It's no secret that our short time in ministry has been difficult...so difficult that these past three years might as well of been ten. And no, I'm not writing this blog to vent, cast judgement or ridicule anyone. They will have to answer to God for what they have done one day and until then, they will have to live with themselves. That is punishment enough.
No, one of the points of this post is guns...as in, laying them down. This has been a constant struggle and learning process for me. When my husband or children are attacked-be it physical or verbal-my first instinct is to attack back...and it is usually with my words. I have been told that I am good with words but I have also been told that I can kill someone with my words. And I hate to admit that I have tried. Is this a fleshly response? Absolutely. It is an area that the Lord has been working to refine in me.
So this time around has been different...this time around I have bit my tongue so hard that it is a wonder that there aren't any holes in it. Oh, how hard it is to humbly surrender and not take it upon myself to seek revenge. So what has stopped me? Mainly this verse:
"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Romans 12:19
I have been clinging to this verse with all my being. It has kept me quiet when my lungs have threatened to burst and my fist has wanted to punch through a wall (or someone's face for that matter).
The Lord says that vengeance is His. There is something comforting about that. I guess it is the fact that he loves and cares for us so much that he will do the dirty work for us...that he will bring justice without us ever having to lift a finger or suffer the consequences that often come when we try to seek justice ourselves.
So how do I find joy in all of this surrendering? this humble submission? all this uncertainty? That is what I have been dealing with. My quiet times lately have been on the topic of thanksgiving (Eucharisteo) and I have found that thanksgiving is at the heart of joy...or is it that joy is at the heart of thanksgiving? You see, they go hand in hand. Inevitably, where there is thanksgiving, there is joy...no matter the circumstance, trial, or hardship.
So this is the hard Eucharisteo...Eucahristeo when there is no job right before birthdays and Christmas? Eucharisteo when you have to put the house you love on the market with little chance of breaking even? Eucharisteo when you can count on both hands how many time you have moved in the past four years? Eucharisteo when you feel betrayed? Eucharisteo when you feel beaten? yes, yes, yes, yes and YES!
As Ann Voskamp puts it:
True saints know that the place where all joy comes from is far deeper than that of feelings; joy comes from the place of the very presence of God...joy transcends all other emotions. Though my marriage tree may not bud and though my crop of children may fail and my work produce little yield, though there is no money in the bank and no dream left in the heart, though others may choose different ways to live their one life, till my last heaving breath, I will fight to the death for this: "I will take joy." (Habakkuk 3:18) I will struggle to heed this until I am not more: "Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." (James 1:2)
So yes, I can have joy when I have no idea what tomorrow brings. I can have joy. I can have joy!...for my joy is in Christ. My joy is in Him!