Monday, June 25, 2012

I Got There

Hi.  My name is Janelle, and I am a life that is changed.  I've come to know and understand the difference between 'happiness' and 'joy."

There are many things that make me happy; hearing one of my grand babies call me "Nana;" seeing one of my kids succeed at something they have desired or worked for; spending time with my girlfriends - these moments are "situational" and don't last; well, maybe except for being called "Nana!" 

On the other hand, joy is something that comes from inside.  It's more about an attitude, a state of mind; or a condition of the heart. 

1 Peter 1:6 says: "There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while." 

Everyone goes through hard times; or trials.  We don't have the same struggles or experience the same losses; however, the promise is the same.  If we endure through the hard times there will be joy!

Endure, or endurance, is simple the ability to continue doing something over a period of time. 

For athletes, it is reasonable that while competing in a sport, there is a knowledge of how long they will need to endure; or how far.  In basketball, it's reasonable to assume that you need to have enough endurance to physically and mentally last for two halves; for a runner starting a race, you know how far you have to run. 

It's different when struggling with an illness, a struggling relationship or the consequences of our bad choices; there is no way for us to know how long we will need to endure. 

It's during these times that we are re-made; every circumstance, every situation, every decision plays a role in who we are and who we will become. 

We don't have a choice in our future; but we do have a a choice in our present and I believe that God uses our experiences and trials to break of of our own will and independence into a life of surrender and dependence on him. 

I love the song by Ben Rector, "When A Heart Breaks."  
This isn't easy
This isn't clear
And you don't need Jesus
Til you're here
Then confusion and the doubts you had
Up and walk away
They walk away
When a heart breaks"
I have struggled in my life; struggled with the consequences of my bad choices before I met Jesus.  It's through my struggles and heartbreak that I got "there" - to a point of surrender and a realization that I need Jesus and wanted him to help me through my life.

I experience happiness in my life; but more than that, I have deep joy.  Even as I continue to struggle and endure in my life, I have peace that comes from the joy of knowing Jesus as my personal Savior. 

I continue to be a life that is changed.

"When A Heart Breaks" by Ben Rector

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wind Blown

Hi.  My name is Janelle, and I am a life that is changed.

A while back, my husband acquired a Chevy Metro; it earned the name "Dimples" because it had dents in every panel but two (it had previously been in a roll-over accident).  It had very few miles and didn't cost very much to fill with gas and got great gas mileage; Clint got it for a great price and thought he would drive it for work on days that he didn't need to take his big truck that he calls "Clifford."  Sidebar: Clifford is a red 4-door 1-ton pick up with a long box - it's big; even the little boys at church know it and call it by it's name!

Anyway, Clint didn't end up driving Dimples very much; it wasn't really a car you wanted to drive on Iowa roads during the winters and he also needed Clifford most days to pull his trailer. 

So, I ended up driving it when I could...until a car ran a stop sign while I was driving home from work.  I couldn't stop quick enough and I t-boned them; Dimples didn't fare too well; I picked up the parts, including the front bumper, put them in the back seat, and limped it home.   I learned some things from my time driving Dimples though.

Last week one day while driving home, it was a fairly windy day (like most are in the midwest); my "normal" car is quite heavy and so I don't get tossed around too much.  Having driven Dimples for as many days as I did though, I looked at the tops of the trees blowing back and forth and thought about how I would have been fighting to keep that little car on the road - and it would have been so noisy inside.  And then meeting a big truck and feeling like you are getting sucked in and having no control?  Wind blown!

I started thinking about how the disciples felt when they were out on that boat in the middle of the night when the wind started blowing and the waves started getting bigger and bigger tossing them all about (Matthew 14:22-34).  I can imagine it was scary; then they thought they saw a ghost coming toward them but fortunately, it was Jesus, walking, yes, WALKING on water!!  Jesus called out to his disciples and Peter, one of his disciples, said,“Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” (vs 28 NLT).  Peter actually got out of the boat and walked on water.  But when he saw the strong winds and the waves he got scared and started to sink; but Jesus was right there and grabbed his hand and kept him from sinkin and said “You have so little faith.  Why did you doubt me?” (v31)  When they climbed in the boat the wind stopped.   

What strong wind and big waves are you in the middle of? 

Maybe a child who isn't living in God's will.
How about a child who is not being responsible or accountable to his school work.
Maybe there's a situation with a friend or parent.
How about a serious health concern.
An issue with your job that you don't know how to handle or deal with.
Or a child that is in a relationship that isn't safe and you worry that she is going to get hurt.
Maybe financial problems.
Possibly a loss of a job or you or someone you love has been laid off.
Or maybe... (insert storm)

I was talking with a friend last week about one of my "storms" and she asked me if I could see God in that situation; I thought for a moment and replied, "no, I can't, but I know he's there." 

Do you have faith that Jesus will show up and calm your storm?

I do!