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Not a New Normal, But a New Beginning.

The New Normal. We have all heard that phrase, right? From the emails we receive from our favorite shops, from our government officials, even on social media and every news outlet....the New Normal seems to be the push.

I am not going to call it that. Maybe because my normal imploded 15 months ago. Figuring out a new way of seeing things like love, relationships, commitment, provision, faith and friendship. Everything I ever knew and believed in literally blew up in my face. I am still trying to put pieces together, and replace the pieces that simply can't be put in the same puzzle....because they no longer fit who we were. Who I am now.

I binge watched a new show on Netflix titled Sweet Magnolias. I have now learned that it is based on a book series by the author Sherryl Woods (which is on my to read list even though I am not typically a fiction book reader as of late). I was instantly hooked in to the series storyline because one: Maddie and her heartache, while not completely identical, but incredibly similar. She gave her life and heart for a dream and a man she believed in, even sacrificed her skills and stayed home to help raise their children together...only for it to come crashing down and for what? Nothing.

Two: Her friends. And their encouragement that she deserved good. That she deserved better than the treatment she received at the hands of others. Their belief in her and they stood by her and loved her where she was at and helped her regain a lot of the self-respect and belief she lost while loving and serving a man who couldn't do the same.

Three: It was just ridiculously cute and I needed a quick temporary escape. I don't want to give it away, I want you to see it, but it gave me a fresh little pep in my step as I watched the characters through their own heartache and storylines develop their own version of new beginnings.

We are allowed new beginnings. New dreams. A fresh perspective of what is in front of us. I have certainly been doing my fair share of mourning what was and even questioning if what I used to have was actually good. But that is normal when you go through mourning. When you try to sort through the rubble and wonder if everything you are going through will be all worth it. Will your new beginnings be worth it? What if you didn't ask for it? What if this isn't what you necessarily wanted? I certainly never asked to be a single mom. I never wanted to have to file papers at a court house because someone broke their contract and decided they no longer loved me. I never asked for any of this.

But something God has been teaching me is that He rebuilds. He restores. It isn't always in the way that we hope. He doesn't always bring forth a new relationship (there is no handsome ex-pro baseball player turned high school baseball coach seeking my attention at the moment, much to my disappointment. Ha!). He doesn't always rebuild with financial success or prestige or any other worldly thing. Those are nice, but that is not necessarily the definition of healing or rebirth.

He does, however, restore people. He mends the broken-hearted. He whispers to us that our failures, and the messiness of our lives do not define us, but that He ultimately defines us. That all things will be for the good of those who love Him. We are being crafted and molded in new stories. Maybe these stories weren't what we asked for. I get it. But I am encouraged greatly by a verse that has been appearing in our recent small group:

Isaiah 58:11-12 (CSB)
The Lord will always lead you,
satisfy you in a parched land,
and strengthen your bones.
You will be like a watered garden
and like a spring whose water never runs dry.
Some of you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
you will restore the foundations laid long ago;
you will be called the repairer of broken walls,
the restorer of streets where people live.

We may find ourselves navigating the ruins and destruction and heartache of our lives at this moment. It is so painful to go through your broken home, to find remnants of what was once your normal, your dreams and a hope filled future.

But God will help you rebuild those ruins. You will restore the foundations and those foundations will be better than they were before. Stronger. Deeper. Wider. So much better that the gates of hell, no matter what they try to bring, they will not be able to tear it down. Because you have your God. And He will help you rebuild and mend your broken heart. It may look very different and the people in your story may not be the same. But He will help you repair broken walls and restore your heart and home.

What an incredible testimony you will be able to give when people ask you how you made it through. You will be able to say with all the confidence you can muster up:

He Restores and He rebuilds. That is the story.

Yes and Amen,

Tiffany Rhea

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