My Hope Is In You

“For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”  Psalm36:9

I think every parent has, more than just a time or two, experienced gripping panic when it comes to the well-being of their children.  I know I sure have!  None of us has all the answers, and we certainly don’t have the ability to prevent every possible difficulty and heartache.  There’s not a parent in the world who knows how to navigate perfectly all the scenarios that would arise while bringing up their children.   Sometimes we’ll meet someone or observe from a distance one who seems to have no weaknesses as a parent.  The truth is that we are all vulnerable to finding ourselves lost in a sea of confusion and struggle at times, just trying to do right by our kids.  It’s not easy.  It’s just not.  We parents continually need encouragement and forgiveness and wisdom.   Parents have to contend with a complicated and flawed world that has dangerous and destructive ideas.  We are trying to navigate a million different philosophies, “truths”, principles and approaches to raising our kids; all the while learning more about our own inadequacies.  We are discovering and working on things we need to change in our own hearts and minds while trying to instill a standard in our kids’ beliefs and character that we have yet to see perfected in ourselves. 

Our tasks in discerning and detecting areas that need attention concerning our children can be downright overwhelming.  We try to be ever vigilant in protecting them.   But when you mix in even a little guilt with mistakes and missteps we are likely to find ourselves longing for peace of mind. How do we stay strong and effective in caring for our precious kids when we don’t exactly know the best way to proceed?

Experience has taught me that my deepest times with God are when my circumstances (whatever they may be) are the most unresolved or even desperate.  Though the path may be too dark to see ahead and doubt is all around, God is there and He is at work. Often, in just such times, a prayer will pour out of my heart and on to the pages of my journal.  Often just such a prayer will concern the needs of my children. I’ve learned that when I choose to trust God, He gives me the words to pray and the Scriptures that confirm to my soul that He hears me, that He holds my kids. This trust brings a peace that breathes hope back into the circumstance.   When the answers don’t come to mind I read the pages of the Bible until I hear His voice of truth.   The answer isn’t always specific or even clear, in fact, most times it’s neither.  When I finally quiet my soul and rest my panicked heart, His voice is enough to comfort me even if I still don’t see what the answer could be. 

As parents we tend to think that no one understands our particular challenges, leaving us feeling disconnected from each other. Though each home and parent and child is unique, we need to remember that we are not alone.  One of the most powerful sources of faith building and encouragement in my own life is hearing the testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the lives of others.  We will all have stories on the other side of our trials that will encourage someone else. Parenting is no different. May God use our lessons learned for His good in someone else’s life. 

Parenting is a job with matchless responsibility.  It is huge and it is great!  God is the One who works miracles in the lives of our children.  Our part is to learn to lean heavily upon Him and to listen to His voice, praying continually.  He is ever building character and faith in us and in our children.  Remember, God loves our kids more than we as human beings could ever love them. He hears our prayers.

You Restore What Cannot Be Restored

How many times have we been certain of something being beyond repair; a totaled car, a dilapidated old shack, a favorite pair of old boots?  Usually, it is fairly obvious when we need to give up on that lost cause and move on.  It’s a different story, though, when we are talking about people, relationships, illness, broken hearts, wandering souls.  Maybe we have been in desperate situations or someone we love is in trouble somehow and we’ve thought things like:  How can this ever be fixed?   This dream that was once so full of promise is now dead.  There are no do-overs.

Several years ago I was sitting in my bedroom contemplating the burden I carried for a loved one and feeling overwhelmed that I could find no way to imagine a mended outcome for their situation.  I clearly heard the Lord speak to my heart that evening that He restores what cannot be restored.  I understood that God was meeting me in my anguish to show me that there was hope even in this impossible situation.  I picked up my guitar and started singing, “You restore what cannot be restored.”  I sang it over and over again, crying tears of worship in the presence of a God who can do anything.

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Sometimes we may look around and perceive all the beauty that once held promise, appear to merely be contained in a distant memory.  All we can see are the broken places that need healing and restoration.  I wrote this prayer some time ago when it seemed there were just too many battles to face.  I believe that God hears and that prayer is powerful.  Many times it is easier for me to have a prayer written down and to pray it out loud.  As I pray I can feel my heart gain courage and assurance, leaving my burdens in His care.  He is bigger than anything that scares us or threatens to destroy us or our loved ones.  He sees and knows all and He is Lord over everything.

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Prayer

O God, who raised Jesus from the dead, would you breathe life into our family?  Will You turn the ashes of brokenness into beauty?  Will You restore eternal things; dreams, hearts, futures, unto You?  Will You in all Your glory and mercy remind us once again who You are, and may not a single one of us miss it or choose another.  Let apathy be a place that none of us is willing to inhabit.  May we care about what You care about.  Will You remove the stronghold of fear from every one of our hearts?  May we not be bound by the past or by unbelief.  Will You set our hearts free to live in You and for You?  Lord, bind the enemy’s plans and expose his lies.  May we be free and joyful and passionate in You.  May ours be a family marked by Your love and the life You gave for us.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…  Ephesians 2:4, 5

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You restore what cannot be restored

You restore what cannot be restored

You spoke to me and You said to my heart that

You restore what cannot be restored