Hiking in the Grand Canyon was a mental and physical challenge. It required everything to push myself. “One foot in front of the other,” said a hiker who passed by. I saw her hike up past me slowly. How encouraging it was to hear those words.
We are need of encouragement every day especially in the steep and uphill moments of our lives where healing and restoration is a process, one step at a time.
I went through a tough healing process at a time in my life. Time didn’t heal my pain and heart. I hid behind ministry but that didn’t help either. Going out and distracting myself helped a bit but then a distant memory would trigger my mind to think of the loneliness I felt.
Old habits resurfaced and I created an unhealthy thought life. I assured myself I was okay. But I wasn’t. I had a bruised heart, unforgiveness reigned and sour outlook on life.
But I was Christian, right?! I attended Sunday services and Wednesday’s bible studies. I talked it out with my friends and family. But no matter what I did, I still didn’t feel like myself. I wanted the sadness to go away and be the old me again.
Healing and Restoration is God’s business. Open the Bible and you’ll confirm countless times the authors talk about about forgiveness, bitterness, pain, guarding your heart, prayer, etc. The very things I struggled with– God speaks of it in His word.
I read my bible during that time but I wasn’t truly believing God’s truths until an older woman in the church reminded me of God’s promises. I stepped one foot in front of the other. It took some time but it was the time needed for full restoration:
-I experienced a broken heart, yes, but God’s truths explained that God was, is and will always be in control: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3 NIV
-God’s truth says I am loved: “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 ESV
-God is sovereign: “Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40:13-14 ESV
–God is powerful: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” Isaiah 40:28 ESV
-God has never left me: “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV
-God says He will use this for good:“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 ESV
-My past doesn’t define me. I am free of it: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV
After allowing these truths to really sink in and believe them, memorize them and recall them– the healing began. I slowly saw how small my problems were compared to how big and powerful God is. I saw God as my Lord and first love. I realized how holy God is yet he still wants a relationship with me, a wretched sinner! I desired to be right with God again and truly leave behind my past and tangling sin. I wanted to be restored. But it required work on my behalf too.
I repented of my sin. I didn’t want to be the same person I was anymore. I wanted to truly live out my life for Christ and be right with God. I hated for I have done, how I hurt God. How I spat on what He did on the cross for me. I played a hot and cold Christian and I didn’t want to be in that game anymore. I prayed and begged for forgiveness and did not do it again.
God forgave me for my sin. I didn’t earn His forgiveness but He forgives out of grace and mercy. God can’t use a bitter heart for His glory. If I wanted to be a different me, I had to forgive others who hurt me. It wasn’t a onetime “okay I forgive them” prayer. It was more like forgiving them daily. Every time I remembered the hurt and pain, God gave me the strength to choose to forgive them. He made me see they are sinners just like me. He changed my perspective to see them as He sees them– with love, mercy and grace. God calls me to love them.
Restoration began. I had to learn who God was to me by digging in God’s word. I searched for God in the mornings and evenings. I don’t think I would be the woman, youth leader and sister in Christ I am now if I didn’t experience the heat from the fire. God allowed it to happen for a purpose. It caused me to search for God more, pray more, praise more, and live a life of worship. One foot in front of the other God fully restores.