Currently, I hold four journals all filled with information on joy. In no way have I completed the topic. The fact is I am supposed to be done; and, I thought for certain I'd be finished at the time I ended the Thrive Retreat where I'd be speaking on Joy in the Journey. Yesterday morning I left Breckenridge after debriefing with the 34 other women who volunteered alongside me. I haven't even begun to touch, in this blog, some of the things I've learned, and even some of the lessons I shared with the "global" women we all went to serve. Again, my mind is oddly still, except for one passage of Scripture. It was a passage I had intended to share with the ladies as I finished out the sessions, but left out as time ran short. It's applicable more to me this morning than it is to anyone, but it is one of the "joy" passages I studied along the way.
May we shout for JOY over your victories and lift up our banners of JOY in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all my requests...Psalm 20:5
My mind is quiet, but my heart is rejoicing this morning. If it weren't 4:30 AM, in a Denver hotel, filled with sleeping folks, I would probably be a bit more expressive. I feel like shouting and lifting up a banner in the name of my God. Why? I saw first-hand-victories over the past 8 days. I watched the countenances of women change. I saw souls arrive in Breckenridge heavy-hearted and leave lighter. I watched confusion melt into peace. I heard stories of fears dissolving. I watched transformations take place. God was good to these women.
The Lord granted all of my requests for these ladies, my heroes of the faith! Missionary life is not easy. Most of these women will tell you that the #1 question they don't want to be asked is "How are you doing?" At the same time, most of them will tell you the #1 question they hope to be asked is "How are you doing?"...and have the one who asked them truly listen. I think that hope was fulfilled. They connected with other women walking the same road called "home assignment." They shared vulnerably. They were heard, and loved on, by one another, and the volunteers. It was a JOY to see.
Much more, God heard my cries for help, and responded. I came to Him with a request to allow me to "be a vessel of honor, sanctified, useful to Him, and prepared for every good work (2 Timothy 1:23)." I prayed a declaration of King David in Psalm 18, that my God would indeed "help me to advance..." and to be with me, helping me to "scale a wall (vs. 29)." This morning as I write, I'm listening to a TobyMac song on Pandora.
"You take me to the place where I know I need you -
Straight to the depths I can't handle on my own.
And, Lord, I know, I know I need you.
Take me to your great unknown...
You gave me stars, put them out of my reach...
Called me to waters a little too deep.
I've never been so aware of my need.
You keep on making me see-
It's way beyond me."
That resonates with me this early morning hour. God has, once again, taken me to a place where I desperately needed Him. He called me to deep waters, which were a little intimidating, and certainly difficult to navigate without His help. He asked me to step out of myself and do that which is "beyond me"... But in that place His faithful Presence went with, and as I stepped into His Presence, I, also, stepped into strength...and JOY.
#lessonsonjoy - When I step out of my comfort zone, into His Presence, I can confidently do that which is beyond me and find joy.
I'm headed off to New York this morning. Soon as I get home, I need to create a banner of JOY to raise to in the name of my God. He helped me scale a wall. I saw victory unfold before my eyes.
At least I can shout for JOY (somewhere in a place where people aren't sleeping)!