Joy In the Journey...
"The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step." That is the message I am holding in my heart today. I began last weekend a broken mess and walked away, not fully restored, but feeling hopeful once again. A war is not won is one big sweep, but in the small victorious battles. I am learning....that it is all about the battles.
Joy on the Journey
In the last two years the Lord has blessed me with two beautiful children. And because of these sweet blessings, I have been unable to attend the women's retreats at church. This year...I was out of excuses. Not really feeling a strong desire to attend as well as thinking this was going to be a fun, light weekend of conversation.....I set out on the road to Dickson. My heart has been heavy for a while now....heavy with life, responsibilities, loss of identity. Somewhere along this journey I have found myself living in the existence that this was as good as it gets....and I have not been satisfied. So when I walked into our first conference Friday night I prayed this prayer, "Lord God, I am here. Whether I feel like it or not, I am completely opening my heart to you this weekend, and all I am asking is that you show me you are here." Then worship began. As a faster pace song came on, a beautiful black woman began to clap. I laughed a little to myself and thought, "She looks like fun. I am going to have to meet her this weekend." About ten minutes later, this woman turned out to be our speaker. As she introduced herself we were given the opportunity to write down questions for her to answer. My question was, "You have 9 children and still seem so happily married. I struggle to be a good wife and only have 2. Do you have any advice?" See....I can ask a hard question like that when I do it in secret....on a paper....where no one knows it is me. Her answer was sweet and refreshing....."Remember to laugh, for this world is not our home." The answer brought tears to my eyes because I was reminded of how often I forget the truth in that statement. And then she did it......"Who wrote that question....if you don't mind me asking?" There I was, tears in my eyes, and I had to stand up, in my brokenness, and reveal that it was me. She came up in that moment and gave me a great big hug.....and I thought, "Okay God, you're here, and you're listening."
There were so many moments about this weekend that left me truly in awe. God showed up in so many places. This weekend was anything but fun and light. It was cut throat, honest, and deep.....and it made me realize that I have lost my joy. I seek happiness, and while happiness is a good thing, it is fleeting. It comes and goes as easily and quickly as the wind. And if that is our heart's desire, when those moments are gone, we are left empty. Joy is a choice. James 1:2 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds....." Not IF you face trials....WHEN you face trials. One thing our speaker said this weekend that I am going to try to take with me on this journey....."We can have joy in the midst of anything we face because we know at the end of this journey....WE WIN."
So here I sit, pondering my journey, and what I have truly given to the Lord. He has given to me.....many, many undeserving blessings.....yet what do I give to him? I'm going to begin fighting battles for Him....and being joyful in those victories, no matter how small they are. And I'm going to do this in faith....that he has more planned for me than I am allowing myself to experience. So I make this promise....."I will hit my knees every day, Lord, whether I want to or not, whether I have anything to say or any joy to bring you. And all I ask is that you meet me in that place."
"From every day to eternity.....We were made for the journey."