"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galatians 5:23-24
As the sun shot shafts of light through the blinds in our bedroom, I awoke this morning, later than usual, to the sounds of mockingbirds, cardinals, mourning doves all in a resounding chorus of praise to their Maker, while the light danced on the wall, the wind swirling leaves outside my window. It was a magnificent display of His love and my recognition of these gifts, so gloriously given.
I believe it is.
For weeks on end, I have, from time to time, found myself in tears on the bathroom floor; crying out for answers, His answer to my problem: me. The wrestling with God about how to really love twin pubescent boys, missing joy in my life, although I talk about it, believe it to be true and hunger for it...daily reading His Word and then the painful reality of living 24/7 in a house filled with PEOPLE, six of us, redeemed, yet still fleshly...
"In this wilderness, I keep circling back to this: I'm blind to joy's well every time I really don't want it. The well is always there. And I choose not to see it. Don't I really want joy? Don't I really want the fullest life? For all my yearning for joy, longing for joy, begging for joy--is the bald truth that I prefer the empty dark? Prefer drama? Why do I lunge for control instead of joy? Is it somehow more perversely satisfying to flex control's muscle? Ah--power--like Satan. Do I think Jesus-grace too impotent to give me the full life? Isn't that the only reason I don't always swill the joy? If the startling truth is that I don't really want joy, there's a far worse truth. If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment--am I not ultimately rejecting God? Whenever I am blind to joy's well, isn't it because I don't believe in God's grace? That God cares enough about me to always offer me joy's water, wherever I am, regardless of circumstance. But if I don't believe God cares, if I don't want or seek the joy He definitely offers somewhere in this moment--I don't want God."
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
Yes, I thirst for His joy. I am being filled. Today revealed my heart's desires are His desires:
Love's car is small, too small for growing twin men that have never quite accepted the 'six inch rule' and what began as a typical tease turned into sharp, cutting remarks, snake-like venom spewing from their lips. Within seconds it turned physical, threats and hands all on each other.
Normally, I would jump in, forcing them to stop, particularly since Love is driving and it's just not wise for two thirteen yr. old boys to wrestle in the back seat, all the while I'd be attempting to control their attitudes and guilt them. But early this morning, I read in chapter 7: "Love is not blind; love is the holy vision...'Learning slowly to not be so reactionary while inserting verbal gratitude into stressful situations is almost like being healed of mental blindness. I have begun to 'see' again.' "
I began to verbalize my gratitude to God for these boys, their gift to our family and asked God to clean up the mess, bring His joy and peace and Be God in this moment.
Love headed into Walmart with Twin A, while I quietly sat in the front seat praying for His words to Twin B. It was quiet for some time. Then I began to remind him that I understood sibling rivalry. I remembered how I fought with my sister, thirteen months younger than me...the hair pullings, the cutting words, the anger...always the anger. So much anger ALL THE TIME. He then asked me how that made me feel now...and that gave Him opportunity to bring freedom, forgiveness; love was pouring into the windows of our little car.
We reminsced of a time when two little boys would serve each other, cry for one another, and play as though there were no other people in the entire world but them...and they loved each other from the heart. WE thanked God for those moments, treasures that He gave to us so long ago and then we thanked Him, out loud, for them now.
It was a most pleasant ride home.
As the list grows, my heart is growing, joy washing away malicious lies that have only brought destruction to the most precious relationships in my life:
#13~warm, fresh eggs from the hen house
#14~ shower pulsating hot water on my pained chest, relieving the tightness
#15~Wayne coming over to fix the transmission
#16~tree frogs after dark once again
#17~the secret of living in every situation: 'I can do all things through the One, Christ, who gives me strength.'
#18~warm slippers on cold tile floors
#19~answered prayer for a brother that shared his story of God breaking him.
#20~Holy Spirit revealing sin so restoration might come
#21~fresh cut grass
#22~"yo moma" written by one of my boys in my gratitude journal!
#23~my neice, Krystyl-her tender, hungry heart for God
#24~Seeing Gary Chapman on our date night
What a glorious sound: giving audible thanks in ALL THINGS.
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