Wednesday, January 25, 2012

From Revival to Rejuvenation

This time last year I wrote a post about my word for 2011, which originally sprung from my listening to a K-Love morning show in early January 2010 that requested people call in with the words they felt God had given them for that year. I didn't call in - and normally don't participate in these rhetorical questions - but the word restoration immediately came into my mind and heart. And it didn't disappear throughout the year.

That year was one of true restoration for many of my family relationships, which had previously been broken beyond what I thought was repairable. Would they continue? Yes. Would they ever be as vibrant? I didn't think so. But God has made them even better than they ever were before. Immeasurably so.

I also lost 40+ pounds that year, we finally found out what was wrong with Tonto's knee and my girl eventually completed 14 months of therapy on her elbow. And she had full range of motion. Hallelujah!

A number of other things happened as well (some not so happy) but it was really a year of total restoration. No question.

My word for 2011 was revival and, honestly, that word scared me a bit. But in true "I know what's best for you" fashion, He wouldn't let me shake it. For many of my friends, last year was an amazing one filled with marrying their soulmate, welcoming long-awaited children, experiencing incredible professional growth, building/buying new homes, etc.

If you've been reading here for more than 10 minutes, you know that's not the kind of year we experienced.

It was a hard year but there were bright spots - I did get a promotion at work, Tonto found some relief for his chronic knee pain, we took a number of fun family trips and followed Baylor football throughout the State of Texas.

But when I think of 2011, those aren't the first things that come to mind. The first thing is that I lost a baby in April. The second is that He used that pain and, in my mind, very unfair situation, to bring about a personal revival.

I am much more healthy - physically, mentally and spiritually - right now than I was a year ago. My options were to become bitter (which, honestly, I did for a while) and turn away from Him (which I did not do 98% of the time) or walk through this trial with Him and become better. 

I've said many times it wasn't a choice because I wouldn't have survived without Him. But the truth is we all have a choice. And many times I make the wrong ones. Daily, in fact. 

But what I learned last year is that revival doesn't just happen in a tent or during a week long preaching series. It doesn't just happen when things are going well and we have an abundance we can't help but share with the world.

For me, the greatest revival of my life happened in the midst of more tears than I've probably cried in years. In fact, up until almost a year ago, I would have told you if you saw me crying it's because I was mad. That's just what I did. Sad didn't make me cry but being mad and out of control, well, that set me off something fierce.

Obviously God has a sense of humor because, cumulatively, I probably shed some type of tear (angry, joyful, helpless, sad, hopeful) six months of 2011. :-)

Revival in my home happened when the one thing I wanted more than anything alluded me. When the one thing I thought would complete my family was taken. The truth is that all I (or any of us) need is Him. And, to be truthful, had I been on maternity leave with a sweet babe, I would have never worked on any project with the word "Heisman."

He blessed with with a professional experience I may never have again. And, when I realized that a few weeks ago, I had tears in my eyes yet again.

I say all this only because I've been in the valley and could possibly return there tomorrow. But all is not lost there if we allow Him to meet and carry us through.

As for this year? Well, it's rejuvenation with a side of redemption. Apparently the Lord shares my love for alliteration. And I can't wait to find out what this one means. Unlike last year, I have given absolutely no thought to what it might entail. My plan simply doesn't matter. His does.