06 November 2015

Paid in Full Study: Day One Journaling

(I'm starting to study Paid in Full, and thought I'd journal here. So, without further ado, here is Day One's entry: my testimony. Or rather, one facet of it. The more times I'm asked to share my testimony, the more ways I discover to tell the story, and the more I see and understand in my own history. It's fascinating and beautiful.)

About five years ago I began to look at my life and wonder where the joy was. Why, when God promised joy and peace to His followers, I had none. Zero. Zip. Nada. I remember AmberDawn sitting in my kitchen in #33, sharing about a friend struggling through motherhood with depression, and she said: "It's so sad: all of the work and none of the joy". That sentence lodged in my heart, and I began to push against the boundaries of my usual existence, looking for joy. I had never realized joy was an everyday occurrence for mothers, or that my own experience was so different from anyone else's. I knew Jesus' whole purpose was to open the way for us to live in His love, joy, and peace. We were created that we might have joy. Our very nature as children of God is such that joy should be a natural, regular part of our existence. I rejected the idea that I was supposed to grind out my existence, bearing the heavy weight that is a lack of joy, the whole purpose of my life being to endure it well.

So, where was it? Where was my joy???

That quest, which began with a strong desire--no, an insistence--that God make good on His promises, led to a journey of discovery about the nature and character of God and God's love for me that culminated in receiving the baptism of fire. That experience--the complete immersion in the fiery, overwhelming love of God--transformed how I saw everything, recreated my heart, and began a journey of ever-increasing relationship with Jesus that has healed so many broken places in me, began healing broken relationships, and has transformed my daily walk into one filled with hope, joy, and peace as I dive into His word, learn His character and nature through study and prayer and experience with those I love, and as a result I trust God more and more each day.

I want to exhort anyone reading this to seek after the things our God has promised each and every one of us. He gave us commandments so we could exist surrounded by His love (John 15:10-11). When God speaks, the word of God IS. If you insist that God make good on that word, pressing against the boundaries of where you've always existed, God will show you where you need to let Him in, He will teach you, increase your understanding, and open the way for you to walk in the fulfillment of His promises. He is such a good Father, and a patient and forgiving teacher. It wasn't His fault that I was living without joy . . . but instead of turning that back on me and telling me to figure it out, He welcomed my demands and questions, worked with me to begin to show me how to receive what I longed for, and has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams.

And I know He's only getting warmed up. :o)