A Secret to Joy

Over the past year, there’s only been one book, besides the Bible ;), that’s kept my attention long enough for me to (almost) finish it. That book is called One Thousand Gifts and it’s by a woman named Ann Voskamp. Her writing is raw, eloquent, and captivating.

I had a pretty rough year (yep, being engaged/married doesn’t fix all of your problems… However, having someone there who loves you with their whole heart does make the journey from pain to wholeness easier), and only the essentials (Jesus, His Word, and God-appointed relationships) made the cut in my life. You learn to get back to the basics: being thankful for every sunrise, salvation, and God’s love. My lofty revelation for the year was probably just that I need Jesus, every day.

Anyways, I felt pretty numb and empty on and off for quite some time. It felt like I couldn’t “do” enough to fix myself… and the truth is, I still can’t. And neither can you. Only God can do that.

Long story short, I thank God today because I can truly say that He has delivered me from so much heaviness. His joy is truly my strength and I know that He can heal the deepest wounds and reach the darkest places in us, in anyone. My heart is for the people whose hearts are full of pain and nobody knows. It is the world we are living in… whether it’s a homeless woman or a wealthy man in a suit: pain is universal. And yet, God’s love is greater… Anyone who calls on Him will be saved in the whole sense.

Thank you GOD for Your love and mercy!

I asked but never searched

Wandered but never dug 

For answers and sometimes

for anything at all 

 

I begged but never thanked

Cried out but never waited 

 For a sign and sometimes

for anything at all

 

To all the places that I’ve been

where I didn’t think You were

and all the moments I’ve spent wondering

when You were always sure,

 

I’ve opened my eyes to see that You 

weren’t so hidden after all. 

 

No, not so hidden after all. 

Inspired by a quote from One Thousand Gifts:
“The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” 

Though the Fig Tree May not Blossom

Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines; 

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food; 

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength; 

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high heels.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Have you ever found yourself at a place where it feels like a thousand disappointments have folded into one big question mark? The… “I trust you God, but where on earth could you be in the midst of this” kind of question mark? I mean… honestly?

We all deal with our question mark differently–there are so many ways, really. You can embrace it in hopes of some sort of comfort, not realizing the toxic emotions confusion and chaos cause when you cling to them so tightly. You can close your eyes and take on the “wake me up when it’s over” mentality, or if you’re like me, you can punch it every time it lowers itself into your way… thinking you’re doing spiritual warfare, but in all reality you’re getting the strength knocked out of you because… well, this is not your [my] fight.

The prophet Habakkuk spoke the words above in a time when, quite literally, everything was going wrong. [External] circumstances were causing [internal turmoil].

The economy was failing, there were threats of war, and on a personal level, he was overcome with feelings of loss, doubt, and grief.

I know a lot of people, including myself, who have been through an extremely hard past year, and I just believe it’s time to stop running away from “negative” emotions because we believe that if we acknowledge our disappoint it means we’re letting God down. …Disappointment is not the opposite of faith. It’s a part of life and we have to learn how to process it in a healthy way if we want to come out stronger.

God might not make our problems vanish, but He is Lord OVER our problems and wants us to know that He is so in the midst of it all. And so I pray over my friends, family, and any stranger that might read this, that you will stop running from question marks in your life, and that you will fall madly in love with the King of Kings who loves your soul and wants to see you whole, healed, full of true joy, and therefore is not disappointed with your disappointment. 

Even when what I hoped and expected and prayed for didn’t happen,

And I sowed and sowed and didn’t get a return,

Though some days I look around and find empty places

that I was convinced would be filled by now,

and it can feel like I gave everything for nothing

 Even then,

Yes,

Yet,

I will  rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength; 

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high heels.