Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Road to Restoration


1 Tim 1:16, "But for that very reason, I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life."

Some mornings, you go to meet God and you get a Divine confirmation.

That's what happened to me today.  The past nine days have been pretty rocky for me, to say the least.  Making my way through the grief process - death, profound sadness, crying, blame (myself), anger, righteousness, discovery, strength, and then right back to sadness, crying, and blame.  Death, and the road to restoration, is a painful process.

It's a vicious cycle of going through every emotion you have.  It's a process of digging deeper into yourself.  It's a process of leaning on family and friends - your physical, in-person and in real life friends that can actually dispense wisdom and support.  It's a process of examining your Faith a little deeper than normal and asking God, "Well?  What are we gonna do now?  Can you hold me?  Can you just allow me to physically feel your arms around me while I lean on your chest and cry and hurt?  Do you have any words of wisdom for me?  How can I serve you through this?  Are you gonna make everything better?"

The process is real.  I can promise you that.

Imagine my shock this morning when actual conversations I've had over the past nine days with my inner circle showed up in my morning devotional.  Maybe it's not so, but I'm gonna take this as Divine intervention and a stamp that says, "You're on track.  I hear you.  Keep moving forward.  I am giving you wisdom, and I am holding you."

Let me say this to all that are reading this that are not married yet - or that have been married and are either dating or in the process - dating is not meant to last forever.  It is meant for discovery, growing in intimacy (not physical, but emotional and mental), and making a decision.  It's not meant to last forever.  It's meant to end at some point in time in one direction or another.

Pastor Ben Stuart:

"The rules of dating have become ambiguous and uncertain. Dating should be associated with words like fun, exhilarating, and uplifting. But far too often, the words I hear associated with dating are sad, exhausting, and stressful. As someone who loves my young, single friends, I want a better journey for them. And a better journey is possible! The path to love can be painful, but there is a way to navigate it that can avoid needless pain.

Much of the distress today has been caused by the lack of any intentional dating process. Notice I say process—the word implies movement. Dating should be a series of actions toward a predetermined end. It is not a status you sit in without any kind of momentum. It’s meant to be a process of evaluation that has an ending point—a destination called marriage."

Wow, and yep.  A movement and a process.  An evaluation with an ending point.

Ben continues:

"This process is characterized by timeless principles rooted in the character and love of God. Note I call them principles, not steps.

Principles...can save your life at sea...principles in dating can help you handle any challenge that comes up. That information will get you from the shores of singleness to the port of marriage."

Now, hear me out.  I've never been the girl that needed to be married.  I've never lived my life searching high and low for a husband.  I just live my life and allow God to place people in my pathway.  So, I'm not doing a Bible study on dating to figure out the secret code to getting married.

I'm doing it to understand how God thinks and what I should be doing to live right.  I want to be the right person for someone else, and when I fail, I want to own it, recognize it, and fix the fall.  

Sometimes, your Partner will accept your fall (and failings) and help you back up, and sometimes, they will walk away and say, "So sorry you are down.  I don't have a way to help you get back up."

Listen to me, one thing I have learned this week...

IT'S OKAY TO long as you recognize WHY you failed; turn to God for help in healing and getting back up; and own it (don't place your fail on anyone else).

Any other behavior is not on you.

As I've said before, in these last nine days, you can't make anyone else help you up when you fail.  Some people just aren't physically capable of reaching out and helping on an emotional, mental, or leadership level.  ...Some people are task-oriented; they are fabulous at showing love through tasks and helping - they can fix your toilet when it leaks for example, but maybe they can't fix your anxiety over a situation with an unknown "x" factor.  It's much easier to walk away from hard situations than stay and dig deep or jump in the pit.

It was much easier for Joseph's brothers to please their Father (and try to gain his praise and acceptance and love) through their actions (i.e., hunting, herding, etc.) rather than through his emotions or the way he thought and processed things.

It was so much easier for them to ACT and throw Joseph in that pit, wiping their hands of the "problem," turning their backs on him, and walking away.  They later presented their Father with Joseph's "bloodied" coat of many colors.  Another ACTION toward their Father to gain his love, acceptance, and praise.

Maybe in reality, it would have been better to reach down into the proverbial pit and save their family through extending a hand into other issues that were harder to deal with.  There was an emotional and mental emptiness in those brothers, caused by a Father showing favor to their younger brother.  But they were not able to help their brother or their Father mentally or emotionally.  They only knew how to show love through actions, and this could have proved deadly for both Joseph and their own family eventually.

The road to recovery is tough, but keep your eye on the prize - RECOVERY.  God is providing tools and GRACE and wisdom - and even physical people in your pathway that know how to reach down into your pit and help pull you out.

God is good that way.  He loves us.  And He eventually uses all the pits we have fallen into to save others later on.  Our falls, the pits we are put into, and the experiences we go through where we think there is either no way out of or we can't understand why our loved ones would do this to us - are all a means to an end.  Hard to know and remember that when you are traveling, but we have got to remember this.

1 John 3:16, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."  As all good Southern Baptist preachers like to say, "Amen, Amen, and Amen."

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