JOY is returning!!!

As I unpacked the last box a few days ago, I felt a release upon my shoulders.  Everything isn’t perfectly organized, everything isn’t the way I picture it, but everything IS out of those boxes and somewhat organized 🙂 .  I am able to focus on my real passion: my family.  The past two months, I have been so distracted by so many things, it felt impossible to do things the way I longed to with the kids and Brian.  We were traveling and in motels for over 5 weeks, needed to arrange so many things when we arrived and then had to get our house set up…and most of that time, I felt so sick.  My world was definitely topsy turvy during that time, and I sought the Lord so much, but everything still felt like a battle.  I was not on solid ground…even with God…in my head…as my constant.  I can see that my flesh, as much as I want it to depend on God, depends on much of the seen…routines, comforts, familiarity, peace, etc.  I saw the depth that God wanted to take me to in my relationship with Him…how shallow much of my thinking had been…how childish.  When testing came, my heart faltered.  It was humbling and those words when I first arrived, were so penetrating to my heart–“Maybe it is time for you to let go of your identity and rest in God’s.”  Here, He is calling me to change in deep ways…and equipping me to do so.

The past few days, the Lord showed me what needed to change in my heart, in my way of interacting with my sweet husband and my children.  There is a difference between knowledge though and a deep heart-change!  I know what needs to be done.  Now is the time to depend on Him to choose His way and let go of the old that came out with the recent testing.  I have backslid in a lot of ways…and have thought before, that those ways were buried in my past, but as stress came, they popped up…and now is time to be propelled forward by the Lord once again.

I applied what He told me today…I spent that time with Him once again in the morning, as I had been before, despite how tired my body was…and He brought forth much fruit from that.  I prayed often…with a focused and undivided heart.  I did what He told me to do with Lewis…”give Him unconditional love“, He said…”when he is most bothering you, most testing you, when he is repeatedly disobedient, love him THEN.” I prayed God would help me do this..I knew it would be impossible for me to do on my own.  Then, I prayed for Lewis’ heart.  Lewis and I baked cookies for 2 hours this morning and then read books, while Brian took Hannah to gymnastic class, and we mixed food coloring and made all sorts of fun cookies.  He broke several things, grabbed things without asking, interrupted me, had a hard time listening, and dumped water everywhere multiple times…but he wasn’t disrespectful and he tried his best…and came up close to my face each time to tell me he was sorry.  I prayed often and forgave him over and over, and we pushed on to have a sweet time together.  He reached his precious little hands around me and said, “mommy, I am having a great time with you…and I love you so very much.”  He hugged me for a long time.  Tears filled my eyes as I haven’t heard this or felt his love for me in weeks.  He’s been struggling so much and so have I.  We’ve just been butting heads often.  It seems he was taking some of his frustration out on mommy…and I didn’t know how to respond.  I have been pouring into him lately…but it didn’t seem like anything was getting through to him.  I felt defeated…but would press on…I prayed God would make me slow to anger…and to not take offense…and to persevere.  God gave Lewis and I stories in our homeschooling program that were perfectly suited to both of us.  It didn’t seem like he was perceiving…but Brian reminded me that he’s taking it in, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Yesterday, as we were reading our school stories, many were stories about how God calls us to be as Christians.  Both Lewis and I were sensing God’s holiness as we read on…and the gap in our souls…Lewis softly spoke in my ear as we were cuddling…”Mommy, can Jesus help me be Holy?”  We prayed and Lewis said “Jesus, may you make me holy?”  I assured him Jesus was very happy he asked for His help and that He wanted to be there for Him and that He would definitely help him be holy.

Later, Brian was talking to Lewis about a verse he received in Sunday school class, “to encourage others and build each other up.”  In the car, as we were going somewhere, Hannah began to egg him on…as she has recently started to do.  I was able to talk to him about different ways to respond to her, at a separate time, so that he would not take offense to her and be drawn into wrong with her, but remain blameless and then we could focus on helping her do the right thing.  This time, he remembered and said in response to her silliness, “I love you Hannah,” and then he looked out the window…and then he turned back toward us and said, with a beaming face, “encouraging others and building them up builds you up too!”  We all laughed and gave him high fives to celebrate a new and wonderful truth that became real to him.  How beautiful God’s ways are…how joyful and freeing they are.

I felt much joy connecting with my little love today.  My heart has been so strained as I have watched him struggle to adjust here, distance himself from us…and especially me…but at the same time, battle me all day long…seemingly stuck in a world of his own.  God reached out to him, and I saw the same little beautiful spirit I have come to know come out today.  This is a sweet, sweet answer to prayer for me.  THIS IS JOY!

More troubles will come, to be sure, but God is so strong to help us through each one and fill us with joy once again.  This is a hope fulfilled 🙂

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