Our summer and early fall is always a busy time of celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. As I shared last weekend, Mr. Van and I just celebrated our forty-fourth wedding anniversary. Out of our eighteen family members we have nine birthdays and five anniversaries from June 1 to September 30. We also have my parents’ anniversary which will be a celebration of sixty-four years this September. Congrats, Dad and Mom!
God has blessed us with six older grandchildren who are all in their late teens or early twenties. Our oldest grandson was married last year around this time and so he and his wife just celebrated their first anniversary. When he was sixteen, God began blessing our family with four more little ones, three more grandsons and one granddaughter. They are all between the ages of two months and six years old right now.
So it’s like having two sets of grandchildren and we love it. Two out of our three families live close to us and so we are able to spend time with the kids and grandkids fairly often. It has also meant that we are available to help by keeping some of our littles with us for a few nights here and there. We love having them as they keep us busy playing, reading stories, and often picking up lego…
One of the challenges of having our littles with us is that they are four and five years old. Sometimes they struggle with who will be in charge of the moment, or the hour, or the day. (Sigh…and then grin…)
I think if we are honest, we will all admit that we struggle sometimes with who will be in charge of our moment, our hour, or our day. No matter who we are, each of us, after choosing to believe that we need Jesus in our life, comes to a point of having to choose to surrender to God and to allow Him to be in charge of life, both now and for eternity.
I am so thankful for the fact that I have joy in having settled the decision of Who I trust with my eternal destiny.
I also struggle often with whether I will choose to surrender the details of that faith-life to the God I believe in.
I just read these verses from the book of Matthew in the Bible.
Matthew, 16:24-26, ESV, Then Jesus told his disciples,
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
How about you?
Making the choice to surrender and trust God brings another gift of joy to us.
JOY IN SURRENDER
If we have chosen to believe in God as our Adonai, Master, then our heart can be full of joy because He has forgiven us for living our way instead of His. With that joy comes surrender to living His way forever.
We are already living the eternal life He promised us. That should cause us to wake up every morning in anticipation of what He has planned for us today.
We believe that God is Who He says He is.
We believe that the joy that comes from Him gives us, according to the definition of JOY by Kay Warren:
the settled assurance that He is in control of all the details of our life
the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right
and the determined choice to praise Him in all things.
How do we live that out practically?
We need to know God, not just know about Him.
We need to be able to say to Him that even if we lose everything in our life but Him, He is still enough—that we will love Him and follow Him no matter what, no matter where, no matter when.
Again, how do we get to KNOW HIM in such a way that this would be reality?
He offers us a third way to begin to choose joy…join us next time to find out more.
MY MUSINGS THIS WEEK
One of the ways that we receive joy in surrender is through accepting suffering in our life as a good thing… That is a hard sentence to write, as none of us enjoy being in pain or experiencing sorrow on behalf of others who are in some kind of pain. I suffer from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Yesterday, I was at a Leadership Conference and really enjoyed taking in the teaching. About four o’clock, as the last session of the day began, I realized that I was, what I call, “going down the slippery slope”. I don’t know how much you know or what you understand about “fibro” and “cfs”. I hope to share more about that, too, in the days ahead. (The way this is going, I will never run out of topics to write about!) Just know for now that sitting for long periods of time, and enjoying “much-people-time” can just wear a person out. God is so gracious to allow me to live my life as fully as it is, and to be able to do ministry, but my pace of life does have to be well-regulated.
I was just exhausted when I went to bed last night, and so this morning, when I woke up I felt like I had been run over by a semi-trailer, a common f/cfs feeling. I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere today. So I missed the second day of the Conference.
Even though I knew that was a wise decision, I entered into a morning of self-pity, anger and “why now?”, complete with a few tears. However, I chose to talk to God about it, listen to some of His Words to me from the Bible, and then to watch one of Beth Moore’s television segments called, It’s Complicated. Oh yes, it is!!
And the only way I handle those difficult times is to believe that God is in control of my moments, my hours and my days, and He will give me strength as I need it. (I also use Advil and have had more doses than usual today to keep me going. Thank you, God for pain killers that are provided for such a time as this-under control, of course).
YOUR MUSINGS THIS WEEK
Think about your summer days. What has God taught you about Himself that you never knew before? Share in the comments if you have freedom to do so.
Think about Kay Warren’s definition of joy. If you believe that God is your Deliverer and your Provider, have you taken a “next step” to believe that He is in control of all the details of your life and that you will determine to choose to praise Him in them?
Think about whether there are any areas in your life that you are holding back from God’s control because you believe that you can manage the decisions involved better than Him. Are you willing to choose to surrender? There’s joy ahead if you do… He’s always waiting for you to come to Him and to talk to Him about it…
If you have time this weekend, take some time and listen to Beth Moore’s teaching on “It’s Complicated!” She shares some ideas on doing something about the complications that we can act on, and accepting those we can’t as coming from God’s hand to us. Great thoughts to ponder as you consider your fall season and schedule.
Let’s walk together into the fall season, anticipating what God has for us…
Love you, Colleen
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