The Scarlet Thread

 I can see the scarlet thread, weaving its way through, permanently etching itself into the fabric of my life.

This life where I have thrived in the comfort of the warm tones of greens and browns, where I have found freedom and  uniqueness in pushing out a brighter green here, a richer brown there.  My life was good. Happy. Almost perfect even.

I mean I was a missionary kid, and that was hard. Being different everywhere you go.

ALL. THE. TIME.

But eventually, I learned to embrace the different, enjoy how my warm little world had “slightly” more color than the average  folk.

And then on January 12, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake ravaged the island of my birth.  I was in South Africa at the time. My sister  was in the United States. We would embark upon a grueling 18-hour-vigil to know if our parents, our modern-day heroes,  were dead or alive.

I had already seen glimpses of that scarlet thread, in our then 2-year-struggle of trying to conceive, in my continuously worsening health conditions, in ministry-related relationship challenges.

And now the weaver seemed furiously adding this blood red monstrosity to my tapestry, and I hated it.

Although there was immediate relief that came the moment I heard my parents shaken voices, in the days and months that followed the trauma of all of the back-to-back life events began to take their toll.

By the end of 2010, I found myself on sabbatical from  full time ministry and in the middle of personal counseling because in spite of my own psychology background, I knew I could not help myself out of this pit.

I did NOT want to be the barren woman, having people feel sorry for me.
I did NOT want to have chronic pain slowing me down, stopping me from doing what I could always do.
I did NOT want to face the horrible devastation that ravaged my island home.
I did NOT want to daily feel like a failure for having to step down and to back away from the only life I had ever known.

At the dawn of 2011, I discovered the OneWord community.
I realized that were I to define 2010 in OneWord, it would be GRACE.

It is what the Lord would relentlessly speak to me.
It was like a mantra that resounded again and again in my head.

And then I felt Him drop into my spirit my word for 2011 — Redeemed.

Redeemed by fulfilling all the promises He has made to me.
Redeemed by showing me in fresh new ways how His blood was for me.
Redeemed by illustrating what a gift this price was.

I thought I knew where He was taking me, but a more subtle, more personal truth simply blew me away.

My heart is for the broken. It always has been. I rediscovered that this year.  But I had felt hurt by people, by God, and the result was pulling myself away.  Albeit needed for awhile, this course could not last  forever.

He was taking me on a journey, a pilgrimage of sorts.
He had to allow me to be broken to understand the broken.
To experience darkness so that I may be allowed into others’ dark rooms.
To know emptiness, loneliness, and fear like they were your own skin so I could look into another’s eyes or type words that would resonate,

“YOU ARE NOT ALONE!”

So at the end of the year while talking to a friend, sharing bits and pieces of my journey, my struggles, my fears, my pain, my ugly, I revealed how I had finally seen God’s hand and heart after several years of mistrust and hurt and how THROUGH my tears, laughter and thankfulness came.

I, then, heard myself saying,

“It’s amazing how in the midst of the biggest hurt of my life. In the midst of the trials and pain, I am finding joy. And nothing has really changed, but the brokenness makes more sense now. And I realize that He is REDEEM-ing everything for His glory, for my future, for a treasure to give to the world.”

I paused in amazement. My heart leapt inside of me with the significance. My spirit reverberated inside of me….

….step back and see.

That horrible scarlet thread damaging my well-put-together tapestry — a fabric, usually of worsted, worked upon a warp of linen or other thread by hand – was not so horrible any more.  In fact, I began to see beauty in the cracks, value in the holes, purpose in the frayed edges.

HE HAS REDEEMED MY BROKEN PIECES

I breathe in His heart for me.
His overwhelming grace
His amazing love
His never-ending promises.

He is using the hard.
He has plans even in my mess.
He is good even when sorrow is like my own skin.
Everything is being redeemed
by the One who knows me better than I could ever know myself.

Nothing is left spilled and wasted on the ground.
Even the chaff has purpose with Him.

My life is Redeemed.