Today’s guest post is from Jerusha Clark. Jerusha is a speaker at our 2014 Hearts at Home conferences including the upcoming North Central Hearts at Home Conference November 7-8!
She’s the bestselling author or co-author of ten books, including Every Thought Captive, The Life You Crave,When I Get Married, Inside a Cutter’s Mind, and Living Beyond Postpartum Depression. With her husband, Jeramy, a discipleship pastor in San Diego, California, Jerusha thoroughly loves raising their two daughters. You can find her online at www.jerushaclark.com
When my daughters were little, they got a play kitchen from Grammy and Papa. This was no run-of-the-mill toy; it was a Disney-licensed Cinderella kitchen, complete with all the bibbity-bobbity-boo $79.99 can buy.
My girls created magical masterpieces with a plastic hot dog, some indistinguishable vegetable matter, and a chocolate-dipped ice cream bar. Of course, they wanted me to join in, especially while flipping pretend pancakes.
I really did want to play, but I was so tired sometimes. I was trying to homeschool and feeling inadequate. I was under deadline and didn’t know how to be a working mom. All the while, those nefarious dishes piled up.
When the girls started full-time school and I was alone more often, an unexpected weight of regret slowly descended on me. I couldn’t shake this thought: I didn’t play pancakes with them as often as I should have. The accusing thoughts didn’t stop there, however, nor were they limited to my role as a mom. “Not good enough” bounced around in my mind like a pinball, lighting up every brain cell with regret. “What if…” and “If only…,” the greatest anxiety-producing phrases in my vocabulary, gnawed at my heart.
I’m betting I’m not the only mommy who has experienced regret. Wounds of the past, choices we’ve made, fears about the future: they can eat us alive.
The Bible speaks of regret often, but God began to heal me with the words of one particular verse. Joel 2:25a proclaims, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…the destroyer, and the cutter.”
I didn’t know much about locusts, so I did a little digging. Did you know the Bible mentions locusts roughly 50 times? Swarms of locusts were the most dreaded natural disaster in the biblical world and remain one of the most devastating calamities today. When swarming, locusts can number in the millions, devouring all in their path and leaving in their wake a land stripped of life.
Destructive forces, like “locusts,” come into our lives in three ways:
- Uncontrollable circumstances devastate us (accidents, the death of loved ones, loss of a job, etc.).
- The sins of others ravage us.
- We act as “locusts” in our own lives.
In whatever manner “locusts” come, desolation follows. But the story doesn’t have to end there. God offers us freedom from, and redemption for, the years of our pain and regret.
Shalam, translated “restore” in Joel 2:25, is a verb related to the better-known Hebrew word for peace, shalom. This term connotes more than a lack of stress or trouble. Shalam speaks of wholeness and enduring peace now and forever. What mommy doesn’t long for this?
As I continued to dig, I found an article that connected John the Baptist with Joel 2:25. The Gospels record that John lived in the desert, eating locusts and honey (to which I thought, thank you very much, I’ll pass).
I always assumed that eating such a sparse diet proved John’s heart was fixed on heavenly, rather than earthly things. This author, however, suggested that, as the forerunner of the Messiah, John revealed that, through Jesus, the one that devours will be devoured. In Christ, whatever has destroyed your life and pierced you with regret cannot devastate you forever. Through Jesus, the years that the locusts have eaten can—indeed will—be restored.
Christ promises this, laid down His life to secure it, and extends the invitation of peace and redemption to all. We have a role to play as well. To partner with God in His work of redemption, follow the four “Rs”:
- Repent: not just “saying sorry,” but walking in the opposite direction of whatever is devouring your life.
- Revoke: breaking the power of the “locusts” in your life by praying about every specific regret, asking Him to take control of the situation, memory, and future consequences.
- Replace: Actively replace regrets and lies with God’s truth. Be specific! Don’t try to convince yourself “God loves me” or “God forgives me.” Find and memorize biblical truths —not just one—as proof (if you need help, use Bible resource tools like concordances, indexes, and compiled lists).
- Rejoice! Not surprisingly, this is my favorite part. Joel 2:26 describes the outcome of redemption so magnificently: “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.”
What a marvelous God we serve. All you mommies out there: whatever the locusts have eaten, God will restore. You will never again be put to shame. That, my friends, is very good news!