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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

Letter from a Ragamuffin

From one Ragamuffin to another:

Where do I begin? How do I capture the change that has happened in my heart in 3 short days? I was filled with oxymorons before the retreat: eagerly petrified, sheepishly hopeful, peacefully uncomfortable. It only got worse during the retreat. It became ‘painfully wonderful.’ That’s how spiritual surgery without the anesthesia goes. And I’d have it no other way.

I stare into quiet space a lot right now. My coworker told me today she can see I’m still processing but her last sentence said it best: ‘but I see the life in your eyes again.’ That made me cry. I was in surgery. And I needed CPR. I needed a heartbeat again.

‘We as ragamuffins’ – are simply folks who feel like we don’t necessarily fit in…and find solace in the truth that was pointed out this weekend: Jesus didn’t fit in. And so we let go of our desires and concerns to ‘be like everyone else even if we don’t feel like everyone else’ and learn how to just rest in who He has created us to be…with our quirks, our faults, our hurts, our scars….and somehow manage to fight through to Jesus and let Him hold us, knowing we fit in with Him…because JESUS CHRIST IS CRAZY ABOUT US!

And there’s an incredible peace in simply saying ‘that’s OK.’ We’re learning how to live life without being scarred by the scars. As my friend once said, ‘to limp with style.’ We get rid of the masks, forgive those who hurt us and put their expectations on us, and we live a life of reckless faith…in serving and loving our families right where we are…in letting Him use our scars in others’ lives…and by living in community…the church. We do the things that go against the grain of modern society. We let ourselves be captured by ‘the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God.’

In all our ragamuffiness….Be God’s!

There is a freedom in acceptance, and we experienced that freedom this weekend. We came from a number of states and we had something in common: we were broken and seeking God. And He found us.

Read that again and you’ll see the secret…the Ragamuffin secret. We were broken and seeking God. AND HE FOUND US! Do you know what that means? He was looking for us! He was pursuing us…even when we were running, protecting, guarding ourselves against the very thing we so desperately desired: love. His love. GOD WAS LOOKING FOR US! Let that one sink in a while.

We were ‘captured by the power of a great affection.’ We threw up our hands and surrendered. We let go. Maybe just a little. Maybe a lot. It doesn’t matter…because God used it all. No matter how much we struggled, God loved. It’s not a ‘magic pill’ for anyone. No one left there ‘totally whole’ from whatever was beating them up. What we did, however, was learn how to not be scarred by the scars…and open ourselves up a little more to the ‘power of a great affection.’

And now the real journey begins…rewriting how we operate, what we believe…we get to watch Him start writing a new chapter in the story of our lives. Our stories are His stories….and it’s not about the events that make up those stories…its’ about Him IN those events.

There is much I want to share. There is much to the story He is rewriting. But for now…just know…we are part of a movement….we are content to be misfits, knowing in the end that we truly believe JESUS CHRIST IS CRAZY ABOUT EACH OF US.

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