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I'm still powering my way through more and more of Terri Blackstock's novels. I just finished book number four in the Newpointe 911 series. I enjoy reading the Author's Note in the back of the book where Blackstock shares a short message about what has been on her heart as inspiration for the book.
The fourth novel, Trial by Fire, centers around a group of hate-filled individuals that are burning churches and killing people "in God's name" and the people of Newpointe are trying to figure out who these people are. One woman, Issie Mattereaux, learns that her newphew is mixed up with this group. She is known around town for her loose ways but she doesn't want to see her nephew in with a bad crowd, either. Through the book she becomes close with the preacher of one of the burned down churches but he knows there can't be anything there since she doesn't believe there even is a God, let alone that He could love her.
Spoiler alert: By the end of the novel Issie has given her life to Christ and fully realizes just how amazing God's grace is. She receives the peace that passes all understanding and becomes a new creation.
In her author's note Terri Blackstock shares about meditating on Psalm 23, specifically the first part of verse 3.
As I was reading her words about the verse I was filled with wonder and gratitude about how much restoration God actually does. The initial restoration of our souls is huge - especially for those of us who come to Christ later on because we understand the gravity of our past choices. But he daily restores us. His mercies are new each morning!
He restores our souls when we are tired and weary because the kids won't stop bickering or can't seem to figure out what "listen to me" means. He restores our souls when we lose our cool, even over the simplest things. He restores our souls when we are hurting over our circumstances. Over and over and over God restores our souls. It isn't a one time restoration but He brings it again and again as we need and ask for it.
What do you need your soul restored from this week? Are you drained because of something going on in your life right now? Bring it to God and ask for restoration! Are things stressful and your patience is wearing thin? Bring it to God! Are you going through some health problems that are wearing you down? Bring it to God! Ask God for your reset.
Have you heard of breath prayers? I first heard about them in Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall. The premise is simple - pray short prayers in sync with your breath. "We pray a name of God as we inhale and a desire of our heart as we exhale." (Loving My Actual Life) Breath prayers seem perfect for those moments when we need our souls restored. Usually when I'm feeling tapped out, when I need to be filled with God, I don't have it in me to list out everything I'm struggling with at the moment. I just need Him. Breathe in, Heavenly Father. Breathe out, Calm my frustrations. Breathe in, Lord Jesus. Breathe out, Bring me strength. Breathe in, Father God. Breathe out, Restore my soul.
I'm looking forward to pairing these two together so when I need to feel refreshed and need to spend time with God but maybe don't have time for long amounts of quiet I can work in breath prayers. In the car while driving? Perfect. Before beginning an uncomfortable conversation? Absolutely. That moment between hearing the crash and rushing to find out what the kids did? Yes, very much yes.
He restores my soul. I'm just going to keep repeating that so I can absorb what that really means. He restores my soul. Breathe in, Father God. Breathe out, Restore my soul.
I'm linking this up over at 152 Insights to My Soul for Three Word Wednesday.