Joy Joy….and Joy again

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So I’ve been AWOL for a while…and I mean a while, I didn’t post anything for more than a year. To be honest it’s been an interesting season. I like to have answers and things figured out and I like to write about problems with worked out solutions. However this season has felt like I had no answers. All that I thought I knew , I began to doubt I knew it anymore. I kept waiting for closure, to get answers so I can write a lovely wrapped up story, but I’m learning that I probably don’t need to have all the answers. It’s enough just to know the next one single step that God reveals to you at a time. To be honest, its good that God has not told me my whole life plan otherwise I’d find a way to mess it up. I’m grateful that as the great potter he knows what shape I need to be to fulfil my purpose and he will mould me into whatever he desires.

“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”- Jeremiah 18:4. 

The “marred” stage is no fun for anyone. It’s a state where your identity is being redefined to you (who you are becoming is not a surprise to God) and it’s the middle stage, the unknowing, the frustrating and the letting go of what you know into the unknown. Its a demand of a greater trust in God like you’ve never had before, an invitation to go deeper into the river like in Ezekiel 47, where deep calls unto deep. How far are we willing to go?

“As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.” -Ezekiel 47:3-5.

One of my prayers the last 2-3 years has been, “God would you make me into a sharp precise tool in the hands of the great physician.” Guess what he took my word for it. Like the all consuming fire he is, refined, re-modelled, reshaped and continues to do so this vessel of his. Resistance is futile if you’re truly to be a vessel to be used for God’s purposes, and it calls for full surrender to the purging and cleaning of you as a vessel. There is going to be levels of purging and refining to become more like Jesus. Blindspots you’ve had for years start to come to light and it’s convicting whilst also it can be a little like urghh….I can’t believe I’ve lived my life like this. But the Holy Spirit does it in such a way that is unique to each of us it never seems like condemnation.

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I remember a few years back when I realised there was significantly more abundant life in Christ that which I had been used to. I was so excited about all these prophetic promises, general ones in the bible, personal prophetic words God had given to me and those I’d received from people. The future was exciting, but somehow I think I hit pause on my joy until I’d seen the promises come true. I couldn’t wait for the restoration, that God had promised. Isaiah became a much loved book to me, especially after chapter 40. The restoring love of Jehovah in those chapters spoke to me, his faithfulness and compassion emphasised over and over again.

There were weeks upon weeks where all I read was Isaiah 54.  “Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy; you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord. Isaiah 49, “Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth;burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”

Oh how I’d refer over and over again to the loved verse, Jeremiah 31:13 -“The maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I’ll give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Psalm 126: 5-6 became very dear to me, “Those who sow in tars will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”

I once heard John Paul Jackson say once you receive a prophetic word, they should really say “let the purging moment begin”, because God will start to make you into the person required to fulfil that prophecy. God always calls us higher to where we couldn’t even imagine being, but we need to be ready to take the place and have the character to maintain the position. My mindset through all of this has been “survival mode”, just gritting my teeth through it all, forgetting all about that call to abundant life. I lost my joy and was trying to survive just from one day to the next, hoping once this is over, I can have joy again. 

 

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There’s been plenty of times where my prayer has just been God, just give me joy if anything else, I just want to remember what joy feels like. I realised that even if I got the job of my dreams and accelerated up the career ladder, got the perfect husband and kids, that would not give me joy, perhaps temporary happiness. This is a work between just me and God. My eyes had to keep starring at him until I saw who he truly was, and only by gazing at him was I going to find my identity and gain true joy. There’s a really fantastic book by Andrew Murray called Waiting on God, read it if you’ve ever wanted to know the true value of waiting on the Lord. He talks about how you’re going to wait on God, to know first who is He is and then after that what he will do. (I’ll put a review in the Book Corner).

Ultimately the greatest joy is to be found in the waiting. waiting on God, with God and for God. The more I gazed at him the more he brought to remembrance all those words from my childhood that I had buried, the lies that the enemy had whispered to me, that I had absorbed and made my identity. I had to, and continue to unlearn all the lies and identities bestowed upon me by the enemy. I watched and continue to watch as chains I’ve had for years began to break and God begins to restore my voice that the enemy had silenced and dreams that the enemy had stolen. I watch and listen as God reveals his purpose over my life, and for the first time I don’t have to have it all under control.

I can just have childlike faith and trust he’s got it. I can be a child again, I can have pure joy that a child has again. I’ve had to unlearn being “sophisticated, got it together and independent”, and just fully depend on him, which led to first off a slight change in my career (I might expand on that in another blog). I had nothing to prove and however sensible my life plan was, it wasn’t God’s plan for my life, that was human wisdom. So now I choose joy, joy that does not neglect the pain and discomfort, but joy that comes from spending time praising and worship in the waiting. The joy that says even if he doesn’t, I will still praise him. I can dance again. Funnily enough God’s been speaking to me a lot about dancing, singing and shouting in the past 3 months, perhaps it’s time I took it seriously. I love to dance, there’s such unadulterated joy that comes with it.

 

  1. Filister

    Very beautifully written. Really encouraged on living a life full of joy and embracing it right now even in the current circumstances. Oh with joy I will continuously draw from the wells of salvation.

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