Grace For Y’all

Team Gee (or one half, I should say) here—at 38,000 feet. I’m writing this on our return flight to California (oh, how we’ve missed you!), after spending almost a week in Texas. Jon and I had the privilege of participating in a Redemption Group Immersion—an experience designed to train potential leaders of Redemption Groups by immersing them in the actual experience. Redemption Groups is a ministry aimed at exposing sin and suffering and placing it within the context of God’s overarching story of redemption, so that participants can understand God’s grace, freedom, and love. This particular immersion took place over the course of three days, and let me tell you, it was intense! What a week! We are exhausted and yet, revived.

Where do I even begin? We knew from the start that this would be an intense time for both of us, and that we would be confronted with the stark reality of our sin, but we can certainly say now that we truly underestimated the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace. Over just three days, we each met with a group of complete strangers and were encouraged to be completely transparent regarding the struggles, doubts, fears, and lies we have faced. It felt terrifyingly dangerous to be so exposed, but in that brokenness, we were met with the truth of God’s love and assurance. We both saw lives completely transformed, and our own eyes were opened in astonishing ways.

What did I learn specifically? I realized that the shame I’ve imposed upon myself, as a sort of self-penance, is antithetical to the Gospel. In doing so, I have idolatrously made myself a god and looked within for hope for lasting change, rather than relying on the blood of Jesus. In addition, I’ve expected people around me to wallow in their own sin, as I’ve held them to my same standard, and have therefore withheld from them the grace that God longs to show them.

I make such a horrible god!

Jesus is so, so much better than me, as He wants us all to be free of shame and guilt, as He took that upon Himself on the cross. While processing this with the women in my group, I expressed joy at this realization, but admitted a remnant of hesitation and ultimately, fear—what if I mess up again? I’m sick of disappointing God, others, and myself. One of my leaders lovingly, yet firmly, reassured me: “You get to repent and experience more grace.” Just typing this still brings me to tears. WE GET TO EXPERIENCE MORE GRACE! For too long, I have believed the lie that it is shameful for me to run to the cross again and again, yet this is the essence of the Gospel—I am not ashamed of it anymore.

It is now with unbelievable joy that I can admit my complete brokenness and the grace I have received as a result. No longer do I expect or want others to live in shame; I want them to experience God’s grace like I have. I want YOU to experience God’s grace. Through experiencing this grace, I can now love and forgive others the way Jesus calls me to.

With such a profound revelation in a single immersion experience, I can’t imagine what else could be revealed in an actual 10-week Redemption Group setting, but I am so eager to find out, and that is why we are so passionate about this ministry. Please, if any of you are interested in our experience, feel free to come talk to us.

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave you with this—something we sang repeatedly that cut straight to my core:

O, the joy of full salvation!
Sin and death defeated
Glory to His Name!

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