Ready Or Not, Here It Comes

I’m not ready!

I knew this day would come, but that was almost 13 years ago and just like that, “SNAP!” the time has come and I’m not feeling ready.

I guess I hoped that time would slow down and I’d be able to prepare myself for what lies ahead.  That’s the problem; I didn’t exactly prepare, so obviously, I’m not ready, yet how do you prepare for something like this?  When are you really ready?

It sneaks up on you and before you know it, your little girl becomes a…a…I can’t even say it!  GULP…This gigantic lump in my throat keeps getting in the way of me even being able to say the word.  If I say the word, then its like everything up until this point will disappear,vanish, change and I don’t want it to.

But, it doesn’t matter what I want.  No amount of hoping, wishing and praying will stop this train in motion.  That’s what it feels like; a fast moving train that’s picking up speed and zipping down the tracks, blurring the view and making me feel dizzy.  I’m heading towards a long, winding, tunnel of…”The Great Unknown.” Okay…I might be slightly over dramatic here…lol.

Honestly though, this parenting thing has got me in a heap again.  Another transition, another phase and another season of celebration and challenge.

On April 10, 2016, my girl is going to become (insert a deep breath here) a…teenager. There, I said it.  It shouldn’t be a big deal because I already have one teenager, phew, I said it again.  Somehow this is a big deal because its my daughter.  Don’t get me wrong.  I had some struggle when my son turned 13, mostly because it meant I was getting old 😉 but this is time its different.  I know what its like to be a teen girl, not a teen guy, so I guess I feel more angst.  Perhaps its because my son wasn’t as keen on becoming a teenager as my
daughter is.  She can’t wait to be legit, 13, an official teenager…I, on the other hand, can wait.

Here comes the “It feels just like yesterday” comments.  Seriously, it’s true…it does feel just like yestejen_moved_these_over_115[1]rday when all she talked about were ponies, puppies and princesses.  Now, all she talks about are pimples, periods and prom dresses.

It seems like yesterday that I was teaching her how to tie her shoes, write her name and comb her hair.  Now, I’m teaching her how to do her laundry, text responsibly and shave her legs.

It feels just like yesterday that she sang silly songs, skipped through park and snuggled with me until we both fell asleep.  Now, she sings radio songs with her headphones on, strolls through the mall and…wait a minute, come to think about it, she still snuggles with me, but now I’m the one who falls asleep.

Maybe all won’t be lost.  Maybe this change won’t be so bad after all.  Maybe I should be thankful that she is talking to me about what matters to her.  Maybe she can teach me to do things I haven’t done before.  Maybe she and I can still have fun and spend time together.

I can gain encouragement from Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She knew that her baby boy would change the world, but she didn’t know exactly what was in store for him.  When Jesus was born, Mary experienced many wonders and felt great joy, yet at the same time, I suspect she knew those moments wouldn’t last. Perhaps that’s why the Bible says, “Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and often thought about them” (Luke 2:19).

Even though I have to let my little girl grow up, I don’t have to let her go. Maybe I will just quietly treasure all these things, and let her be my little girIMG_8793l in my heart, while embracing the beautiful young woman that God is shaping her to become. Maybe I am more ready for this than I think.

 

 

Third Voice

Awaken-The-Third-Voice

I never thought it would come to this!

Honestly the thought never crossed my mind.  I was so busy making sure they were fed, clothed, clean, safe, educated, and socialized that it never occurred to me that one day my voice would begin to fade into the background.

After all, as their mother, I am the commanding voice, the head honcho, the captain of this ship called the Vis family….along with their father, of course 😉

On a day to day basis, my level of involvement and influence in their lives is off the charts, and as a stay at home mom, I am the person that speaks the most into their little ears and hearts.  Here’s the beauty of how this has played out in our home up until now….they listen!

Kids are sponges and they absorb everything you say. (For good or bad)

I  love it when they take my word at face value and just believe me.  When I hear one of my children persuading their siblings with these words, my heart just melts, “…because Mommy said…” They simply trust me and my words.  They soak them in. I don’t have to fight anything else to have my voice be the one they hear the loudest.

I always knew that as a parent I would be their number one influence.  What I forgot was that I wouldn’t be the ONLY influence.  Sure, I knew that friends would have their share of input, just like media, school and other things, but I convinced myself that I would stand out among them and that my kids would in the end, always weigh my words as the best.

My husband and I have been in youth ministry for over 15 years and we know the power of influence that another voice can have in a kids’ life.  We desired to impact youth for Christ and we wanted a place at the table in our student’s lives.  We are grateful for those parents who have let us speak into their kids lives especially concerning the things of God.

Now I am finding myself in the reverse role as one of those parents. A parent of preteens.  I know, I actually said it out loud….scary!

I need someone to be a “third voice” for my kids.

We have seen the positive impact of what we like to call, “a third voice” in kids’ lives and we as parents have been intentional to set our kids up for success in this area.

A third voice person is someone who you want to speak into your child’s life, sometimes saying things even without words.  This person has your child’s best interest at heart.  Like you, they want to see your son or daughter grow to be all that they can be, in every aspect of life.

A third voice person is someone that you as parents partner with and intentionally involve them in your child’s world.  We have specifically asked people to come alongside us to help influence our children.  We have given them permission to invest in our kids with their unique perspectives and personalities.

The goal of a third voice is to have kids hear the same message their parents say but through a different voice.

We’ve chosen friends who we know hold the same moral and more importantly spiritual beliefs as we do and have allowed them to have a place of influence in our kid’s lives.

As parents, we have to begin with the ending in mind and envision who we want our children to be.  Starting at the end is a great way to be parenting purposefully.  Keep the goal in the forefront of your mind as you raise your children and find ways to leverage the positive influences around you so that they can become evident in your child’s life.

A third voice doesn’t necessarily have to stay with your child all through their lives.  Just like scripture says, there is a time and a purpose for everything under heaven.  It may be that a third voice stays for a season and then moves on.  Our purpose as parents is to always be looking for positive third voices and putting our children in their way.  This can be accomplished in very obvious ways and/or subtle ways.

We have, at times, asked specific people to partner with us, and at other times we have simply put our kids in situations where we know they will rub shoulders with great third voices.

Currently, I am facing a new season of finding third voices for my older kids.  My voice is becoming less appealing to my son and daughter, BUT I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and you can too.

Think about the people around you who can speak the same message to your kids that you do, but say it with a different voice.  Is it a youth group leader? A day care worker?  A neighbor?  A camp counselor?   A coach?   A teacher?  A babysitter?  An aunt, uncle, or older cousin?  Now, those are cool, relevant and interesting voices to kids.

I’m sitting back and watching my kids cozy up to camp counselors this summer, and I’m not worried at all.

We’ve positioned our kids, and at this point I don’t even think they’ve clued in 😉 to continue being molded and shaped into the people we want them to be.

Of course, I’m not saying this approach will guarantee that your kids will turn out perfect.  But I will guarantee that if you DON’T give your kids the opportunities to have positive third voices in their lives, they will listen to someone, or something else and it may not be the ones you want them to listen to.

I know this parenting thing is turning out to be more than I signed up for, but I wouldn’t change it for the world and I’m so glad that there are other inspiring people to help me and my kids along the way!

Be on the lookout and prayerfully consider who you can partner with to be a positive “third voice” for your kids, for the better!

Vacation Recipe To Feed Your Soul

recipe-cardAhhhh….summer vacation. The time of year when I get to hang up my ‘work hat’ and put on my ‘play hat.’

I can feel the stress of life begin to lift the further away I drive from the city. As I make my way toward my oasis, a care free attitude sets in, and a different mindset takes over. It is freeing to let go of the regular demands of life, to exhale the exhaust of the schedules and deadlines, and to inhale invaluable time of rest and rejuvenation.

My recipe for the best summer vacation is quite simple….An equal ratio. 2 parts ‘fun and frolic’ with 2 parts ‘reflect and renew’’.  Mix together and enjoy!

They say that “laughter is the best medicine,” and I tend to agree with that. There is nothing more satisfying than a deep, long belly laugh that leaves your sides hurting and your cheeks aching. I like to make sure I include a lot of laughter on my vacations. Give yourself the opportunity to live on the lighter side of life. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Do a running cannon ball jump off the end of the dock…you’re kids will die laughing, trust me 😉 Have an impromptu karaoke contest with your friends, worst singer wins! Tell jokes around the campfire, yes, even the corny ones. Throw your head back and let the laughter burst out. Let it ring through the forest and trees, let it lift your heart and feed your soul.

I like the word ‘frolic.’ It has an airy, breezy sound to it. That’s how we need to spend our vacation times, with a lot of space, free flow, and breeze. We have to put away the crisp, rigid, and narrow way of doing things and stretch ourselves, be flexible and allow for frolic and fun.The definition of frolic is ‘to gambol merrily; to play in a frisky, light spirited-manner; to romp.”  We can take some pointers from the kids around us. Follow their lead. They know how to do frolic well. Get in the game, dig a sandcastle, go for adventure, and why not skip along the way? Let go of fretting and focus on frolic. Play hard and rest easy!

I believe God has a sense of humor and without sounding irreverent, dare I say, a playful side? We often don’t appreciate the gift he’s given us through laughter and play. I have a picture in our summer house that says, “Live well, laugh often, love much.” Give it a try!

To complete my recipe for the best summer we can’t forget to add some of the most important ingredients. Reflect and renew. There is a time for everything, scripture says and after you’ve put in a good day of fun and frolic, it’s time to slow it down and add these essentials.

We live in a fast food, gotta have it now, society, not to mention the overwhelming pressure to always push ahead and build our future. It is good to have goals, and to invest time, energy and resources into the future. We are told to be good stewards of what we have. But, every now and then I get a sense that we can’t wait to get out of today, let alone look back at yesterday. Yet, reflection is crucial to the Christian journey and there’s no better time to it develop this practice than on vacation.

One of the easiest ways to look back from year to year is to keep a journal. I know, some of you would never claim yourself to be a ‘writer’ but here’s the good news, you don’t have to be a writer to journal, you just need to know how to put letters together to make words. Here’s the secret, no one ever needs to look at your entries, just you, and there’s no editor!

This habit creates the perfect setting for you to be able to reflect. If you journal, you are able to capture your feelings, events, dreams, fears, to mention a few. We like to think we will remember lessons learned, special moments or feelings, but the fact is we forget. Journaling helps us to encapsulate them, so that when the time is right, we can open it again and feel the exact sentiment that was there the moment we experienced them.

I can’t tell you how much this practice has helped my spiritual journey. The times I have spent journaling and reflecting on what I previously wrote (TRUE FACT: it doesn’t take THAT much time to write, and it doesn’t have to be pages and pages, or everyday either) have allowed me to see God at work, around me and in me. This has increased my faith, and has brought me closer to God.

As I just alluded to, I don’t just journal, but I reflect on what I wrote. Vacation time is great for making new entries, but it’s also a fantastic time to read some of the old entries. This is where the “magic” happens. From your current vantage point you now have hindsight and perspective from the time you wrote those words. That’s powerful. You can begin to remember, ponder, meditate on what you have learned about God, yourself and others. You can see how you’ve changed and where you still need to. You can recount the blessings in amongst the thorns even, and deepen your gratitude attitude. You can relive the special moments that you’ve experienced with loved ones.

Word to the wise, reflection does take effort and some time, but that’s why it’s a perfect opportunity for you to do this on vacation. Slow down, sit down, write down, and you will see yourself from a different point of view. Begin to see your life through the rear view mirror and experience the beauty of reflection.

To complete the recipe, we need the often overlooked ingredient of renewal.

Once you have had sufficient time to reflect, you can begin to ask God to renew you. Essentially the process of reflection allows you to lay open your heart and mind and the process of renewing allows you to realign yourself with God’s plan. With the help of the Holy Spirit you will be able to see parts of your life, behavior, attitudes that need to be recentered, refocused or renewed. Sometimes, we lose our way with one huge mistake, but often it happens bit by bit.

Take this interesting fact about flying, for instance. “For every single degree you fly off course, you will miss your target landing spot by 92 feet for every mile you fly. That amounts to about one mile off target for every sixty miles flown. If you decided to start at the equator and fly around the earth, one degree off would land you almost 500 miles off target.”

Just like this story shows, it doesn’t have to be major decisions that get us off course. They can be subtle, slight changes, small compromises, all of which push us adrift. The beauty of reflection allows us to get on track again, to renew our hearts and minds according to God’s purposes. Romans 12:2, tells us transformation will happen when we renew our minds.

Ephesians gives us a process for change in chapter 4 teaching us to:1) put off your old self. 2) be made new in the attitudes of your minds. 3) put on the new self.

Even our beloved King David knew this practice of renewal. After he reflected on the personal sin that had enslaved leaving him tangled in a web of lies, murder, and denial, he journals his heart’s plea. It reads,”…renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Sometimes we need God to create something new in our hearts, giving us a fresh vision or direction. Other times we need him to renew something that has overtime faded into the background. Still, there are times when we need him to restore something that has been broken, perhaps a dream or a relationship. Nonetheless, all of these things will not happen on their own. There’s no magic pill. Sorry no fast food menu for this gourmet dish.

As I was recently reflecting and reading my previous journal entries, I came across this. “Reflection takes time. We can’t ever begin to have a fast food, hurried approach to reflection. Think about how calm the water has to be before you can see yourself in it. The waves are not crashing this way and that. A real ‘pause’ needs to be put on one’s life before they can reflect, a clearing of the desk, so to speak. The canvas has to be clean to allow your heart and mind to pause. Get rid of the clutter. Still the voices and listen to the silence for a while. They will draw you to a place of reflection where you can hear the inner dialogue between yourself and the Spirit of the living God.”

How will you make the most of your vacation this year? I hope that beside the scrapbook of pictures and memories that you capture with your family and friends will be a journal, full of God moments. Don’t leave God behind when you take your vacation this summer. Bring him into the fun and frolic and allow him to help you reflect and renew your life.

2014-06-03 20.43.07

Morning Kisses

Don’t you just LOVE the morning?

It holds so much potential.  I never know what will really happen once my feet touch the ground and the clock ticks away the next 24 hours.  When I allow myself to absorb the quietness of the morning, before everyone gets rushing around, it feels surreal.  It is like a pause.  I don’t always take the time to feel the pause, but when I do, it’s like stepping into a different realm.  It’s where the possibilities of the dawning day meet the reflections of yesterday.  It is a space that I love to meet God in.

I met God this morning through the kisses of my boys.  While I was still asleep each of them came to my bedside at different times to gently kiss my sleeping cheek.  Their intention was not to wake me, but to simply offer a gesture of their love for me.  It rarely happens that they are awake before me, and even more rarely that they kiss me, well, it’s rare for my twelve and a half year old to kiss me!  What usually happens is I wake them and they hurry on with their morning routine, trying to make it to the bus stop on time.  But not today. It wasn’t until the girls went to school that I began to remember this early morning’s gift.  As I thought about it, it made me smile.  I felt ever so loved and appreciated from 3 unexpected kisses.  (my husband and my two boys)  What a beautiful way to welcome the morning!

God is like that too.  He is there to welcome each new day to you. Scripture says that, “…He who watches over you does not slumber.”  It also tell us that God knows when you sit and when you rise. He waits for me and invites me every morning to accept his mercies and receive his love.  Lamentations says, that the LORD’S great love and compassions never fail.  “They are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness.”

Every morning he offers us this special gift. Some mornings, I know that I have felt his unseen hand tenderly touching my heart.  A kiss, if you will, on my cheek, letting me know that He loves me and that He is with me.

Psalm 145:8 has become a daily prayer for me, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…”  I often whisper this sentence in that space of time between waking and actually starting my day.  I want to know first thing that God loves me, and that his love never fails.  I don’t know what is waiting for me beyond those first few moments of my day, but I want more than anything to be encouraged that God’s love will sustain me through it all.

I love that Isaiah felt somewhat the same when he said, “ He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” In those quiet moments I know God is tenderly waking me with a fresh understanding of his love and empowerment for the day.  To me, it looks like a soft, sweet kiss on my cheek.

O God, help us to say with the Psalmist, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”108220275

Corrine’s Race… My Race

Life is so short. That’s why we need to make every moment count.

My daughter talks about how grown up she is. She is a whopping 11 years old!

My friend passed away this week and she was a whopping 91 years old!

I guess to an 11 year old that’s really old and it seems like eternity. But, to this 38 year old, who is almost middle aged, it is only a breath.

Life is only a blink in view of eternity. What we do here truly does matter for the rest of eternity.

When you’re young, life seems invincible and infinite, just like my sweet daughter, so nieve.

As I turn my thoughts over to my friend, I realize her life is gone now. She is only a memory. Here today, gone tomorrow. We are all but a vapor. Life is fragile and can not be wasted.

My daughter believes she has her whole life ahead of her and I pray she does, but I don’t think she gives much thought to how in the blink of an eye she will be graduating high school, leaving home, finding a career, getting married and hopefully, for me, having children.

Before you know it, she’ll be me, 38, and before you know it I’ll be 91.

Life goes so fast and in a snap it’s over.

I keep saying I want my life to matter and I do believe I have realized the dreams I had for myself back when I was 11 years old. I didn’t dream passed the age I am now, when I was 11. It’s probably because I thought that 38 was SO old, SO far away and SO much was going to happen to me by then. It was and it did and yet, by the grace of God it’s not over.

A big part of me believes it may just be getting started.

I met my friend when she was 73 years old. To the on looker, her life would seem to be winding down. After all, she was well into the retirement age.

Her child was an adult, she was welcoming great grandchildren into her family and she had been widowed for 24 years.

In my estimation she deserved to coast through the rest of her life, put her feet up and watch life go by.

By the world’s standards she was done.

By God’s standards, she wasn’t off the hook. Sometimes, I think she too was just getting started.

Her faith and love for Jesus equipped her to live life on her knees in prayer and with her face in the Word of God.

She didn’t physically go to work everyday, but spiritually speaking she did.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she earnestly prayed for her family, friends and church daily.

She knew that God had purposed for her to fulfill in her church, in the lives of her family and others.

From spending time with her kids at the family trailer, to opening her home every week for a “power hour of prayer,” to attending Bible studies, to serving in the kitchen and serving on the Board.

Her zeal for God was contagious. I loved being around her, praying for her, being encouraged by her, and joking with her.

She gave it all she had until the end! And we all knew it.

“Well done, my good and faithful servant,” was spoken over her Sunday night at 9:00pm by her blessed Savior and friend, Jesus Christ. O what a joy to know that her life mattered and continued to be used by and for God until the very end.

Was she an example to me? You bet!

“Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of.” 2 Timothy 3:14

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Life is hard and it is short, that’s why we need Jesus. He is our prize and we get the privilege of running this race called life with him and for him.

I want to be all in to the end, just like my friend.

I want my children to say of me, “she was all in to the end.”

We only get one chance at this life, let’s live it sold out for God, remembering to be faithful in the big and small things, and through the good and bad times.

Thank you Corrine for showing me how to live everyday with eternity in your heart. Thank you for being a part of my “cloud.” May I run my race, just like you.

Corrine

Corrine Cates (1922 ~ 2014)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1,2

 

“And the word of the year is…..”

Jen“Courage” is my word for 2014. I picked it at the beginning of the year and I believe God has a lot to teach me about it.

Courage is a BIG word for me. Actually, it’s not JUST a word, I believe it is an attitude, a discipline, a way of life and what really scares me is that is risky.

I have to admit that I voluntarily selected this word, knowing full well that it is going to stretch me, my faith and the things I do.

I chose the word “courage” to be my aspiration for this year because I believe I need more of it.

I don’t think I’m a very courageous person. In fact, aside from a few things I’ve done in life, I’m pretty much a wimp.

I don’t like risks, I don’t like difficult challenges and I don’t like feeling like a failure. What I tend to like is comfort, and routine, all of which do not require much courage.

You will never see me jumping from an airplane, or dangling by my ankle from a rope hanging off the side of a bridge…no way, not this girl!

That certainly does take courage, but that’s not the kind of courage I’m hoping to gain.

I’m looking to develop courage to do other things, all of which keep both of my feet firmly on the ground!Courage

Things like furthering my education by going to college, or using my spiritual gifts in new and creative ways. I want the courage to do more things on my own, independently of my family and without feeling like a need a buddy beside me.

My favourite movie of all time is “The Wizard of Oz.”

Remember that scaredy cat, the lion? What does he ask the Wizard for?

Courage!

Why?

Because he is always afraid. Afraid to be who he really was. He knows he is a lion, who is not living like one. He needs courage so that he can be strong and do the things that lions are supposed to do. He longs for that kind of freedom, but he’s too scared to try.

I’m a lot like the lion in “The Wizard of Oz.” I too, long to live a life of freedom. To live apart from the fears that keep me from being all God created me to be. I want courage to believe the truth about who God says I am and the courage to step out in faith to live out those truths.

So, I’ve decided to redefine my idea of courage. I always thought that courage meant the absence of fear. I would assume people accomplished things because they were fearless or unafraid not in spite of them.

I recently realized that God told people in the Bible like Joshua, to have courage over and over again. Why did he need to tell them to have courage? It seems obvious, but it is often overlooked. It is because they were afraid. Joshua needed a lot of encouragement, in order to do what God wanted him to do. I believe God essentially says to Joshua and people like me, “You can do this, even if you’re afraid. Do it scared.” In other words, it’s ok to BE afraid, but it’s not ok to STAY afraid. If you stay afraid, then you are disobedient to God, and stuck in a cycle of fear and defeat.

Joshua would never have led the Israelites to the Promise Land if he chose to stay afraid. He took courage and believed God was with him all the way and that with God, he could do amazing things. I wonder if his word for that season of his life was COURAGE?

It’s also encouraging for me to see courage being lived out in the lives of the people around me. Take the other morning, for example.

I was reading scripture with some students from PILAS (the ministry I’m visiting while I stay in Guatemala)Reading

All of them are learning English and some of them had the courage to read the verses out loud in English in front of me, a “Gringa,” whose first language is English. Yikes.

I admire that!

These students are living out lives of courage by the very fact they are in this education program.

It takes courage to dream of a better future for your life.

It takes courage to be the only one in your village to go to college.

It takes courage to get up every day and face the challenges of learning a different language.

It takes courage to believe in Jesus when no one else in your family does.

That’s courage!

That’s what I am striving to attain in each aspect of my life. I’m building my faith muscles by exercising courage. When I am faced with a challenge I am going to say, “with God, all things are possible.” I will take that next step of faith and be amazed at what God can do through me when I have courage.

Time to visit the shop!

heartI don’t know about you, but my best time of day is the morning.  I like nothing better than to wake up to a sleeping house, where I breath in the rich aroma of coffee, as I settle in to my “quiet spot” with my journal, pen and worn out Bible in hand.  Those are the precious moments when God really speaks to my heart.  This morning was no exception.  I am struck by a simple, yet profound thought.  It is not a new thought or truth, and that’s what I like about it.

3 words from Psalm 51 stand out in my mind.  Create.  Renew.  Restore.

The ultimate creator God, did not stop creating things on the 6th day.  He still creates and He can create something new in my heart and life.  Things that have never touched me in a deep way before, or a lesson that I’ve not yet learned.  I believe I need times like that to keep me close to Him.  This helps me to rely on Him.  He does show me new and wonderful things about Himself, others and myself.  For that, I am thankful.  Always growing.

Other times, God can renew or refresh truths or lessons that I’ve already learned.  Maybe those truths have been forgotten and have become covered with dust like an old classic novel tucked away on the bookshelf.  Those truths, I believe, and if asked, would never deny their importance in my life, but as it stands at that certain moment, do not carry the delight, intrigue or influence it once had in my life.  God’s Holy Spirit can take those precious gems, blow the dust and cob webs off, so that they bring life to my heart as they once did. Those morsels of hope and truth are essential to my sustaining my faith.

What really speaks to me are the moments when God restores.  I’ve come to realize that that’s the type of business He’s in.  The Restoration Business.  Taking what was broken, hopeless, forgotten, unwanted and bringing it to complete wholeness.

I’ve seen TV shows before where people surprise a guest with taking their beloved, beat up, unfinished classic car, and totally restoring it to it’s original design.  Sometimes it looks BETTER than the original, because they go the extra mile to perfect it.

That’s what God does for me.  He takes my broken heart and, if I allow Him, He gently washes the wounds, and hurts of my heart and re-crafts those pieces.  He makes my heart whole again – restored.  If I am willing to let Him come into the places of my heart and mind that have messed up thinking and bitterness, or sin, He will touch them and by the truth of His Word, I will find myself complete.  Much like the original design He has in mind for me.

What I love about my Savior, is that He is not oblivious to the fact that my life can get off track pretty easily and fall apart.  When I look back, I shake my head in disbelief because I realize I’ve let parts my life become that way and they  look nothing like the “original design.”  But that’s when I come back to the owner of the Eternal Restoration Shop and I lay my pieces at his feet and say, “Help me.  I can’t do this on my own.  I’ve tried, but the pieces don’t fit together.  I don’t have the blue prints.  I can’t figure it out.  I need YOU to restore me.”

I’ve been there.  In fact, I took my whole self in for a complete restoration last year and found what the sign on the outside of the shop says is true.  “He is faithful.  He will do it.”  I’m not naive to think that I won’t have to visit his shop again, for some tune ups.  That’s far from the truth, because here I find myself again.

God’s Spirit was helping me see that some of my thinking needed to be restored.  My mind needed some renewing in the department of God’s goodness.

Due to some challenges in my life, I began to change my definition and trust in God’s goodness.  I wondered what good could come out of some situations I was facing.  Then I started to see things around me as not good, dissatisfying, annoying.  My moods were changing and I was become discontent and resentful.

But God, (don’t you just love those 2 words?) in His mercy asked me if I thought HE was good.  Not my situation or the people around me, but was He, in His very nature, down to the core, was HE good?  I knew that this profound question needed his restoring touch.  The absolute truth that HE IS GOOD.  Oh, if you asked me, I would say I believed that, but the fact of the matter was that it didn’t look like the original design in my mind and heart.  I let the cares of this world, and my sin alter this and I had missed the mark.

Thanks be to God for His grace to guide me into all truth through His Word. He has restored this in me!  God IS good.  His ways ARE good.  He is not a taker, but a giver!  Even when I don’t like a situation, or can’t see why things around me happen as they do, it pales in comparison to the overwhelming truth that I can trust God 100% in anything, because HE IS GOOD!

I have been restored!