LA Restored Blog
Welcome to our first, official blog! For some time we have been talking and praying about starting a blog about our relationship, our family and our crazy life that God has so graciously set out for us. We are romantics and love a good holiday, so we decided that Valentine’s Day was a great day to launch our blog and our website. We know that V-Day is extremely commercialized and like most holidays, the original meaning gets lost in the American model of commerce, but we have great memories of romantic getaways and special times with our girls when they were growing up, so we are embracing Valentine’s Day as a special time of love, relationship and restoration.
We want our format to be both of our hearts shared individually and then joined in the writing of our blogs. Our perspectives are different, but when joined in unity they form a synergy that makes us so much stronger than we would be alone with only one view. We might repeat each other in our sharing, but to us that means on those points we are thinking with one mind. Here we go:
Al-When we left full time ministry five years ago from our wonderful church, WFR Church in West Monroe, we had to start an LLC to handle our new income from filming Duck Dynasty, our book sales and our speaking fees. Since this was our first official business, we wanted to name it something with meaning for us. We wanted to call it LA Restoration, meaning Lisa and Alan Restored with an ongoing mission to help restore others, but there was a remodeling company in LA that already had that name, so we landed on LA Restored. When we met with our accountant, Phil, to set up the LLC, he kept calling in Louisiana restored, assuming we named it after our great state home, but finally Lisa corrected him and told him what the L and the A stood for and he said, “That makes perfect sense.” We love our state, but we love our restoration to God and to each other much more deeply.
In most relationships there seems to be moments along the journey that forever change the course of the journey. Some of those moments can be so heavy and emotional that they relay a “Before-this-moment-and-After-this-moment” signature, sort of like 9-11 to Americans. For Lisa and I that moment was October 1999 because there was everything before that fateful month and everything since then that has shaped our relationship, our family and our mission in life. God restored our individual lives, our marriage and our future in December 1999 when we renewed our vows and recommitted our love and trust to God and to each other. We just passed the 18 year mark of that restoration and what a whirlwind it has been.
Along the way we have discovered that living a restored life is not just a one-time commitment, but it is a daily sacrifice to our God and to each other. In Psalm 51, King David is having a moment. He realizes after two years of running from his sin and running from God that his life will now have a “pre-Bathsheeba-moment” and a “post-Bathsheeba-moment.” His affair with her had disastrous results and consequences in the moment, but an ever more disastrous result with his relationship with God. Psalm 51 is written and sung to God as a repentant love song full of anguish, guilt, despair and finally, hope. Lisa and I have lived every one of those anguished verses and we have felt the weight of bad decisions and bad outcomes. The four verses that David offered to us that ultimately helped us move toward daily restoration is Psalm 51:10-13 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.”
Purity of heart, a willing and steadfast spirit being guided by the Holy Spirit and sweet restoration of joy that comes from being restored first to God himself are all the things that lead you to a mission of helping others find restoration in their lives, their marriages and their families. This has led to LA Restored and we want to help others find what we have found and what we try to put into practice every single day that we wake up on this big blue ball we call home.
Lisa-Growing up, Valentines Day was special because you would get lots of valentines from school. If you liked a boy, it was exciting to see which valentine he would give you. We always had those boxes of valentines for kids; you remember those corny “Scoobie Doo”, or “Peanuts” or super heros. The best was one year they had “Planet of the Apes”. I loved that show. I had the metal lunch box with the “Apes” on it. Then when I came home, my dad would bring me and my sister and mom a box of chocolates. My mom always got the best one but I still remember the anticipation. Me and Barbara, my older sister, would eat all of ours that night. There was probably about 5-6 candies in it and it was always in the shape of a heart. Then, we would “try” to start on my moms. She did share a few with us.
When Al & I married, he would bring a card and a valentine box. Now, I got the big box! When he could he would buy me a gift, a flower, or we would go out to eat. Money was tight, but it was always a special time. After we had our daughters he would bring them something special home. When they go older, around 7 or 8, he started a new tradition. He would cook (or pick something up usually), decorate the dining room, serve us and give us special gifts. Those memories will live in us girls forever. We were treated so special! He made us feel like we were princesses! His princesses! He showed us that we were special and that he loved us! It wasn’t the cost or the meal, it was the gesture behind it.
Valentines Day became more special to me after 1999. It was the year I almost lost my forever valentine. It was the year from hell but it ushered in a new year, a new century, a newly restored life and marriage. We were refined by fire. We were renewed by God and we will never be the same!
When you restore something, a house, a car, a piece of furniture, you take something old, something worn out, something important to you but not as beautiful anymore and you bring it back to life. It’s never the same but it’s better because you loved it to begin with but failed to see its beauty as it aged. It was somewhat important to you but not appreciated. After you restore it and put all that work in to it, you see the beauty, the importance, and you appreciate and love it all over again. The old has become new again.
It is this way with marriage sometimes. Our lives get so busy, so complicated, so entangled with the world that we get to a place that it isn’t beautiful anymore. You fail to see the importance of it. You take it for granted. You think, “If only I could replace it with something new, more exciting, and more beautiful”! You’ve lost that “loving feeling, oh that loving feeling”. Instead of something new, you need to restore what you’ve spent 5, 10, 15, 20 years building. You need to “bring back that loving feeling ‘cause it’s gone, gone, gone.” Sorry for the lyrics but it’s true. This time, learn to appreciate, cherish, value the relationship. Put hedges around yourself, your spouse and your marriage to protect it from the elements of the world. The elements, that make it seem dull, old, wore out and invaluable. A restored marriage or relationship is twice as valuable. You thought it important enough to rebuild it.
That’s what LA Restored is. It’s not Louisiana Restored, it’s not Lisa Restored or Al Restored (although we are), it Lisa & Al Restored. Together we rebuilt a broken relationship, partnership, love life and marriage. Restoration is a word that implies worth. It meant something to you or you wouldn’t have taken the time to restore it. Our love, our marriage, our relationship, our family, is what’s most important after our commitment to the father. Restoration takes just that – commitment, love, value and work! All of which is well worth the time!
Our plan is to write every week about what God is doing in us and with us as we globe trot the world trying to make a difference in the lives of other people. We hope you get some encouragement, some reproof, some joy and some tools as you read along with us. We’d love to hear about what’s going on in your lives, marriages and family as well. Lord willing, we are going to convert these into podcasts as some point, but we are also writing a new book, which you’ll be hearing more about as well. May God bless you as you live a restored life in him!