God’s Redress

God’s Redress

Last week, I discussed the word “bemoan” – a normal response to pain. Especially stored-up pain. To fully understand the next several posts, you may need to go back and read it.

The second word, of the three that God gave me in the night, was “redress.” It means to set right, remedy, relieve distress, and bring correction or retribution. The words came initially as an enigma, because I was not in a thinking-them-up posture. I took notice though and searched them out, always valuing the possibility that God might speak to me.

Woman crying kleenexTwo days later, God pried open a pocket of deep sorrow, and I cried my eyes out. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Some ugly words and thoughts surfaced. A pile of snotty Kleenexes. Puffy eyes. Embarrassment. A deep ache in my chest.

It had to do with not feeling “place.” God wanted to redress that with me.

Let me explain.

Years ago, Gordon Dalbey, a wonderful teacher and author, prayed with me. He said a spirit of abdication had formed over my life since childhood. Abdicate means to renounce or relinquish a throne, right, power, claim, responsibility, or the like. “God wants you to take your rightful place,” he said.

In our youth, we all form a sense of self. Though I had stable and loving parents, by nature I was a shy and quiet girl. I learned what to say and do by taking cues from others. It was fertile ground for codependency.

While that is a natural response, maturity should bring a sense of self that is healthy, robust, and has boundaries. But I didn’t know the line where other people ended and I began. It seemed far easier to adapt myself to others. For years, I fostered a mirage of unity by playing the game of peace-at-any-price. I submerged myself to fill the gap of differences—an illusion of intimacy.

My fear was this—if I live fully alive, sparks will fly.

Self-discovery came slowly and later in my life.

Strong personalities surround themselves with people like me. I know the dance and got quite good at it. It worked, because I didn’t like the discomfort of being my true self.

Living “small” is an agreement to minimize our place in the world.

Does this resonate with you? Sometimes this strategy is forced upon those with a gentler nature and can be far more damaging. I merely chose it as a path of least resistance.

But this is a far cry from God’s design. He wants fully developed people—both men and women. He insists on iron-sharpening-iron relationships. He needs Beauties to unravel the Beasts, restoring the person who hides inside. He calls on the Prince to elevate the subjugated Cinderella, saying “Don’t you know who you are? You are royalty!”

ice dancersI asked God what that would look like—people living authentically, in unity with each other?

One night while watching the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, He showed me.  It was a pageantry of theatre, but what stood out were the beautiful movements of a man and a woman ice-dancing. In order for the dance to work, both had to be strong and accomplished athletes, moving in synchronicity. A glorious thing to behold. God’s answer to my question took my breath away.

Watch it. Charlotte Church and Josh Groban sing a duet called “The Prayer,” while the ice dancers perform. Here are some of the lyrics…

I pray you’ll be our eyes, and watch us where we go

And help us to be wise,
 in times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way

Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace

To a place where we’ll be safe

So God came to redress that issue in my life. It wasn’t the first time, but rather a long, slow intervention with a patient, loving God.

"I don't care what you think!"

“I don’t care what you think!”

The aberration is when shy, codependent people try breaking free by going to the other extreme of being selfish and mouthy. The feminist movement smacked with those tendencies. God slowly taught me to own myself. In my journals, I found a sample of His urgings…

“My Child…Step up into life. You have been submerged too long. Be fully alive. Be Susan. Yet at the same time, wait on Me to change the hearts of those around you. That is My domain. When you choose to be yourself, it interfaces with what I am doing in unseen ways. There is a time to say, “I’m not going to do that anymore.” Listen for My promptings and then draw a firm line. I will reveal yourself to you, and others will see you with new eyes. You are not invisible to Me.”

I wrote that down as part of a Listening Prayer exercise. You know a message carries the tenor and texture of God’s voice, when the substance of what is said surprises you. I wept hard.

Redress.  A single word, spoken in the night, potent with meaning. And there’s much more to this story.  Stay tuned…


  1. Susan 🙂
    Your words always comfort and inspire me. This post really hits home with me. I’ve been on a journey to discover “me” for quite some time. It’s been rough, joyous, and scary, much of the time. I think you and I are quite alike in some ways. Most of the journey I’ve felt quite stuck, as if there’s some invisible wall towering over head, keeping me from who God wants me to be. Where do I go from there? Can you offer some input on the next step in getting unstuck? Thank you so much for your words, insights and being you! Sarah 🙂

  2. queen bee

    we are so much more alike than i knew. you could describe me in every way you describe yourself in this post. “peace at any price” “if i live fully alive, sparks will fly”, oh the whole blog really. it is comforting when someone is brave enough to tell it like it is. it is a relief to any one else who needed to know someone GETS IT! and especially, for me, when that someone is my twin queen bee who i thought was perfectly perfect in every way. can’t wait to see where god landed you with redressing. cause i plan on following the same script. quick, write it!

    the other queen bee

  3. i forgot to watch the skating and listen to the song. took me right to his arms. my take away from it was that it was me and god dancing. and the power spilling over from that would touch all relationships forourevers. i’m crying. and it’s the good kind. i love you.

  4. Susan, these are powerful words! And by the way,you are the most authentic person I know!!!
    Keep sharing. You are such an encouragement!

    • Thanks for your comments and reflections here. Yes, I will continue this story over the next few weeks!

  5. These words came from a fellow traveler…

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your piece on Redress. It so resonated with me. I grew up with much the same feeling in an otherwise loving home. I can’t quite figure out how that was communicated but I always felt it necessary and safe to “fit” myself to others. I have also had the same aversion to the wounded woman now tough and angry overreaction I see in so many who are trying to heal from this issue.
    You expressed and furthered the path of real growth that God is trying to show me. I can’t buy into the loss of gentleness as that is giving up a true part of myself that I know is pleasing to the heart of God. It’s so much more than a boundary issue. It’s understanding and working with the Lord as He brings forth the woman He created who does not lose her gentle nature but knows who she uniquely is and His value of her.
    I like to think that I am a jewel He has created in his crown of many stones. Each one has its own setting and beauty and if a stone is lost or doesn’t shine in it’s unique place there is a hole that mars the beautiful design.
    Thank you from a fellow traveler.