May 5, 2016
It's amazing to see how God shapes us and transforms us. It's also amazing the ways in which he does it. Some how in the midst of everyday life when things are busy and life gets crazy-He still teaches us.
Rusty and I have had a life-changing experience in Miami. My life is not what I would imagined it to be. Some days that's hard and others I'm reminded of the blessing it is. We have already been here 9 months! It's insane how quickly the time has passed and also remembering the days that felt they would never end. The church is growing and relationships are developing, but let's be honest, we're still just people trying to figure out this thing called life. It seems like most of the time we spend thinking about the next stage of life. We get excited for the things to come, dwell on the next monumental stage or event of life, but then life just happens and reality hits. For the first time in who knows how long, I feel content and not wrapped up in everything to come. We're just taking it day-by-day and honestly, it's great! It relieves some anxiety and makes the time we have with people meaningful and intentional. We're learning a lot about contentment in Christ. We're reminded of the time we've been given and are choosing to embrace it.
But life happens. We get focused and do the day-to-day things and still have the ups and downs. Somedays contentment is really easy, other days it's really hard. We're not really sure what the future holds, so it can be easy not to dwell on it, but at times it is scary because we want more for the future. I struggle with that a lot. There are days that I sit and I am so grateful for where God has brought us. Other days I'm so anxious for the season to come. It's a humbling process full of questions and honestly, doubts. It makes me think of my nephews and niece. As you watch them learn and grow and develop personalities, you see them succeed and then fall. You see their dependence on adults, but also see their little independent spirits start shining through and we just sit there and say "they're a mess, but what a precious mess." Then my family often chuckles. Usually the kids just do some funny thing because they don't know any better, but they're learning right? I think God looks at me so often and just chuckles and say "Jo, you are a beautiful mess". Then I want to roll my eyes, but stop and smile because I'm so touched to think he thinks I'm so beautiful. Obviously, He knows I'm a mess. That was clear from day 1, but to know He loves me because I'm a mess is really humbling and touching.
It's really made me reevaluate this season. At first I was in panic mode, freaking out about what was going on in our lives. Then I stepped into relief mode, so thankful for the support and encouragement we had to get help and start the healing process. Then came a time of motivation and excitement that things we're looking up. Then, the lull, the time of boredom or questioning of why the heck am I waiting? Isn't there more? Shouldn't I have something greater to do? Of course, I basically diagnosed myself as healed and ready to conquer the world. The thought never really occurred to me that this might be a season of waiting or continual restoration, God doesn't do that, right? Heck, I feel better so I must be good to go. I'm supposed to be a successful, thriving woman with a great job and a super busy life. Then it hit me. I started talking with some friends and family and the lightbulb turned on. Maybe I have been looking at this all wrong. What if God really does intend a season of waiting a season to rest in Him? BAH! Maybe you don't know me well, but if you do, you know I am NOT PATIENT. I would love to say I am, but when you say "let's go!" I'm already to car. It is hard to wait. But I'm learning that it can be good. Maybe you don't relate, but do any of you feel like you have to be going 24/7? Do you feel like your worth is found in what you do? Or maybe even how well you get paid? Or how "cool" or "good" of a job you have? Man, I do. Way too often. But for the first time since 9th grade...like 10 years I don't have an official "job" and it's hard. But for the first time in a while, I'm learning what I do is not because I make money or because my worth is found in my job title or what my co-workers think of me, but my worth is found in God. He doesn't care if I get paid or not, or if I have some fancy job title. All he cares is that I trust and obey Him. My relationship with Him is more important than anything else because He is more important than anything else. And you know what's cool, I'm realizing gifts I really didn't know I had. I'm not wasting time sitting on my butt all day. In fact, I'm able to connect with more women because I have a free schedule. I'm able to connect with people like you reading this and share what God is doing in our lives. I'm able to sit down a write all those hand-written notes I love. I'm able to have time to ask questions about God. I'm able to clean up around the house so Rusty and I can enjoy almost every night together without something we "have" to do. I'm able to find time to destress and go run without being worried about where I have to be next. I'm actually able to see other people and their needs because I'm not so busy with my own. And I actually have the time to do something about it. I'm able to slowly develop my business without it taking over my life. It's a BLESSING! Why have I been complaining? I'm being proactive, I'm being obedient, why worry about the future when today has enough worries of it's own?
Let me tell you. I have been blessed in life. But this last year I have also experienced a place that no one should ever have to go. But even when I know my life has been a mess, I know my God still says "you're beautiful".
Every season is a blessing. It may not always be fun and easy, but it has purpose. Maybe we need them to recognize our messiness or maybe to recognize our beauty, but it's always meaningful. God is teaching you something, whether we know it at the time or not. But if all we focus on is what's next, we'll miss what's right in front of us. Hear me out. I'm all about being a go-getter. But I'm also learning there is so much value in contentment. So work heartedly for the Lord everyday, but not because of what may come of it, but because of what you're given. Everyday is an opportunity. Everyday has meaning. Set your heart and mind on Christ so that you see and don't overlook it. Don't do, what I have done for months and just focus on what I want the future to hold, but grasp the opportunities that stand right in front of you. It's just been the last couple of weeks that I've really started grasping this. It helps. It helps me realize that no day is a waste, but an opportunity. So what am I going to do with it? It may not be what the world defines as "productive", but God may find it quite valuable.
Whatever season you're in, whatever trials that burden your heart, no matter how happy you feel; I encourage you say, "What can I do today?" I can choose to let my circumstances or positions define me or I can take it as the day the Lord intended and ROCK IT!
To those of you who feel insignificant or feel your choices don't mean much I want to encourage you and let you know that Jesus Christ thinks you mean the world. Your actions don't define you, HE LOVES YOU, no matter what you do. But know that those small steps you take to draw closer to Him will radically change your life. Even when life is hard and we feel worthless, you have a choice to make. You can choose hope, you can choose grace, you can choose God. He'll never abandon you. He will always love you.
And guess what we're all a bunch of "beautiful messes"
With hugs, smiles and prayers