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Monday, February 7, 2011

How has God restored me?

In the past few weeks I have noticed a supernatural joy in my life. It has been taking place over the past few months but I am just now aware of it. On this blog under the "about me" portion I wrote that I am like a dog in that my joy comes from the love of my Master, and when I am most in His will. I believe that this statement is true. Over the past few months I have learned how to focus my attention on God and the things concerning His kingdom. As I continue to make strides to follow His plan in my life I have found that everything else seems to be working out in my favor. Not to say that bad things will not arise, but there is a peace in my life regardless.

Before I found The Experience (my church home) I had a lot of bitterness toward church. I had been hurt by a group of believers and had a hard time getting involved with any other church. Over the course of a couple of years and after visiting a few churches I felt that my heart would always carry that scar. My first time visiting the Experience I felt the Holy Spirit move and take away some of that pain. Every time I have been back I feel that I have been able to shed some of that burden. This is the first way that God has restored me in the past few months.
Another burden I had carried for a while was that of loneliness. In a very short time frame I lost almost everyone dear to me. Within about six months my two closest friends moved out of state, the girl I thought I was going to marry and I separated, and the church I had loved since childhood all but kicked me to the curb. I felt like every person that I could rely on to keep me strong was gone. Looking back I realize that God was using this time to show me how to rely on His love in my life. He wanted me to know how to fall back on Him and Him alone. Slowly over the last few months, God has been restoring those kinds of relationships in my life. Through the Experience I have gained some amazing friendships and met a beautiful, funny, uplifting, God-loving, breath taking girl. I prayed endlessly for these kinds of relationships in my life. Although, it was not until I was content in not having them that God put them back into my life. I realize now where my priorities were and where the ought to be.

Maybe the most drastic restoration in my life over the past few months has been my sense of purpose. Throughout the time that I spent "church hopping" I was not serving in any capacity. I would go to work throughout the week and go to church on a semi-regular basis on Sunday. As I have gotten more and more involved at the Experience my heart has yearned for a place to serve. I am excited to get involved with just about everything that is going on at that church. Recently, God has given me a calling to work with homeless people. Today we prepared our first Sunday morning breakfast that we distributed to some of the more needy in our community. Knowing that God used me to feed those who may go hungry is a humbling and exciting sensation. Nothing feels better than knowing you are doing exactly what God has ordained you to do. I spent so much time feeling like a drone. I felt as if my life didn't matter and that I was making no difference in this world. In the past months I have found not only peace but purpose in my life again. Without peace and purpose there is no room for hope. As I have grown in my walk with Christ my hope has been restored.

My life has been blown away
like a shepherd’s tent in a storm.
It has been cut short,
as when a weaver cuts cloth from a loom.
Suddenly, my life was over.
13 I waited patiently all night,
but I was torn apart as though by lions.
Suddenly, my life was over.
14 Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane,
and then I moaned like a mourning dove.
My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help.
I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!”

15 But what could I say?
For he himself sent this sickness.
Now I will walk humbly throughout my years
because of this anguish I have felt.
16 Lord, your discipline is good,
for it leads to life and health.
You restore my health
and allow me to live!
17 Yes, this anguish was good for me,
for you have rescued me from death
and forgiven all my sins.
18 For the dead[c] cannot praise you;
they cannot raise their voices in praise.
Those who go down to the grave
can no longer hope in your faithfulness.
19 Only the living can praise you as I do today.
Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
20 Think of it—the Lord is ready to heal me!
I will sing his praises with instruments
every day of my life
in the Temple of the Lord.

Isaiah 38:12-20