Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Aug 1
2017

Stories of Grace | Reinvention

Baptism, Discipleship, Stories of Grace | by Laura West

“The Stories of Grace series is intended to capture snapshots of God’s grace and glory amidst our every day lives. They are real stories of real people who have seen the fingerprints of God amidst the ordinary—God’s favorite canvas. Each story is personal, unique and, often, unfinished. Through it all we get glimpses of God’s steadfast love, sufficient grace, and ongoing presence with his people.” 

Last Sunday I walked down to Myrtle Edwards Park, dipped my toes into the Sound, and reflected on dramatic marks of God’s grace in my life. 

I grew up in a small, southern town where churches outnumbered grocery stores; where faith was assumed, yet the implications of a life marked by faith were murky. At best, I understood God to be some cross between a genie and a judge. I wanted a protected life, so over and over I asked for faith but never felt the blanket of warmth I imagined must signify security with God. Eventually I rejected the God who I felt had rejected me. 

As an adult, I was successful by all the world’s standards. I had done well in school, had multiple jobs with serious career potential, spent my money wisely, surrounded myself with friends, and looked happy. But the truth was that my life was filled with sin and desperation as I pieced together my identity with whatever others would give me. I decided that I needed to escape, to reinvent myself and start over. 

Completely out of my cautious character, I booked a spontaneous vacation to Seattle. Looking back, this was the first sign of God actively and physically pulling me to Him.  That week, I fell in love with this city and the promise of a new life.  

I imagined that my life in Seattle would be anything I wanted to create it to be. I didn’t imagine that my old scars would be so hard to hide. That the same haunting feeling of discontent could return so quickly. 

But God.

God had other plans for my reinvention. Against all odds, He drew me to a church where again I was confronted with a bitter desire for faith. I wanted to believe, but there were too many unanswered questions. Again and again, He stripped away my meager attempts at self-reinvention and slowly but surely did His great work in me. Jesus so sweetly rescued me, patiently pulling me along while I looked everywhere but at Him.  

I was drawn to Seattle with the promise of a new life – I had no idea that the promise that drew me here was one of eternal life. That my reinvention would be more than a new job in a new city, but a new identity as a daughter of the King.

Sunday marks six years since I walked into the cold, salty water of the Sound, declared my new identity in Christ, and was baptized looking at this city that I love so dearly. Every time I gaze out over those waters, I remember my own unlikely story of redemption and the incredible stories of so many others who have returned, shivering and alive, to that pebbly shore. 

Like me, they had moments of self-reflection and found themselves lacking. Like me, they saw dissatisfaction rippling through their lives. We all need reinvention beyond a new job, a new city, new clothes, or new hobbies. We need more than another attempt at escape. We need God to intervene and rescue us from our failed fresh starts – we need new life in Him. We need Jesus to make us new.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

On August 24th, I’d encourage you to join us at Myrtle Edwards Park to celebrate the beauty of summer and, Lord-willing, in the glory of the gospel in baptisms. I’ll be there chowing on hot dogs, enjoying the company of friends, and smiling into the sparkling waters of the Sound.

To God be the glory!  

Laura West, DCC Member

If you are a member with DCC and have a story of grace to share please email info@downtowncornerstone.org