Cross of Promise.

My mother's mother is a woman of elegance. I have many fond memories as a child draping her jewelry over my tiny head and misting my soft neck with her perfume. When I was 2 or 3 years old I snuck into her room to try on her perfume; a few seconds later I was screaming from misfiring in my eyes.

My love for gold jewelry came from my grandma. I cherished a gold cross that I had worn since I was 12. I lost it in my earlier twenties. I felt like I lost more than the necklace; I lost memories and meaning that day.

 Grandma Joy's cross necklace.

Grandma Joy's cross necklace.

My grandma heard that I lost my precious necklace and reached both arms behind her head as to unclasp her necklace.  And unclasp her necklace she did, her gold chain cross with a tiny diamond in the center that I had admired for years.

To my shock, she gave that necklace to me.

I fastened it around my neck and wore it religiously for the next few years for its meaning and its love and its sacrifice. A symbol of all I hold dear, of those that hold me dear and of God’s unceasing faithfulness. I knew she treasured that piece and it was a true sacrifice for her.

Fast-forward a few years. I was in a dark season of life, losing faith and hope, suffering from lost relationship and values as well as questioning the unrelenting faithfulness of the Lord. It was during this time that I cried I as rummaged through my belongings, searching for my heirloom cross necklace from my grandma.

I remembered putting it in my favorite handbag. I should never have left my bag in my hotel room. Housekeeping must have stolen it. 

I couldn't lose the cross.

I had already lost enough in what I would call the stolen years of my life. Now the cross was stolen. It seemed hauntingly symbolic at the time that I would lose a cross when I had lost my way and lost my faith. I was tired of my life being stolen from me and this seemed to embody all that I lost.

Slowly, redemption started making its way towards me as the light began to gleam in my eyes against all the odds. The road of redemption was narrow, and the battle over hopelessness was real.

In a raging prayer, when I felt on the brink of disappointment, I yelled at the Lord,

 "I know I have made mistakes and lost hope and feel hopeless right now, but I am tired of having things stolen from me. I want it all back. I want restoration in my life. Not only that, I want a 10-fold return on what has been lost. I want the lost years restored—lost faith, lost resources, lost time, lost relationship, lost hope. I want ten times the joy. Ten times the peace. Ten times the love. I want it all the years that the locust have eaten returned.” I screamed this all toward the sky.

I took a deep breath and decided to top it all off while I was on a roll, “AND also I want I my grandma's cross necklace back." Then I sobbed.

All that I asked seemed impossible and the necklace put the nail in the coffin of impossibilities. But while I was being outrageous I asked for it all, including the necklace.

I can't confirm or deny the theology of my interaction with God but I can tell you it was real. That was how I felt and I had been reflecting on two verses at the time that spurred on this fit with God.

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.”

-Joel 2:25

 "But if the thief is found out, he must restore seven times what he stole."

-Proverbs 6:32

I realize that this scripture says that “seven times what was stolen a thief shall have to return” and I was asking for ten times, but in the moment it seemed appropriate.

For the next number of months, restoration unfolded. Restoration that I did not deserve. Restoration that was beyond my wildest imagination.

Joel 2 25

I didn’t think it was possible for any return, and ten times what I had lost seemed totally shameful for me to even ask considering all that mistakes I had made. But the Lord’s furious love hunts us down. 

Restoration and blessing started pouring into my life with a ROI that I could not comprehend and had a hard time receiving or even believing. In the midst of the eminent blessings and grace, the necklace was honestly forgotten as I walked in the light of day.

This past Saturday morning,

I woke up with fear that my story could not be redeemed and that the promises of the Lord could not be true.

Saturday evening I rummaged through my favorite handbag looking for something I had misplaced. I dumped all the contents out on my bed and combed my hand through every pocket. As my hand grazed the outside pocket of my handbag, I was shocked to find a small hole. Thinking the missing item could have slipped into the hole, I nuzzled my fingers through the opening inside the lining. I slowing pulled out a pen, a pair of headphones, some quarters. Curious, I continued the hunt. The ends of my fingers pulled at something that felt like chain. I dug deeper into the lining, trying to reach whatever it was.

My middle and index finger finally gripped it and I tugged it out of the lining into the light.  My grandma’s gold cross necklace.

The symbolism was screaming at me.

I had been carrying that precious cross of promise around with me the whole time. I never lost it or my faith; the Lord was keeping them both safe.

That Saturday morning I woke fearing that the promises of the Lord would fall short. That night, I held a restored promise in my hand, a reminder of faithfulness and hope. I wear that cross of promise over my heart now.