Today, was an errand sort of day. On my way, I drove past a very pretty house. The house is fairly new and one of those homes you stop and notice. If you were new to Overland Park, Kansas and you drove by this particular house, you would think nothing much of it – other than it’s super pretty. You’d admire the outside decor, plants, and the beautiful yard.
Then it hit me. It all started to come back to me. About twenty years ago, I lived in that area. I remembered that same street. Better, I remembered that exact corner. A chilling sense of gloom swept over me as I, in a split second, recalled what happened there.
I’ll tell you why. Brace yourself.
Many years ago, an extremely heinous crime occurred in that spot. I mean the exact same spot the beautiful home now sits. The crime was of monumental proportion and involved unspeakable acts of wickedness.
What happened there hurt me so much. As a young mother, I couldn’t even drive that street. I avoided it for months and months.
Because of what happened there, the house burned to the ground so all that remained for a very long time was an eery empty, vacant lot representing lots of pain and horror.
Empty seemed to be all that could occupy that tragic spot.
As life would have it, I actually moved from that area and no longer frequented it.
But, in the end, I guess a perpetual “empty” plot of land didn’t make sense for such a prime spot of real estate nestled in a beautiful suburb. So, they built another house.
Fast-forward back to today…
Anyway, I guess I had forgotten about that corner’s past when I was driving by the other day.
Funny, but the dread I used to feel passing that very spot was replaced. What replaced it? Actually, a sort of glee that comes with looking at something pleasing and elegant. That new gorgeous three-story home brought new life to a spot I used to avoid. Crazy, right?
God does the same thing all the time!
Passing the beautiful home reminded me of my own miserable life history and God’s astounding ability to restore what was once broken, painful, and empty in a life.
Like you, I have places in my heart that were severely wounded by things that happened and things that were taken.
He helped me! He restored me!
Just like the empty lot where the home was burned, my scars are now a beautiful testimony of God’s strength and faithfulness. Way back during my darkest times, when I wondered can God restore me? It felt hopeless. Although my heart was still beating in my chest, my life seemed over by all that had happened.
Back then, I saw little hope for making it through those dark times and I had even less hope for ever being happy again. Everything seemed damaged. It seemed done. Just like that plot of land in Kansas I couldn’t bring myself to even look at as I drove by.
Can God restore me? – I have another example.
I really want you to understand how desolate I felt. Let me explain it another way.
Have you ever seen a pleasant grassy area only to have a bunch of bare spots in random places? Those bothersome, ugly spots are visual interruptions to the sea of lush, soft green grass. I had a spot like that in my yard.
Then our handy fella planted grass seed in the spot and totally filled it in. Now, after some time, the yard is consistently pretty and green.
My hardest times of life were like the unsightly bare spot in my yard. Something once pretty and “alive” lived there; then it … died.
Thankfully, our guy knew how to restore that piece of land to what it was designed to be. Likewise, God knows how to restore your life to what it was designed to be. How do I know? He did it for me.
Go figure. It wasn’t “over” after all.
Back to the House
As I mentioned, it actually took me a few moments to even remember the dark, sad house had ever been there. The feelings I felt looking at it now were so happy.
If I use my imagination, I’ll bet a beautiful new family lives there now. I’ll bet children’s giggles fill the halls and many wonderful, new memories are being developed there every day.
In a way, that new house is the best sort of recovery for the land and for the community. It’s restored!
I can say the same in my own life today!
As I mentioned, I’m proof pain doesn’t deserve a landmark in your life.
Nor does the “bare spots” have to remain forever. No, there is a better purpose for your life – just like there was a better purpose for the land.
Keep on fighting toward your restoration, Christian Woman. Soon, you’ll forget the pain you now can’t seem to shake or overcome.
Your memory will change….
Not only do I remember all He brought me out of and through so much, but I think of how He restored what the cankerworm tried to steal (Joel 2:25). He planted that fresh seed and gave my “plot” a brand-new joyful purpose.
How faithful He was to transform my ashes (Isaiah 61:3) and memories into something beautiful? How many times I wondered can God restore me? I got my answer and it’s the same for you. YES! God can restore you too.
As you reflect on parts of your life now, please remember, sometimes it takes a while before the “beautiful” becomes your first thought, but it does and it can.
Eventually, the pain of calamity can be replaced by the joy of restoration. It’s up to you and whether or not you trust Him enough to get through it all.
Let me share what helped me most. I hope it helps you too:
- Read your Bible through your pain. Apply the Word as a medicine so you will be healed, reminded, and reestablished. There is healing in His Word. It does help! It really does!
- Stop the movie. I remember my cousin told me that one time. I recalled something painful and she said “No, don’t play that movie!” She meant for me to “gird up the loins of my mind” as the Bible says (1 Peter 1:13). She was telling me to think about something different. Your mind is powerful; control it.
- Remind yourself great days are ahead. God has something brand new and wonderful for you – just like the old, burned lot received new purpose (Psalm 27:13). Your pain also has a new purpose. It’s now a testimony to tell others of God’s ability to make all things new.
Hold on to your hope, so your infrastructure of pain can become something beautiful and praise-worthy.
Jesus can plant some seeds of hope, joy, love, healing and more! Again, I’m proof.
One day you’ll mentally “drive-by” it and it will be replaced by something super beautiful – a testimony that will help others and change someone’s life.