The word RENEW seems so “refreshing”... doesn’t it? I picture a cold glass of water being poured onto dry, cracking ground. It is necessary for healing, but renewal hurts, it takes discipline and surrender. The ground needs to be refreshed by a continual stream…submerged and continually soaking up water, like a river.
Over the last couple years, I have been overcome with overwhelm + exhaustion. In the midst of being a stay at home mom, having a hubby with a busy schedule and running 2 of my own businesses... my mind started becoming very cluttered. You know that meme about your brain having too many tabs open?! Yep, that was me.
My days felt long and hard. I was a good mom, homemaker/wife, entrepreneur... but never all at once. If I was intentional in one area, the others seemed to crumble. I knew I needed to make some changes, but the weight of the burdens I felt were too consuming.
My mind started to question everything I’ve known. As the reality of life set in, I realized that I wasn’t reaping the rewards I thought I was promised. So many areas of my life where I had faithfully surrendered to the Lord with a pure heart growing up, didn’t seem to end with the result I thought was guaranteed. I had linked spiritual obedience with worldly reward.
In high school, I was asked to share in our Chapel. I was terrified to say yes, but the Lord gave me strength. He gave me these verses and I have clung to them ever since.
“The Word of the Lord came to me:
I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations…
But I protested, “Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth. Then the Lord said to me: DO NOT SAY, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you...
Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with MY words.”
Just about every morning, from junior high until I got married, I would wake up, grab my Bible and spend time with the Lord until I was filled before I ever left my room. The early years of our marriage, I still kept pretty close to this routine. And once our kids came, I guess I just started to fit His Word in where I could throughout the day, but it was very scattered. Over the next 5 years, I still consumed a lot of God’s Word, and it does NOT return void. But, I knew, because I had experienced it, that there is a huge difference between reading our Bible real quick or for a specific study.. and consuming His Word as our spiritual food: our Daily Bread.
Being undisciplined in the physical routines of my life really started to affect my spiritual life and my mind. I started to see how much our spiritual and physical beings affect each other.
I don’t want to go too deep into the details of the hard season I entered.. not because I don’t want to share the “hard” stuff, but because I don’t want to give any credit to darkness or let our minds dwell on that. But, it was dark, lonely and hard.
This world and all that we consume from it is so dangerous. My mind became foggy… and in that place I was so hurt, I felt under spiritual attack and I couldn’t discern things. I couldn’t even focus enough to figure out where things went wrong.
Throughout this season, I knew it wasn’t good, but I still knew the Lord was there. In the midst of what felt like drowning, He was still holding onto me. His Word was hidden in my heart and that was the anchor that held me in the storm. It was assurance that He would deliver me.
I started to beg for rescue, I returned to Jeremiah to remind myself of the things He has done in my life and this is where He brought repentance...
Because He is such a good, loving Father, He first reminded me of this...
“I remember the loyalty of your youth(thank you Lord!), your love as a bride —
How you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.”
This verse brought me to tears because a lot of my confusion was that my devotion to Him over the years reaped little reward…I was so thankful that He remembered my loyalty.. that He was/is my first Love.
Now comes the part that hurts, my sin repentance... pouring that cold water on that dry, cracked ground: In His Word, He showed me that I stopped asking for Him… I wasn’t returning and resting in His Word.He then showed me my abandonment… this one was the most painful:
“Have you not brought this on yourself by abandoning the Lord your God while He was leading you along the way?”
-I am SO SORRY LORD. Please have mercy on me + rescue me from my sin.
“For long ago I broke your yoke; I tore off your chains”
So true! He set me free years ago… but my own flesh and lack of discipline had caused me to be enslaved to myself and to sin. We finally hit a point where I was so broken and discouraged that we knew we needed to create space and room for the Lord to breathe new life into our home.
The Lord started to show me that He would set me free but something had to give... and that something was me.
So, I put my Christian apparel business on hold... started saying no to a lot, and begged for rescue. I initially felt some physical relief, but spiritually I wasn’t experiencing Him the way I used to. I was dry, very dry… I needed my mind transformed by Him and consumed with His Word.
And as I felt Him asking me to lay all of me down, and trust that He would deliver me from myself and my foggy mind, He gave me the word RENEW.
I knew His Word held this promise:
“Be transformed. By the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, perfect will of God.”
And so this became my prayer:
“Give me a clean heart oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.”
His promise perfectly described my desire... I wanted clarity of mind, to discern His will.
During this whole process I was in the Old Testament, and as cliche, as it is.. I was seeing so much of myself in the grumbling Israelites.
You grumbled in your tents and said, “the Lord brought us out of the land of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites in order to destroy us because He hates us.”
He said He will bring us from slavery to freedom, into an abundant land... but we complain + see the “hard” and say He brought us from slavery to death!
We are in the wilderness because He saved us from something and wants to take us to a new land.. but we complain that we have to walk through the desert to get there! (Cue major eye roll)
As I began to have clarity and hope in the Lord’s revelation and promises to me… I also felt a heavier burden as my sins were shown to me, I honestly wondered if I would survive. But, the rescue of the Lord reaches deep and His mercies never end…
But, He answered with another promise:
John 11:4: “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it”
(Yes, Lord! THANK YOU.)
Then I started asking how, how would I be healed and renewed?
“Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
So, they removed the stone. Then Jesus RAISED HIS EYES and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you ALWAYS hear me, but because of the crowd standing here, I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.
After He said this, He SHOUTED with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!!” ( shout of raw authority)
Hearing this, the Lord pressed into to my heart and reminded me of what He taught me long ago..
The only thing that can bring us from death to life is the WORD OF GOD!! “Imprint these Words of Mine on your hearts + minds…” Deut.11
Tarin Brown is small town girl who loves camo + coffee. She is the wife of a hunky basketball coach and stay at home mom to Ford + Poppy! She loves being an entrepreneur and has a passion to share God’s Word through fashion + makeup. Tarin authentically talks #reallife and shares the good + the hard as the Lord works in her life.
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