It’s fitting that I would write the final post in this Baby Steps series on Thanksgiving Day. I had originally planned to write about the Names of God for 31 days, and I had it all planned out. But, at the last-minute I kept hearing Baby Steps. Baby Steps? Really? Even though I truly did not understand, I reluctantly pressed publish on that first post. I never realized where those 31 posts would take me.
My type A, slightly OCD self wanted to complete the series in 31 days, but about halfway through I realized it wasn’t even about the 31 days. It was about obedience, and He simply wanted me to focus and pay attention to all He has done in my life and mostly in my heart.
HE ROCKED MY WORLD! (Literally, at a concert.)
I saw online that Matthew West and Jeremy Camp were in concert together here in town, and I kept seeing the ad pop up. I felt like I was supposed to go, so on the night before the concert I looked at buying tickets. My kids did not want to go, so I clicked on the option for 1 ticket. There was only one ticket available on the lower level. It was on the third row, front, and center and it was the same price as the tickets in the upper level. My youngest said, “Mom you have to go and sit there!”
So I bought the ticket and I went by myself.
As I sat there waiting for them to come out, it hit me. One weekend back in 2014, I went away to the mountains by myself for a retreat. On the way there I sang, Broken Girl by Matthew West over and over. I wrote in my journal – God, do you hear me?
I wondered if he would sing Broken Girl tonight?
Then, I remembered that same weekend in the mountains, I got up on Sunday morning and visited a church. I wrote down the lyrics to their worship songs and promptly purchased them and played them on repeat over and over. The songs were Empty Me and My Desire by Jeremy Camp.
The music loudly boomed in my chest and I sat there and cried and cried throughout that concert thinking of all God has done for me. I’m sure the people beside me thought I needed Jesus, but He was right there! His presence was so real, and I knew I was truly loved.
Matthew West didn’t sing Broken Girl that night – He sang songs like “when you see wounded I see Mended!” and “but if it’s true You use Broken Things then here I am Lord, I am all Yours.” Jeremy Camp shared his story and he sang songs like, “You’re my defender, You fight for me, I will remember. You’re all I need, You are my healer, My remedy.”
New songs, new season. So very thankful.
In the elevator on the way back to my car, a lady said it was an awesome concert and she really enjoyed it. I said, “Me too! I just bought my ticket online last night and I was on the third row front and center.”
She smiled and said, “God saved that seat for you.”
That is just one way He revealed His love to me while writing this series. In looking back with fresh eyes and a new heart, I saw how He redeemed the worst of my memories. He gave me beauty for the ashes.
He restores it all, miracle after miracle.
I remember the first time I heard the verse, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.”
I thought, “Hogwash. Not these locusts. You don’t know my locusts! You don’t know the years, NOTHING can repay that. NOTHING can restore that.”
I was wrong.
But, I wasn’t convinced overnight. It took time, and it took many baby steps. With each step, my bitterness, unforgiveness, and rage oozed out, as He took me in His arms and filled me with His love, grace and peace.
No, it’s not overnight, but it is possible.
He truly restores, redeems and repays.
And, He’s not finished. He continues to probe deeper in my heart. He continues to reveal all of the ways He brings wholeness, restoration, and redemption.
Baby steps… it’s like when my children were learning how to walk. I didn’t stand them up and expect them to sprint. I got down on my knees in front of them, and I caught them in my arms. They knew they could step towards me because I was not going to let them fall. They trusted me. Eventually, I would back up even more knowing they could make longer strides. I cheered for them.
That is a beautiful picture of the healing God has done in my life, one step at a time. I stood there before him carrying the most broken, hidden and painful pieces of my life. He came down low, looked me in the eyes, opened His arms wide and asked me to take a baby step towards His light and His truth. With each and every step, I discovered more of His love and His peace. He brought comfort to the wreckage and He has truly restored all that was taken.
He has repaid me for the years the locusts have eaten, and He has filled me with joy. He continues to heal and restore.
And me? I will continue to write my story. I will give Him thanks and praise His name because he has worked wonders for me, indeed. He has taken away my shame and He has given me courage, hope and freedom.
And you? Imagine Him standing in front of you with His arms open wide. Will you take a baby step towards His light and His truth to discover His love for you personally?
Will you trust Him? You can do it!
Take a deep breath and a baby step.
He is faithful.
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed. Joel 2:25-26 NIV
This is post #31 in the Baby Steps series. To start at the beginning, click here.