Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Losing your joy

I just began to gather up the trash and make a midnight run to put the trashcan on the street. I chickened out and got scared to take it in the dark (I can't wait for the day where there will be no more darkness...something about it just scares me). Hopefully, Rod will get it before the guy comes in the morning. I was putting a new trash bag in the trashcan and I noticed something broken in the bottom of the can (which means someone broke it and didn't even tell me ;)...must have been the man child). So, I picked up the pieces and read the following verse on a little plaque my sister had given me:
Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song;

It was shattered. No one told me. And no one tells us (God's word does) that the shattered plaque can represent in so many of our lives what the enemy has come to do:

John 10:10
10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The enemy comes to rob us, to destroy us, and try to kill us. God means for us to have life to the full in Him. And here is the part that is on my heart for tonight. Morgan had her spring program at our church tonight for preschool. I am quite the enthusiast when it comes to that child! I was so proud and so excited and filled with joy to see my baby get up and sing with hundreds of other kids. My eyes however selfishly were focused on her alone. I took great delight in seeing the tenderness of God in my sweet baby. There was one time she even sang so loud (we go to a big church) that we could hear her in our seats (LOL). These times are sweet and tiring and yet a little scary. I have no idea how things will turn out and I want to raise her in the ways of the Lord yet she is a human being and there will come a time when she will have choices to make and roads to take (please no one send me Proverbs 22:6...I get it). Ultimately, I will have to continually entrust her to the Lord.

It is so easy for me to already get under a load of condemnation (Romans 8:1) in raising Morgan and she is not even three. I wonder some times am I a good mom, am I showing her Christ, is there hypocrisy in me, am I disciplining her like I should, am I feeding her the right foods, teaching her enough, does she know how much I love her? And the list goes on. She was getting on a good sleep pattern and the time change is throwing her off. She is fading at 12:19 am and I silently think to myself bad mom...your child isn't on a good sleep schedule. I can get under a load of condemnation in a minute and start beating myself up over the most ridiculous things. I ask Rod all of the time if he thinks I am a good mom. He did tell me last night that he was going to call DHR (department of human resources) if I gave her any more lemons in her water because it would rot her tooth enamel...a bit harsh in my opinion but okay. I don't have time to go into everything but I will say that my hearts desire is to honor God in raising my child. Because I had a tough childhood, I don't want her to go through so many things that I did.

I have a family member that has strayed for some time now. If you look into her childhood you will see ample reasons as to why she went down some of the paths she did. Feeling unloved and rejected as a child and adult she began looking for love and acceptance and found it in a cheap form that has been very costly to her soul. She has made so many bad choices and she is reaping consequences from them even now. If she would but hearken to the Lords voice and not harden her heart she could spare herself even more pain. However, she continues to spiral. Even though she has had a tough past she has to decide if she is going to strike the pose of a victim for the rest of her days or if she wants to turn to God and let Him heal her and trust Him to help her out of the ditch. One thing I have learned for sure is that any work that is good in my life has been a work of the Holy Spirit. I have tried to fix things in my own efforts and only the Lord can bring lasting change and deliverance in my life.

Back to the joy part from the beginning. I went through a season where I felt like I was the prisoner in iron chains, sitting in darkness. I am sure some of it was a result of sin, but some of it was circumstance and oppression. I have known what it means to taste and see that the Lord is good and to know the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. Once you know that it is awful to feel like you have lost your strength and your song (Ex 15:2).

I have watched first hand the mother of this girl that has strayed live for YEARS in condemnation and despair over this prodigal child. I have seen it control her every thought and conversation. I have seen it eat at her and steal her joy. I have also seen her live in denial over the way she treated her child. Instead of her owning up to how things went down, she wants to live like she was a perfect mother to this child and pretend that she has nothing to do with any of the outcome. She doesn't want to bare any of the responsibility so she tries to lie to herself and make herself believe that she was a wonderful and perfect mother. Trust me when I say this. And here is what I have told her (the mom) many times...the daughter is now an adult, she is responsible for her own choices at this point. She knows the truth. And you are not responsible for the decisions that she does or does not make.

Because all of this is so close to home for me I can say that if the mom would just confess any wrong doing on her part to the Lord, seek His filling, apologize to the daughter, and bathe herself in the word of God, that she would get out from under that load of condemnation that she is bearing. It doesn't change what is done but her (the mom) living in denial and condemnation for the rest of her life only steals her joy and her song.

So this may be for one person reading this. There are plenty of examples of dysfunctional families in Genesis. People who were true lovers of God and their children rebelled. You may be thinking Jenny you are not in my shoes, your child is 2 and you are right I am not. I do know that God has come and died on a cruel cross and taken up residence in you by the gift of the Holy Spirit if you are in Christ and He does not mean for you to be ineffective and loaded down with guilt and condemnation. I think we can use this as a tool to punish ourselves instead of believing that God bore ours sins on a tree that we might walk in forgiveness.

If your child had gone astray go to the Lord with boldness and confess your own sins and ask God to give you the humility to apologize for anything that you may have done that has harmed your child along the way. Then, arm yourself with Gods word so that when the enemy comes to speak lies and condemnation over you, you can do battle with the sword of the spirit. Also, do not seek to take responsibility for another human beings poor choices. Especially if they are not under your roof and you have no control over them financially. I am no counselor, but if you are supporting them you do have control over what they do at your house, with your money, with your car, and etc.

My point is...we all will fail in parenting and in many other ways and we desperately need the filling of the Holy Spirit to live with joy and victory. So, if you have failed in the past bring it before the Lord and then go on with Him. Do not let the enemy have power over you with what you can not go back and change. And continue in prayer for whoever has strayed. Regardless of how you feel about your situation, with God all things are possible. He is bigger than your failures and He can restore and mend. Continue to be fervent in prayer and take your thoughts captive. When you are tempted to focus on whatever awful situation you are in, turn your focus to God's word. Something Rod told me a long time ago when I was struggling to take my thoughts captive is this...I told him that whenever I tried not to think about something I focused on not thinking about it and I thought about it all the more. He said Jenny think about something else don't think about not thinking about what you are trying to not think about. Tongue twister. To me that is the very essence of setting our minds on things above...which means setting our hearts and minds on His word--deliberately. As you seek to walk in truth and be filled with the Spirit you will have your joy and you will be able to consider your trials pure joy because you know that God will bring you forth as gold. You don't have to agree with me but I have found this really helpful in my own life. Also, if you have never read Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend....I read it ten years ago and it really helped me set clear boundaries with the people in my life that I let control me. We have got to be controlled by the Spirit or we will be walking in sinking sand. goodnight.

ps another persons actions does not determine your worth in Christ or who you are as a matter what part you may or may not have played in the past. When we come before our Father in confession and repentance we are cleansed and purified.

Jude 24To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.


Charity said...

This post really hits home for me. It really is hard to not completely lose your joy.

I too think about how I am impacting Landon on a daily basis. I pray that the Lord help me every day make the right decisions with Landon.

ps...I bet Morgan was ADORABLE singing at church!!

darla said...

Choose works every while driving the of the other drivers was waiting to pull out at a really bad intersection, and someone looked like they were going to leave her out, and then changed their mind! She commented to me on the radio...very disappointed, so when I got closer I realized she was still stuck and I commented back "don't let someone steal your joy, its yours!" and I promptly crossed the road and stopped traffic and let her out. Sometimes that is all it takes, choose Joy, and refuse to let someone take it from you! :) love you Princess!

Shelley said...

Thank you for stopping by to say hello! Blessings to you and yours! Great Blog by the way--I'm still learning my way around here. :-)

StaceyStace said...

Oh, that pesky past! I am with you thanking God that He has redeemed me - AND that because HE did it, I don't have to listen to the accuser anymore.

I chickened out altogether on the night trash run - I put mine out early this morning while wearing my robe and a hairdo that resembled a troll!

He Knows My Name said...

you are too good to me and bless me so. ~janel

Jessica said...

Great news from God's word! Again, thank you for speaking the truth in love! : )

BethAnne said...

I absolutely love this post!! And I love the girl who wrote it!!! You are an inspiration to us!

Heather said...

great post. morgan is lucky to have a mother with your convictions :)