Redemption and Restoration
My Joyful MOMent: a peaceful end to what was a long week, all the smiling faces.
I am finally feeling back on track after months of unease and brewing anger and frustration. More than once I told my husband that I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I dove into Scripture, I made sure to have one-on-one time with each boy, and I prayed for a major heart change. I was restless and I did not know why. In this state I was much more irritable, more easily upset, and creating a very unhappy atmosphere in my home. I felt guilty about it but couldn’t find the path towards resolution.
Then yesterday I stepped out in obedience in several areas of conviction. I had several tainted relationships and so knew I needed to apologize for my actions and seek forgiveness to move forward. Through the grace of God and the others involved, these relationships have been mended and the process of restoration has begun.
To be clear, I was not apologizing for things that happened yesterday, or the day before, or even weeks or months prior. I was apologizing for the words and actions from years ago. Years, people! That is how long I made excuses and tried to ignore the Spirit’s promptings. I would tell myself that it was ancient history and couldn’t really matter anymore and an apology would probably just reopen old wounds and create more tension. I didn’t realize how this disobedience was weighing me down. Much like Jonah, I was running away from God and telling Him no. The storm raged within myself and spread throughout my household. I didn’t realize the damage my inner battle was wrecking on my family.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t run and hide. It was too much work and it was wearying to my soul. So I stepped out. I apologized. I took ownership of my faults and weaknesses. I prayed that my words would be sweet and not bitter. And I waited. A new feeling emerged in anticipation. Not a feeling of guilt or regret, but one of hope.
Restoration has begun. I look back and wonder what stopped me before? Why didn’t I do this sooner? Like Jonah, why did I ever think that I could hide from God? I felt like there was a knot in my heart that was stopping the proper flow. I felt like I was always just a half step behind where I should be. I couldn’t diagnose the problem, but when I look back it seems so obvious.
When we live out of sync with God, then everything else spirals into chaos.
For me, it was a gradual decline into despair. I felt so on track with God is other areas that it felt easy to banish away the guilt and shame of this area of disobedience. I knew that believers are called to live in community and that the body of Christ is a true family, but I argued with myself that I had community and family so what it was ok if some of these relationships were damaged. But “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:26-27). I was hindering the unity of the body and that hinders our effectiveness, both individually and universally. The longer the disobedience continued, the greater my inner turmoil grew. My heart attitude affected my daily attitude and as the burden of sin weighed heavier I was no longer able to display the fruit of the Spirit: patience, gentleness, or self-control.
In the end, this image of redemption is a little glimpse at what heaven will be like. I feel refreshed and renewed. I feel the burden of that sin completely removed and can now walk in freedom and hope. Believers are redeemed in full through the blood of Christ, but in heaven we will be free from our earthly bodies and the sin-stained world. We will no longer wrestle with temptation and sin. We will no longer be enslaved to our disobedience to Christ. We will eternally walk with God and in perfect community with the whole body. This light feeling I have today? Imagine that multiplied for every sin situation I encounter for all of eternity. What a blessed hope.
So today, I am so thankful for redemption and restoration. I am so thankful that the Spirit of God is relentless and seeks to restore us into right relationship with the Father through restoring right relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I am so thankful for the enduring grace and love of my boys as they have endured my poor attitude and have offered forgiveness over and over. I am so thankful for opportunities to show them my weakness so that they know I rely on Christ alone. May they learn from my mistakes and learn to follow God more completely each and every day.