Marian Jordan Ellis | Redemption Story

Long before Gwyneth Paltrow became famous for her role in The Avengers and her lifestyle blog, GOOP, she starred in a movie in the late 90s called Sliding Doors. I was obsessed with this film for many reasons. First of all, Gwyneth sported this amazing pixy cut hairstyle, and I was convinced that I needed it too. Praise the Lord above that some sensible hair stylist told me that I had waaaaaaay too much volume to carry off such a style. Hence, I held fast to my “Rachel cut” from Friends for another decade or so. (But that is a topic for another day.)

What fascinated me about the movie Sliding Doors was the plot. In the film, we watched how the life of Paltrow’s character was forever altered by the mere sliding of a subway door which caused her to miss a train. The film revealed how her life would have proceeded had she successfully made that train and how it proceeded when she missed it. The two storylines of “what if” played out side by side on the silver screen.

It is a fascinating concept, right? The thought that one decision could alter the destiny of one’s life forever.  Ironically, it was around that time that my own life headed down a radically different path. What was the decision that caused such a trajectory shift? It was the decision to follow Jesus.

I was in my mid-twenties when Jesus Christ redeemed me from a life of emptiness, brokenness, sin, shame, and selfishness.  Before Jesus, I searched for love, life, wholeness, and meaning in all the things the world offered to bring happiness. Instead of finding life, I was in a downward spiral of destruction. Thankfully, God’s grace intersected my hot mess, setting me free and setting me on a path to freedom.

Initially, I understood I was forgiven and was beginning to see evidence of the abundant life promised in God’s Word, but it would take me years to fully realize how radically different my life would become because of Jesus.  What I’ve come to understand after nearly two decades of this redeemed life is this:


Jesus said: I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness. John 10:10

Honestly, I shudder to think where I would have ended up had Jesus not redeemed me. “What if” I had resisted the Gospel message and continued in my self-destructive ways? Satan didn’t want me healed from my emotional wounds. Satan didn’t want me to know the fullness of real life in God. Satan didn’t want me to marry the amazing man God had planned for me. Satan sure didn’t want me preaching the Word. Satan didn’t want me to become a mother and raise godly children. Sure, Satan had a plan to destroy me but he has no power that  can stand against the God who redeems!

The word redeem is a Biblical term that means to buy something back and to restore it to its original intent. You see, God has a good and loving plan for each of us, but because of sin and the schemes of the enemy, we are broken and need to be rescued. That is where Jesus steps in.

Jesus takes our mess and when we place our lives in His hands, He transforms us into a masterpiece for HIs glory.  This incredible transforming work is Jesus’ specialty. It begins the moment we believe in Him as our Savior and entrust our lives to Him. As one of my favorite scriptures states:

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

Over the past few months, the Lord has renewed in my heart incredible sense of gratitude for His redemption. You would think this renewal is strange coming from a woman who is the founder and leader of a ministry called This Redeemed Life. Perhaps it is my age, and I can now look back at over two decades in absolute awe and wonder at what Jesus had done in my life.  I am struck by the enormous “what if” my life had gone according to the script Satan intended for me rather than the one Jesus has given me.

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

Jesus redeemed every aspect of me. He healed my childhood wounds, transformed my mind, and restored my relationships. By following Jesus and applying His truths I’ve experienced freedom from Satan’s lies of rejection, freedom from chronic insecurity, freedom from addictions, freedom from self-hatred, and freedom from fear. I stand today not perfect but perfectly loved. I stand whole today in Christ and ready to tell the world that Jesus is truly the way, the truth, and the life. He is my Redeemer, and I know He can take any life, broken, messy, or torn apart by sin, and make it something beautiful.

Friend, Jesus can redeem your life too!

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