Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Journey to Hope

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

When I read these verses again the other day, I was reminded that this is my story, too. After many years of deep depression and seemingly unanswerable questions to the Lord, He opened my eyes to see that He had been right there all along. God miraculously pulled me to my feet and put a new song in my mouth. I immediately began writing songs of hope and praise. Because of what the Lord has done in me, my life's purpose is to point others to Him. I hope that many will see and put their trust in the Lord. He is faithful!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Joyful Living Update

Last week I reflected on my realization that I needed to do more than just survive. Since then, I'm happy to report that I have been living life more joyfully. I'm doing my best to be fully present and enjoy the simple things. Even in the midst of potty-training a strong willed toddler and the daily dramas of my other two very sensitive children, I am at peace (more or less, depending on how early in the morning it is).

I've found that it requires a lot of energy to remain positive and joyful in the daily grind. It requires energy to patiently explain the rules of bedtime for the thousandth time, to not mirror the hysterical tween's anger about the unfairness of life, and to keep a sweet spirit when all three are shouting with hyperactive glee in a small, compact car. Yes, these are the real tests of joy. Diapers and dishes, all completed with the refrain, "Do everything as unto the Lord."

But the more time I've spent pursuing His presence, the quicker I run back to my prayer closet, the more I feel His sustaining grace for all things. I'm drawn more and more to read His Word, to soak up His love, and to reflect it to others. I feel more alive already. Praise the Lord!
I've been able to play more lately. Which means I'm spending more time investing in the kids, but less time having anything to show for my days. I've played with a LOT of race cars, read a lot of books to the kids, and had a lot of talks about everything under the sun that happens to pop into their heads. My reward today was watching my 7 year old read to my enraptured toddler this afternoon. I snapped a picture before it could vanish into craziness again. Joy is found in the smallest things!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Joyful Living

I am SO excited that it's a new year. I always feel hopeful with a new beginning, but this new year is especially wonderful. 2009 was a hard year for me, a year of intense pruning and a stripping away of things. God lead me through the desert, but with the hardship He revealed hidden springs under ground.

I learned about perseverance, endurance, and most importantly, His love. He taught me to trust Him, to believe when it seemed impossible. He disciplines those He loves, and I did my best to obey and learn. So although I'm still a work in progress, I know I've grown this year- as a direct result of His pruning in my life.

But I realized the other day that although I've been striving hard to continue in hope and faith, to persevere, I haven't been joyful much lately. I've been working so hard at surviving that I've forgotten how to celebrate and enjoy life.

New Year's was the best day I've had in at least a year, maybe more. We just hung out with some friends and played games. We laughed and laughed, until my cheeks and stomach muscles ached. We have all been tense and exhausted. It felt really good to laugh and let the pressure go.

Afterwards, I tried to remember to carry that playfulness into my daily routine. To be silly with the kids and flirt with my husband more, to smile and not be so serious and anxious all the time.

The laughter fades so quickly in the day to day, and I realized I may need to do some research about joy. I'm not sure I've ever lived with it. I've had momentary times of peace and happiness, but not joy in the journey, in spite of circumstances. Someone gave me a book about finding hidden joy in a dark corner, and I think it's time to read it.
I'm looking forward to this new year, this fresh start. To leave the desert, or at least my perspective of it, behind me. I hope that I will discover God's joy this year, and that so many of my friends and family who are in similar places in life will find it, too. I just have a feeling that it's going to be a good year.
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