Wednesday, May 15, 2013

where JOY is

I am at a new place in my life that calls me higher. It demands more. And my "more" is the title of this blog - where JOY is. Satan is the destroyer of joy. He steals our reason to do as David did and sing songs of praise, even in the midst of emotional hurt or physical pain. If he cannot have our souls, then he will try to devour our happiness and push us lower and lower into a pitiful mess of gloom. But I say, as David did, restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation!

Looking around at what we have become, even in the Church, I am burdened for myself and my fellow sisters. We have lost our joy!

Single women have no joy in waiting on the Lord's timing for romance.

Married women have no joy in serving and loving their husbands.

Mothers have no joy in investing their lives in raising and discipling their children.

Homemakers have no joy in keeping their home and making it a sanctuary for their family.

Believe me, even in the middle of long days, exhausting nights, and seasons of waiting patiently impatiently for God to move, there is joy. Though I am struggling with you, because the Bible tells us so, I KNOW we have plenty of reasons to sing, dance, shout, and rejoice in who God created us to be. And I choose joy.

Be patient with me as I continue to move things over and get this blog in line. But expect regular posts very soon and I encourage you to join me as the Lord teaches us both how to be full-to-the-brim of His joy and how to offer that joy to the lost world in need.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

When God Decides to Stretch You

photo credit

I have not posted in over a month. And there is a good reason for that. We have moved! That's right. And any of you that has ever moved before can attest to the exhaustion and overwhelming emotions that come with packing up a home and leaving. While in the process of packing and leaving, I have also had a great deal of time in the still hours of the night, while feeding my baby, to think and meditate on all the things God uses in life to strengthen our spiritual muscles. To be honest, I have been ashamed of myself at how quickly and easily out of shape my spiritual life can become.

The day we came home from the hospital, our newest little bundle of joy in our arms, an offer was made on our home.

My husband and I have prayed about building a home for nearly two years. Our little mobile house had become home for us, but we both wanted a more secure place out in the country. We want our kids to live like we grew up - playing outside with the nearest blacktop a couple of miles away. After praying, we decided to put our little place up for sale. If it sold, we would begin building. If not, we would stay put until God moved us. Apparently, after having a "for sale" sign in our yard for over a year, the day had come.

I should have been thrilled when, after being home less than an hour, we learned our house had sold. Instead I felt a panic. God! I screamed in my head. We just got home! I'm exhausted. I have a new baby AND a toddler. And now I'm supposed to pack up and say goodbye to this cozy little place in a little over one month?!? I don't have it in me, Lord. It's not fair! Why?!?!


We began looking at where we would stay while our house was being built. We wanted to save as much as possible but we also wanted to be in a place convenient for my husband's job, our Church, and to allow us time as a family. In an answer to prayer, we were invited to stay with my husband's family for the few months it would take to build our home.


Now I will say that I am immensely blessed to have wonderful in-laws who have taken me in as their own. They are such a blessing to me. But in my mind, though I was grateful, all I could think about was my "space" comfort.

(See a pattern?)

I knew it wouldn't be easy moving into someone else's home. It wasn't going to be a piece of cake in trying to settle myself and my kids in a spot that wasn't "ours." Nothing was going to be simple and comfortable. It was going to take adjusting. It was going to stretch me. No doubt, there would be days when my human nature was going to want to snap.


Have you had a season in your life where you were comfortable? You know what I mean. You and the Lord are walking along, enjoying the smell of the roses. No heavy rain, just sunshine. No fork in the road, just a straight path that goes neither uphill nor downhill.

It's good. It's easy. It's comfortable.

And sometimes, that is okay! Psalm 23 is an all-too-familiar passage that gives us a picture of comfort. Our Shepherd is leading us through green pastures and still waters. No rough waves to topple us or barren deserts to leave us dry. He is restoring and blessing. There are seasons when the Lord fills our cup with beauty, and moments where our hearts and our minds are at ease. But all too easily, Satan can steal those moments and make it all about our own comfort instead of basking in the sweetness of His presence. It becomes more about us and how much we want to stay walking pleasantly along our simple, easy path. God intends it for rejuvenation and intimacy. Satan uses it to breed selfishness. Then when the Lord leads us to an ascent that calls for muscle, stamina, and grit, we moan and complain and have a pity party.

....or maybe that's just me.

Since moving in with my in-laws, I have been reminded of the wonderful grace of God. It seems as though I have been learning lessons on His grace for months now. The transition for me and my children has been unbelievably easy and peaceful and I have been reminded of my shortcomings once again. I was afraid, but why fear when I am ever accompanied by His presence? I was comfortable, but why sink into the muck of ease when there is an opportunity to grow and see the strength of God at work? 

Though my flesh prefers the comfortable path, may my spirit ever live to be stretched (and stretched often!) to remind me of the bigger picture; of the higher purpose; and that in being stretched, I can see the power of Jesus in my life.

Psalm 23:6
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life..."


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