Finding Joy When All Your Wells Run Dry

I did it. I clicked the button labeled “submit.” It was done. Three and a half years of work and my Masters Degree was complete.

I imagined this moment for three and half years. I couldn’t wait for it to happen. I just knew I would be elated.

But I wasn’t.

Joy Dry Well

I was dry and really tired and I just wanted to curl into a ball on my bed and hide.

My husband insisted on taking me and the kids out to dinner to celebrate. Surely sushi would boost my mood.

But it didn’t.

I rationalized the lack of enthusiasm by admitting my fatigue and my concern that I didn’t know my final grade. My type-A personality wanted straight A’s.

But even when I received my final GPA (3.97) there was a small sense of accomplishment, but no jumping up and down whooping joy.

There was only a dry and empty well. What I thought would bring me rest – finishing my degree – and joy – accomplishing my goal of getting straight A’s – didn’t bring either. Instead I was left with an empty question…What’s next?

As the question bounced around in my heart and head for weeks God spoke to me through Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV).

…for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
    the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
    broken cisterns that can hold no water.

I was dry for joy because I was digging for joy in my accomplishments, in reaching my goals. Don’t get me wrong it is good and right to feel satisfaction in reaching a goal. But if I am constantly saying, “I will rest when…” or “I will be happy when…” or “If only….” then I am missing out on joy right now. What is the constant source of joy and peace and rest? God, the fountain of living waters.

Have you forsaken the fountain of living waters? Are you digging for yourself wells that can’t hold water?

Lay down the shovel, friend, and come to God. Read His Word, listen to a sermon, sing His praises, pray, spend time with Godly friends or mentors, or serve Him.

I pray that we will never again forsake the “fountain of living waters” for “broken cisterns.”

What do you need to lay down so you can draw near to God?

Angela

When all You Want is a Name

Piles of dirty dishes surround the kitchen sink and the clutter the counter and litter the island in my kitchen.

My dishwasher broke last week and for about three days I did a great job of keeping up with the dishes. Then stuff happened. I got busy and lazy and I injured my foot and the dishes kept piling up.

And honestly clean dishes are not flashy. I mean we notice when we run out of clean spoons, but we don’t really pay attention when there are clean spoons in the drawer every day. Clean dishes feel little, small, unimportant.

At least they seem unimportant until there are no clean dishes to use or your husband invites his growth group to your house and there are dirty dishes littering your kitchen and no time to hand wash them all.

Sometimes it feels easier to live in my cluttered up, lazy life so I don’t have to do the little things…I mean the big things are more important right?

Big things are God things and little things are just…little. Or are they?

A Name RTMT 1-4-16The thing is we can’t do the big things for God when we aren’t doing the little things. Just like you can’t run a marathon if you don’t start by running one mile. Your house isn’t suddenly organized unless you wash dishes and – gasp – put them away. You can’t suddenly obey God for big grand things if you aren’t obeying Him in the mundane little things in life.

Maybe the issue is that instead of looking to make God’s name great, I am looking to make a name for me, Angela.

Is the real reason I want to do big things – be a world changer – because I want people to think how great I am or maybe I want God to think I am great?

Have I forgotten that in Christ my name is treasured possession?

Or that through the Holy Spirit the mundane becomes worship because I can praise God for dirty dishes and food and family…

May I not be like those who built a tower to make a name for themselves.

Instead, O LORD, may I be like David and long to glorify Your name forever.

May the name I want to glorify be God’s alone…forever and ever.

 

Do you seek to make a name for yourself? How can you turn your desire for recognition into praise to God who deserves all glory and honor?

Angela

Hello Again, New Year, New Word…

Hello.

Happy New Year.

I have remained quiet on my little part of the internet for nearly a year now…

I remained super busy this past year…

I was homeschooling, finishing seminary, teaching martial arts, teaching Sunday School, etc…

And I was quiet because a part of me doubted I had anything to say…

Sometimes I feel like this small place of sharing what God is teaching me isn’t reaching anyone. It is just more noise in a noisy world of blogs and social media.

And ignoring the part of myself that loves writing caused the doubt to grow…I became dry and weary and exhausted…

This year as the New Year approached I finished seminary and a stirring in the dry places started. The dry ground was being plowed by the Heavenly Farmer who promises to grow His fruit in His children.

So as I begin praying over this place and the New Year and what God would have me focus on.

And the word that kept coming up made me cringe. I can tackle words like “stretch,” “grow,” “discipline,” and “holiness”  because those are words that sound big. Words that seem deep and active. But the word that God kept stirring this year seemed somehow less…maybe even weak…And yet I know it is a word I need to focus on because it isn’t my natural bent.

2016 Year of Joy RTMT 1-1-16

The word is “Joy” as in “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10) And so over the next 366 days I will be focusing on the “joy of the Lord.” I will be focusing on finding all of my joy and delight in Him. Maybe this battle to find joy will no longer seem “less than” in my practical mind. I pray instead it will be the catalyst to draw me nearer to the LORD.

Do you have a new word for this year? What is it?

Angela

Rethinking 1 Corinthians 13 The LOVE Chapter (plus Give-Aways)

Today my friend Lori Wildenberg is sharing how she has been rethinking 1 Corinthians 13 and she has a great giveaway going on…

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

 

Did you have 1 Corinthians 13 read at your wedding? Many of us did. But the words in the Love chapter didn’t fully come to life until I experienced some struggles.

My years of infertility were some of my most challenging times.

How could I love when felt abandoned by God and betrayed by my body? (I wasn’t patient, I wasn’t kind; I was angry, I was envious.) During those five years, I learned about relying on God rather than putting all my hope into the infertility specialists and doctors.

Then God blessed Tom and me with four kids over another period of five years through adoption and birth.

As a more mature believer, I realized God had given us the key to what unconditional love looks like. He tells us how to love like He loves.

And… it’s in 1 Corinthians 13.

And…it isn’t just a nice sentiment to be read at a wedding.

1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most practical and powerful verses in the Bible.

Love is an action, an attitude, an outward focus. It’s self-controlled; it’s an action, a commitment. It is ultimate strength.

I have found this chapter in scripture to be the most impactful in my parenting. It helps me avoid responding in anger to disobedience but to be self-controlled and to have a plan. Love is kind is the glue for family unity. My kiddo’s self–worth blossoms when I demonstrate patience.

Love is the quality that makes a family flourish.

If you would like to know more about how to apply 1 Corinthians 13 LOVE into your relationships with your kids the 1 Corinthians 13 Parent series brings the fifteen attributes of love to life in the books Raising Little Kids with Big Love (toddlers – nine) and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love (tweens- young adults).

1C13P Series with how tos

During the LOVE Month, February, 1C13P is celebrating! The 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series: Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love and their companion study guides, is being formally launched. My co-author, Becky Danielson and I are so excited; so much so that we wanted to spread a little love around. We are giving away over $400.00 of gifts: books, jewelry, and one-on-one parent coaching with either Lori or Becky, both licensed parent and family educators. To be eligible for the gifts, comment on this blog post or on an article over at www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com during the month of February. Winners will be randomly drawn each Friday and notified via email. Thank you for sharing in this special month long event!

sharing the love

 

lori 2014Lori Wildenberg loves to encourage and support parents in their quest to be the mom or dad they want to be. Lori and her ministry partner and co-author, Becky Danielson, are licensed parent and family educators, authors of three parenting books, speakers, and founders of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com. For more information or to connect with Lori go to www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com www.loriwildenberg.com or visit the 1C13P facebook page www.facebook.com/1Corinthians13Parenting

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Angela