I wrote this weeks ago. I intended to post it, but the time was never right. I may have shared parts of it in random posts since then, but here's the original entry, followed by what the Lord has done since then:
My heart is overflowing with joy. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances. This is how I know it’s not ‘happiness,’ but true ‘joy.’ Today is really no different from yesterday, except for perspective. In fact, since I started writing this, my days have been very challenging.
God has done a lot of pruning in my heart’s garden over the last few weeks, and now I can taste the fruit.
God has reminded me time and again of his unconditional love, complete forgiveness and sacrifice for me – even.when.I.rejected.Him. – and even now, when I am so undeserving, so full of fault and so selfish. He has great plans for me. His grace is boundless. If He can endure so much for me, surely He can carry me through the difficult seasons of my life.
In our recent Beth Moore study we were reminded that our Father doesn’t just grant joy and peace for eternity, for some time in the future when our circumstances may be better… He grants it moment by moment. He can restore us in an instant.
There’s a song I heard recently, and it reminds me of that very thing. I will share the chorus with you:
…”So baby don't look down, it's a long way. The sun will come around to a new day. So hold on. Love will find you. Hold on. He's right behind you now. Just turn around and Love will find you… Maybe you can't see 'round the corner? To hang between two thieves in the darkness, Love must believe you are worth it.”
It just seems to fit. No matter where we are, no matter what we’re waiting for, no matter how bad it seems, Love will find us.
At this time we never know what a day will bring…not just because we’re not the ones ultimately in control, but because we have another teenager who demonstrates control over the few things he can: his attitude; his words; his level of cooperation. Our schedule is structured but with enough flexibility to allow spontaneity. And you know what I’ve realized: we will get through this. We will not just get through, but we will come out victorious! God will mold us into the parents He created us to be.
I believe that nothing happens by accident. I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary. All this to say that it’s no accident that just over a year ago, three months after coming home with Kaeleb, God revealed we would become a family of nine. The paper process took much longer than expected, not by accident. As soon as it was complete, we were burdened beyond escape for older children. By no accident, one week later, we received Kooper’s referral and Kinley’s soon after that.
And that’s really the point I want to make. The more time we spend in God’s Word, the more we understand His heart. The more we become broken for the things that break His heart.
I don’t believe God intends the chaos, destruction, misdirection (yes, it’s a word – my word – lol!)….but I do believe He intends to change us, His children, because of it. We’re all so busy; we have so much responsibility; we’re hauling our kids from one activity to another; we’re shopping for bargains; the wind is blowing; the wind isn’t blowing… there are a million reasons believers don’t hear from our Father. We are so focused on the things that really make no difference that we fail to recognize the thing that does – surrender.
Surrender goes against everything our society prescribes! Only when we surrender do we have the courage to jump out of the boat. I don’t want to look back to the boat; I don’t want to look to the shore beyond; I want to focus on the Father, who has plans of fruitfulness for me. And all I have to do is abide in Him, obey Him, trust Him. The fruit He produces has nothing to do with me! The more I seek Him, the more He confides in me.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. John 15:7
One of my favorite passages is Psalm 27:4 ~ One thing I ask of the Lord; this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
Last week an incredible thing happened. I’ve been praying for weeks for very specific things to happen. One morning He changed my prayer. I asked Him to refresh my spirit, to only glorify Him in that day no.matter.what.
Being as naïve as I am, I thought it would be a fantastic day, no struggles, smooth sailing. The day was far from smooth. In fact, it was one of the worst days in months. I had the chance to live out what I had asked God to do in me! But God, how can I do this? But God was there! God granted me every ounce of grace and strength to endure. He constantly reminded me of our time together earlier that day. And I kept saying to Him: At the end of this day, I want to have honored you.
It’s one day I can truly say that happened! He revealed so much to me that day. He is using my circumstances to grow me, to show me how to love the people with character traits I don’t like, to do things I never imagined I could do (and certainly couldn’t on my own!).
For weeks I prayed for joy and thought I finally possessed it ...and then my family woke up – lol! That day I experienced true joy. I don’t ever want to look back to the boat. I want Him to cultivate the joy He has given me.
Maybe He has done the same for you, dear friends! I would love to hear about it!