catch and release

All the boys in my family have somehow become big fans of fishing. My Mama and I would rather tan or read books or shop…but those boys, they love the silence and the stream and the calm of casting out into the water over and over again.

I have never been a big participant when the boys are fishing; one of our favorite stories was when I decided I wanted to try just one time, caught a fish on my first try, and then immediately the police boat came over asking to see my fishing license (which of course I didn’t have – why would a middle school girl have one of those?). He took pity on me, believing that I “never do this.”

I am thankful for fishing, mostly because it gives us so many metaphors and pictures for life. Ever seen or read A River Runs Through It?

“To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy.” (Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It)

We used to make the joke that Dad is a pro-life fisherman, meaning he would catch and release the fish, rather than bring them home for dinner (don’t get me wrong, we are NOT vegetarians).

That word release has been pestering me recently. Some people in my life have recently been experiencing release in the harshest forms. But it really can be such a beautiful word.

Release means to be let go, in its simplest form. To be set free – well, that is a whole other level of meaning, and of truth. Often God releases us from things that we don’t necessarily want to be let go from, but maybe we need to be set free. In my latest favorite book, Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, she says, “Over and over, I learn the hard way that the thing I’m clinging to can be the thing that sets me free.” It may be that God is saving you from something so much worse.

We often see release as a bad thing. But I am realizing that almost all words that start with “re” are beautiful, wonderful words that give us new life and fresh starts.

Rejuvenate, remake, reclaim, recover, rescue, revive.

Such a long list, all meaning essentially the same thing – to start again.
My favorite “re” word is, of course, redeem. To be made new again. This word embodies so many of the other “re” words – to reclaim, to renew, to be remade.

Jesus has redeemed us, He has called us by name, we are His! (Isaiah 43:1)
We have been remade; we are walking the journey of becoming who we were intended to be (or as I like to say, becoming who we already are – again).
He redeems us, renames us, revives us, resurrects us (just as He was!) – all so we can be more like Him, and more of who we are.

Our identity is formed by the “re’s” of our lives. When we are released, renewed, reclaimed, renamed, redeemed – we are made new.

To release a fish is to allow another chance, a new life. To choose to do something different, be something different. We are given that chance over and over again – to be who we were made to be, to live a new life of grace and love and JOY.

Rejoice in the redemption we have received from a resurrected Savior. (see what i did there?)

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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