My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Reminded of Restoration

I know that I've been out of the blogging loop for quite some time. I was talking to John and Stacy about that last night and said that world traveling will kinda do that to a person! I mean, I have been through the States (making trips to 4 different states during my time there), to Ghana, to Australia (by means of London and Singapore), and back to Ghana in 2 months time. Yeah, it's been a busy season. There are so many things to say about my travels, but this morning I felt the need to write something else.

This morning in our worship service here at the house, Lydia stood up to tell a testimony about some reconciliation that happened between her and her father. She told how her relationship with her father has always been strained and she doesn't remember a time when her father has ever hugged her. Recently, her father was in a car accident and Lydia when to visit him in the hospital where he was pretty ill. Because of his fever, he couldn't even recognize Lydia which really hurt her. She came home and talked to John about it and he knew that there was more going on than just the father not recognizing Lydia. As her story poured out, he saw the hurt behind this relationship. He prayed for Lydia and told her that she should go back. He told her to bring a gift with her, something her father would really like, and go back to just tell her father that she loves him. And she did this on Friday. When Lydia gave her father the gift she had brought for him, he began to weep. He gave her a hug, one of the first in her memory.

I was so blessed by her story. It reminded me of God's Father-heart for restoration in the church, restoration in families, and restoration of souls. Reconciliation and restoration is not easy. Oftentimes, it requires one to lay down their pride, to set aside their own desires, and to just surrender to whatever outcome may come.

I remember a season when God really taught this lesson to me. I had been working at PCC for the second summer as an intern and it was a really tough summer. I was challenged in ways I'd never been challenged before and I left in a really discouraging way, with some cruel words from the lady that I was living with at the time. When I left, I told myself, and I guess God too, that I would never return to that area. The lies that were told to me had broken down my confidence and I began to believe that everyone felt the way that that one lady felt about me. But, when I finished my credential program and began to look for work, the only place that had a teaching position open was the bay area. And so I moved back. The week that I got there, I was so welcomed in and loved by the people that I thought had believed all these lies about me. Restoration. And yet, there was still this fear of running into this woman who had said such cruel things to me. And so, I felt convicted that the only thing I could do was apologize for what hurt I had caused her and hope that forgiveness would follow. I didn't have a way to get a hold of her, so I emailed her, apologizing for what had happened the previous year and letting her know that all was forgiven on my end. I never heard from her again, but I was released. The bitterness and hurt of those words no longer ruled in my mind. Restored.

And then I think of two of my precious friends who are really living in an incredibly painful season of life right now. In so many ways, the grief of their season could make them turn their back on each other, on their faith, on life...and yet, they walk forward in hope. I'm incredibly blessed by their faith in the RESTORATIVE GOD!

And as I look over my kids...our 23 children here at CORM with all their varied pasts and pains and hurts...all I can see is hope. Their future is so bright and their eyes are alive because God has restored their past...and will continue to restore it.

Today, I am living in Psalm 139, reminded of how God rescues, restores, and knows us from before we were even formed. His story, the one that is at work in my life, is always working towards restoration, and I am so thankful for that!

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