A couple weeks ago our family closed the book on the year of Job.

If you’ve never read the book of Job in the Bible you should. I read it multiple times this last year, and each time I took something different from it. A few things I learned…

Job loved God through it all. Even when he was broken, and didn’t know how He was going to get through it.

Last year at our worst, my faith in God was the only thing I knew to cling to. That and Love. Which as we all know is one in the same.

In the book of Job, after his entire life has fallen to pieces in a pile of rubble his  “friends” visit him. At first they seem to be there to bring comfort. They cry, tear their cloaks, and sit with him. But after Job shares his heart, something shifts. Instead of empathy, they tell him why God is punishing him. Instead of comfort, they offer harsh words to a broken soul…”for his own good.” They speak of rules and the ways Job has failed. They speak righteously of how Job needs to repent. They speak from a place of judgment. There is no love in what they say. They are not good friends. They are selfish, and self righteous.

This last year our family had those visitors. For me it was a year long struggle with situations and systems that hide behind the word Faith. I spent the majority of my year when I wasn’t dealing with the year of Job, trying to discern whether I was going to leave the Church. Something, I never thought I could admit openly. But there, I’ve said it.  In fact I spent the majority of my year on my knees scribbling in my journal about these things. Pouring through scripture questioning God on what He wanted, where He needed me to be, and who He is/was.  But also questioning things that were much deeper and harder to contemplate. Things I was told were the truth but were not once said by Jesus, or in scripture. When I wasn’t doing that, I prayed desperately for the people I love in my life, that they would be blessed and have hope. I prayed that they would know love. I have never prayed so much as I did in 2019. But I was shattered in my faith.  My poor husband had to hear me over and over again like a broken record unravel about all of the things. So many things.  I’m so flawed as it is, and I already feel like I’m on an uphill battle to be better, to serve better.  In my brokenness I began to run out of words, and in my silence I began to hear. I learned in those moments of deep prayer and grief, who Jesus is. And who I serve. It led to some family changes, and some real conversations with our kids. We returned home to a place where my kids received their first sacraments. I fell back in love with roots, and not systems. And friends… At the beginning of 2019, I texted someone about a situation where I felt so alone and isolated. While that theme was constant, over time I began to see the beauty in being with those who want to show up for me. And letting them show up. And letting them stay and see me for me. Those who stayed saw a wreck of a person. But they still stayed.  I also learned to be ok with not being for everyone.

As for my kids…I’ve rewritten the part about “friends” and my kids in particular and deleted it multiple times. One of my kids experienced a vast loneliness that defined the last part of 2019. And all I’ll say is sometimes people are just not good friends, and are selfish, and someday I hope they realize how much their  actions hurt others. In the meantime I’m praying for them. Truly. Because my kids continue to be good to others, and I’m so thankful for who they are. My kids don’t need friends like Job’s friends. And I don’t need to feel lonely trying to be “friends” with people like Job’s friends.

These are only two examples of our year of Job. I figure because I’m already so wordy, I’ll spare you from the copious amounts other stuff.

And then…it was almost 2020.

Right before the new year I was praying for all of the people in our lives, and thankful that our family is still together and alive. (And the Lord said to Satan, “He is in your power; only spare his Life.” -Job 3:6) And suddenly in the space between gratefulness and brokenness- I heard the word “Restoration.” The voice was clear and spoke directly to the center of my heart.

I suddenly felt a wave of peace, but I didn’t know what that meant. Soon after I became distracted by life and went on with my day.

A few days later I attended a conference in Toledo Ohio with my son Jonah. I was apprehensive before we went, but after being there I got a lot out of it. During one of the talks, my thoughts began to wander back to last year and I felt the urge to read the last chapter of Job again. In fact I felt called to read Job 42:10. I kept hearing that verse over and over said by that voice again. The same one that said “Restoration” to me.

I opened up Job 42: 10 and read these words:

And so the Lord RESTORED what Job had lost when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD doubled all that had belonged to Job.

Ooh good mic’ drop there God.

So, here we are.

Restoration. 2020.

The more I’ve researched the word restoration the more I’ve began to understand what it entails for us.

Restoration can only happen when we can be honest about where we are at. When we can sit in the ashes and be real about our brokenness.

People won’t restore. People will fail.

I won’t restore. I will fail.

Only God will restore.

But there’s more to it. There’s always more.

My husband was reading through the book of Hosea, and God placed some words directly on his heart. If you don’t know my husband, he is a good man- who works so hard to be a better man. And If you don’t know the book of Hosea, read it. Hosea was called to marry  a prostitute. He fought her world for her. It’s better than reality tv. And it’s  a love story. To us.

In it God says: “I want your love, not your sacrifices. I want you to know me more, not your offerings.” Hosea 6:6

Another mic’ drop.

As a couple we’ve kept going back to those words as we welcome restoration. You see, when we get stuck on all the “rules” we lose sight of God.

As a family we will look to Jesus’ example. We will love Him, and we will love others. We will fight for the marginalized. I’ll turn tables if I have to. We will sit with the broken. And we will remember we don’t get to determine who is a child of God.

He does.

He wants our love.

He wants us to know him.

Just like Job, we are coming forth as gold in 2020. Restoration has already started, in our realness. In all our failures and brokenness. It is all so beautiful, especially because we know.

we know…we know. 017F7C25-7B35-4FCD-91D1-EE04A0C2B85D.jpeg

(Writer Disclaimer: this is a real account of  recent events. This is based on my life and my opinions, and my heart. I am not a theologian, I’ve never claimed to be one. This is just my life. And I know who I serve.)