JOY in the WAITING

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My word for 2018 was JOY so I bought a necklace with the word “joy” on it to remind me that no situation, person or event could steal my joy. I wanted to remember each day that Jesus was the source of my joy.

Some days I lived and understood that better than others, but there was a moment where I truly experienced indescribable joy. If joy could cover me from head to toe and penetrate every fiber of my being, this was it. 

I didn’t win the lottery or slap my knee with a deep belly laugh.  In fact, if you were with me that day, you wouldn’t have noticed anything different about me.  You would have missed the absolute dance fest party I was having on the inside.  I was in a room full of women and girls and I wanted to stand up and scream at the top of my lungs – “NOW This is JOY!”

I experienced true joy when I completely let go and surrendered a situation to God and waited for Him to come through for me.  

I came across a poem my daughter had written, and it broke my heart. I felt the pain in every word and I ached even more because I had no idea she was struggling or hurting! I knew she had written these words, but I didn’t know what to do with them.   

At first I thought maybe I should just go and wake her up! I wanted to ask her who in the world said these mean things to her? What made her believe these awful lies about herself? I wanted her to see and believe the truth.

I wanted to fix this, but I felt like God was telling me to wait.  

I couldn’t sleep so I just laid there praying throughout the night. Even as I prayed, I would think of ways to handle it and even offered my suggestions to God, but I sensed Him saying, “Wait. You just wait.” 

I could not stop thinking about it because it triggers me to think about protecting my daughter. I struggle with thinking I have to control keeping her from harm. With waiting, I had no idea how it would turn out. What if waiting didn’t work? I finally texted two friends to join me in prayer.

“Wait, you just wait.” I kept hearing it, and I knew I simply had to wait and trust that He was working behind the scenes and would answer my cry for “Help!”

He answered in ways I never could have imagined in His perfect timing.  

A few weeks later, we were at our Mother/Daughter Bible Study and I was surprised to see her raise her hand and offer to share what she had learned from the lesson.  She said, “I am not sure if this makes sense, but sometimes I feel like a Lego in a bubble. My bubble is school, church, family, friends, and soccer.  As long as that bubble is going well, then I am safe inside… but I can’t always depend on that bubble, because eventually if one of them falls apart then the bubble is gone and the lego will fall. Instead, I need to let God be my bubble. He is what keeps me safe and secure.  He holds me together.  

I sat there beaming as I listened to her share her heart and perspective. The whole time, I was thanking God for helping me to wait because He did far more in her heart than I could have ever accomplished on my own. I could hardly wait to text my two friends to tell them how God answered!

 “Waiting” is hard for me. My silent screams for help went on throughout my childhood and no one stopped the abuse. A very big part of me believes I have to control my circumstances, or else there will be disaster. For me, “being in charge” is not just a title. It truly feels like life or death at times.  

But Jesus is showing me something new. He is teaching me that I can let go of that “need to be in control” and trust Him. He is showing me there is joy in the waiting.  My word for 2019 is wait, and I am learning to practice it with joy. I am learning to let go, and wait.   

Waiting on God is not easy, but it changes everything.

Are you in a season of waiting? Do you struggle with wanting to take matters into your own hands when you sense God is asking you to wait? I would love to pray for you as you wait and I’d love to hear how God moves. Please feel free to comment below or email me at journeypink@gmail.com.  Psalm 27:14 encourages my heart as I wait. What verse encourages you?

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
Don’t give up; don’t be impatient;
be entwined as one with the Lord.
Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.
Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!

Psalm 27:14 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Refreshing Joy

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“The last time I doubted my calling was … just this past Monday.”

I shared this with the ladies in our Bible Study group. It is a safe place filled with grace, love and encouragement.

I explained that I was in the dumps, exhausted and overwhelmed. I was simply tired.

Tired of waiting.
Tired of hurting.
Tired of hoping.

When I feel worn out, the enemy is not too far away with that mean question ringing loud in my head:

“Who do you think you are?”

Then the dominoes of doubt start to fall onto each other:

“God’s not going to use you.”
“What you have to say is already being said.”
“No one wants to hear it.”
“If it is this hard, why bother?”
“Did God really say….?????”

“Again, who do you think you are?”

When these doubts swirl around me in the pit, I sink.

But, just this morning as I approached my office, there was a gift wrapped in tissue paper by my door. I picked it up and opened it to see a lovely smelling candle. There was no note so I sat it on my desk and went to make coffee.

When I made it back to my desk, I looked up and saw the word JOY in gold on candle.

JOY CANDLE
Your love has impacted me and brings me great joy and encouragement, for the hearts of the believers have been greatly refreshed through you. Philemon 1:7 TPT

My eyes were a little misty. JOY is my word for 2018, and this was such a sweet and timely reminder.

Who in the world left this at my door?

I texted a few friends and they all said it wasn’t them.
So I texted some more. No luck.

As I started to review the scripture verses for our lesson, one the of the ladies shared the song, “Reckless Love” in our group chat.

As I played the song and read the verses, the tears washed away the lies that were suffocating me.

Verses like:

“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you” Acts 18:9-10

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Acts 23:11

Oh, to be like Paul. He had plenty of opposition, but he kept running the race. He was able to say, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” Acts 23:1

The struggle is real, but God is bigger than the struggle.

I shared with my sisters in Christ how God refreshed my heart with a surprise candle, the timing of a song, and the truth of His Word.

I was still dying to know who gave me that candle so I could at least thank them! My sweet sisters encouraged me to just receive His love, and ask Him to bless the giver.

The next morning, I found out the candle was a gift from a friend who lives all the way in Indiana.

My heart was FULL.

God delivered true meaning to the song Reckless Love in real time.

He reached down and drew me
from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay.
With a gentle hand, He pulled me out
To set me down safely on a warm rock;
He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.
Psalm 40:2

Click below to listen to the powerful song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury – where he shares the story behind the song.  As you listen,

  • Think of all the ways He has pursued you.
  • Remember those He sent to encourage you just when you needed it most.
  • Reflect on the times He used you to strengthen and refresh others.
  • Who can you encourage today?

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The Path to Joy

We were looking forward to a fun evening together as a family. We were going to get to see a sloth! There was popcorn, face-painting and even the red carpet.

We went to the movie premiere for Amazon Arising – Joy in the Jungle. The movie took us on a journey with Jungle Jen as she traveled to remote areas in the Amazon to share the love of Christ.

Things didn’t always go as planned, and her days could be quite complicated. The weather didn’t always cooperate, and yet with each complication or delay, she persevered.  She kept her eye on the prize. She trusted God to provide and protect. It was an incredible testimony of faith and passion.

After the movie, Jungle Jen spoke and she encouraged us to do whatever God is calling us to do.  She told us to stand out and follow our passion. Many people came forward for prayer.  As the prayers were lifted, the musicians sang their three songs from the movie.

That was over a month ago, and I am still amazed at how much that experience has impacted me.  I have listened to those three songs on repeat. I’ve thought about how Jen kept going, in spite of all of the bumps in the road. Her journey was not easy, and yet her joy was contagious. She was living her passion and she loved it.

She found joy in the jungle of the Amazon. Where do you find joy?

Where is my joy and do I relentlessly to pursue it? When I experience pushback or an inconvenience what is my response? What if it is risky? Am I willing to stand out and be uncomfortable for Christ? Do I get off track when things get complicated? Are my eyes on the prize and do I trust Him to provide and protect?

My One Word for 2018 is JOY and my verse is Psalm 16:11 NIV:

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

As I was listening to the three songs, and thinking about all that was stirring in my heart – the lyrics came together and echoed this verse for me.

Papa’s Song by Susan Valles:  “Go and tell for me my child”

Rain Down by Laura Stavlas:  “Soak me in the wonder of your presence”

Anthem by Melanie Sykes:   “Joy is rising up now”

The Path to Joy is to follow Jesus.  

Instead, You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment. Psalm 16:11 VOICE

Where is your Joy? 

If you get the chance to see “Amazon Arising – Joy in the Jungle” don’t miss it! You will be inspired! The next screening is on February 11th in Wilmington, NC at Myrtle Grove Baptist Church at 6pm.

For more information visit Jen’s website:  https://www.standoutministries.com

Movie Trailer:

The Songs:

Anthem by Melanie Sykes 
Rain Down by Laura Stavlas
Papa’s Song by Susan Valles

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Joy – My One Word for 2018

I love having My One Word to focus on for the year. My word for 2017 was Expect. In 2016 my word was Know, in 2015 it was New, and in 2014 it was The Word. Having a word and a verse to focus on and study each year has helped me to grow closer to the Lord.

As I was praying about my one word for 2018, one word kept popping up and coming to mind.

It was not a word I would have chosen.

A few weeks ago I told the ladies at our Wednesday Night bible study that I thought I knew my word for 2018 but I wasn’t ready to share it, yet. I wanted make sure it was “the word”, and I was thinking (and hoping) it may change.

Reluctantly, I shared the word and the verse with them.  I told them about how often I was seeing, hearing and thinking about the word Joy. They thought Joy was a wonderful word!  One even said, “Michelle, next year when the chaos comes, you can cling to that word! Joy is a good word!”

I said, “Yes! But that first part – the chaos! I don’t want that! Why this word? Besides, I wanted a more challenging word!”

As soon as those words left my mouth I knew.  It was JOY.

Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

On my drive home, I realized “Joy” is truly a very ambitious word for me in so many ways.

There were several moments in 2017 where I was filled with JOY, and my Mom happened to capture a photo of this one:

I was facing the ocean and humming the words from the song Gracefully Broken by Tasha Cobbs:  “Here I am God, arms wide open. Pouring out my life, gracefully broken.”

I was so incredibly thankful that God had opened doors for me to share my story at the Hope Restored Conference. I knew with arms wide open that there was no greater JOY than following His path and being obedient. He alone can take our worst pain and turn it into purpose and passion.

It was a mountaintop moment. Pure JOY.

My passion is to inspire women who have been sexually abused or violated to find couragehope, and freedom in Jesus Christ!

And while it brings me great joy, it can also at times be very painful and triggering. It can take me back to dark places and it can feel incredibly overwhelming, especially when I feel powerless. I longed for others to share their #metoo and yet I found myself at times wishing there were a safer and easier way to come out of such a raw and lonely place.

But God.

He makes known to me the path of life;
He fills me with joy in His presence.

He is faithful to remind me that true Joy comes from Him. I have to seek Him and cling to Him. My emotions can no longer be the boss of me. Jesus longs to fill me with Joy in His presence. The key to Joy is to be in His presence.

My word for 2018 is JOY and may it be a reminder for me to seek Him and to be still in His presence because the Joy of the Lord is my strength! I look forward to seeing the paths He sets before me and the Joy He will provide along the way.

Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance.
You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion.
I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands.
Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places.
I’m overwhelmed by the privileges
that come with following you,
for you have given me the best!
The way you counsel and correct me makes me praise you more,
for your whispers in the night give me wisdom,
showing me what to do next.
Because you are close to me and always available,
my confidence will never be shaken,
for I experience your wrap-around presence every moment.
My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory!
Even my body will rest confident and secure.
For you will not abandon me to the realm of death,
nor will you allow your Holy One to experience corruption.
For you bring me a continual revelation of resurrection life,
the path to the bliss that brings me face-to-face with you.
Psalm 16:5-11 TPT

Do you have One Word for 2018?  I’d love to hear it.  Please share it in the comments!  Happy New Year!!

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