|My two boys on a hike with Dad on Chimney Rock while Kyle and I stayed behind learning to find JOY.|
...These three things I desire most in my life. While I'm studying "Joy" for my final teaching as Women's Ministry Director at Edgewater Alliance Church I'm really experiencing a myriad of emotions. So excited about the path that the Lord has placed before my family, seeing the incredible changes in my men and knowing that the decisions that we've made are most definitely the will of God, I am still going through some kind of adjustment. Watching Bagels & Blessings grow from a conception/dream to a fully grown and flourishing ministry over the past 5 years is most humbling and most amazing. I know it is time for me to move on, but the tears keep flowing. He knows what He is doing.
So the way I've been dealing with this adjustment is to bury myself in the study of JOY. It just so happens that like every other theme for the year that God has placed on my heart for the past 5 years, and every single teaching that I have labored through...I'm personally able to learn, first hand what I'm about to speak on. This is very exciting! The most exciting part, is that my family must endure the lessons I'm learning for themselves as well. It has been life changing for everyone in my house.
I'm not sure if it is because getting pregnant was so difficult for me, or that I lost 14 babies along the way that when I finally had children I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were only on loan to me, and it was my (and my husband of course) job to take what we've learned from the Word and "teach them diligently to my children" like it says in Deuteronomy and I'm pretty serious about it!
So I now share our most recent lesson on JOY.
I know it is important to for me touch upon the supernatural result of joy, regardless of our circumstances.
Last week my family and I went on vacation together - including Mr. Incredible (this would be his first real vacation in years and years)! I was very careful not to allow my boys to go near anyone showing signs of a sniffle, let alone any horrible virus. We had the hand sanitizer out and we were playing it safe. The Sunday before we leave, my Kyle gets very VERY sick. His temperature spikes to 102.3, he feels lousy! We took him to the Emergency Room they hooked us up with tons of medication...for just in case...but they were quite sure this was a virus and medicine wouldn't help at all. I BEGAN TO PRAY! First response...always prayer! Invite the presence of the HEALER! By Monday it got worse, he began to vomit. The plan was to leave Tuesday, we had reservations..you know how it is. I thought ok, this could just be a 24 hour thing, "cheer up family -- all hope is not lost!!" - I was purposeful in my attitude. We were going to praise God through all of this! Tuesday morning he wakes up with spots all over his body and he threw up again in the early morning hours. We take him back to the doctor because of the spots. They confirmed, it is a nasty virus, highly contagious and it's running rampant. He says we'll most likely all come down with it. Poor Kyle, feeling so miserable, and then adding to that the thoughts in his head about ruining everyone's vacation. We decided that he could only get better. We were going to take the chance and drive to North Carolina. We left hours later than we had expected, but we were on our way. We CONTINUED to PRAY!
I felt the very PRESENCE of the JOY GIVER in that van. We gave Kyle a bucket, we thanked the Lord for being SO GOOD to us! We were not going to let this virus get the best of us! I kid you not, PRAYER and PRAISE were going viral in that van. My boys were believing God for a miracle...and so was I.
Right about South Carolina I began to feel sick. My temperature was rising 101.4, and my stomach felt horrible. My poor husband! Should we cancel this trip! I decided that we should keep going. I literally, and purposefully, worshiped...OUT LOUD...from South Carolina to North Carolina...and as long as worshiped I felt fine...the minute I stopped...I began to feel sick again. We had a blast in the car. My husband and I taught the boys some old songs from our college days -- oh we laughed and sang and had the best time in the car!! I went to bed in my hotel room, humming "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory!"
The next morning...I was healed! Kyle on the other hand, had developed sores in his mouth. My poor baby! He laid there on a cot in our hotel room, and said...."Why hasn't God healed me?"
Don't we all wonder where God is when life is not looking or feeling good at all, when our circumstances flat out stink? YES, we've all been there before. I knew it was my responsibility to see Kyle through this and give him the tool to find the joy in the midst of all of this.
My husband and other boys went hiking on Chimney Rock and Kyle and I stayed back at the hotel. I was able to get some fluids in him and he and I just rested. We had time to talk about how good God has been in our lives. We pulled out those "stones" and remembered how faithful God has been.
You see joy flows from the discovery of our Lord and Savior in every circumstance where we wish to find Him. If we seek Him, we will find Him!
While I worked on my teaching for December, Kyle began to dose off. I could hear him whispering..."God has been good to us!" YES!!! That's my boy!
The next day, Kyle was able to eat, drink and laugh! He was feeling 95% better! PRAISE GOD! We had an amazing vacation...finding JOY in JESUS everywhere!
You see my family understands now how Paul could say, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!" Phil. 4:4 We were already in God's presence and then, just like Paul and Silas we praised God through it all! Then just like Paul and Silas we saw the amazing Power of God come through! Hello JOY!!
My prayer is that this encourages you. Look at what you are going through right now as an opportunity to refine the skill of finding joy in the midst of your circumstance. Make it yet another chance to learn and experience the presence, purpose and the power of God. You see, I'm pretty certain that JOY is best discovered through challenges/difficulties! So don't be discouraged, get in His presence, be purposeful and watch the power of God break through - HE loves it when His children bathe in an abundance of JOY.