I'd like to say that I can't believe how LONG it's been since I posted anything on this blog. BUT... I know what the last month has consisted of for us, so I can't say that I'm shocked that I've been unable to blog. I find it interesting, thought, that as life gets hectic and major things are happening all at once, I begin to write them into blog posts in my head even though they never make it here. And, I'm NOT a true writer, so that's something I've never experienced before.
My last post was May, 20th. I would absolutely love to write out everything that's happened since then. There have been anxieties, excitements, answered prayers, frustrations, burdens, JOYS... and the list could go on and on. But, mainly, God has called me into a month of even more introspection and individual time. I am very much a social person. I'm not overly outgoing or dramatic, BUT I've always enjoyed my friendships, my social time... fellowshipping with others is IMPORTANT to me. This year, though, the Lord has said "No!" to alot of that fellowship time. He's called me to devote individual time to Him... not Bible study and not corporate worship.... just me and Him. Aside from the guide that I'm following for quiet times, I've been listening to as many sermons as I can get downloaded to my phone.
I listen to several different pastors from several different churches. But, over the past few weeks, I've been shocked at how many times I've heard the same message in various different ways. JOY! Over and over, these pastors are inserting into their messages (which are all of different titles with different scripture references) that believers should live lives of JOY regardless of our situations. And, each speaker is careful to say that JOY is different from HAPPINESS.
Happiness is VERY dependent on circumstances. And, we definitely have circumstances in life that create happiness within us. But, JOY isn't dependent on what goes on around us. Joy comes from the Spirit living within us. JOY comes from the HOPE within that says (even in the midst of turmoil), "God WILL work this out for my good."
I think you will see why these words from Matt Chandler's sermon speak volumes to me. I had to write them down in my journal. I read them regularly, and I want to share them with you...
"Even if you love Jesus Christ, it is very possible - even probable - there will be days and seasons where your tears and your snot are your only food. Days where you - in a ball on the floor - can't think weekly or monthly or it would CRUSH you. There will be days where the thought of having to endure longer than today feels impossible. And, I'm talking about those that LOVE Jesus Christ.... The beauty of the gospel is NOT that in trusting Christ everything goes like you want it to go. The beauty of the gospel is that we get GOD regardless of our circumstances and HE IS ENOUGH!"
...when you're sitting in an office and hearing your husband's confession of betrayal, HE IS ENOUGH!
"But, I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love, for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble." Psalm 59:16
...when situations and poor choices bring you to a place of anxiety over the loss of a job and financial insecurity, HE IS ENOUGH!
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19
...when life is uncertain, friends are uncertain, circumstances are uncertain and you just don't know what the outcome to ANYTHING will be.... HE IS ENOUGH! When you are preparing to leave everything you've known for years and move into a new place with a new life and all of it's unknowns, HE IS ENOUGH!!!!!
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
Truth be told, I've had to take a break from many interactions with people and a break from writing in the blog, because I needed to do a self check! I needed to step back and look at the whole of the situation with God and check my motives. As I've looked over the past year and the year ahead that God is preparing for us, it's clear to me that He deserves every bit of the praise, glory and honor that I've attempted to give here. At times, I've held back a little. I've been timid about sharing the extent of my walk with God through the year for fear that someone would feel I was praising ME and my doings.
Now that I've reflected over the year, there's no way that I could praise myself at all! There's nothing good that has come of this situation because of me. I have made myself willing to surrender to the Lord's plans through all of this. But, really, I can't even take credit for THAT. His faithfulness to me in the past is what has caused me to be able to submit to His will time and time again. His way works best, and so HE gets credit for my submission.
This may be the last time that I post from Clinton, MS. So, without apology and without hesitation, I say to anyone who has lived through this year WITH us and around us... PLEASE get to know this God that I'm speaking of for yourself. And, not just on Sunday mornings in worship, in SS classes or Bible studies. Testify to the ways that He shows up in YOUR life and don't be satisfied with sharing in the stories that others have. Dig DEEPLY into His Word for the purpose of getting to know HIM more and more rather than just to have more knowledge so you sound really good in church settings! And, set aside the need to maintain a certain image. If God calls you (or circumstances force you) to suffer the loss of a certain self image in order to find HIM more valuable than the reputation, go with HIM on the journey. HE is WORTH IT!
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50: 20
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
It's my deepest desire that my blog or my story has encouraged a few of you to do just that! THAT is the only reason I've spoken openly about a horrible situation! That's the single mission I've had as I've shared things that are extremely uncomfortable! To hear that anyone has come away thinking anything other than, "GOD IS GOOD AND I WANT TO KNOW HIM MORE!" would be extremely disappointing to me.
When life gets tough, believing in Him and trusting Him at the core of your being will make the difference between just surviving the tragedy and thriving in spite of it.
So, I'm not leaving the blog world! But, I believe the posts will begin to have a different angle. Hopefully, I'll have time to post about all of the new adventures our family will experience at home, in school, at work, etc. And, then, the newness will wear off. And, life will carry on as life does until the next difficult time arises. I don't know what it will be, but I DO know that God can be trusted with it.
He is sovereign!
He is faithful!
And, He is so, so GOOD!
You rarely know how things will turn out, but... - [image: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS8uoyk5Jw2XILk-cR6Bf8KqzjZqfjgToMotvqsvK0P4ewgkhwQmA] Denzel Washington starred in the movie ...
5 months ago