Sunday, May 6, 2012

Close only counts in horseshoes...

This past weekend, our church hosted a mini marriage retreat at one of my all time favorite locations.  So of course we signed up.  They kept sending us away to chew on marriage stuff about every half hour,  but Adrain and I are (thankfully) in a very good place in our marriage and had some bigger things to chew on at the moment, so we got a little distracted during our open sessions and quickly moved to the topic(s) at hand.  His job.

Over the past two+ years, those of you long time readers have watched as we decided to downsize our mortgage payment, and move to another town, thirty minutes north of our current home.  After many months, you rejoiced as our home sold and we began to pack.  Then you cried with me as the buyer fell through (thinking she had won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes offer in order to buy our home, which of course she hadn't.  True story.) You sympathized as we unpacked, assuring us God had a plan.
 Only a few months after removing our home from the market, my husband was transferred to a job site 45 minutes south of us, which would have been a huge pain if we had purchased the house we first wanted.  So y'all nodded your heads and praised God for His wisdom in unraveling that first plan... and then Adrain and I decided to be "all in" and put our house on the market and move to the town he had been transferred to.  But God had other ideas.  Our house never even got a nibble and plans unraveled slowly but surely, changing our minds about settling there, and after a cumulative 500 some odd days on the market, we quit.
 We (okay I) sunk into an "I-really-don't-get-any-of-this-crap" funk that lasted a few months, and intensified when we had to cut our vacation short to come home and bury our puppy dog.  I asked questions, I spat out my thoughts, and confident that God could handle it, I let Him have it.  And then I asked Him to fill it, and I stepped back for an entire month, from most of the people I love, letting Him speak answers, softly into my many raging fears and questions.  Last week, I read the following quote, in my devo, and I'm pretty sure there was a fist pump and a yell of, "FINALLY SOMETHING!!"   
“Joy is the flag that flies above the castle of our hearts indicating that the King reigns within.” If that is true, then why are so many women living lives with little or no joy? I’m afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy, allowing him to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams and unrealized goals are some of his favorite weapons, but the truth is that the enemy can only use what we allow him to use. It is time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain, we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, joy is buried under a mountain of self. Joy is not the result of outward circumstances. Joy is an inside job, a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control..." Mary Southerland


Somehow, my searching led me to something amazing that I'd never seen before.  I was reading the book of Jeremiah for our couples bible study, and there's a very well known verse all about God knowing the plans for you, yada, yada, yada, and to be honest, I was putting off getting to that part because of where I was at emotionally.  This time, I read the back story for that verse.  Basically, God kept trying to get the Israelites to quit worshiping idols, etc, and he gave them warning, after warning to no avail.  He was finally like "Okay guys, if you insist on crossing every line, I'm gonna have to let the Babylonians carry you off into slavery to get your attention, but I'll only keep you there for seventy years."  (That was my paraphrase.)  God spoke up; "This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,' declares the Lord..." Jeremiah 29: 10-14a

So basically... there was a set time period of misery.  He didn't make them wallow in it for eternity.  That comforted me massively.
  I feel like we're close to an end place somehow, but you know what they say, "Close only counts in horseshoes."  As for Adrain's job... well... we'll see what happens...

In the mean-time, I'm going to seek Him with my whole heart and I'm going to choose the knowledge that God is firmly in control.  And I'm taking back my joy!!  How about you?  Can you relate to this place at all?




22 comments:

  1. Oh, I love this post! Especially the quote about joy. How true it is. My sister wallowed in misery for years because her life wasn't exactly how she wanted it and blamed God that she wasn't happy. I tried to tell her that "happy" isn't guaranteed in the Bible, but that "joy" is, if you trust in God. And I have had to remind myself of that too, now and again. Glad you are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel...

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  2. I am with you on many levels. Loved the quote and now I think I need to make a real actual flag to fly above my 'castle' to remind me daily that my joy is in the Lord and he is in control.

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  3. I can totally relate right now. We are moving from WI to MT, away from all our family. My hubby has been there since Jan. working, and now Wed. the girls and I finally fly out to live there. Our house still hasn't sold back here, but I am trying to be patient. And the verse from Jere. is one I am trying to repeat over and over and over!

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  4. I can relate Sasha. I remember a while back a friend of mine's husband switched jobs to a distant location and I asked her if they would be moving to the new area (over an hour away) and she said, "No, our home is the one thing that is stable in our lives, so we will continue to live here and he will commute back and forth". At the time I was thinking it was a perfect excuse to get out of "Dodge" and start new. Now I understand what she was telling me, after being faced with moving three times in four years, and now facing uncertainty again (my husband just got laid of last week). Each time I prayed for God to lead us knowing his plan was better than anything I could think up on my own. I tried to trust, but honestly was scared of where He was going to lead us. I realize now how each time He held us by the hand and took loving care of us, so this time I really feel a sense of peace and know that He is always with us and guiding us. I have learned so many beautiful lessons along this road that I am thankful for. God Bless you as you choose JOY! That is a great reminder to all of us. Thanks again for sharing pieces of your heart with us.

    Mary

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  5. Yes! (w/ a fist bump) I can relate and I thank you for these words today. That Mary Southerland quote was awesome! God loves us with a massive love that we can't even fathom and that is a reason for JOY everyday. I think I need to tatoo that on my hand so I remember it....

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  6. Great post & love the qoute! The only thing I can now think of/sing in my head & out loud is an old VBS favorite...Joy is the flag- So let it fly in the sky let the whole world know, that the King is in residenence there

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  8. I can relate 100% and find myself thinking, no knowing, that God led me to this blog today to read your words and quote and know that all will be well again. I need to seek him daily and have faith. Thank You!

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  9. This was just the sort of encouragement that I needed! Thank you so much for sharing. The last few years have been a crazy-wild ride for me, and I've had my moments of "When is this going to END!" Thank you again for the encouragement!

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  10. Love you, Sasha. You know how I can totally relate, and I am lifting you and Adrain up in prayer. You will have many words of wisdom for others going through this, when you are on "the other side" and looking back. For now, rest in the moment, live day by day. God does not give us "anticipatory grace" -- He gives us what we need for the moment. (I am preaching to myself here.) Wish you lived close so I could give you a hug in person. :D

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  11. My dad used to say "close only counts in hand shoes and horse grenades." I love the way you share your sweet spirit. Waiting is so hard! Especially when you don't see the reason for it. There is something wonderful in store for you.

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  12. and the Bible promises you will find him when you seek him with your whole heart and in him is fulness of joy so I'd say you're entirely on the right track!

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  13. i have been there. really, it's easy to go back to the place of despair if i wallow too long in my thoughts without speaking TRUTH to myself! i'm so happy you are coming out of the wilderness... slowly, but surely, my dear!

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  14. So totally there. Thank you for sharing it.

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  15. We are there with the job issue as well. We talked about it last night and the only thing we are hearing right now is to be patient and things will become clearer. Choosing joy is the only option while waiting. That and as Ann Voskamp says the glass is always full!

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  16. Uh yeah remember I'm always on the roller coaster of joy:) Crazy is what I am! Love this. Love that things are heading in the right direction. I'm ready for it to all fall into place for you once and for all.

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  17. Thank you Sasha! I really needed to hear that. I am living with so little joy in my life because of certain things going on during the past 5 years. I want to reclaim that person I used to be but find it so hard. I know you feel sometimes you are alone but know that you are not and how much it helps me to know I am not alone.

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  18. So needed to hear that Sasha. My hubby had a great job for years, money flowing, 3 kids later. The job ended , the money stopped and guess what happend? I found God. We are still muddling through, hoping and trying for the best. I hope it ends soon and we can once again not have to worry about money so much. But for now we do but our little family is happy & healthy and my marriage is stronger and more enduring and endearing than we when we were in the money. Huh? Go figure, Thanks for helping to remind me to reclaim my joy

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  19. would you believe me if I told you that I recently had the same "encounter" with Jeremiah 29? I feel like God was speaking to me his truth for me in those verses. He does have plans to prosper us and not to harm us, BUT prospering doesn't always mean it'll be easy. Sometimes, the trials are meant to prosper us...sometimes the tribulations and sufferings bring about the "prospering."

    It was just the truth I've needed to sink my teeth into.

    can't wait to see the Lord continue unfolding his plan in your lives!

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  20. Yes sister, I can totally relate. God does have a plan and if we suffer, it is only for a while - till we get it. . . what God has for us to understand. That place of waiting - where things are not as we want, that feels horrible. God is right there though, keeping a watchful eye on His Beloved. We are Blessed. Thank you for sharing your heart!! God Bless you.

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  21. I was JUST...literally...just minutes before reading this...in my kitchen claiming this verse over my two year old daughter yet again...as we are walking through some serious health issues with her and have been for the past year. It's hard to watch your babies 'suffer' or perform less than what they say is average. BUT through this whole thing one thing sticks out about my daughter. She is so JOYFUL! From day one I said she was my gift and joy and even through this hard circumstance God is so faithful to still let that truth ring out. I know this trial is for a pre-determined time. We will not be in this storm forever because we are believing she is HEALED! But I totally get what you are saying. My source of faith drains easily when I am not going back to the Well for Living Water. But not only that....not forming my own cisterns that are broken and cannot even hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13) It isn't enough that we go to the Well...but what about our cisterns...can they even hold water? Oh I'm going off...thank you for the encouragment!

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I am so thankful for you, for taking the time to comment. I read every single word with deep appreciation, and YOU bless my heart and make me smile, just by leaving a piece of your self here on my blog. Thank you.