Friday, July 27, 2012

Gifts Among the Garbage

from the heart of abigail joy

There will always be garbage.

This is the reality that hit me hard in the face at work.

I am a member of the Custodial staff at Church. No…it is not the most glamorous of summer jobs…but let me remind you that one of the first female janitors was someone every girl longed to be at one point in her life...Cinderella. I scrub toilets, mop floors, stack chairs, wash windows…It usually isn't one of the jobs on my list...but this particular week was all about the trash.

You would be surprised how much trash one building can collect after one weekend of activities.

I started to recite a speech in my mind that I would give to my future husband...I will cook (or I would be willing to learn how to cook more than scrambled eggs), I will do the laundry, I will even mow the lawn...with scissors!...but please do not make me take out the trash.

I started throwing the bags out on the sidewalk to carry to the dumpster. Wasn't it Cinderella who sang, "One day my prince will come..."...when the bubbles rose as she scrubbed the dirt away from the floor...

I started singing my own version...

This is when the thought hit me...there will always be trash. My prince has already come. He is here. He rescued me. And there is still trash to take out...

I look for happily ever after...I always have...I long for romance, for ultimate joy, for the garden...Searching for perfection in the fallen world...gets me into trouble.

“Why did God curse Eve with loneliness and heartache, an emptiness that nothing would be able to fill? Wasn’t her life going to be hard enough out there in the world, banished from the Garden that was her true home, never able to return…He did it to save her. For as we all know personally, something in Eve’s heart shifted at the fall. Something sent its roots down deep into her soul—and ours—that mistrust of God’s heart, that resolution to find life on our own terms…In love, God has to block her attempts until, wounded and aching, she turns to Him and Him alone for her rescue…”
Captivating –John & Stasi Eldredge

Like most women...we all have our own insecurities to battle...I fight lies...fear is real. And when hard circumstances remain unchanged I think God needs my help…So I try to control my heart…

There are nights I spend wrestling with God...when the morning comes I realize how self-centered I truly am. I question God, I beg Him to bring about change...I cry to Him because when nothing changes...I think He hasn't heard me. It all comes down to me. I think God owes me something. I'm searching for other ways to fill my heart...isn't that sending God the message that He isn't enough? Am I praying for God to make my life more comfortable?

This is not home…We weren't created for this place. We weren’t created for comfort.

It only takes a moment to become overwhelmed with the memory of the cross…for what He did for me and you…I always end up back at His feet…realizing that He has my best interest at heart…Why do we always wait for the aching to become so raw and real till we turn back to our Savior? He is our life. He is why we are here.

“And love God, your God, listening obediently to Him, firmly embracing Him. Oh yes, He is life itself…” Deuteronomy 30:20 The Message

I believe that God has a bigger plan and purpose for me than being a trash-taker-outer for the rest of my days...I believe He is taking the pieces of me and molding me into the woman He wants me to be…I believe following Him...no matter what He has you doing...will always be an adventure of ups and downs...and I whole-heartedly believe that He gives me jobs like taking out the trash to teach me deep lessons...

By His grace He uses, teaches and loves the least of us.

Praying God gives me eyes…daily…to find the lessons...eyes that search for His never-ending-grace…amidst the trash we have to continue to take to the curb...

Thanking God True Love has come and rescued our Hearts

“Here we stand…our hearts are Yours...Not our will…but Yours be done.” -All Sons & Daughters


 


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"Faint-heart, What got into You?"


From the Heart of Abigail Joy

I just got back from an awesome trip to the Creation Music Festival. It was an incredible time of worship, learning, loving, and laughter. Creation is a “Tribute to our Creator”…Christian artists and speakers come from all over to rock out for Jesus. It is a four night camping experience in the middle of nowhere in PA. I was beyond excited to go and to hang out with friends and experience one of my greatest passions…worshiping my Savior!

But inside was a fear. The weather. Storms. I am terrified of thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail…one of the many fears that I have had since I was a little girl…

The morning of the trip I had a conversation with my dear Mother…with childlike innocence I explained to her how crazy it was that I was afraid of storms…who is the author and creator of the weather? My God. So why was I giving the storm more power and strength than the awesome God I serve?

I understand this in my mind...but my heart has trouble fighting the anxiety that grows like a monster inside of my intestines.

The first day we were there was beyond anything I expected…Hands lifted high, dancing and singing along with thousands of others...celebrating the love of our God.

It was the next night when my troubles began… Midnight had come and gone as I dove into my quiet time with my Jesus and clung to these words.

Matthew 14 The Message
22-23As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
24-26Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror.
27But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid."
28Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water."
29-30He said, "Come ahead." Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!"
31Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?"
32-33The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, "This is it! You are God's Son for sure!"

This is one of those passages that we learn in Sunday school...just like the story of Noah and the ark we can recite and act out the words. But each time I dive in, new questions arise and this night I found myself lost in questions…Would I have enough courage to jump out of the boat? Have enough faith to take the step out into the rushing sea? My mind continued to wander.

Eventually I fell into a half sleep…only to be woken up an hour later. I was so restless. Anxiety started to take over. I was sharing a tent with five other girls and all of them lay sleeping…unaware of the pain that I was experiencing…tears began to form, I lost control of my breaths and I curled over…praying God would send me into a deep sleep…this is when the lightning began.

Time passed by painfully…longing for the sound of morning…the thunder began…I couldn’t sit any longer I went out into the rain to the main tent I needed air…needed to hear a voice…I wanted to run but had no where to go…my greatest fear was overtaking my heart and I had no one to cling to…I grabbed my cell phone and quickly turned it on…it was close to four in the morning…“At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror.”

God is incredible…in the storms of life…there is always a lesson!
It is all about perspective. So desperately I want to jump...I want to go out into the water to be with my Jesus. I look at His Love hands. I trust. I walk on water...fears disappear. Then the thunder gets a little louder...the lightning a little brighter and I lose sight of my Savior. I look down at the crashing waves around me and suddenly I have lost sight of the One who is holding on tight. Fears overwhelm me and I cry out, "Master, save me!"

As morning dawns and the night begins to fall...the rain song disappears and the birds begin the morning symphony. I made it through the storm. Jesus didn't hesitate to reach down and hold me. He calmed my anxious heart. But I heard Him whisper, "Faint-heart, what got into you?" The question sends me to my Father's feet. Sorry for not trusting...for not believing...for not keeping my eyes on His Love. He always has a plan. I will never be without my Lord. When I leave this earth...I will still be with my Savior...why did I lose faith?
One speaker shared, "Even when the light starts fading...hope should not..." Cling to hope...

Storms will continue to rage on...I can only pray God would give us eyes for the storms...to see through them...to find grace, love...His strong hands He extends through it all...