verb (used with object), restored, restoring.
1.to bring back into existence, use, or the like; reestablish: to restore order.
2. to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition, as a building,statue, or painting.
3. to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor.
4. to put back to a former place, or to a former position, rank, etc.: to restore the king to his throne.
5. to give back; make return or restitution of (anything taken away or lost).
6. to reproduce or reconstruct (an ancient building, extinct animal, etc.) in the original state.
Three years ago I lay in bed next to my superMAN and spoke out-loud the words I never thought I’d hear come out of my mouth (and his in agreement), “Maybe we’re not the right people for one another…”
A few minutes later, we turned to one another and agreed again when we spoke the words, “No way. We are the right ones for one another. No season, no person, no employer, no church body is ever worth losing each other over.”
It was in that brief, but pivotal moment that we knew something drastic had to change. We had to choose our marriage and family that was being destroyed no matter what. That was the beginning of my superMAN writing his resignation and us having everything we’d ever known since before we were married ripped out from under us, including our reputation. We said goodbye to our community, our friends, what felt like home, a place of safety for our children who knew no place else. We also said good bye to our future hopes and dreams as we thought they would be. To say the past three years (and the time frame that led up to that moment) of brokenness and healing was hard is an understatement. Walking through the grief and pain was unimaginable. It left our faith shaken, trying to understand why God would allow such searing pain in our lives, but we knew that God was still good somehow and that He would lead us to whatever was next, even in His silence.
So much has happened and changed since that pivotal moment. My superMAN finishing up his college degree, getting an Autism diagnosis for one of our little girls, a brain tumor being discovered & removed in the other, our boys starting public school, our oldest daughter moving to a different charter school closer to home, working through depression, adding a service dog to our home, and me beginning to substitute teach a bit. None of it, absolutely none of it was what I had in mind, nor would have chosen if given the choice. And yet…
Here I am choosing the word RESTORE for my 2015 focus because I am choosing to have eyes to see how He has restored our story. Look back at the meaning of RESTORE. Think about when someone takes an item—I like to think of an old house–that is old, broken, worn down from years of use and fixes it up. They take something that was once beautiful and functional in its original state, uses different tools and methods to RESTORE it to a state close to what it once was, but different and better.
When I take a look around at where we are now, I can see that He has done the same thing in us. The community He has pieced together for us is full of broken, but beautiful people from varying places that thrive in having a place to belong and be loved right where we are. And that community dwells in our lives increasingly more than just once per week. He’s RESTORING friendships that once lay dormant, but were deep and missed. My superMAN has a degree in something he loves after years of it being incomplete, hanging over his head. We have a faith that is no longer surface and about doing the right things and “playing church.” We’ve had a time of Daddy being around to deeply understand the special needs of his little girls and how to advocate for them. A dad who knows his teens and their different emerging personalities. We’ve had the opportunity to watch our older kids grow in a schooling environment we had previously never entertained as an option. We’ve watched as they not only have blossomed educationally, but as leaders in their classes because of who they are in Christ. I’ve begun dusting off and chasing after a passion God has given me to write from the voice of the unspoken road of raising children with special needs. We’ve also RESTORED a marriage that is strong and worth fighting for another twenty years.
I cannot lie to you. Everything is not summed up perfectly. The above list is just a highlight reel in which He’s given me eyes to see. I’m still looking for His RESTORATION in other areas of our life, but with what He’s given me to see now, I have confidence that He is working on those other areas and will eventually make the ways He has RESTORED evident. Just like the craftsman working on the restoration of an old house, he doesn’t exactly let the house in on the plans he has for the end masterpiece—the one that is different, better, stronger and more beautiful than the original.
So what about you, my friend? What will be your one simple thing, the one word, you will focus on for the year? I encourage you that if a resolution or goal is too much, start small. Choose one word.