This year Cornerstone is excited to start featuring more blog posts by the counselors on our team. We’re starting off 2020 with a post by Lauren McAllister.
Restoration. It can be a beautiful thing. A concept that comes up in scripture many times, but it often makes us think of restoring what has been lost. Going back to the way to things were. How many times do we think to ourselves or even say out loud, “If only I could go back to the way things were when…, then everything would be ok.” Or “I just wish things were how they used to be.” It can feel appealing and tempting to go back to better times when we are in the midst of not so great times. We can wish for restoration in the form of a time machine; we want things to return back to their previous state- a state that was familiar, comfortable, and very unlike the way things are now. However, if we look at the actual meaning of that word it can mean returning something to the way it was MEANT to be, or renovating it to an original purpose or intention; bringing our lives back to the way God intended them to be. It may have some of what was there before, but there’s so much more to discover. The New Year is often a time to reflect on the past and a chance to make goals or to set intentions for the months ahead. In my case… for the next decade.
Hardship and Tears
The last few years for me have been difficult and definitely not what I expected. Two years ago as 2017 was ending, I was hopeful as I looked forward to what 2018 would bring. The few months leading up to the New Year were some of the hardest months of my entire life and I found myself in tears on New Years Eve asking God to give me hope for the coming year. I sat for hours praying and reading scripture; it was then that I felt like the Lord gave me the word… “Restoration.” He led me to two passages of scripture, Zechariah 10:4-7 and Joel 2:21-26. I encourage you to read both passages, but I want to at least highlight some of what I felt the Lord was telling me. Zech 10:6 says – “I will strengthen Judah and save Israel; I will restore them because of my compassion. It will be as though I had never rejected them, for I am the Lord their God, who will hear their cries.” Then in Joel 2, verses 23 and 25 it says, “Rejoice in the Lord your God! for the rain he sends demonstrates His faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. I will restore what the locust have destroyed.” Reading these words brought me great peace going into 2018; I could feel that the Lord was promising to bring reconstruction and restoration to our lives. I had hope that God was at work through the hardships we were navigating.
Loss and Hope
Little did I know that the hardship we had been experiencing was nothing compared to what was about to happen. Just two weeks later on Jan 16, 2018, my husband unexpectedly passed away in a car accident and just three days after that our first son was born. I remember feeling very angry towards God and asking why he had given me this word. Why would He give me this hope if He knew that this was going to happen? As I processed through all of this, and the dust of my grief began to settle… I felt the Lord’s presence so near, and He helped me see that the word he had given me was not a mistake at all. My husband, Joshua, has been fully and completely restored in every way. He got to experience complete repair and was now free from all earthly struggle and pain. But restoration was still a word for me, too. The Lord would give back everything I had lost. He would return what had been stolen, and it would come back in ways that were better than I would have expected.
A God Who Restores
As we enter this new year, be encouraged. God is in the business of restoration, but it may not look like what you’d expect. It may come through the refining process of trial and struggle, and through the decision to surrender to a sovereign God. God is restoring me and my life, but not back to how it used to be. I am now living a life that is even better than it used to be. I have a depth to me that I didn’t have before. I’ve survived great hardship. I been through intense pain and I have a story to tell. God will use my story to help others heal and believe for restoration. I often wish to have my husband back, but I don’t wish to be the person that I used to be. I have renewed strength and confidence. I am less fearful and more willing to take risks because I have such a different perspective on life now. I have more to give and can experience true empathy for so many people. God is still in the business of restoration, I believe that for my life and for yours! What are some places in your life that are in need of rebuilding, renovation, and repair? I wish you all the peace and hope as you process through and seek this with Him. Happy New Year!