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A Year Of Restoration

This New Year's Day morning, at the dawn of a new decade, the sun was hidden behind a blanket of clouds. Some might envision a new decade with a sky painted in the most spectacular, radiant jaw-dropping colors. God choose otherwise.

I can understand if people see a cloudy day as a gloomy way to start a new decade. But to me it was like a clean white page. Nothing had been written yet except maybe... "Her eyes opened with hope." I walked into my ragged garden. With a warm cup of tea in my hands I basked in my favorite kind of weather like a turtle might soak in the suns rays. It was cold and cloudy. My favorite.

It was if a blanket of God's love and faithfulness hung above me like a promise. A blanket and a clean page. To me it was a decadent combination that wooed my heart to draw close to God! Gray, cloudy days remind me of God's faithfulness because clouds hold vast power to bring life.

So, I sat down in the dirt strewn with dead pine needles. I rested like a butterfly letting her wings dry! Though not literally upside down, I was content and quiet. I know the days I will fly fully into my destiny are close. I don't know if that means this year. But I am confident it will be in this decade. The decade before was the hardest of my life! Period. No elaboration. The Lord was with me in the gooey mess of a chrysalis like season. He knows. He saw. And he still sees. Trials will continue to come, for you, and me. But, God is always close even when we don't feel Him.

Back to the garden. I rest soaking in the wonder of the chilly day and delight in the warmth of one of my favorite drinks that I hold in my old hands. And then... I spy them. My favorite striped creatures under the leaves of the butterfly weed in my garden.

The Lord works in me when I see them. It never fails. It's like a date with the Lord on New Year's morning! So I grab my iPhone to capture the moment. As I focus in on the butterflies, I see the bricks, whichI typically ignore, that were thrown haphazardly into my garden. I feel a bit annoyed. For they seemed to ruin the photograph.

But then I realized it was a parallel of my life that brought anticipation! Nehemiah was called to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. This is the year, the decade, I feel like I will be flying into being a vessel of restoration to others. I am longing for it to be a year of "rebuilding years that the locusts have eaten" in others lives and in my own life personally.

So, I did something odd. I went and got some candles and put them on the bricks. His presence in the areas of my life that lie in ruin. I did this as a prayer-declaration for myself and for you... a symbol of His presence in the areas of YOUR life, and mine, that feel as if they lie in a tumbled, hopeless mess. We all have something. Some dreams that seem shattered or hope that seems like it will never become a reality. Your hopes of a great city (home, family, dreams) that once loomed large with great purpose... feel like they lie in ruin. I have a tenacious faith. The candles on tumbled heap of bricks was a declaration for me and for you!

God works in me when I edit. Sometimes the layers I "paint" with in Photoshop are like a prayer that no one knows about. I feel inspired and see metaphors in the editing process. This time the two different ways I took a photo of the candles on the bricks spoke to my heart.

Amidst the heap of bricks, there was a contrasting difference between the lopsided photo and the above photo. My hearts prayer was then "Align my heart, with Yours Lord, in the chaos and in the moments when I can't control circumstances. May my heart rest in Your love in the areas of my life that seem in ruins." The enemy of our hearts and destinies is relentless in his attempt to slow us down, distract us or stop God's purposes for our lives.

This year, amidst the rubble of disappointments, hopes that have toppled or simply areas you have yet to become all that you want to be for God, may you rest in His unfailing love. Let Him ground your heart through His words of life and hope.

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