For many years now, I’ve been praying for God to restore us. Something happened while we were still living in PA, and it carried into OK with us. Even if you don’t know how it happened, you do know when you’ve been robbed. We’ve been robbed. The enemy appeared to sneak in with a desire to sabotage the good work of the Lord.
When we walked in abundant provision and influence, we were constantly reaching out and blessing others. We sought ways to pull others into the stream of increase with us. We blessed in secret and in ways that we desired to be blessed. We walked with integrity, as much as we knew how.
The truth is, we are all always learning. Lately, when I’ve thought about where we’ve come from and where we are currently, I’ve fought a feeling that if we had walked out all of it with perfection, then we wouldn’t be going through this stretching. But that’s a lie.
The truth is, as I now see it, the Lord brought us into increase and has used this hard season to “season” us. To make us more aware, responsible, certain, and wise. To remove the weight of pleasing man and to give us a mantle to serve Him only.
Neither Chris nor I was raised with plenty in our lives. So, when we stumbled upon it, of course, mistakes were made…we were learning. God’s not mad about that. He also didn’t take it away because of that.
We stood on the precipice of moving into great things for the Lord and watched as crows swooped in and ate up our abundance. Like farmers in the days of old, all we could do was watch and pray.
God has been here the whole time.
I feel now that we were like a plant…and when we began to bear fruit, we needed to be cut back at certain points so our roots could grow deeper and our branches stronger. We have been in a season of cultivation. There is no shame in that…it’s an honor to be pruned by God…pruned so we can sustain greater weight from larger fruit. We have been in the process of growing into a place where we have the capacity to withstand…and now we pray…
Restore our fortunes, Lord; as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. Psalm 126:4-6
Instead of focusing on what we’ve lost, what if we instead focus on the good ways God has used this time. At this point in our journey, I wouldn’t trade the lessons for anything in the world. God has been very near the entire time. He has been faithful at every juncture, and just as He said He would, He has worked everything for our good.
Now we stand as a more solid family unit. Now our marriage has been forged in the fires of disappointment, loss, and discomfort…and we stand so solidly together. Now I don’t care one tidbit what others think about how I’m living or what I do or don’t have. I see value in a very different way.
My priorities have been restacked…and as I lean into God today…still walking through the challenging fires…He speaks this to me…
Then the Lord will pity His people and jealously guard the honor of His land. The Lord will reply, “Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy your needs. You will no longer be an object of mockery among the surrounding nations. I will drive away these armies from the north. I will send them into the parched wastelands. Those in the front will be driven into the Dead Sea, and those at the rear into the Mediterranean. The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land.” Surely the Lord has done great things! Don’t be afraid, O land. Be glad now and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things. Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field, for the wilderness pastures will soon be green. The trees will again be filled with fruit; fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more. Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain He sends demonstrates His faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, Who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced. Then you will know that I am among My people Israel, that I am the Lord you God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. Joel 2:18-27
I receive it, Lord. Yes and amen.