Today is the first day of Advent.

It seems impossible for Christmas to be upon us, doesn’t it?  The year has gone way too fast.

Abandoned Manufacturing Plant - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

Do you observe Advent?

I know many with younger children click off the days’ march towards Christmas with candies or gifts.

Others may light candles each night and read verses.

And still others decorate a Jesse Tree.

 

Advent is a time of preparation.

A time when we prepare our hearts for our Savior.

A time when we await his second coming.

And a time when we rejoice in his first coming

 

Old industrial tower - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

Typically I don’t follow the liturgical calendar…
but there’s something significant about following it for Advent.

Some of the scriptures chosen are not ones I regularly read and so in the doing, it’s like heavy curtains get pushed back on the windows opening to my soul.

It’s with that expectation I went online and found the Revised Common Lectionary for Advent 2014.

The following verses are for the first week of Advent:

I read through all verses listed here.

 

In the past, many of the Advent scriptures seemed more historical.

Now the texts seem more relevant.

Maybe because I had a difficult day. Or year. Or two years.

Maybe because my heart is so weary.

 

These words were the cry of my heart.

Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

Psalm 80:3

 

When we embarked on this new year, back in January, when it was squeaky clean and filled with promise, just a blink ago…

RESTORE was my word for the year.

In my heart I was anticipating God’s restoration in our lives…

  • A new ministry for my husband after being displaced for way too long.
  • A new home for me after having my household in storage for an incredibly long time.

I believed with my whole heart that God would be moving in some incredible ways on our behalf.

This year!

 

Abandoned factory - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

But, here we are and things have not been restored.

Instead,  we’ve incurred additional losses, including having to say goodbye to our 10 and 15 year-old fur babies.

 

I have absolutely no doubt that God is able to restore our lives.

I know better than to ask why he’s chosen not to… yet.

And more than anything, I know that when we are restored, it will not be of our doing, but his.

 

I know God can’t be pushed.

I know that when I try to get ahead of God he doesn’t bless my efforts.

And I know that even though I may not see it… he is working on our behalf.

 

This scripture is a good reminder:

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

 

More than anything, God wants us to relinquish our wills to his.

But, to be honest…

As a strong-willed child and now adult… it’s a constant struggle for me.

I know he is shaping each of us.

And as he does, I will keep trusting that he not only hears my cries for restoration,

he has already been working in ways I can’t even imagine to bring it about.

 

Abandoned Warehouse or Factory - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

Some days are filled with challenges and difficulties.

Mediating on these verses will help us keep it all in perspective…

Just think–you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all!
All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master
Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale.  And not only that, but God himself
is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped
up by Jesus.  God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us
the life of his Son and our Master Jesus.  He will never give up on you.
Never forget that.

1 Corinthians 1:7-9

 

I have to tell you… I was not in a good place when I sat down to write to you.

But, after going through the Advent scriptures from the Lectionary, and relating them to my journey, I feel better.

I’ll still be asking God for his favor and restoration.

While I do that, I’ll try harder to concentrate on the truth… with a capital T.

And give thanks!

 

How about you?

What are you struggling with?

What do you need to do to get on track?

 

Winter scene of an abandoned waterfront factory - AnExtraordinaryDay.net
This isn’t the expected “feel good” Advent post, nor are the photos the usual beautiful nature captures usually seen here.

Why?  Because, we live hard.

There’s abandonment, brokenness, and loss.

The landscape of our lives needs restoration.

Which is why Jesus came.

He came to restore, to rebuild, and redeem.

He came to make us sisters and brothers… joint heirs.

That’s why he came as a babe… and then died a cruel death.

All because of a Father’s love.

God the Father… who sent HIS son.

And for that we have Advent… and the expectation that the best is yet to be seen.

 

If you’d like to observe Advent… you can start at any time.

I explained the observance and the meaning here.  You can see my not-so-typical advent wreath here.

Whatever you choose to do… keep it simple so that you stay with it.

 

 

It’s Joy Day!

The day we set aside a portion of time to look back over the past week and count our blessings and give thanks.   It’s in this counting and thanking that our hearts are filled with joy.

Won’t you join me in counting just ‘seven’?

I’ll start!

Thank you God…

  1. that restoration will come.
  2. for safe travels in spite of the weather.
  3. for family time.
  4. for breakfast with a good friend.
  5. for blessing my friend with her heart’s desire.
  6. for knowing that in spite of my computer issues… you’ll make a way for me.
  7. for your hand of provision in my life.

Now it’s your turn!

In the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts” below, list your ‘seven.’ I dare you!

Want even more joy?  Take the Joy Dare here.

 

Thank you for stopping by today.
I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.

Joyfully!
Diane

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Comments

  1. Debbi Saunders says:

    Hello Diane, To be very honest with you, I myself have not been in a good place these last 2 days and I wasn’t going to join in Joy Day this week! My Oldest Fur Baby passed away at 2:00 this afternoon, I have been struggling and questioning my faith journey, I feel out of sorts , very disconnected, lonely, wondering about so many things…But here I am, so let me begin….
    I am Thankful to God:
    1. For The Time off these last few days for Thanksgiving…
    2. I am grateful to HIm for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and Dinner with my son Jordan…
    3. That Jordan and his Professor are working so hard to get my computer repaired!!!!
    4. that you are working on a restoration of my Home….
    5. for the wonderful surprise visit from my Brother, Saturday and bringing me yet another surprise…a Samsung
    Galaxy 3 tablet! He knew that I needed to be able to go online and read my emails, devotionals, blogs and FB and being able to Post on my FB Prayer Warrior Page!
    6. I am so grateful to God for my Brother and Son and Nephews…..
    7. also for His provision in my Life!!!
    Thank you for Joy Day!

    • Debbi…my heart breaks with yours at the death of your precious kitty. A fur baby is like family and it hurts sooo very much. I wish I could give you a hug and tissues for your tears. I am so sorry.

      I think it’s normal to have ups and downs on this journey and to second guess ourselves and God. God knows and still hangs on to us, regardless of how hard or little we hang on to him. That’s always a comfort to me. Sometimes our own stubbornness and desires keep us from that closeness. Actually there all kinds of reasons… but what counts is that we acknowledge the spot where we are and step towards obedience and off our own thrones. My agenda seems of utmost importance to me…yet God often has other ideas for this wonderful, scary, awesome adventure. Keeping in mind that he *always* desires the best for us and is working on our best interests even though we don’t see it and don’t experience it… yet. There is that thing called *yet*. There hope lies… when we trust the one who is our hope. And there we will see things come together for our good and God’s glory.

      Debbi… God and your brother are so gracious to love and care for you. I rejoice with you in this wonderful gift and how it will help you to stay connected.

      Thanks for deciding in the end to join in Joy Day! I hope it caused your joy meter to rise and for your heart to be encouraged. {{hugs}}

  2. I have no extraordinary thoughts or bits of wisdom, but wanted you to know that I really appreciate your transparency and testimony on Facebook and in the blog world. I enjoy all your posts very much and especially today’s.

  3. Joy Day.
    As you know brain injured so I have bouts of deep deep sorrows for no reason. These last few days have been like that.
    1. Phone call from a helper from church for tomorrow to do my laundry when I was beside myself
    2. I did get to go here in town to daughters house forv Thanksgiving
    3. Warm days4.
    4. Nice talks with people
    5. Gods Word at just the right moment
    6. Christmas Camelias all abloom
    7. I can’t think. I’m tired now.
    Pray for my husband. After much improvements after a stroke during a surgery on his neck his body threw a clot and he had a stroke at 53. So young. No clogged arteries. Strong heart. An accident. But he’s starting to show strange and declining symptoms. I’m sad. He’s not working and never signed up for disability until this week so I pray it will help keep us afloat.

  4. Tammy Churchill says:

    Thanks for a great and timely post. I more formally observed Advent for the first time last year and loved the difference it made – it seemed to transport me far away from all of the bustle of the season. I am not familiar with the Liturgical calendar, so I appreciate the link and will perhaps incorporate it into my other daily readings. Restoration IS coming, and I join you in being extremely thankful for the Hope that is only found in Him. Blessings!

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