Blessings,  General,  Test,  Trial

Restoration and Redemption


Today’s post is written by one of my daughters, Alycia Neighbours, who is blogging for me as we enjoy an extended vacation.  You will be touched by her honesty and willingness to help others as a result of her own journey:

The prodigal son had reached such a desperate place of despair, he humbled himself to return to his home hoping to be treated as a slave and therefore better than where he had found himself.

The lost lamb finds itself separated from everything familiar due to its wandering and bleats out longing for rescue.

I was at my rock bottom. Separated from my family, having no friends and living in a life full of abuse, crisis and chaos. I had run from love – human and spiritual – and longed for peace, grace and redemption. I was the prodigal, I was the lamb and still I was found, redeemed and restored.(Photo by Daniel Sandvik on Unsplash)

The lesson from these three examples is that although it is the responsibility of the lost to return, it is the joy of the Father to redeem and restore.

Early in my journey of returning, I thought I would have to redeem myself by being good enough or deserving enough of restoration. It was exhausting work that was never completed and frankly, unobtainable by myself. It wasn’t until in the middle of a total physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown in the middle of the night on a cold bathroom floor that I cried out “I can’t do this anymore!!” that I was  quietly reassured by God that it was never my responsibility to do in the first place. My only job was to accept being found. Restoration and redemption is the work of God’s grace and love.

Once I turned over my restoration and redemption to God, He showed His grace and faithfulness in all areas of my life.

I was a widow of an abusive, loveless marriage – He brought to me a man after His heart, strong as a spiritual leader, tender with me and my daughters and a role model as a father.

The parents I walked away from have not only taken me back in with love and forgiveness, but they have become my best friends who play with me, pray with me and praise with me.

Having walked away from a child, I was convinced that I could never be a good enough mother – He blessed me with not only three more children of my own, but four of my new husband’s to raise and has begun restoration with the child, now man, I abandoned.

Although I really didn’t have many gifts, but I could doodle a little – He put his Holy Spirit in my hands and has allowed me to create amazing artwork in just about every medium to evangelize and help others see His beauty in nature.

He took my life of physical isolation and emotional bondage and shook it up. I spend my days now creating art, riding my horse, playing with a virtual zoo of rescued animals, hiking and kayaking. I’m free to be the “me” he created due to his restoration and faithfulness. All I needed to do was desire to be found, so now each day I wake up and pray “Find me, Father…I’m ready to be found.”

Have you found yourself in a place of desiring restoration and redemption? Have you ever felt that perhaps it might be too late or you’re too far gone? If so, believe these 3 truths:

1. The Bible is full of stories of people who were lost, discarded, rejected and abandoned. Yet, God was always there – in the middle of a desert, in the belly of a great fish, in the midst of a fiery furnace, hung on a cross…there is literally nowhere you can go that He won’t find you and be with you.  Joshua 1:9 says, “God is with you – wherever you may go and no matter what life brings.”

2. One thing God proved, not only with the popular figures of The Bible, but also with me…is that He never fails to love, adore and choose us daily. No matter what you did the week before or even the night before, His love is never turned away or disgusted by you. Psalm 143:8 reminds us of His unending love:  “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love.”

3. Not only does God seek out those who are lost, but He chose to die, knowing how rotten we could be, to prove His love and desire to be with us.  Romans 5:8 shows you “You were loved at your darkest”

The story of “you” is one giant love story in God’s hands. You were created for love, you were created to be pursued, you were chosen and you were worth dying for.

You can connect with Alycia Neighbours on FaceBook.  She’s a wife, mom, writer and quite an amazing  artist… here’s s sample. (sometimes I wonder how in the world we are related at all!). You can actually see her artwork on exhibition during September at the library in Hendersonille, TN.

Alycia Neighbours is a resident of Hendersonville, TN (where her art is on display at her local library!) who focuses her art pieces to be deeper than just a drawn image. She got her start through illustrating scripture and sermons to help her grasp a simple message through somewhat complex passages. In sharing this type of art with others, she found her God given gift and passion of “sketch-notes”

Alycia has taught several classes to others focusing on hand-lettering, simple images to convey words and how to express what is auditory into something visual. Her sketch-notes and Bible Journaling pieces have been shared nationwide and opens the door for many other opportunities. Including special commissions through her ink style, watercolor, acrylics, pyrography, sculptures and crochet.

Alycia enjoys an active lifestyle in nature which she credits to her inspiration for art. Whether riding her horse through trails, kayaking the local lakes, hiking with one of her 4 dogs, tending her mini-farm of goats and one sassy pig; she looks closer to find textures hidden in all that surrounds her. When she is not busy raising her 6 kids at home or off having an adventure with her husband, you can find her busy sketching these images out in hopes of touching more and more people to look deeper.

Banner Photo Credit: Blake Richard Verdoorn

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