Whether your joyful, struggling, or simply lukewarm....My hope is this post will encourage you. I have felt like a floundering fish...for about the last year and a half. A fish that is being fed by the water and swimming amongst friends, then randomly tossed into the air, alone for a while, wondering how will I breath??, will I make it back into the water??, then with a splash...feel the warm water hug me once again to return to the safety of the water and swim my little fins off to catch up to the comfortable school I was swimming with before. The problem with this scenario is that I am never settled. When I am in the warm water swimming amongst the school, I am sad that I can't stay there, when I am tossed in the air, I am anxious as to how will I breathe? Maybe a hard illustration to follow...but I keep seeing nemo..fluttering and dori right there saying.."just keep swimming...just keep swimming" :)
Two Little Fish, that is the name that God gave for this ministry. A name derived from the gospels and the feeding of the five thousand, all because one little boy was willing to sacrifice everything he had. It seems like an easy story and when we hear the stories of others, we so easily read quickly through and say "wow", but what about when we are called to sacrifice? I feel kinda silly even comparing my situation to a sacrifice of everything we have because very few of us have been called to that level, but we have all experienced sacrifice. What do we do when God calls us to a life or a season that requires great sacrifice of what makes us comfortable?
For me, it was the sacrifice of a dream, of a life that felt good. I so often get upset with myself as I feel like the Israelite's....grumbling and complaining about all the things I miss about Egypt....well yeah, I was in slavery, but I had so much comfort surrounding me. To give a quick overview, for those who may not know my story, I was in a marriage that ended in divorce, yet during that time I was surrounded by an amazing church and friends who were like family. I had sisters and brothers in Christ who lifted me up everyday, the blessing of two small children, and the ability to stay at home with them. After the divorce, God provided a miracle in my life of an amazing God filled man, which required my family be moved to Lafayette. New friends, new church, step mom to four grieving kids who lost their mom. I had clearly heard God's call to take this new life on...and I charged forward with obedience...not expecting the pain and grief that would ensue with this new life he had called me to. I was in God's will....without a doubt...but the water was not calm........I was the fish...swimming in warm water one minute and floundering in the air the next...could this be god's promise after obedience? The challenges of a step mom are the hardest I have faced, throw grief and divorce on top of that and I was buried...... I was asked to do this in a new place..without the close comfort of my friends and church.
That's what brings me to today's writing...for those of you who are sad, dismayed, struggling, having a hard time breathing......there's hope. I found myself outside with the book, Praying God's Word, by Beth Moore. This is a book I read many times through my divorce and goes over topics with lists of scripture. I found myself in the chapter about Overcoming Despair Resulting from Loss. Here is the encouragement I found that I would like to share with you......
God CAN restore abundant life, but NOT if we form a stronghold after loss, which is the continued unwillingness or presumed inability to LET him do so!
Psalm 27:13-14 I would have despaired unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 126 Those who sew in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of Joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
THAT'S ME!! To and fro weeping...that's the fish...floundering in the air...constantly weeping whether I am to or fro!!! But notice .....all the while carrying his bag of seed. Carrying the bread and life that God has called you to carry, DOING in obedience even though weeping.....Doesn't that encourage you???? God's word continues to say that it will indeed come again with a SHOUT of joy!!!!
This passage is saying that as we cry and suffer...we are promised that we will be returned to joy as long as we continue to carry that bag of seed, trusting that God has called us to OUR story and that THROUGH our tears, he will faithfully bring us through!!! AMEN
Now does that mean that we should do everything with grumbling, no...that's why I felt convicted to write this post....it's the condition of our heart that God is interested in. Don't use this verse as a license to grumble...but a grace filled hug that God understands our sorrow and calls us to simply trust HIM and "Just keep Swimming!"
So, I love how humorous God is because now when I am feeling defeated, I will close my eyes and picture that God is swimming right next to me, just like Dori, singing "just keep swimming, just keep swimming"
Praying you find your way to joy today amidst the sewing of tears...it is God's promise.