I have been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now and I finally decided to sit down and get to it! So keep reading to hear more about God's goodness!
Being that we're in January and the new year has come many people claim, "New year, new me". This topic lays heavy on my heart, the idea that God is the Creator of all things new and in Him we can have new beginnings and He renews us by His goodness and in His strength.
The topic of new beginnings and restoration holds a special place in my heart. Now, if you have followed me or have known me for any amount of time, you know my mom passed away 3 years ago and I have learned many lessons since. An important lesson or action of God rather that I have seen in my life is that He does restore and does make all things new. IN HIS WAY AND ON HIS TIMING.
After my mom passed I was fearful to do anything new or make any progress in life and the one thing I treasured most at that time was my relationship with my boyfriend (of 5 years). I treasured this relationship and the safety net of it more so than the safety and security of God. So what did God do? He ended that relationship. Mhm. Yeah, He did that, but you know what!? I am so grateful that He did. God took away what I was treasuring and practically idolizing so that He could make me new. Just me and God for almost a good year. I am so grateful that God cares enough about His children to isolate us so that He can take care of us and pour into our hearts. During this time I finally got my driver's license, changed my major to follow God's calling on my life (that seems a little overwhelming at times), and started to get comfortable with the idea of my "new normals". I have written about how God has worked within my heart in a larger depth in other posts so I won't spend too much time on this portion, but it is a necessary precedent to the restoration God has done in my life. I needed God to heal my heart and make it new without distractions. It's hard to heal for yourself when you're in a relationship. For a long time I was trying to heal or feel better for my boyfriend rather than for myself. I needed to heal for me and allow God to speak to my heart to find my true identity in Him and seek His truth for my life above all else. Once I was in a place where God had been continually renewing my heart and my attitude, He began to restore another big part of my life.
GOD RESTORES BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS. I'll say that again, God restores broken relationships. If it's His will and in His plan, He will restore it; if it's not His will, sweetie, leave it be. IN HIM WE HAVE NEW BEGINNINGS. God restored my relationship. I kept loving this man throughout the whole growth process I was enduring. I prayed "Lord, if we're not supposed to be together in the end please take all the love I have for him away from me." To love someone and not be able to share life with them can be a painful thing to endure. I was trying to leave it be at this point. I was thinking to myself, "It's okay if God doesn’t restore this. I can go and live my life as a single Bible Teacher Lady and if it's God's will, I'll adopt a child and love them." I prayed so many nights in tears asking God to take away the love and help me be okay if Cage found someone new. (But you know my flesh was resisting this prayer so much! "Ugh, I hope he does live a life as a bachelor with his pets and cars like he said he would if we don't end up together.") My flesh and spirit were butting heads at this point, but God was still renewing my heart and teaching me to let God take the reins on my life. Life is so much easier when you let God take control, by the way. About 6 months after we split we met up on what would have been our six year anniversary at Krispy Kreme to catch up and see how our lives were going. On that evening he had made it clear that he wanted to resume our relationship, but wanted to ensure that it is what God wanted for both of us. After that we then had a TacoBell date later that month to discuss previous issues and see where our heart was about those issues at the time. (We're so fancy on these dates, I know.) God needed to do a lot of work in both of us. My mom's passing affected us both. (We endured a traumatic event together and I needed to heal, a broken and wounded me does not add up to a healthy relationship.) Fast forward six more months to June 15th, he asked me to be his girlfriend again! After attending his little brother's graduation and dinner with his family (After 5 years I was practically a Johnson and that never really changed even during the split) he finally asked me to be his girlfriend again. Notice that I say "finally". My flesh was impatient during this waiting period, both of us were waiting for God's clarification on when to resume our relationship. God definitely knows how to teach His children patience.
When you leave your life and your circumstance in God's hands He can turn a situation that seems broken and lifeless into a new beginning. We may not understand what is happening in the moment, but we need to keep remembering that He is always good and will refine you during the waiting. We can't revive the "dead" things in our lives in our own strength. Only God can make these things alive again.
Isaiah 43:19 (ESV) says:
"Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert."
I have clung to this verse throughout that situation and to this day. We don't understand God's ways or why His way seems to take so long on our flesh to endure. The growth, the separation, and all of the emotions felt like a wilderness, but God made a way. He did a new thing. I didn't perceive it yet, but I was clinging to His goodness. Out of faithfulness and walking with Him I have a renewed heart and Cage and Lizzie 2.0 is going well; we're not perfect but we're trusting God along the way.
Revelation 21:5 (ESV) says:
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
This passage may be talking about the new heaven and earth but it is very valuable and applies to our daily lives. God is making all things new and His words are always always ALWAYS trustworthy and true. The truth of His words are never dependent upon our feelings or situations; His words are truth and we need to cling to them no matter what we feel like because our emotions do not determine truth. Believing this truth that God makes all things new does require a lot of waiting, as can be seen through my story, but the wait is always worth it. The refinement and patience developed during the wait is a true gift from God. It's important to remember we are never done spiritually growing, this is a safeguard that humbles us and prevents us from feeling superior. God will keep refining us until we go home to Him and I am so glad He will so that I am continually renewed and restored.
God grants us opportunities for new beginnings, all we need to do is trust Him every step of the journey. I hope that in this new year and throughout your life you will allow God to work on you even when it's painful so that you can experience His restorative power.