It was several weeks ago when a text came through from my youngest sister.
I want you to know that I am praying Joel 2:25 for you, that the Lord will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten.
As one of my go-to people while processing the Return in 2015, she was privy to much angst and frustration over the mess that I was trying to wade through and understand. Her simple text touched my heart in a profound way, as I began pondering what restoration would look like.
restore ~ to put or bring back to an earlier or original state; to put back into use or service; to give back
Other words and phrases began popping into my head in various contexts. One such passage was this prayer of confession from the Book of Common Prayer.
ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare Thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore Thou those who are penitent; According to Thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for His sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of Thy holy Name. Amen.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. Yes. Left undone. Much.
Restore thou those who are penitent.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:12, ESV
I have not felt much joy, lately, and certainly not over the salvation so graciously given to me by Jesus.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness,
for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:1-3, ESV
Restore my soul. Yes. My soul is tired.
It’s interesting that restore is one of the words in the acrostic I did for return last year.
It reminds me that there are still places to return to, that I am not finished with that word totally, yet, but that I can back off and rest awhile. Rest in the mess.
When Steve asked me about this year’s word, I had a difficult time articulating why I chose it. I felt clumsy and awkward and began to panic and doubt my choice. I began to lose faith in my instincts and myself.
Maybe it’s not a good word. What do you think?
And that is where I knew it was right, because it is a good word and it’s mine. I don’t need permission or approval for my words to matter. I can choose them just because.
Maybe I need to restore some confidence in myself.
There was also a hard conversation yesterday that reminded me that this is a good focus for this year. There have been places in relationships broken, left undone.
Christmas break offered Steve and me a taste of unstructured time together. There were moments to just be and not feel rushed. There were moments when the kids were occupied and there were no immediate projects to attend to. We had snippets of time to dream and risk sharing those dreams with each other.
Restore our dreams. Our ability to dream. Restore our hearts.
So my word this year is a claiming of a promise made in Scripture and the continued walking by faith, believing that which is unseen. It is trusting that, yes, even what has been broken and felt shattered beyond repair can be restored.
Where might you hold hope for restoration this year, Dear Reader?
I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten
Joel 2:25, ESV