Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd is doing better.  The chest infection isn't gone, but he's stronger.  He's attentive, smiling some, and definitely not so miserable.  

A while back I shared about joyful dependence.  Some people asked questions about what I shared.  May I emphasize that the joy the Lord gives us is not dependent on our circumstances.  In fact, it's usually in spite of our circumstances!  It doesn't really make sense.  We can be going through hard, gruelling, painful situations - and yet be joyful!  We're not crazy.  It's one of the "ways of the kingdom" that doesn't make sense without the Lord.

But with our wonderful Lord, it makes perfect sense.  He's the one who can give "beauty for ashes."  He's the one who, in the oft used example, can take sour lemons and make sweet lemonade.

In recent days when I've been quite sick, I have felt "low" physically.  I even found it a bit discouraging to be fighting yet one more thing.  But - underneath all that remained a joy.  It's very hard to describe, but it's real!  I consider it a sweet gift from the Lord.  For the Christian, I think joy is our "birthright."  It's something He deposits into our spirit by His grace.

I heard one person say - there are storms around me, but peace within me.  That's what I've felt in these recent days.  The peace that brings His joy.  It is precious.

"Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him.  And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope!"  Romans 15:13-15  TPT

Joy, peace, and hope - what more can we ask for?!

In a "season" - or journey - like I'm walking through, there is lots of time to think.  I have thought back through all the years of our lives - from meeting at a YWAM Easter outreach in Las Vegas.....to being married when we were SO young.....to having our first home in Afghanistan.....to living on a house boat in Amsterdam with a toddler and a puppy while expecting baby number 2.....to raising our children in the red light district in Amsterdam.....to training leaders in the Colorado mountains while caring for our daughter who was sick for a number of years.....to pastoring a church in the middle of America.....to starting over and pioneering in a new country when we were just about to hit the age that everyone retires.  There have been very few "dull" moments!

We were speaking in a church in Canada one time that was pastored by some friends.  As Floyd was introducing me, he made the statement that "I'm not very adventurous."  The pastor and his wife burst out laughing!!  The list above speaks for itself I think. :)  And that doesn't include some "adventures" I had before we married!

I heard the statement recently - "Usually is the enemy of adventure."  My first thought was that Floyd and I haven't followed the "usually" in life......and we have certainly had lots of adventures!  Sometimes it has scared me to death, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Growing up in Galveston, Texas I knew God had a plan for my life.  I knew that it was going to be "different" (not what everyone usually did), but I had no idea of how it would unfold into the life I've had.

It's made me realize how grateful I am that God is in control!  We'd make a mess of things otherwise.  But when He's in control, He has so many wonderful things in store for us.  Even what we're walking through now isn't "usual" - battling cancer over and over while my husband is lying in a hospital bed unable to speak or move......well, even this has been an "adventure."  Not one I would want necessarily, but certainly one where I've seen God's goodness and faithfulness.  I would hate to have missed all the beautiful lessons He's brought into my life during this time!

As I look back over our life together while I've had this time to think, I can see how God has grown us, prepared us, strengthened us, and gotten us ready to face perhaps the biggest adventure of our lives.  It fills my heart with gratitude to Him for how He's had His hand on us all these years.  And it makes me love Him for His care.  I wouldn't want to have missed out on any of the adventures He's had for us.  We can relax when we're in His sovereign hands.

I guess what I'm also saying is that it's important to "embrace" the adventures that come - both the good ones and the hard ones.  We may not like them (I certainly haven't liked some of the ones I've walked through), but if we'll embrace them and trust the Lord in them - there will be good in the hardest situations.  No, I'm not saying that God brings the hard things.  We live in a fallen world and hard things will happen to all of us.  But we have the opportunity to trust God in the hard things, and allow Him to bring good through them.

"The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."  Isaiah 58:11

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps."  Proverbs 16:9

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."  Psalm 32:8

"The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall for the Lord upholds him with His hand."  Psalm 37:23,24

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5,6

There is much I could say about embracing what comes our way.  I've done a 90 minute teaching on it in the past.  But suffice it to say that as we embrace what God allows into our lives, there is good that follows.  There is a sweet adventure in walking with Him through everything that comes our way!