Finding Joy in All ThingsIt’s not always easy but it is always worth it
You won’t mind if I shamelessly posts picture of my adorable son building something for me as I ramble on will you? No? Good!
I don’t know if any of you follow Sasha over at Lemonade Makin Mama or not (but you totally should because she is amazing). Personally, I find that I am drawn to her blog when I need to feel inspired. She writes from the heart and truly makes you feel close to her through her words, for me, its similar to the feeling of a puppy curling up on my lap as it drifts to sleep. Just a sweet, comforted, warm and relaxed feeling comes over me each time I read her posts. Sometimes, I can feel her tears in her words and am moved to tears myself. To say that she has a way with words is an underestimation of her talents as a writer.
Recently she put up this post about what has been taking place in her life and her struggles over the last couple of years and her decision to finally give “it” ALL over to God. Her struggles seem to mirror my own so closely…I guess that is why I am drawn to her time and again.
But then again, we all struggle with that to a degree don’t we? There are times that we truly believe that we have given it all to Him to handle only to find that there is still that little “something” that we feel the need to control ourselves that keeps us from completely surrendering to Him.
Several months ago, I too decided to hand over to God all of a situation in my life. I prayed on it…and by prayed I mean got down on my hands and knees and blubbered like an idiot begging Him to help me with the situation in my life that felt a bit like an out of control merry-go-round. I prayed for the voice to say the things that needed to be said and to let go of all the rest but more than that, the courage to accept the outcome…whatever it may be.
I prayed that when the time was right to have my voice heard, that He would let me know. And I patiently waited. Over that time several things started to take place.
My anger over this situation subsided but I found that it was replaced by hurt. That gut wrenching type of hurt that can only be caused by someone that you love. It was a raw emotion that left me without words. The hurt was so deep that I wanted nothing to do with it. I ignored it and only wanted it to stop but I didn’t know how to make it. So I prayed further and harder and asked that God show me how. And I listened while he softly spoke to me through this message…
“Joy is the flag that flies above the castle of our hearts indicating that the King reigns within.” If that is true, then why are so many women living lives with little or no joy? I’m afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy, allowing him to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams and unrealized goals are some of his favorite weapons, but the truth is that the enemy can only use what we allow him to use. It is time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain, we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, joy is buried under a mountain of self. Joy is not the result of outward circumstances. Joy is an inside job, a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control..." Mary Southerland
Um YEA! That is totally how I am feeling! So I struggled to come to terms with the root of the hurt and what was causing it: The feeling that I was being judged for past mistakes and current circumstances that were beyond my control. It’s hard being judged for that which I can not change… things that helped to make me who I am today but aren’t who I am and wishing that the one passing judgment would realize that it is the future that isn’t yet written in stone.
Time passes…things change…people change.
And then I felt Him nudge me. And I said my peace. And nothing changed.
My searching led me to something amazing that I'd never seen before. I was lead to the book of Jeremiah and there's a very well known verse all about God knowing the plans He has for you, yada, yada, yada, and to be honest, I was putting off getting to that part because of where I was at emotionally. As Sasha explains in words I can understand, “Basically, God kept trying to get the Israelites to quit worshiping idols, etc, and he gave them warning, after warning to no avail. He was finally like "Okay guys, if you insist on crossing every line, I'm gonna have to let the Babylonians carry you off into slavery to get your attention, but I'll only keep you there for seventy years." God spoke up; "This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for
, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord..." Jeremiah 29: 10-14a. Babylon
So in laymen terms…my misery has a time limit! Halleluiah! Just that in itself comforts me greatly.
I feel like we’re finally living the life that God has willed us to do and we are so close to seeing the end of this, but you know the saying, "Close only counts in horseshoes."
Somehow, in all of this, I realized that I was meant to suffer this heartache…though I do not know why yet. Maybe there is a lesson for me to learn…that all actions both good and bad carry consequences. That I should not judge less I want to be judged.
In the mean-time, I'm going to seek Him with my whole heart and I'm going to choose the knowledge that God is firmly in control. And I'm taking back my joy!! How about you? Can you relate to this place at all?