by Tammy Phillips
June 25, 2021
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” (Joel 2:12-13 NKJV)
Begin again day was March 1, 2021 for me. Begin again day is really every day.
“I was so sad about my weight, but I could not stay in that place. I had a choice to keep doing what I was doing and get the same results, or I could choose differently and step into my future. I had to make a change. I had to forgive myself for wasting so much time and so much life. I had to choose to become content in the journey. I had to surrender completely if things were going to change.” -My journal entry
Holy Spirit guided me to JOEL 2 where the Lord said:
“Turn back to Me with all your heart.”
Come back to Me
Return to Me.
Be restored to Me.
Be renewed in Me.
Be brought back to Me again.
Begin again with Me.
The Lord wants our whole heart. He is a jealous God. He doesn’t want to occupy 80%. He wants all of it. It seems like the last 20% is the hardest to completely surrender. Then He tells us:
“Rend your heart.” Who wants to be torn up? Who wants a broken heart? By definition rend means to tear to pieces, tear open, to separate in parts with force of sudden violence. God does not like any sin. If we have idols in our life or sin that is not dealt with, God wants our hearts to break for what breaks His, sin. He wants us to turn our back on that sin, turn to Him and tear that sin from our heart.
We respond by saying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a contrite and broken heart you, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:10, 17 NIV) It is only when we tear up our heart, grieve over our sin, and make room for Holy Spirit to occupy that place of darkness that the Great Physician can begin the mending and healing of our heart. Sin is like a tumor or stain on the heart that needs to be removed, so that we can be whole healed and complete in Him. Sin must exit for us to fulfil our purpose, our design, our end. The LORD dashes in with sutures of mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness. And He sews our brokenness and open wounds from sin back together. Psalm 147:3 tells us that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
I have never seen a renovation project that did not begin with tearing things up and making a huge mess. Holy Spirit used a mini-reno in our home to demonstrate what He means when He said, “Rend your heart.” Brayden’s bedroom has also served as a guest and storage room for his leftover college items. The Lord showed me that his room has served its purpose, but it was time for a mini renovation. It was time for the room to have a restored purpose. My younger son’s fiancé plans to stay with us as she begins her physical therapy clinicals. The closet and wardrobe drawers were messy and full. I needed to make room for her and get rid of some things. I tore the room up and put it back together again, better than it had been before. I created a huge mess, but piece by piece, the room was refreshed. I threw away a “few pieces of trash” that I equated to sin. I reorganized and transformed the space for Caroline to easily come and live with us. Getting rid of sin is like cleaning up your house and welcoming God to come abide in a clean place, free of the things He hates.
Thank God we don’t have to “rendovate” alone. We turn to God in our weakness. Our heart breaks for our sin. We stay focused on God and then He begins the renovation project of us. It is messy. It is hard. It is not easy. When we stay focused, the restoration can be a fast. If we lose focus, it can be slow or even come to a stand still. The renovation depends on how many detours we throw in God’s way. Sometimes, we just have to begin again.
TURN to the LORD your GOD. Be restored. Be renewed. Be refreshed. Be renovated.
The Lord is gracious, full of mercy, inclined to compassion and shows favor.
The Lord is merciful, full of compassion, loves deeply and tenderly.
The Lord is slow to anger, long suffering and patient during the reno.
The Lord is of great kindness, gargantuan goodness, mucho mercy, and lavish lovingkindness.
The Lord relents from doing harm.
I enCOURAGE you to rend your heart. Allow your heart to break for what breaks His. Turn to Him. Surrender your whole heart and allow Him to mend, heal, restore, renew, and refresh you. The end result, He always does great work. “Fear not. Be glad and rejoice. For the Lord has done marvelous things.” (Joel 2:21)