I've seen many different seasons in my life and I've observed them in others’ lives too.Seasons of illness, seasons of healing, seasons of pain and seasons of joy. Seasons of little and seasons of abundance. But as I participated in worship last Sunday morning I observed a season coming right from the platform. And it is a beautiful one. It is one of restoration.
This goes back to those sweet memories I have from singing on the youth praise and worship team. The practices and services were spent with a couple of my closest friends. Katie sang and Mandy played bass guitar. These girls were involved in almost all the youth activities. They participated in Christian groups at school, like Youth Alive and See You at the Pole. I went to concerts and conventions, football games and movies with these ladies. They were strong Christian friends of mine, even were bridesmaids in my wedding.
Life took some unanticipated turns early. About a year after graduating high school, my precious friendship with Mandy began to crumble. To sum the whole situation up, drugs divided us. I grieved my friend. At night, my husband would hold me as I would sob for the girl I no longer knew. I loved her and couldn’t do anything to change the course she was taking.
Six years passed before we spoke. It was incredibly painful. But what was worse was to know the personal torment my friend had to go through before steering back to right path. She lost custody of her two baby girls, she experienced jail and rehab, among other things.
Some may judge and make comments that she was deserving of any heartache she felt along the way; that she reaped her consequences. But I say that we should all attempt to walk in graciousness because we’ve been given an abundance of it. No, it may not be drugs, but we all fall short. Romans 3:23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard;” and remember in John 8:7 Jesus saying, ““Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”?
Now, let me share with you what I saw last Sunday. I saw Mandy back on the praise and worship team playing her bass guitar. I was overjoyed! Absolutely overjoyed! My friend illustrates I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness;” and Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Let me share with you some other gifts the Lord gave to Mandy. HE restored her children to her. HE restored her to have a healthy marriage. HE restored her to be blessed with another baby. And now she is up on that platform giving HIM glory with talent HE blessed her with long ago.
Nothing is too far out of our Father’s reach. Nothing can separate from the love He has for us. It’s never too late. It’s a testimony that inspires me to continue to pray for those moms we see too often in the NICU. The unfair reality of a drug addicted baby provokes sadness and anger. But my hope for these babies is that their moms will, at some point, be like my friend and experience the life changing restorative power of Jesus Christ. He is my hope.
Be blessed today as you share His love and grace to others; no matter what season they’re in!
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