Joy for the Journey

We’ve had a lot going on lately. You know from previous posts that a lot of my focus has shifted from working out to getting through and figuring things out. We have become a forward-focused family. From planning for a move into an uncertain new life (which has MANY ups as well as downs!) to keeping our house here in showing condition and praying for a sale, there’s been a lot going on.

Many of you are also aware that there have been some health situations at task. Last week, John and I spent Tuesday in the hospital after some pain caused some concerns and some scans needed to be completed. After that, I underwent surgery on Friday to both explore what’s been going on, to remove a few problems and to try to start getting things back on track. The procedure itself went well, then they didn’t. After an unexpected response to anesthesia another whirlwind started before healing could begin. It was a scary place to be and wasn’t at all how we planned!

Since then, we’ve been working on trying to get back on track and to devise a plan for moving forward, through both the issue that was corrected on Friday and other health situations that we’ve been processing since the beginning of the year. Bottom line: it can be a difficult place to be!

It can be easy to get down, to focus on things that are hard and to become consumed in the negative – especially with everything life seems to be throwing in this direction. I’ve found myself in that place more than once. You see, I like to be in complete control and to live life according to a plan…my plan. But lately, a few things have happened that have started to change that perspective and to bring me back the lesson that I’ve been avoiding learning for some time.

It started yesterday when our pastor called to check in. After talking through what went on and before prayer, he asked me where God is during all of this. It’s funny, because when things go wrong it’s easy to answer a question like that with “I don’t know.” Instead, my instinctive answer – though I hadn’t taken the time to really process it and think it through – was “he’s right here in it.” It might have sounded like a Sunday School answer (hey, who isn’t good at throwing those around?), but when I stepped back to think about that response, I realized the gravity of that truth. That, no matter what, we’re not alone in this…having that undeniable knowledge brings something unexpected out of seemingly negative situations: it brings joy.

Then, early this morning I was online and came across a message that a friend had posted. It’s from scripture and reads as follows (from the Message version; not something I normally spend a lot of time with):

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you. Isaiah 43:1-4″

Now again, I’m not one that spends a lot of time using this outlet to get my preach on. But, there’s a time and a place for everything. During times of struggle and journeys that seem hard, it’s easy to throw out questions, to wonder why and to worry about what’s ahead. I am a worrier by nature; I’m good at it, I’m good at living in the negative. But, the gravity of those words hit me hard and I felt the need to share.

At the times when we are over our head, we are not alone. When things get hard, we’re not going to sink. Now, I think it’s important that there’s some clarification there. To me, this means that bad things happen and sometimes life doesn’t go according to our plan…this isn’t saying they don’t. It is saying though that during all of it, we’re not running solo; we’re part of a bigger plan and even when it isn’t ours, good can come from rough spots. There’s a power that’s higher than us that’s pulling for what’s best for us…not what we see is best. Not what we want, not a pain free journey…but one that’s right for us.

It can be hard to swallow. But, I know I’m working on that one! Throughout this journey, there has been joy. We have been blessed by those around us. We have learned that we have more support than we ever could have imagined and we have learned that we are not on this journey alone. We have found joy; I have mentioned it before and it is no less true now than it was previously.

Life looks different now and the future isn’t what John and I would have imagined just 6 months ago; but, God is plotting for our good.

What are you facing today? What seems bigger than you? What seems so hard you’re not sure where to turn or where to go? Think about the promise above and find joy…there’s plenty to go around.


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