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Real Stories: Songs of Redemption
NRT's Phill finds people who share their stories tied in with these five redemptive songs

AN NRTEAM FEATURE ARTICLE, Real Stories: Songs of Redemption
Posted: July 27, 2016 | By: PhillFeltham_NRT
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We all have stories of redemption. Some past struggles have clear-cut redemptive conclusions, while others are continuous struggles with moments of victory. Whatever your story is, I guarantee you that somewhere there is a song of redemption just waiting for you.

What I can say is that there are many songs that inspire us to go to God who, consequently, helps us rise from the ashes. In the ensuing article, five brave people share their real-life testimonies with a song of redemption to match their moments of struggle and restoration. 

Some people were okay with using real names, but others were more comfortable using pseudonyms. I am just blessed that these individuals were brave enough to share their stories with you.

"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin
"My son, Jamie, was born with a very rare liver condition. At birth, the doctor told my husband, Charles, and me that our son only had a 10 percent chance of living. We prayed fervently, hoping that by the grace of God that our son would pull through--and he did. God's grace led to Jamie having a long life, and eventually a new liver. 

"My song of redemption is the classic hymn, 'Amazing Grace.' I sing this hymn to myself to give me strength. I love singing Chris Tomlin's modern-day rendition at my church: 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear / And grace my fears relieved / How precious did that grace appear / The hour I first believed.'

"I also memorized Psalms 23, which also gives me comfort in dark hours: 'The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right path for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.'"
- Debra Hope    

"Hope in Front of Me" by Danny Gokey
"My symptoms began at 12 years old and progressively got worse and multiplied. A dozen doctors stared helplessly at my chart as tests came back negative and medicines failed to help my pain. For six years now, my experience with chronic illness has been one that no one could diagnose or treat, until a few months ago when I finally found out that I have had Chronic Lyme Disease all this time. 

"My redemption song is 'Hope In Front Of Me' by Danny Gokey, because it constantly reminds me that, no matter how dark the night gets, I still have hope.

"The road ahead is long and scary, yet as I keep walking through this hard journey, I walk with hope. On my hardest days, I find strength in these words: 'I might be down, but I'm not dead / There's better days still up ahead / Even after all I've seen / There's hope in front of me.'"
- NRT's Caitlin Lassiter

"Greater" by MercyMe
"I loved Jesus and had a passion to know Him and grow in my faith. Despite doing everything I could, I still struggled to experience 'the abundant life' Jesus speaks of in John 10:10: 'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that [my children] may have life and have it abundantly.'

"I had experienced childhood neglect and abuse. Low self-esteem, shame, and guilt took root at a young age and were blocking me from receiving the love and freedom that Christ had given me. My life changed when I attended a healing ministry at my church and God opened my eyes to this truth.

"My redemption song is 'Greater' by MercyMe. Through the process of God's healing, I was able to replace my false identity with my true identity in Christ. 'I hear a voice and He calls me Redeemed / When others say I'll never be enough / Greater is the One living inside of me / Than he who is living in the world.' 

"I listen to this song to be reminded of God's love for me, and the truth that He has redeemed me. And on the days that I stumble, the song encourages me to pick myself back up and press on. 'There'll be days I lose the battle/Grace says that it doesn't matter/Because the cross already won the war.' Instead of believing I am ugly, unworthy, and unlovable, I know that because God is greater than my past, I am 'holy, righteous and redeemed.' I am learning to walk in freedom."
- Linda McFarlane

"What Love Really Means" by JJ Heller
"In the fall of 2009, my six-year marriage ended, and I suddenly found myself a 'divorced Christian.' Was that term an oxymoron? Would the world and the Church judge me? Would I now be seen as a second-class Christian? God, in His goodness, provided a wonderful counsellor to help me navigate my new world. 

"A few months later, the rug was ripped out from under me again; I was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. I felt helpless and alone, like my life was over at the age of 30. Divorced and diseased, who will ever want me now? God led me to an amazing ministry at my church where many of my wounds were tended to and healed. And in His perfect time, God brought me a wonderful Christian man who loved and accepted all of me. 

"God spoke truth to me about my circumstances in JJ Heller's song "What Love Really Means": "I will love you for you / Not for what you have done / Or what you will become / I will show you the love you never knew.

God's love for me wasn't based on what I have or will do; His love for me is based on who He is. I've been blessed to see this love also lived out for me through my husband who has been by my side for the past five years through the ups and downs of my health. It brings me great comfort to know that both he and God will be with me no matter what may lie ahead."
- Lea Casemant

"Dear Younger Me" by MercyMe
"I was like any other five year old; I wanted to fit in and play with other children. In primary and secondary school, I was always the outsider. Children teased me about my appearance (overweight), my behavior and my low grades. And playing victim, I always gave in to their mindless taunts. 

"God redeemed my story. In my college years, I lost 100 pounds and became an honor graduate student. From time to time, I would run into people I knew in high school and they were shocked. They could barely recognize me. These memories make me smile a lot. 

"Unfortunately, I still dislike my inner child. I blame him for not fighting back. I feel that MercyMe's "Dear Younger Me" is a dialogue that I need to have with that scared younger child who still feels frightened, abandoned, and alone. It also serves as a reminder to take care of this child and to let him know that what happened was indeed not his fault.  

"'If I knew then what I know now / Condemnation would've had no power / My joy my pain would've never been my worth / If I knew then what I know now / Would've not been hard to figure out / What I would've changed if I had heard / Dear younger me / It's not your fault / You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross / Dear younger me.'"
-- Paul Edwards

What about you? What's your redemption song and why? Share below.

Phill Feltham is a Canadian journalist with over eight years of experience writing and editing content for print and digital media. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, travel, and the power grid. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus. Highlights of Phill's work can be found on his portfolio site and his official blog, The Weekly Wanderer. Phill lives out his faith with his wife, Jodi, in the Greater Toronto Area.

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