I’m so blessed to be able to start a new week here on the blog with words from our good friend Abby Breuklander. Abby has words of so much hope and restoration, and as I read her words for myself, I nearly wept. It’s my joy to share them with you, and as you read, I pray her journey into restoration will inspire and bless! Thanks, Abby, for spilling your heart out in words once again, so that we can reap the same joy.
“And I will restore to you the years the locust hath eaten.” Joel 2:25
It just amazes me that something as small and innocent looking as a grasshopper could be so devastatingly destructive. But if you have a swarm of these little guys, look out! Devastation as far as the eye can see. I can almost imagine what the Israelites were thinking, everything gone just like that. Life as you knew it over in the blink of an eye.
Isn’t that how life goes for us sometimes? One moment the sun is shining and the next you’re picking yourself up of the ground after the twister. Numbly staring around trying to piece together what just happened.
The “locusts” of our lives may not be actual bugs, in reality they could be anything. The pink slip that you never saw coming, the diagnosis that came out of nowhere, the phone call that shattered your life, the relationship that completely fell apart. You’re left looking out over the sorriest, most depressing landscape that you’ve ever seen. No idea about what to do next or where to even start. We all have those moments where we don’t know how to take another step, let alone breathe. We sit in the dust and ashes trying to grasp the reality of the life that we find ourselves in now.We all have those moments where we don't know how to take another step, let alone breathe. Click To Tweet
It’s in these very situations that the biggest decision of our lives needs to be made. Am I going to be stubborn and resent God’s involvement in my life? Or am I going to embrace His plans and accept His help with open arms?
I’m beginning to see that faith and trust at times boils down to a decision to give and take. In order to take the best blessings that God offers I have to be willing to give Him the things that I need to give up. No matter what that might be, no matter how much it may hurt. In most cases no pain, no gain. But most of the time it really doesn’t kill me either, even though it sure may feel like it sometimes. It seems like He’s been asking me to let go of quite a few things again, stuff that I never thought He’d actually ask me to let go of. I don’t understand where all this is going, but something’s changing. More I don’t understand, but it’s what I have to do.
It can be so hard letting go of something that I’ve held onto for so long. It’s almost like watching a part of yourself die right in front of you. But learning that God’s plans are so much bigger and better than anything that was taken away is mind-boggling!
My best wasn’t THE best.
So maybe this whole locust dream eating really isn’t such a bad thing after all. Maybe this was the only means necessary to get my attention of myself and to put my focus elsewhere? These “bugs” may actually be a blessing in disguise! In my own life I know this is absolutely true.
Looking back just 2 years ago the difference of where I was to where I am now is a million miles. The things that used to be so important really aren’t that big of a deal anymore. Honestly I have a hard time believing that I’m actually the same person. It’s almost like I’ve stepped into a whole new life. New health, new friends, new hopes and dreams! But most importantly my focus is different, it’s NOT about me. God’s got full control instead of “Okay God, here’s my list of things that You can handle, but hands off of the rest.”
By the way, that doesn’t go over very well, trust me.
Once I decided to let Him have complete control of my life the blessings started pouring in, and although my circumstances didn’t change right away, my perspective and attitude sure did! The new friends that came into my life for this crazy ride sure helped too, I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on until they showed up! Who knew that friends on Facebook could become some of the best friends ever! I know there’s a lot of junk online, but these amazing people are some of the biggest gifts I could ever ask for! The laughs, words of wisdom, hours of Bible study and accountability have been life changing! I’ve had the amazing opportunity to meet a few in person and talk to others on the phone, this never would’ve been possible if I’d decided to turn my back on God and my faith completely. And believe me that devil tried his hardest to get me to leave everything to strike out on my own. I’m so so glad I didn’t listen!
The beauty I see in this verse is that God will restore, not maybe, but WILL. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it, it may not happen right away, but it will happen. The locusts of my life seem to have caused nothing but destruction, but I’m learning that they’re tools that God uses to bring hope, new growth, and new life where there was only death and decay caused by inactivity or floundering around with nowhere to go.God will restore, not maybe, but WILL. Click To Tweet
Seasons of our lives will make us go down paths we never dreamed we’d have to walk on, sometimes we never see it until we’re standing right on a new path.
Walking with Jesus is full of surprises. But I’m convinced that it’s because He wants us to experience and know what true joy really is, not this happy-clappy “I’m never in a bad mood” image that we try so hard to portray to everyone around us.
Looking around at my life at this moment I see only things that He alone could’ve pulled off. Anything from feeling better, to going back to work after 2 years, to all the new opportunities to use the gifts and talents I didn’t even know I had.
It’s true that in the barren times we learn the most, and everything has changed for me. There is absolutely nothing that I would ever want to go back for, I have my faith, family and friends, it’s all I’ll ever need. I may never had a New York Times bestseller, one million followers, or a load of money in the back. I’ve learned the secret of being content, it’s all about Jesus. Without Him I’m nothing, but with Him I have everything.
I’ve seen the Lord’s promises fulfilled, He restored my health, my job, my dreams that I thought I might never get to live out and were lost forever. I know that I’ve been given another chance at life, I’m not going to waste a moment.
I’m still shaky at times, still trying to get my feet to stand and keep my balance. I’m re-learning how to do things that I always took for granted. It feels like I’m a wild animal that’s been caged up for so long that it doesn’t remember how to be wild once it’s released. It’s so overwhelming at times. I know that everything that I’ve gone through has a purpose, every single moment. It’s gotten me to where I am right now, right where I’m supposed to be. Otherwise I may never have ended up here, and that’s really hard to imagine. Even through all the pain and heartache of the last 12 years there have been sunny skies and rainbows. I just had to look a little harder for them, but once I saw them my entire perspective changed.
Now I look for the good in everything, the hidden blessings and lessons just waiting to be discovered right in front of me.
There is joy in every moment, because I’m still here. I may never get to live out some of the dreams that I held onto for so long, and that’s okay. I wasn’t supposed to live that life. There must be something better than those things that I’m supposed to do. Something that will no doubt blow my mind, which is usually how it goes.
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that take a little longer to arrive, they just are a little sweeter after a long wait. I know it’s hard to believe, but they are so worth it! It’s just another lesson in patience and trusting that His timing is truly perfect and much better than ours.
It may not always seem fair at all, watching days turn into weeks, that turn into months, which eventually become years. I’m right there with you on that. But think of all the growing that can take place during that process. This is a miracle to behold when we actually top and take a minute to look and see how far we’ve come….. and where we’re going right at this moment.
Personally I still can’t believe the journey that I’ve been on, where I used to be. I don’t even want to think about where I could be right now if certain events had never happened. I very well may have given up completely and lost all hope of ever feeling better. My system could have lost the fight that has been raging for 12 years. A body can only take so much trauma. I’m beyond grateful that this is how everything worked out. I definitely have done my fair share of whining and throwing a few hissy fits along the way. But then I realized that doing those things really doesn’t get me anywhere, seriously it doesn’t.
It may feel good to vent and let off some steam, but it doesn’t change anything about the situation. Except maybe make me feel like a giant baby. I don’t want to be like that, I want to be like Job who could still praise God in the midst of unspeakable heart-rending and gut-wrenching loss. I’ve had it pretty easy compared to what he went through, and he was blessed by God, receiving twice the blessing as before!
I used to think that these last 12 years are something that I will never get back, but I’ve actually gained more than I’ve lost. He’s given me another chance to be the girl who I’ve always been called to be. To live the life I’m supposed to live. At times I think I need to pinch myself, this can’t actually be happening. This can’t be the answer to the prayers of so many people. But what if it is? What if this is what I’ve been waiting for all along?
The same is true for you friends. What if this is just the beginning of something incredible?
Hang in there, He WILL restore your years that the locusts have eaten!
Abby Breuklander is a much welcomed repeat guest here on the blog. Her faith inspires and her journey is a testament to God’s faithfulness. You can find Abby on FB where she is active in several groups when she’s not guest posting, at The Pointed Life, Uniquely Yours Ministry, and Authentic Community.
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