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God is Passionate About Restoration


As I step into 2017, I feel the Lord is teaching me a little lesson about restoration. This lesson has brought Mark and I a significant measure of anxiety, but as I reflect back, I can't help but chuckle. The bible speaks so much about restoration, but how applicable is it in our everyday life?

Joel 2:25-26, ESV "I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame."

Pretty power-packed verse isn't it? I many a time have used it in my prayer for others and myself, but the last week, I came face to face with the reality of God's restorative power. Not only did God have to teach Mark this lesson, He too, just to hammer home the point, had to teach me.

MARK'S RESTORATION STORY #1

Last week, as Mark was scurrying about completing errands in the neighbourhood, he had come to realize mid way that he had lost his passport. As usual, he would, being the systematic person he is, start to sweep one room to another in search for his "lost treasure". Of course, word did not come to me about the missing passport until he was at his wits end and had to ask me to look in my car to see if it was left there by accident. I could hear the desperation in his voice as he tried to conceal the panic. The poor guy, must have suffered in silence for quite a while already -- fine. I agreed to walk with him to retrace his steps from the previous days in an attempt to find it.

Our first stop was the cell phone shop where he had last purchased a handheld device. Nope, not there. I remember thinking to myself -- gosh if it's really gone, the chance of finding it is quite low. If anyone had any sense of urgency, they would have kindly called the police to get Mark's contact info. Afterall, anyone would know the importance of a passport!!!

Being the "perfectionist" that I am, I felt a mild irritation arise, he was flying out to Manila in a couple of days, imagine having to cancel all his patients because of a lost passport! So professional!!! Thankfully, by God's grace, I have learnt to shut my mouth up and douse my critical spirit. Instead, I reminded Mark that we needed to pray that God would allow him to retrieve what he had lost. "Jesus, help Mark, please help him to find his passport, Papa", I muttered, "only You can."

Faith the size of a mustard seed? I think it's quite a challenge as the chances quickly faded into a sliver. As we walked under the hot scorching sun, from store to store, my prayer also became softer and softer, weaker and weaker. Better not to embarrass God if I proclaim so loudly about His goodness and later still find the situation has not changed, I thought...

Mark, I could tell by his gait, was starting to also become tired and at some point, he told me to go home while he would continue to search for the missing passport. I wasn't going to leave him alone for sure, we were in this together, we were sweating buckets, the poor guy. I have learnt that as a wife, if I was not going to make him feel better, I should just shut my cakehole and stand beside him for moral support, rather than to douse his hopes and spirit with my nagging. He's suffering already as it is, why add oil to the fire?

Our last stop was Courts, where he had also dropped by a few days back to purchase something. Mark had already called them earlier on to ask if there was any lost passport reported and they had said that nothing was found. Anyway, we had already walked half the afternoon away, what was another 2 minutes? As Mark approached the cashier counter and asked, the cashier nonchalantly spun around, reached into a drawer, and pulled it out. Oh gosh, you should have seen the look on Mark's face, the relief and tension melted away and his face broke into a huge grin. All we could do was to look at each other and thank the Lord profusely. Wow, Jesus, you would do that for Mark, you would help him to find his passport, just to see him smile. You would answer a almost faithless prayer... As we walked home, hand in hand, we were amazed at the goodness of our Father God. We started to declare his goodness and faithfulness over our lives. I was so thankful I didn't succumb to nagging and giving him a earful, which would have been my second nature to do.

As a wife, through this lesson, I know God is shaping me as a person, He's teaching me how to be a wife who only speaks blessings over her husband, who prays for and partners with him, who encourages and uplifts him (despite him being silly at times), who builds him up with her words. I want to be the best version of myself for my husband, and I know it takes me dying to myself daily. I want to love Mark the way God meant for him to be loved. It's very very difficult to, so God help me.

I thank God that through this lesson of restoration, He has shown Mark his faithfulness and has shown me how to love Mark the way he deserves to be loved.

ESTEE'S RESTORATION STORY #2

My heart sank when I realized that I did not have my cross diamond pendant around my neck. At what point had it been misplaced? Did I drop it somewhere, did it get snagged on my dress, did I leave it at the crossfit box? If so, which one? I had visited 3 boxes in the last 2 weeks across 2 countries! Is it in Manila or Singapore? Is it in someone's hands? The chances of finding a diamond necklace are close to zilch! Come on, it's worth quite a bit of money to anyone who picks it up!

ARRGGHHH, to make matter worse, I had been gifted with this pendant by my mother in law, and it was a heirloom from her mother! She had given me clear instructions to pass it on to my child in the future. Thoughts started to race through my mind, where was the first place I should go to have a replica made so that she would not find out? How much would it cost? Who would do it for me? I don't even remember the exact design of it, it was so intricate. It's exactly these kind of thoughts which drain the blood out of your face and leave your fingers numb.

"What's wrong, honey?" Mark looked at me, concern is written as lines on his forehead. Sigh, I can't hide anything from him, he sees me like an open book. "I can't find the diamond cross pendant mum gave me", I protest, pulling a sad face, hoping to elicit some sympathy. Maybe if I look very very sad, Mark may temper his anger out of pure sympathy. Good strategy, let's go with this! My husband looks at me, kindly asking me where I had last seen it. "Probably in Manila", I lament, brushing it off callously and hoping he wouldn't inquire further.

"OK, I'll contact the boxes there to ask if they have seen it". I then scrambled through my entire suitcase and jewelry box, in a desperate attempt to look for the missing pendant. "Jesus, help me! You helped Mark find his passport, please help me, Jesus!". Over and over again, I comb through the different cupboards but to no avail. Over the course of the next few days, Mark had also emailed the crossfit boxes we had gone to over the last 2 weeks and all of them had not seen the pendant. To rely on someone honest to return the pendant was close to impossible, worse still, there was no name attached to the pendant, how would any crazy person return it???

Let's just say that after a week of searching, any hope I could muster was like squeezing water out of a stone. "Jesus, but you did it for Mark!! Will you do it for me?" was the cry of my heart. This cry, had, along the course of that week, turned into a soft, discouraged, whimper. What made me feel even more rotten, was that Mark had not once raised his voice at me, or shown any sort of disappointment. It would have made me feel better if he had chided me, at least I would then be able to find a reason to get angry with him, and that would temporarily have taken my mind off my sorry state. His "kindness" made me "hate" myself even more!

After close to 2 weeks, I guess it was about time to face the situation and start looking for a jeweler and plan my course of action to "reconstruct from my memory the Enriquez heirloom". If I make it close enough to what it was, no one would know, or would they?

"Jesus, please help me, Jesus only You can.." In the last ditch effort before asking my mom if she had some spare diamond to donate to me, I proceeded to my room, picked out a pouch that I had looked at least 5-6 times into, and ran my fingers though the contents. My fingers casually brushed against a metallic object and as I grabbed onto it and lifted it up, lo and behold, in my hands lay my lost pendant! My instant reaction was to fall to my knees, tears streaming down my face.. "Jesus, Jesus", I sobbed, "Thank you Jesus for doing this for me"…

Was it possible that Jesus had placed the lost necklace into my pouch and led me to look for it one more time? I do not have the answers, I'm clueless to how the necklace was in the pouch. I had looked into that pouch so many times before, and so much more thoroughly! Whatever it was, it was lost but found! Oh, the joy and relief -- indescribable!

I immediately messaged Mark about the good news, my fingers still trembling in disbelief! We ended up rejoicing together, thanking Jesus profusely for coming through again, for 2 careless people. 2 careless lovers of Jesus!

That night, I spoke to Mark about how he had treated me the last 2 weeks. I was curious why he didn’t show any irritation or annoyance in the process -- I guess I asked because if the tables were turned and he had lost my family heirloom, I would probably have screamed half his head off -- just being really honest here.

His reply made me melt. "Honey, I take it that we are one. When you told me you lost the necklace, it was as if I had lost it too. I don't see us as separate people, we are one in the loss." OH MY GOD. Seriously, what kind of model answer and from what textbook is this???

It hit me.. this man God has joined for me to be with is truly showing me how God loves me. It is because of Mark's love for me that I see a glimpse of how my God loves me. It is his tenderness towards me that makes me want to love and serve Mark more in the best of my ability. Exactly how we love Christ, because He first loved us. I'm so, very blessed.

1 John 4:19 "We love because he first loved us."

RESTORATION FOR THIS NEW SEASON

If you have lost something and are believing God for restoration, be it time, finances, hope, a relationship, an item, whatever it is, Mark and I would like to stand in you with prayer for its restoration. He did it for us, He can do it for you!

"Father, I pray for my friend reading this. You know what they have lost and God as You restored the lost items to Mark and I, I pray that You will restore unto my friend the thing they desire to get back. Jesus, I rebuke the devourer and I ask in faith for your restorative work in their lives. Lord show them Your faithfulness, give them a taste of Your goodness, that through this, they will know so clearly that Your love for them is so immense that you would move the mountains for them. In Jesus name, Amen."