Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Joy in the Journey

      For the last couple weeks, I've had on my mind to write a post about my own personal journey in the last year.  Somehow, time goes by, I don't have time to sit down and think on it, and then a few weeks have passed by.  I  suppose I've not wanted to write something, because I wanted to make sure all my thoughts were together before I started, so I didn't miss something.  Since I've been working in the garden so much lately, I've gathered lots of thoughts while I work.

      Let's start with the fact that I'm a busy mom.  I home school 5 children, keep the 6th child out of everyone's stuff and the cupboards, am a housewife who tries to prepare healthy meals and keep everyone in clean clothes, I'm the doctor, the cleaning lady, the teacher, the gardener, the cow midwife for the farmer, the encourager, the tear wiper, the bottom wiper, the prayer warrior, the discipliner, the singer, the plan maker with friends and family, and the one who keeps all things organized around here.  At times it feels like a heavy task and other times it feels like I couldn't possibly add one more thing to my list.

      I'm sure if you're a mom, you can relate to the above, whether your life matches up perfectly with mine or not.  Being a mom is just plain a tough job. This year during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I was writing out what sins I needed cleansed from and what I could do to replace and clean up those areas and the verses that spoke to my heart during the week long feast (this is a family tradition that we do every year).  As I was looking over my paper from last year, I realized that I had written out a verse about JOY.  It hit me that last year, I was struggling with not having joy in my life.  As I sat there and thought about it, I rejoiced in the fact that I felt like joy had been restored into my life.  It's so easy as a mom to get bogged down with life, children, activities, and expectations of others, that joy can slip right out of the heart and float off into the atmosphere without one even noticing it.
      What have I done that's changed that?  I still do all the things listed above, so how did that change for me?  I began being grateful for the big things, the little things, and even the things that may not have happened that God was sparing me from.  Gratitude filled my heart and I began focusing on that more.  It's still a journey to keep a thankful heart about all things, but baby steps will accomplish a huge heart change when practiced consistently.  The other thing I began doing was praying out loud with fervent, intentional, and diligent prayers.  I wasn't interested in the religious wording or sounding holy and perfect.  I began crying out to the Father in prayer with a raw and exposed heart, longing for Him to hear me and expecting Him to answer how He saw best.  This changed me even more.  There is something so special about taking time to communicate to the Master of the Universe with expectations of change.  I've seen more prayers answered since pouring my heart out to Him, than I have in a long time.  Just be real.

      Over winter we spent a couple weeks in Florida, feeling the warm sun and rejuvenating our minds to come home.  I was reading Lisa Bevere's book Lioness Arising, and had a total transformation of thinking.  Her book focuses on women and becoming who we are to be in comparison to a lioness.  By the end of the book, I knew I needed to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to women.  You may not know me if you're reading this, or you may have known me for 1 year or 15 years.  I've never been one to lead conversations or even care about throwing in my input.  I'm usually quite content to just sit and listen to everyone else talk.  I knew that God wanted me to get out of that thinking and become who HE wants me to be, so I can be of use to Him.

      Don't get me wrong, a quiet person can be used for His kingdom, but He wanted more of me.  He wanted me to ditch what and who I thought I was and become a clay vessel that He molded me into.  A vessel that could give food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, and hope to the lost.  How could I do that if I always just relied on my husband to carry conversations?  How could I do that if I was more likely to sit in the corner with my children, so I didn't have to engage with others?  How could I do that if I was unwilling to go places, afraid to talk to people that I could tell needed a listening ear, and afraid to say words that needed said to help someone heal?

      Fear can so easily overtake a person in many ways.  It can cause you to worry about what others think or say about you.  It can cause you to sit back and avoid conversations so you aren't uncomfortable.  It can cause you to think that you have nothing to give and that you  just aren't the type of person who can be a friend or speak life into someone.  Fear lies.  Fear causes a person to think that they can't do something.  Fear molds a person into what it wants them to be- a scaredy cat.

      In all of my searching and growing, I've realized that fear is just a tool of the enemy.  It's a tool to make me believe that I can't get out and be a light.  It's a tool that makes me think that I'm of no use to the lady sitting in the corner with her children.  It's a tool that has drug many women down in making them think that they just aren't the sociable type.  If you thought you could get out and be a light, you could minister to that lonely woman in the corner with all the children crawling on her, and that you are sociable and can encourage many people with your words and actions, fear would be stomped out.  You could live a whole and complete life, serving, doing, speaking, and accomplishing great things in the lives of those hurting.

      When I think about what He has called us to do here on earth, it's not sit in my corner and mope about my tired, busy mama life.  It's get up, go to, speak up, walk through, reach out, and pray with those who need a little hope in their life.  If you feel like you just can't be sociable and engaging, take a look at what you might be afraid of.  Take a look at what God created us for.  Take a look at the world around you and see how much hurt there is.  Even if you just step over to that lonely mama in the corner, you will have taken the first step in not letting fear rule your life.  Be encouraged sister that HE has greater  plans for you to overcome your fear and minister to those around you.  Be encouraged that HE wants you to live a whole and complete life not in the corner, but in the center of the room, praying over everyone that fills the corners. :)