Finding Joy in the Storm
I am too excited to share this post with you. Not only is our guest blogger for today my best friend and co-host of Unshaken Podcast, but she is a inspiration to me in so many ways. As I was editing this post, I was tearing up. I know the storm Courtney is walking through and for her to put that into words to help serve others is so beautiful to me. I know you guys will enjoy this guest blog as much as I did and learn how to find the joy in the middle of the storm. You can learn more about Courtney HERE.
With news feeds and insta grids, it’s easy to look at the people we know and think, “Wow, they have it all together… What a precious family, what a cool person, she is chasing her dreams.” Meanwhile, we sit in our mess thinking, “if people only knew.” I know we are all old enough to know things aren’t as the seem and everyone has their own issues, but let’s connect the dots of those last two statements real quick. If behind every social media account there is a person saying “if they only knew” regarding what their actual reality is verses everyone else’s perception of their reality, I have to think we haven’t fully grasped the concept.
Yes, there is a time and place to disclose our struggles and a lot of the time, they aren’t only OUR struggles to share (my current situation). I get it isn’t realistic for everyone to walk around spewing about the crazy relatives they have or the most recent tragedy their family is walking through. Yes, it would help us not feel alone in our issues, or maybe like our problems weren’t as bad, but honestly wouldn’t that just be the same comparison game we play online, thinking everyone is doing better than us, turned upside down… Now I’m thinking “well, at least I’m not facing that!”
Fortunately for me, I heard from the Lord last week at church and realized something I knew in my heart but never put into words.. Something that made me forget about comparison good and bad (No, it’s wasn’t “delete all my online accounts”) and say AMEN to that! We had a guest speaker, Jeremy Foster, and his sermon was called “The Struggle is Real” (Watch it HERE if you need some healing). He said “Never resent anything that brings you to the foot of the cross.” Meaning if it shakes your world, or brings you to rock bottom, you may even lose everything but if you have an encounter with Jesus, it most definitely is worth it. The Lord promises good, but He never said there wouldn’t be pain and tragedy. He will never make life so good, He’s not needed. The promise was that He would walk through it with us! (I’m taking a lot of these quotes from the sermon, because it was sooooo good).
Without sharing too many details of my personal life… let’s just say I get asked frequently by people in my inner circle about how I’m doing, how I’m so strong, how I haven’t just burned down my house yet… you get the idea. (I plan to share one day, when the time is right, stay tuned) Anyway, I used to say “I don’t know”, I didn’t really feel like I was being strong, or handling things well. I just thought, well I don’t have a choice, I just keep moving forward, trying to work on myself and keep my commitments to my family. Then I realized, I do know how! I’ve had enough experiences where my situation was so far out of my control that I HAD to start trusting the Lord with the outcomes. I would tape verses up on my fridge and bathroom mirrors to remind me…
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
It gave me peace and joy and the ability to not worry about every little detail. “It’s all handled!” I would tell people as they looked at me through dis-believing eyes. That’s easy to hear and hard to do, especially when the world says that’s naive and not level headed. But, Ya’ll I’m not dumb, I know my reality! I just CHOOSE to trust God with my mess, He’s a much better organizer than me! We have to be willing to trust God to the point of looking foolish. The world, especially non believers or people who have walked away from their relationship with the Lord won’t understand. But when you proclaim He is good in the middle of the storm while those people may not get it, you become the opportunity for them… when the Lord does deliver on his promises in your life, you will be living proof to those people of what the Lord can do when we place our trust in him.
When He uses your story for good and blesses you, it would be easy for someone that doesn’t know the Lord to say “Of course, God is good, nooowww! Look how great everything is going for you” But you can say, “Nooo remember on April 1st, when I lost my home, and my husband got fired and I got that diagnosis and found those text messages (insert your struggle here)? I was praying and trusting Him, I knew He had more for me beyond that.” I think of adults telling their teenagers, “Honey, there is SOOOO much more beyond high school. You have no idea how small this is in the grand scheme of what you will accomplish. Don’t worry! You probably won’t even talk to these people in a few years.” It’s so hard for kids to see beyond their current situations, but adults know because they’ve lived it, there is so much life and goodness beyond high school!
I just wish everyone could experience His faithfulness. It changes everything! You need proof? Just try it! Just try saying, “Okay Lord, let your will be done. I obviously don’t know what I’m doing or what is best. Please help me!” And try not to pick back up with you laid down at His feet. It only takes one time of trying it and it working for you to have an experience and “proof.” You can only attribute so many things to luck and coincidence… It’s the Lord people! Then it gets easier!
Trusting Him with bigger, harder, scarier things becomes second nature. You’ll find yourself at peace and with joy in the middle of craziness and people wondering, how is she handling this so well? When I started trusting the Lord with everything, worry has literally disappeared from my life. It’s not that I’m trying to mislead people or put on a front, seeming happy or like everything is great when its not. It’s that I truly know at my core, God has me! There is no reason to be weary! And that’s not just something cool He has for me… You can experience it too! Try it!