Counting it all as JOY

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

 

The days continue to march on with words left unsaid here. Ultimately this was my little space to share and document our crazy, little life. I guess the problem in that is that a crazy little life rarely slows down long enough to be documented.  I adore looking back on our journey though and each time I visit I find myself sad that I haven’t take the time to truly show who we are here. For myself really…but for these 3 little ones also.

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We are entering a new “time” in our journey. One that could make us scared to step out on the water for fear of the unknown.

But our hope is found in a God who doesn’t fail us.

 A savior who promises to work all things for good for those who love Him.

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  And so we step….

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” And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Romans 5:5

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It is through that hope in HIM that we find strength and endurance for the road He has set before us.

It really is a beautiful road.

Full of everyday joys.

Of watching our littles grow.

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Celebrating each birthday and new accomplishment.

Reminding each other that time passes quickly.

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Spurring. Cheering. Teaching. Discipling.

In all honesty, we have no idea what we are doing.

But we know enough to seek knowledge from our Savior who promises to guide us.

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But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,

who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5

And we CHOOSE JOY through everything

{ the tears, the laughter, the pain }

Joy doesn’t come naturally during the difficult but no matter what the world tells you it IS a choice.

We choose to count it all as JOY!

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Beside, In front of, and Behind

 I can’t remember where I first heard it but several years ago it was impressed on me the importance of having girlfriends  that “play” certain specific roles in our walk. What I mean is it’s important to have Christian women in your life that are walking beside you, in front of you and behind you in your particular season of life.

  Hello!? Why had this not occurred to me before? I’m not sure, but it changed the way I related to other women and I sought to find that type of balance in my friendships. Here is just my version of each of these types of woman and how they fit into my life.

 Walking beside:

  I think most of us have this covered. These are the girlfriends that are right here with you. They struggle with what you struggle with, rejoice in the same things your rejoice, and if you picked up the phone RIGHT NOW to talk about a particular tough issue you are facing they will likely say, “Girl, me too!”  For me, these are the women who are balancing life with preschool aged children, struggling to fit in carpool and devotions, changing diapers or desperately trying to potty train a resistant toddler, cleaning up toothpaste in places she never thought she’d find toothpaste (or marker, or playdoh), holding their babies tight because they don’t want to take a single moment of this time in their lives for granted and in the next breath wondering when they will ever get to sleep, eat a meal without interruption, or make it through a day without saying, “get that crayon out of your brother’s nose”. Ok, maybe that last one only happens at my house but you get my point! For you, it may be completely different depending on what season you are in.

 We need “Walk beside” women in our life. I pray each of you have at least one woman you can share this type of relationship with. And if you don’t, actively seek one out. It is so important to have friendships with women in your season, who share you faith and values and that you can mutually encourage one another.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”James 5:16

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

*~*~*~ *As I type this, one of my “Beside” girlfriends has asked me to pray for a son of her dear friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. She asked  that this link be passed. So, I thought I’d share it here.   http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lukeshamblin Please be in prayer for Luke and his family!! *~*~*~*

In front of:

 Oh, man this could be my favorite. Well, I take that back they are all my favorites but this is one of the relationships I couldn’t live without. The “in front of” relationship is exactly as it sounds. These are the women in your life that have “been there done that”. They have moved beyond your season, and look back on it with fond memories and incredibly encouraging advice. They can share with you a different perspective, words of wisdom, and sometimes a “get over it”! Please, don’t underestimate how valuable these women are in your life. I think sometimes as women it’s hard to take advice and I’m certainly not saying all advice is good advice but if you have a woman in your life who loves the Lord and you can just see the spiritual fruit in her life by all means listen to her! She has been where you are. She knows your struggles because they once were hers. Most of the time, the “in front of” women in our life are further along in their walk with Christ. You can count on them to pray for you, with you and to give you Godly counsel. I don’t know about you but I crave time with women who can encourage me in that way.

  Just last week, a fairly new friend of mine stopped by my home to drop of something and as we stood in the door way talking about how we were in different seasons she said something I won’t soon forget. She said that so often women struggle with the image of the Proverbs 31 woman because they envision that chapter as being done all in one day. In reality, this is what the woman accomplished over the course of her lifetime. Well you don’t say? I’ve heard countless women speak on that passage, I’ve read it more times than I can count, it’s surfaced in articles and my devotions  and not once had that ever been put that way to me. I think I can breathe now. See what I mean? We NEED woman who are in front of us in life. Don’t be intimidated by what they know, or that you will be judged, soak up what they have for you. The Lord placed them in your life for a reason. I don’t believe in happen chance.

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Romans 14:19

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9

 Behind:

    As I type this I can’t help but think of the women in my life that fall into this category and it makes me a little teary eyed. : ) I am seriously, crazy in love with them and how much they have grown spiritually in the last several years and should they ever read this I hope they know how so very proud of them I am and how much I love them! If you haven’t figured it out the “behind” friendships are the exact opposite of the “in front of”. These are the women who YOU can say you have “been there and done that” to. They are not quite where you are in life but they will be one day and there is so much you want them to know, and see, and do and then you pray they don’t do it the way you did and that they can learn from your mistakes.

 I think it’s easy to be intimidated by this relationship.Satan has a way of letting us feel like we aren’t good enough, or we don’t know enough, or even worse we aren’t worthy to be in a place to mentor anyone. Well, as usual, he’s wrong. In fact, if you were perfect, you wouldn’t be cut out for the job. The women behind you don’t want to see perfect, they want to see real. I can assure you, this is the relationship I struggle with the most and have much to learn but please don’t let your insecurities overcome your desire to develop this area in your life.  Take the time to pray for these women, and I mean really pray. You know where they are because you’ve been there so even if they haven’t asked for prayer about a situation you already know the need. Just be real. Be honest. Be there. I promise you are good enough. Again, I don’t believe in happen chance. God placed them in your life for a reason. Be an encouragement to them.

“And neither will I walk off and leave you. That would be a sin against God! I’m staying right here at my post praying for you and teaching you the good and right way to live. But I beg of you, fear God and worship him honestly and heartily. You’ve seen how greatly he has worked among you!” 1 Samuel 12:23-25

“We who are strong in faith should help the weak with their weaknesses, and not please only ourselves.”Romans 15:1

  I’ll just leave you with this. Evaluate who your friends are. I think the biggest test of this is do you leave your time with them encouraged, uplifted, and content or rather discouraged and convicted. It does make a difference. Surround yourself with the former and weed the latter out.