This is a series of articles that I’m calling “God of restoration” and it’s about a season that I just endured that I want to share with you. It’s probably the most personal I’ve ever gotten on my blog that I can remember although I’ve been very personal in almost all of my articles and devotionals (just go and read my stuff and you’ll see) 🙂
These articles over the next 5 weeks tell you what Jesus has been working out in me over the past year and a half. I not only believe that you will see how God has restored so much in me but I believe that if God can do this in me, then he really, really wants to do this in you.
I’ve chosen songs that align with what I’ve learned about God and his character in this season as well that I’ll put at the end of each week’s post. In my personal journal the song list is called “songs of the season.” I hope and pray you’ll find these encouraging to you. Let’s dive right in to the first week!
The beginning of my restoration
God started doing something new in my heart in April of 2020. I knew something was about to be different. God was telling me a season of change was beginning. I felt God strongly nudging me that it was time for healing, forgiveness and for joy to be restored.
I didn’t know what that meant honestly in the moment. I was just focused on how I felt. But I knew He was right. I didn’t feel those things at the time. All I heard him saying to me over and over was that something needed to change and that something was me.
On the outside I seemed happy and I was in many cases. But deep down, my zeal was going away. There were many times I wanted to quit and be done with ministry if I’m being completely honest.
I was believing so many lies about myself that were far from the truth. I was letting what others said about me define me which is a terrible thing to do. I don’t recommend it.
The lies, the negative voices in my life, the pain, the shame I felt for not being “perfect” and the joy that was fading all just compiled. I had been in a dry season.
I know you could say “2020 was like that for everyone Bryant, get it together and get over yourself.” While that’s true about 2020 being hard for everyone, my zeal, feeling loved and valued in general was all going away months before the pandemic.
The pandemic didn’t bring this to me, if anything it opened a window for God to finally deal with all of this in me. Allison would 100% agree with that statement. Essentially, on the inside I wasn’t who God had called me to be. God calls us to live a joyful life to the fullest!
I love what Jesus says in the book of Matthew:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
God started working on my heart right where I was. He didn’t wait until I got myself out of the dry season. He met me right where I was. He loved me as he found me.
That’s the character of God, that’s who he is. He’s not waiting on us to “get our act together” before he moves in our lives. He’s not in heaven waiting for you to screw up your life so he can say “dang, I’m done with you.”
He wants to be close with you.
I remember a day during this season where I felt distant from God one day. It was June 30th 2020 to be exact because I wrote it in my journal. I just felt like he didn’t care that much about my situation in that moment and guess what?
God showed up that day. He made his presence so known to me. I felt his love like I hadn’t felt in a while… it brought me to tears. If you’ve ever felt the strong presence of God you know how I felt.
While feeling this I asked him, “Why are you allowing me to feel your presence so strongly and be this close to you when I’m not trying to follow you today? I didn’t even have my quiet time Lord?” God told me in that moment, “Because you need to know that I’m still with you. I haven’t left you. It’s time for refreshment and change.”
I want to share some truth with you about who God is:
The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost…” (Joel 2:25a)
Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. (Isaiah 54:4)
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:10)
I was learning these scriptures to be true as God was doing a new thing in my heart. God is restorer. I love that Psalm 103:10 verse. God’s grace doesn’t have anything to do with a choice I made. He loves me and you period. He’s not going to repay us back for the times we didn’t try our best to follow him. He’s not holding anything against us.
He loves you as he finds you and all he wants is to be in harmony with you. A relationship with you is what he wants. He cares far more about the condition of your heart than what it is you are doing in life. He wants something for you – he wants you to have life to the fullest.
Jesus cares way more about our hearts than what we are doing. Jesus loves and cares about you too much to leave you where you are.
Maybe you’re reading this and you need to return back to God, maybe this is just a reminder for you or maybe you need to accept Jesus for the first time. It could be you’ve loved God and followed him for years but you’ve never known him as a restorer or healer. God wants to give you joy and peace. He wants you feel grace and love.
The lyrics of this week’s song go like this: Your love is too good to leave me here. God loves you too much to simply let you stay where you are. He wants to do immeasurably more in your life than all you can ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20.
One day in this season of change I asked a good friend of mine “is God upset with me?” and my friend said, “Bryant, there’s grace for you. God loves you.” It had been a while since I heard that word grace being spoken directly to me about me.
No matter the case, no matter what life is like, no matter if you feel close to God or not what my friend told me is true about you, there’s grace for you. I love this story in Luke about the grace of God. The prodigal son left home with inheritance and wasted his father’s money on selfish desires. He came to his senses and returned home. The father has every right to banish him from the house but this is what happened:
So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)
That’s how God feels about you. He loves you and is waiting to throw his arms around you. He’s got so much grace and love for you. I want you to pray this prayer and listen to the song below the prayer before you leave.
“Jesus I need you. Come into my heart and make me new. I accept you as my savior and I remember how far you’ve brought me. Thank you Jesus for caring about my heart more than what I’m doing for work or anything else. Restore joy and peace in my heart Lord. Start a new work in me. I need more of you. Move in my heart like never before. Amen.”
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