I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. (Job 2:25)

In the fall of 2017, we observed the 50th Anniversary of our Confirmations and entry into the Episcopal church. Our second son was baptized then, making it a family celebration. And for a few months, we faithfully attended, rejoicing in our welcome at Communion.

But gradually, we let chores take over Sunday—laundry, grocery shopping, NFL games, catching up on sleep—and our habits meandered into a thicket of excuses for not making time for church. After all, we worked hard, we had two young children . . . We needed our rest! But what we didn’t face was the erosion of our faith, and the holes developing in our relationship with God. Without the sacraments to sustain us, we wilted. The locusts had a feast.

By this time we’d moved from the Midwest to California and our weekdays were busier than ever. We ‘sampled’ a couple of churches, found neither to our liking, and our pattern of making Sunday a ‘catch-up day’ continued.

But God hadn’t abandoned us, and eventually, he got our attention again. He was about to show us what the ‘locusts had eaten.’

I was flipping through TV channels one evening and came across a Christian speaker who made sense. He sang, too, and the song reached deep into my apathy and brought tears of repentance. That was in 1976 – and I began to attend St. George’s whenever the doors opened. God restored the years the locusts had gobbled up. My appetite for God’s word was overwhelming; I found The Living Bible and devoured it. As a family, we were learning how much we needed a faith community. And we knew God had restored our faith.

Our restoration ‘took,’ so much so that God continues to bolster our faith and ties to the church we love. The sacraments mean more; the fellowship sustains us and while we regret our time away from the church, its essential role in our lives is stronger and clearer than when the Bishop laid his hands upon us all those years ago.

This article was written by Phyllis Gilbert and was published in the 2017 Fall Messenger.