and indiscernible shapes and lines, when he proudly hands me that paper of an incredibly vibrant rainbow of love and purpose, I do not see ugly or messy.  I see beauty and work and love.  Deep love.

And that is the work I will continue to do.  Love and forgiveness are messy.  But, Christ’s passion was messy.  He still won.  He still defeated sin and saved our lives.  So, in this smaller, but still painful walk towards redemption, I will have hope.  I will continue to forgive and love.  Even in the grief and anger and sadness, I will continue to love.  Because Love won.  Love died but Love rose from and conquered the dead.  There can be no resurrection without death.  We must die to self, die to Christ, before the resurrection can occur.

And the resurrection will come.  Somewhere in me, I have budding hope our little resurrection will come.  The blood and the mess and the pain will all be worth it.  Because we will rise from the ashes new creations.

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