I. Am. Joyful. Tonight.
And I will tell you why.
A few things:
- I was reminded tonight that 5 years ago--the first time I was doing this particular Bible study I'm in--I was in the midst of a major struggle, one that would continue to plague me for years. I was given the basic precepts for breaking its hold back then, but for whatever reasons, I wasn't ready for it. About 8 months ago, God broke those chains for good. (I'm aware this sounds like jibberish to some--here I can only quote Sara Groves and say, "I don't claim to have found the Truth, but I know it has found me."*) Because mindsets are habits, and hard to break at that, I've found myself wandering back into the same snares, but, in the words of Beth Moore tonight, it's not so much that I have to start back at Day 1, but that I get to start again. Clean slate. And if freedom isn't a cause for joy, I'm sure I don't know what is.
- I have been, as anyone on Facebook can tell you, a little excited about Women's Retreat, our annual getaway each summer. Two years ago, God used it to call me into this ministry; last year, He used it to confirm that calling, but also point me to the very obstacles that still held me back (see above), and proceeded to bring me to a place of freedom. This year?! I can't even deal. But wait, it gets better: of the 26 women coming, three of them are teens that I worked with while in youth ministry. As I posted this evening, I have a serious concern that my heart will not be able to contain itself, and will self-destruct before June. Cannot. Even. Deal.
I am freed. Secured. Loved. Called. Rescued. Redeemed. Restored. And hopeful.
There are still struggles I carry with me--how to be this joyful self when the stresses and frustrations of life crowd me in; how to wait on a divine timetable when most of me rebels and demands autocracy; how to bring finances and personal health and time management under better lordship than my own... But this I know is true: "How kind the LORD is! How good He is! So merciful, this God of ours! The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and He saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the LORD's presence as I live here on earth" (Psalm 116:5-9, NLT -- my testimony psalm).
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee: God of Glory, Lord of Love...
Oh, and just in case that didn't get you singin'... Try this...
*From Sara's awesome "Conversations," off the record of the same name:
"I'm not trying to judge you--no, that's not my job.
I am just a seeker, too--in search of God.
Somewhere, somehow this subject became taboo
But I have no other way to communicate to you
That this is all that I am, this is all that I have...
And I would like to share with you
what makes me complete:
I don't claim to have found the Truth,
but I know it has found me."