Ok y'all, it's February! I’m just a month into new ideas + resolutions + plans, and I feel as though I’ve blown it already! A new year started with hopes and dreams for what 2018 could be. It always seems about this time of year, when a WHOLE month (insert smiley face) goes by, that we begin to throw in the towel and just acquiesce to the realization that once again our humanness gets the best of us! We’ve made lists, bought new planners, hung our plans on the fridge, bought our Whole30 cookbooks, and then bam! Life happens and our penciled-in plans get overridden with stuff. Kids get sick, grandbabies are born, unexpected family visits happen, work gets crazy, snow days, good days, bad days…you get it. LIFE HAPPENS. We can’t control any of it! It’s good, bad, and crazy all at once. We’re disappointed in ourselves and it’s only February.
For those of us whose New Year's resolutions are going well, CONGRATS!! I am cheering you on! Keep up the great work! I totally need to come follow you around for awhile. For those of us who have already missed several days on the treadmill, already misplaced our new planner, and can’t even think about reading a Whole30 cookbook, I’m here to tell you some good news: God gives us new beginnings and fresh starts. I love that there are new sunrises and fresh starts daily. His mercies are new every morning. I love that Spring brings Summer and Summer brings Fall and Fall gives way to Winter so that ALL things can become new again. Spring is always coming. We always get do-overs. Sure, it would be great if we got it right the first time, but we won’t. At least I won’t. I’m a mess. I get frustrated when I don’t get it right and don’t stick with a plan. I long to live in a peaceful place and allow for God to restore wrong thinking. You see, I think that if I mess up or don’t do “it” right, then God is disappointed with me. I’ve spent a lifetime battling that way of thinking. I honestly think that is why God gives us so many examples of new beginnings in creation. He wants us to know that there is always a fresh start.
A few years back, my daughter-in-law, Jillian, chose a word at the start of the new year that she was speaking over her hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Her word was "restore" from Hosea 6:2 that says, "He will restore us, that we may live in his presence." I love the idea of simplifying down our thoughts and ideas for the upcoming months into one word. Restore. He will restore us. When we fall short in the days to come, he will restore us. When things feel good and well in the days to come, we are continually being restored. There's space and grace in the unknown of what lies ahead.
If it is possible to take all of the “stuff” of life, all of the planning and projecting that we need to do and look at it as the restoring work of Jesus in our life, I think it might be possible to breathe in deeply and smile. Think about it. Why would we assume that just because a calendar flips to 2018 that we are all going to magically make all the changes we want to make and have a flawless schedule and life according to our highlighters and fancy planners? We can, however, enter into a new year with great intentions and open handedness to say, “God, restore me in all areas and help me SEE what you are up to in all of the things that go well and as planned and in all of the things that get put on hold or messed up.” With that perspective, can we SEE that in every minute of every day, a restoring is constantly happening in our hearts, lives and souls. A foretaste of the ultimate Restoration that is coming.
I'll leave you with these word from Larry Crabb: "God is always working to make His children aware of a dream that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream, a new dream that when realized will release a new song, sung with tears, till God wipes them away and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts." (CTS p. 240)
All things good and bad, planned and unplanned, are under the microscope of restoration. Asking God to SEE the work is where we begin to let go and allow God to use ALL of us for his good.
He will restore us, and we will SEE.