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There’s something about those lifestyle- reality- transformation shows that get to me. I’ve been known to get all misty eyed watching  What Not to Wear; and  as for Extreme Makeover Home Edition? Well just pass the Kleenex, because I am usually sobbing by the end of it.  Still, it’s not the made for TV moments rich in cheese – the soft lighting, the complimentary music – that cause the tears to flow.No, its the arc of the narrative that speaks of a transformed life that has me undone.

These ordinary men and women, ordinary families, are plucked out of obscurity and given a gift, a ridiculous abundant gift that they could never afford.  They couldn’t earn it even if they wanted to. A beautiful new house, college scholarships for every child in the family. A chance to say goodbye to tired old rags and embrace a new wardrobe, that somehow lifts the confidence and the heart. A new life, a new hope, a new wholeness.  You know they will never be the same. And you see the wonder on people’s faces as they recall that this new chance in life came not because of anything they did, but simply the love of a friend who made  a call.

I know why I return to these TV shows with their cheesy moments. I know why my eyes glisten until I can hold the tears no longer. They run away from me defying composure and dare to unlock well contained gentle sobs.  And I know why my heart skips a little, reaching , yearning, then rests as I remember.  Why for me amid the ironing on a Sunday or Tuesday night, time stands still .

These TV shows remind me of a much greater narrative. It reminds me of a Friend who made the call for us, who remembered us, who remembered me, and found me. And changed my life. It reminds me that we’ve been given so much more than a belief system to which we give intellectual assent. So much more than possessions or a wardrobe. His salvation transformed us. Still  transforms us.

And I love that this transformation you know?  The fact that He changes our very lives. That we are different – not by the songs we sing or place we visit on a Sunday. I mean the fact that with Him, hearts twisted by bitterness can be healed, and we can  forgive and release the person who broke our heart. Completely. That he can break the hold of habits that have imprisoned us. Completely. That the insecurities that define us daily can be replaced by a security that withstands the inevitable storms of life.

Unlike the TV shows real transformation is no  hour long quick fix. Battles are often hard won.  Transformation is birthed in Grace and Truth. Blood, Sweat, Tears. Resistance and Wrestling. Humility and Surrender. Spirit. Renewal. Accountability and Community.

But it is real, fresh and pure.

And it tastes like Healing.

Like Freedom.

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