Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Resurrection, Redemption, and the Race Ahead

On Friday, May 25, we honored nine women who completed the two year Magdalene program. The Women of St. Bartholomew's hosted the joyous occasion and local entrepreneur, Margaret Ellis, wrote an inspiring talk which she shared with the graduates. Read her gift below, see more photos from the celebration HERE and watch a moving slideshow presentation of the women by director Becky Fluke HERE.

Resurrection, Redemption, and the Race Ahead

It is such an honor to be here today, to celebrate with you this wonderful day in each of your lives and to celebrate the beauty of Magdalene House and the very dynamic program that goes on here. I first found out about this program a few years ago, and have come to love the work that goes on here, and the fact that, in this place of safety, lives are truly changed.

Nothing is more inspiring to me than the human capacity for change. I donʼt know each one of you personally, but I do know, because I know something of the program of Magdalene, that you have all finished this course as far different people, in much different circumstances, than you started. Now, you have reached a very important milestone and you are ready to change again, to whatever is next. These life-changing moments donʼt happen too often in the story of oneʼs life. They are markers along the path, rest stops along the journey.

Change is always a bit scary--especially when it involves moving on from a place of comfort and support into the unknown rest of our lives. But, I think I can promise you this--if you can go through the changes you have gone through to get to this place, on this day, then you can handle anything that is down the road from here.

It is very easy to allow the challenges of everyday life to overwhelm us. I am pretty sure that this is true of everyone, and it is certainly true of me. I think thatʼs why we need to constantly remind ourselves that the spiritual is far more real than the everyday events of life. There are two spiritual principles that really describe what is going on at Magdalene; resurrection; being brought up from despair, and redemption; having our lives changed so completely that truly old things pass aways and all becomes new.

These concepts, and learning to apply them to our own lives, are one of the greatest things that Jesus came to teach us. It is so beautiful that each one of us can truly be re-born as new creatures, and that whatever has happened in our pasts, either to us or through us, can all be set aside and forgiven. Part of your redemption has been to forgive others, part has been to forgive yourselves.

I donʼt know each individual story here today, but I have attended many of the Thistle Farms events where the beautiful women of Magdalene have told their stories. Each one of these stories is a testimony to the power of resurrection and redemption, and to the power of love. And once you truly grasp that these are not just abstract concepts, but gifts from God that belong to you, then you are truly free.

And now we move on to the race ahead. I am sure that each of you is happy today. Look what you have accomplished and how far youʼve come. You have not only changed your own lives, but you have inspired others to do the same. I am also pretty sure that each of you is feeling that sense of uneasyness that comes with change; a chapter closes, a new one starts. If our lives were a play, the play would be in acts. So, as you receive applause today it is like being on the stage of the theatre of your life. One act is over, there will be a brief intermission, then another act begins. The difference is, in life, unlike in a play, we donʼt know exactly how the next act will look. And, we donʼt have a dress rehearsal. Our lives are not a book, that we can skip to the last chapter to see how it ends. And would we, even if we could?

What we can do, and what you have already learned to do, is lay the struggle down. I challenge you today to claim the love, the resurrection, and redemption that are yours. And as you proceed to the race ahead, walk in the power of change; the change that has happened in your lives and the power you have to inspire change in others. You can face the future with hope in your hearts and with assurance that you are up for the journey. We donʼt have to figure it all out today, all we have to do is make today a day of light, and then get up and do the same thing tomorrow. But you already know that. And you know everything else you need to know to walk in the victory of a woman warrior who has already conquered demons. I am in awe of you. And you inspire me tremendously. So, take a minute, catch your breath, then fasten your seat belts and go forward in your journeys--full speed ahead.

By Margaret Ellis

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