This article was originally posted on the Pretty & Wise Co. website. You can read more from Lyndsay and the rest of the Pretty & Wise team on their website: www.prettyandwise.com.
Lately, I’ve been reading my way through the minor prophets. To be honest, I have a hard time following many of the books without a commentary to help clear things up a bit. “What is God really getting at here?” “Is there any hope for Israel?” “These are terrifying consequences for their disobedience; how are they not turning back to God sooner?”
These are the questions I find myself asking throughout these books. So much loss. So much pain. So much sin. So much disobedience.
Not Jesus and. Not Jesus or. Nothing else.
It’s not popular right now to say this even in Christian circles. We want “Jesus AND justice,” or “Jesus AND equality,” or “Jesus AND our freedoms,” or “Jesus AND a republican president,” or “Jesus AND any other president,” or “Jesus AND [insert blank here].” But sweet friend, it’s just Jesus.
It's been a minute (or twenty days, but who's counting?) since I last wrote on the blog. My world has grown to be a big, crazy frenzy over the past couple of weeks. I'm not even entirely sure why, but I've been overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the things I'm "supposed" to do.
The past two days have been the realization of a dream in my heart for years that I was only able to articulate and put skin on its bones just two months ago. I cannot believe it all happened so quickly. I cannot believe it was conceived, grew and developed, and was birthed so suddenly. Two months ago, the Lord put a vision in my head and heart. I prayed for direction, asked 5 women if they'd chase this thing down alongside me, and we started running. Full speed ahead. We all had a million things on our plates already, but felt the call to run, felt the burning inside to run, felt the uncontrollable itch to run; legs shaky, hands sweaty, feet restless, we started to run. Now we are feeling our hair whip around our faces, the wind at our backs, the adrenaline rush, the runner's high. I cannot stop my eyes from welling with tears when I look around and see all that God is doing and the only word that comes to mind is, "abundance."
This week has been heavy. It has been overwhelming. It has been sad. It has been exhausting. It has been unsettling. This week has riddled my mind with anxiety and filled my heart with sorrow.
My gut reaction to these emotions is, "That is not very Christ-like. I was made for joy, not sorrow! Yes, everything looks terrible, but when we have Jesus we win! I need to get over this unholy attitude."
The Lord gently lifted my gaze, elevated my thinking, and altered my attitude today. Don't get me wrong, I am still feeling the weight of it all trying to paralyze me, but I'm not thinking this sorrow is unholy anymore.
We are quarantined (like the rest of the entire planet). My kids aren't in school, I'm working from home, everything is at a standstill excepting my husband's job. He works in an "essentials" field so he actually has mandatory overtime at least one day a week right now and we are so grateful that he can keep working (and washing his hands). In the meantime, I am at home with our three kids 'round the clock right now. Here's what that's looking like currently...
I recently finished a devotional by Bill Johnson, "The Way of Life." If y'all haven't checked that one out on You Version (the Bible App), it is excellent and I love that it has a self-reflection and application portion to each day. One of the days in the devotional, I read something that stopped me in my tracks. In light of all that is happening in the world - entire countries shutting down, jobs on hiatus, schools closed, people holed up in their homes - this has been even more magnified in my life...
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me." John 14:1
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I've heard it said, "The hardest thing you've ever gone through is the hardest thing you've ever gone through," meaning we all experience pain on our own relative scale. What you have gone through may be "worse" than what I've experienced, but that doesn't mean I've experienced less pain than you.
A couple of days ago, I was alone in my car driving to a meeting and listening to a live worship album. This really powerful, anthemic song started playing and I started singing, swept up in the song. At one point in the song, the lead singer yells out, "Lift up a shout of praise!" and then THOUSANDS of voices began shouting and praising and crying out to God. It was one of those moments in worship when all the hairs on your head stand up, you get covered in goosebumps, and it's overwhelming to hear all of those people completely abandoning their sense of pride, their self-image, their awareness of self all because of the presence of God. They knew he was near and they couldn't help but shout praise.
Listen. Sometimes, I am so done with life for a minute. Do you know what I mean? Running around with kids all day listening to whining and hearing "Mommy!" all day long is exhausting enough. Throw in trying to get some work around the house done or catch up on laundry or meet up with a girlfriend, and it feels impossible. Maybe you are also working outside the home too. Cray - Z.