Saturday, January 7, 2012

Getting All Serious On You

I had a sweet friend comment yesterday that my family looks so happy here on my blog and how glad she is for us.  And, we are happy.  We really are.  But, for awhile this past year we were choosing joy.  Because that's what God's Word says to do.  Paul says in his letter to the church at Philippi: "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice!"  Did you catch that?  It says rejoice always.  Not just when we are "happy," not just when things are going the way we wanted,  but always.

And get this - the (unknown, but oh so wise) author of Hebrews says in 12:1:  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  You notice it doesn't say "the race we have planned."  Haha.  We persevere in the good plans that our Good, Wise and Sovereign God has set before us; plans that sometimes don't seem so good to us or wise.

There was a time this past year when I was having to make the choice daily to rejoice.  Praying that Jesus would cause His joy to be planted deep in my heart, no matter how difficult life seemed from my human perspective.  Marriage was hard - really, really hard. We were in marriage counseling (gasp! we aren't perfect. surprise! but we are doing awesome now. crazy in love. and I have the name of an uh-mazing, biblical, funny counselor from Portland in my back pocket if you need it.  just ask.  I won't judge or pry for details. you can even tell me you are asking "for a friend").

Here's a pic of Eric and I after the Night Life run down at Gallaghers the other night (sorry honey - I know I said that it wouldn't be on the blog but I had my fingers crossed!):

Raising kids was exhausting. I was struggling with some level of depression.  I had moments where I missed my mom A LOT (yes, still, seven years later). And, it was causing me to grapple with the Truth that it is God who is Sovereign over this life and all of its details, not me.  Learning that I have control issues (hahaha! you didn't know that did you?  just kidding - all of you who are around me have known that for a loooonnnng time.  hello - germ-a-phobe-ness?  Thank you Shanna for the onesie that says "Please Don't Touch Me; My Mom is Paranoid!"  LOL!)

Haha!  A not so perfect picture.

The last thing I want is for you all to read my blog and feel like I have it all together.  Because I don't. A few months back, I had a sweet, sweet long-time friend, who I don't see too often, ask how it was going with three kids and then followed up with  "I imagine you have it down. You are just one of those moms!" Ummm - wake-up call for me.  If that is what I'm projecting then I've got to learn to be more real.  To let go of my pride and let my real self show.  Because if anyone really saw me they would know that I'm not "one of those moms."

I don't want you to leave my blog discouraged, feeling like I'm just another mom/wife/woman/person that has it all together when you don't.   Eric actually discourages me from reading some blogs because I finish reading and I feel awful.  I don't feel inspired, I don't feel encouraged. I feel like shiz (for lack of a better word) because my house isn't as cute, I'm not as crafty, I can't cook (although I can bake - LOL!), I'm not as thoughtful of a mom/friend/wife/daughter; I feel unorganized and am reminded that I have virtually no decorating ability, I feel like the worst meal planner ever - thus our embarrassing amount of take-out eating, and my laundry room is often piled with a mountain of clothes that need to be folded and put away.

See - I should have taken a picture before I divided everything into baskets.  But, just imagine.  ALL of these clothes were on the floor of my laundry room and every time we need something we just go digging.  Like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Just FYI  (keeping it real) those clothes are NOT folded in those baskets.  Just divided up by family member now to make it easier to find things.

And, in those moments (not always from reading blogs - sometimes just from the world, or magazines, or just being with friends or whatevs . . .) I tend to start piling on the guilt. I start putting each one of those criticisms on myself and begin letting it define me.  Especially if I'm not spending time in the Word to gain some perspective.  I forget to let my identity of belonging to Jesus define me.  And, then in my guilt I don't go to Him, I try to hide from Him.

Yet, there is good news - the GOSPEL. Hebrews 4:16 says "Let us then approach the throne of GRACE with CONFIDENCE, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  I forget that it is a throne of GRACE (there is a reason that Grace is Eliza's middle name - because I need grace, a lot of it).  It isn't a throne where I go to brag about how great I'm doing on my own.  To demonstrate why I'm so awesome and how well I'm keeping His rules. Because I'm not, and I can't.  My sinful heart won't do anything good apart from Him.

It is where I find mercy and grace for all of the things that I want to be, but in my humanity they would be impossible.  And, I let Him direct what He wants me to be and what He wants me to do.

And, I can go to Him with confidence.  Not because I have it all together.  Confidence that He won't turn me away because Jesus already paid the price for me to be able to approach Him, despite my lack of  deserving-ness (is that a word?)  And, confidence that He understands because "...we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)

And God is awesome.  Insanely awesome.  Because He makes things beautiful for those who He has called to Himself.  He takes the broken and makes it whole. And I want to admit how broken I am.  Because to deny that or hide it is to deny God the glory He deserves.

So - now I've gone and gotten all serious on you.  And, you thought I was just going to blog about the recent happs in my family.  So, if you've stuck with me through this stuff - the stuff that the Lord is working out in my heart - then here's a cute picture of Jameson being a mischief-maker today.  A mischief-maker with a runny nose. He's a total monkey and climbs everything.  We heart him.


T. Fagan said...

Thank you for your words, Jocelyn. They hit the mark for me on so many levels...there are so many times when I feel like such a failure as a mom and a wife. But God is watching and loving over all of it. It helps to be reminded of that! Blessings to you and your family...

Dana Gay said...

Thanks for this post J it was SO you! And I love you you so I really loved it! So glad I read it today. I need to rejoice today and am not feeling it :)

Cathy G said...

AMEN Jocelyn! Loved this post. Been there. Just so you know, I think you are quite fabulous! ;-)

Christy said...

I love this Jocelyn! Thank you for sharing from your heart and being transparent.

the Skips said...

keeping it real, girl. love it! Thanks for letting Christ shine through you!