Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength

So we heard today that Robb is not going to get the managers job at FCS. Though the regional managers and human resources love him and think he is doing a fabulous job, a CEO has decided that with competition coming into town, they want someone with more managerial experience. We have been living on the interim manager's pay, but going back to the regular per hour pay essentially means that we are out of a job.

We have two house-payments, three hungry kids, yawning debt that only widens its mouth larger to swollow us up. We are trying to get ready for the next Vintage Service and company coming and maybe Sara coming to stay with us until she gets her own place. I have mountains of ebay work and laundry and a sinkful of dirty dishes and empty cupboards. Um, the truth is, it kinda sucks.

This isn't how I pictured my life in ministry. I think that picture, though it is thoroughly tattered and splattered with teardrops now, had me wearing Jackie O suits standing next to my husband at the back of the church bidding adieu to our adoring congregation who found everything we did charming and stimulating to their own Christian walk. In fact, by virtue of our creativity and incredible leadership skills, we somehow had a growing and famous church and in our spare time, hubby got his doctorate and wrote life-changing books that sold like hotcakes and allowed me to have the beautiful rose garden where I held ladies Bible studies in the cool morning hours, where I served delicious home-made coffee cake on antique china.

Yeah, so that's over.

I never really understood the concept of the Joy of the Lord. I knew it wasn't wearing an idiotic and blank smile in the face of difficulty, but I had a hard time coming up with a replacement image.

I think now that it might be this....that when you look around and it appears that you may have spilled your life's cup on the ground-whether by accident or just being careless- it's not over. There is something more. Something beyond just this place and time and this series of needs and worries. The joy of the Lord...the intimate knowlege of the Holy One...just having this relationship with him, is enough to give you strength to keep going.

We have never really lived the realties we have taught people about: lost jobs, physical aches and pains, and even more painful uncertainty. It was no crime that we hadn't. It wasn't part of God plan for us...until now. I don't know what people who don't know God do when they get to this point in their lives. I suppose they drink or find a new relationship or try to get a good job that pays a lot of money to insulate them from the pain. What I do know is that even if we are being pressed in on every side, that we will not be crushed. The joy of the Lord will be our strength.


Darla said...


praying this psalm for you and for me today.... thank you for sharing your heart with us.... i wish i was there to help carry the burden.... i'm praying for some relief for you today... praying that this morning, you will feel His unfailing love....

"so my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. i remember the days of long ago; i meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. i spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. show me the way i should go, for to you i lift up my soul. rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. teach me to do your will,
for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground."

ness said...

Darla, I've read this several times today and I'm so relieved by the honesty....especially the "answer me quickly, O Lord..." I can so relate to that feeling that I cannot live among the question marks for long. I suppose I can...I just don't want to.

How are things with you? Where are you now?

Thank you my have indeed carried some of the burden already.

Darla said...

the rawness in the psalms always strikes me - eugene peterson is a big proponent for praying the psalms because they're SO REAL.... hard to debate that! :)

we are in panama city right now - we haven't moved everything yet.... we will be staying with my parents until we leave for hawaii, which right now the loose time frame is jan. we're flying to california next wed. to meet with our friends again and the other couples that are joining this adventure with us. after that, we'll probably go ahead and move everything to p.c. still waiting for the house to sell - you know that story way too well i see.... stinking real estate.

anyway... if you guys get too bogged down and stressed, hop in the car and make a drive to p.c..... we can relax on the beach together and drink a beer or two! :)

love ya sister!

ness said...

sooooooooooooooooooo tempting!

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