Restoring Hearts - The James Place 2015 Theme

Every year it has been obvious what our theme should be. This year is no exception. As I talked to some of the ladies about it, I was reminded how God is in this place and it is all about Him. It is easy to get caught up in the "ministry" leaving God out of it. I am guilty of that. But that's the thing that is so beautiful. God knows our hearts and He knows that we are constantly in need of His help. And He created us to be in relationship with each other. Sometimes the most important thing is to recognize that everything takes time. Time to heal, time to build, time to plan, time to build relationships, time to restore and time for God to do His thing. And, time is something that we are learning is important at the James Place. Nothing goes as planned; there is always something that comes up (several times a day) to stop the "normal" activities and there is no "normal." The need is great and overwhelming and sometimes it is hard to know what is best. The legal deadlines, requirements and "important planning" sometimes get in the way of the actual ministry.

And there it is - the cycle that fights against time and takes us away from the actual ministry. The cycle of thinking that so many things have to be done and so many interruptions occur that it is almost impossible to meet deadlines. That is when God reminds us to re-direct and focus on Him. My friend, Betty from Masese, reminded me of that this week.

IMG_5623Betty is my friend that I've often talked about. She and I were not instant friends when we first met in 2011 but there was something about her that made me want to know her more. She was an instigator of trouble and looked for an argument. She was quick to fight and even spit at you if the mood hit her. I loved her raw honesty. I remember her telling me how much she hated others and how much she wanted our bible study to fail. She laughed when the witch doctor chanted around the circle while others made the witch doctor leave and began praying.

Betty started attending our bible study, became a Christian and we soon became friends and over time, there was a noticeable change. Even others in the study began to notice and talk about it and she would just laugh. This week, I reminded Betty of that. I reminded her of how much she has changed and that I believe it is the Lord working in her. I told her that when I think back over the last two years, her contagious smile is what I think of walking through our gates because it is the epitome of JOY and LIGHT within and that it has been a long road together but a road worth staying on.

Betty asked me if "restore" was a word that means mending because we were discussing the 2015 theme. I asked her to explain what she was referring to and she said that in sewing class if she tears fabric, she is taught how to mend it. And I said yes, restore could mean the same as mending. Betty replied, "My life and heart has been restored and that has taken time." People often ask me why women are in our program after two years and part of the answer is because we have 2 and 3 year curriculums in sewing, English, and in our business and artisan programs. Only the outreach emergency shelter ladies are in and out within three months. And part of the answer is because we have a weekly bible study that is centered around relationships, relationships take time. But, Betty has summed up the best answer: Because we can't always put God's business on a time line. Because restoring hearts just takes time.