As the New Year rolls around, Restore is taking time to refocus. What exactly are our goal and plans for 2018? Asking God for "one word" has proven effective and a great way to stay on task throughout the year. The beautiful thing about the "one word" concept is that you get to always keep the old words. Propelling forward, living intentional, staying focused, etc. continues to be a part of who we are. However, in 2018, God is calling us to a new level. He is calling us to PREPARE! I'm excited about our new word.
The meaning of prepare is “to make something or someone ready for something that will happen in the future… to make ready beforehand for a specific purpose”. That is how we will focus our efforts in the upcoming year. We will PREPARE! Breakthrough is coming. I believe many of the millions of people who have been hurt by abortion are longing to be healed. Our stories of shame and guilt, along with our stories of restoration, are making a difference. As we continue to break the silence, to share our stories and the Truth of God's Grace and Mercy, people are getting ready. No longer do they want to hide behind this secret. Breaktrhough will happen and Restore must be ready. We must make a way to shepherd these wounded sheep. We must “make ready for this purpose”!
Psalm 23 has become the "life verse" for the Restore ministry. This psalm paints a beautiful picture of a sheep and their shepherd. Shepherds not only guard their flock-they also bring healing. That is what Restore does. We help bring healing and restoration to God's wounded flock. I believe God has called Restore to be a shepherd to mothers, fathers and every person affected from the pain of abortion.
I grew up on a farm…a cow and pig farm. Our house sat high on a hill. Across the valley was another farm...a sheep farm. Raising sheep was unique in our rural area. Watching them was a treat for me. I could peek out my bedroom window and see the sheep gaze every day. Day after day they would scatter across the well manicured hillside, eating grass and drinking from the stream. Late in the afternoon their owner, their shepherd, would call them home. They always knew his voice. Immediately, and in perfect formation, they would journey home one after the other. As a child, I never connected this beautiful scene to the biblical promises of Psalm 23, but the imagery of the gazing sheep has always been vivid in my mind. As my love for the Lord has flourished, this image means even more. The shepherd loved his sheep, he took perfect care of them and they loved him.
One of the verses in Psalm 23 says... "He prepares a table before me!” While there are a number explanations for this verse, there is one that stands out to me…I think it speaks to Restore. In King David’s shepherd world, a “table” was not a wooden piece of furniture; instead, it was a designated piece of land. It actually had perfect measure and was used by the shepherds to help their wounded flock heal. Healthy sheep did not care for ill sheep. At best, they would go over to the sheep and eat all the grass around them. At worst, they would butt them and push them around. To help care for the wounded sheep, the shepherd would mark out an area (20 ft x 15) of grassy land. He put his rod on one side and his staff on the other. After he had placed his cloak at the bottom, he laid down at the top of the protective rectangle. With all sides protected he would place his wounded lamb in the center of the plot. This became a safe haven with plenty of food and water. No other sheep dared to cross over the rod, staff, cloak or shepherd. In the presence of his enemies, the hurting sheep now had a “table” to protect him. The Shepherd was faithful to tend to his sheep and helped him heal.
What a beautiful parallel for Restore. We have been the wounded; we know the hurt and shame. We also know the Redemptive power of Jesus Christ! Now, we are called to shepherd those who are in need. Restore is committed to our call. We count it all joy. As we help others find freedom, God gifts us with eternal friends and with blessings too many to count.
The New Year is unfolding; Restore is “Preparing a Table". We thank God for allowing us to be His healing vessel.