Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Despair or Rejoice (Sink or Swim!)

You've probably heard the phrase "Sink or Swim!"  Isn't that what it boils down to, at times?  God has reminded me of this during some pretty hard times in my life.  Well today, I've adopted a new one for myself, based on God's Word: "Despair or Rejoice!"  We pretty much have those two choices in life, when something "bad" happens to us or around us.  And, there is definitely a time to grieve; I've known a little grief myself lately, and I'm certainly not minimizing legitimate grief with this post.  But, we *do* have a choice with what we do beyond our grief.  We can continue to grieve to the point of despair, which can bring depression, destruction, and sometimes death, OR we can grieve to the point of rejoicing in God's Goodness, which brings joy, edification for us and others, and life!  Doesn't it come down to this during suffering and hard times?  We either believe that He is a good God, a loving Father, or we don't....and our long-term attitude will reflect that belief.

The past week has been really hard for me, in a number of ways; but, one thing I have been reminded of, in a gentle way from the Holy Spirit, is that we can chose to either despair or rejoice, in the midst of our circumstances and situation.  If we have Hope in Christ, that choice should be an easy one, but it isn't always so...especially not for me.  I'll be the first to admit that my melancholy temperament (coupled with my flesh, of course) makes me inclined to do more of the "despairing" instead of the "rejoicing."  But, God is FAITHFUL to turn us to His Word, to bring encouragers across our path at the right times, and to bring joy in our morning, after our mourning, even after feeling we may have drowned in our own tears...  He sees every struggle, every heartache, every tear, and takes account of it all, just as a loving parent watches a hurting child and wants so much to hold and to help.

So, in my talking to my downcast soul lately, I have come up with the following "I Can Rejoice..." statements, which were mainly for my own good -- for my soul to rejoice in the Lord; but, I pray they will bless you too, as we look to Him in our troubles and remember to keep The Main Thing (knowing Him) the main thing.

"...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." ~ Philippians 3:10-11

  • I can rejoice, even after numerous storms in our area this Spring have caused flooding, damage, and much extra work for us and many local friends, that my dear husband has learned even more about taking care of our property and pool and that we all have been kept safe.
  • I can rejoice, even after someone in Bogotá, Colombia was using one of our debit card numbers to buy food yesterday and today, for all his homeys, that at least those people were able to eat and at least our bank graciously credited our account for those charges.
  • I can rejoice, even after countless nights of waking up 3 - 5 times with our teething 9 month old baby, that he is otherwise happy and healthy, nursing well and consuming purées, and that his teeth are coming in normally.
  • I can rejoice, even while my phone screen is shattered into at least a hundred cracks, that it is still intact and that I can still use my "smart" phone to communicate with loved ones and plan my life for now....until I'm eligible for a free or discounted new phone.
  • I can rejoice, even after losing our two week old baby goat, who was already pre-sold for $300 and was either taken by a human thief or a bird of prey, that we still have our Nanny goat who is now giving us half a gallon of fresh milk each day.  I wasn't prepared to start milking morning and evening yet, but God knew this would happen, and He is for us, not against us.
  • I can rejoice, even after "accidentally" hitting Executive in my Young Living business this month, due to a person's one-time large order, making it very hard for me to reach Silver in 6 (a one-time incentive program with a huge reward, if I maintain Executive level each month *and* reach Silver level by the end of November)...yes, in this I can still rejoice, because God's is allowing my business to prosper either way.  His ways are higher.
  • I can rejoice, even after not being able to keep up with cloth diapers in this season and spending way more that we wanted to on disposable diapers, for time and sanity, that Pierson (4) and Evie (2.5) are now staying dry at night, and will no longer need diapers at night anymore!  Praise the LORD.  Dawson (9 months tomorrow) in diapers will be more than enough for this Mama...and perhaps I *will* get those cloth diapers going again.
  • I can rejoice, even after our property taxes have now been greatly raised twice (for last year and this year), that God has provided a God-fearing and servant-hearted believer to rent out our guest house and that Jehovah-Jireh is continually meeting our financial needs and continually challenging us to trust Him with the tithe.
  • I can rejoice, even though I haven't had a shower in three days (don't worry, I'm going to do that now), that one day, when my children are teenagers, I will be deeply grateful for the time spent with their little hearts and meeting their needs in the early years, shower or not....and that I have a natural, yet effective deodorant.  ;)
  • I can rejoice, even though I have to put my 2.5 year old toddler back to nap up to four times some afternoons, that she still *does* take a nap...a much needed one.
  • I can rejoice, even though most days I scramble and stumble in homeschooling our children, that our 4 year old and 6 year old are reading and writing words and sentences, have memorized at least a dozen scripture verses, and they *are* learning!
  • I can rejoice, even though my couch has clean clothes piled on it, begging to be folded, and even though my dishwasher is patiently awaiting the piles of dishes from my sink, that I have a gracious and loving husband who helps me catch up on these things on the weekend, when I fail miserably at keeping up with them during the week.
However, the real truth is, that compared to many, many people around the globe, I really have no legitimate reason to may very well, but I really don't right now.  My heartaches and problems are real, but they are not any great suffering beyond dying to my selfish, sinful flesh.  Day to day living may take a hard toll on me sometimes, but I am blessed and deeply grateful to my Father in Heaven for taking care of me and my family, as we trust Him.  I encourage you to renew your determination to trust the Lord today, even in a new way at a new level.  Maybe write out your own "I Can Rejoice..." list.  He will never fail us, even when we fail Him, and we can rejoice in His Goodness and Love and in the hope of Glory eternal with Him.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" ~ Philippians 4:4