Redemption is defined as the action of saving or being saved from sin, an error or evil. It is also defined as the regaining or reclamation of something in exchange for a clearing of debt. We have all heard this word a million times in our lives, but I just experienced it up close and personal.

About two months ago I was in the midst of power dating. Some days it was breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner. I had entered the dating world after a total of 44 years of marriage from two different men. I had dated very little as my Mom picked out my first husband and he was friends with my second husband. Like two arranged marriages in some ways.

So this dating thing was new to me. I had a love-hate relationship with it. I liked the new clothes…the new hair….working out….losing weight kind of thing. But I hated the job interview part. It felt like I was always applying for a job….asking the right questions, anticipating what would happen next…would I be hired or fired? The worst part? The insecure jerks who think that all women want to see pictures of their naked bodies. What a shock to someone who has never dated before.

Most of the 42 guys I dated where gone in a flash. Some were nice, some were rude and some were just downright mean. My ego had been crushed. I felt fat, unloved, unworthy and discouraged. I had met only three guys that I liked…a friend, someone who was more than a friend and a what if…..what if this was the guy? He was handsome with big blue eyes and crazy eye lashes that women would kill for. He was kind, attentive, respectful and he was a man of faith. He held my hand while he softly prayed when we shared our first meal together on our first date.

But he was chasing a demon and he quickly slipped away before I could even allow my heart to feel again. This was exactly at the same time my former husband, after a divorce of only 8 months. killed himself. How could God put all of this on my heart at the same time? One of the new guys told me to be ready to help my struggling friend if he ever asked for help. Late that very night I got a call as I was leaving hours of challenging meetings.

I rushed to his side and helped him, praying all the while for God’s guidance and help. This was new territory for me, venturing into a world unknown and frightening . It took a huge leap of faith to meet him in his darkness and drive him to where he would start a new life with people who would wrap their arms around him and keep him from the dark abyss. I had already lost my former husband to his demons, I did not want the Devil to take this gentle soul too. I barely knew him, but I knew that he was wrestling with the Devil and God. I prayed that God would win.

He has done a lot of painful work and is straightening out the course in his life. He gave up the easy and pleasurable way and moved towards the path of hard work, humility, redemption and hope. I invited him to share a small Thanksgiving dinner with other friends who had no family to be with. I saw how happy he was spending time with his fellow Ohio compatriots, me being the only one not from the buckeye state. I saw what redemption looks like up close. God had won.

This kind man is fighting his demons every day, just as we all do. But he has been saved by God’s mercy and love. He has regained his life by clearing his debt with the Devil. He has visions of a brighter tomorrow, and ways to make it big in this world while reaching out a hand to anyone in need and never forgetting what he has suffered through.

Redemption is a glorious gift from God and He freely gives each of us this chance every day. We just have to reach out and ask Him for his guidance in our lives. The results can be amazing. God changed a “what if” man into a man who has the ability to change the lives of those around him. He has already changed mine and made me into a better person.

Always be ready to help someone in need. You might just be the lifeline that saves their life.

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