Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Joyful Reflections

My friend told me the other day that I was "joyful." It's been a long time since someone has told me that I was joyful. I guess I have finally pulled through a very difficult season of my life. A season where every moment was a struggle, every situation needed to be worked through, and every corner had an obstacle to overcome. The very air I breathed was thick and heavy. The future was uncertain and my confidence was at its lowest. This "winter" was survived by some basic things, though at the time I didn't view them as simple or easy. These were tools that Christians often advise other Christians to use, almost to the point that they're cliche. But they worked!

One was relying upon God and looking at the bigger picture of what He is doing: "God has a plan." It's not something you necessarily want to hear when going through trials, but realizing that everything has a place and every place has a purpose can give you hope in hopeless situations. When I had three kids under three years old, barely enough money to get by, and severe post-partum depression, remembering who was in charge of my life and relinquishing control to Him was all I could do to get up in the morning. And, as promised in His Word, He came through and is still unfolding the lives of my children before my very eyes! Not only that, but I have seen the fruit of seeking God and where He wants us to be and that has landed us in a beautiful house in a welcoming neighborhood able to minister to families we are meeting and working with. Because of Him I am joyful!

Another tool was remembering the character and expectations of God for my life. "God loves you the way you are." It's probably a phrase that every Christian says so often that we believers start forgetting the meaning. We forget that God is love. During those dark days of post-partum depression, and plain ol' depression, I forced those destructive voices telling me of my worthlessness out of my head and replaced them with the voice of truth: In Philippians it says:
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (www.biblegateway.com)

It is this Jesus that gave me hope, that brought me closer to God, who told me in His word that
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)

I traveled through a difficult journey with God by my side. Sometimes He carried me when all I wanted to do was quit. Just as two people bond when they share an experience, so I bonded with God during the past few years of stress and uncertainty. I can't help but to be joyful.

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