i don’t even know how to start off this blog. well i guess i’ll start by saying that this is probably going to have a lot of misspellings and grammatical errors (which is going to kill my sweet mama), and that it is written in a rush and with a piece of my heart in it. i’ve had an awful past two months and the Lord has really been taking me through spiritual testing. i know that with great trials comes great faith, but man, y’all, the devil has really been working hard to make this testing hard. i have had a hard time with guys and friends and stress, and my relationships with some of the people that are closest to me have become strained. it has sometimes been hard to trust God in this, and at times i can’t feel His presence as strongly. i know He is there and He cares, and i know that He has the power to make good out of every situation, but it just doesn’t feel like anything good can come from this feeling of brokenness and hurt that have felt and do feel in this season of my life. i just keep digging into His Word, i read in James 1:2-3 the verse about taking great joy when you face trials and testings of many kinds because it leads to great faith. now, y’all, i don’t think i’ve ever been more annoyed to hear that verse. how am i supposed to take great joy in feeling like i have no friends? how am i supposed to take great joy in losing people? how am i supposed to take great joy when i’m stressed about school and grades and exams that cover a year’s worth of material? how am i supposed to take great joy when it feels like life is falling apart at times? y’all, i’m not going to lie to y’all, at first i did not handle this right, i was angry at God for closing some doors that i really wanted open. but y’all it is literally impossible for me to be mad at God for more than like 4 hours, and after a long prayer, i was at peace with His promises. at first i was like ‘take joy? heck no! there is no way that joy could possibly be found in this! then just an hour ago, God showed me what i can take joy in during this time and i want to share it with y’all because i think that maybe this story will help you take joy in whatever your situation is.
there is a story in Joel about the nation of Isreal losing everything, and y’all, i mean everything. locusts (which are these bugs –#ew– that eat everything in their path… like #no, i could not deal with that!!) ate everything in their entire nation and i mean y’all, there wasn’t even a tree standing that hadn’t been eaten. in Joel 2:12-13 it says “That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.” so pretty much the beginning of this verse says to tear your hearts instead of your cloaks. i take this to mean that before the Lord can fully give you what He has planned for you, you must ask Him to break your heart for what breaks His. sometimes this means literally having a broken heart, and sometimes this means a testing of your faith that will ultimately result in your getting closer to God. in the testing, though, in the trial, turn to God. verse 13 has it right, he is a God of freedom and compassion, of mercy and justice, of unfailing relentless love and He has the best planned for you. but y’all it gets better (as it always does) and this is where we learn to take joy. in verses 25 and 26 of that same chapter it says “The Lord says, ‘I will give you back what you lost, to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced.”. God promises something in this verse, and not just to the Israelites, but to all people, He will give back to you what the locusts consumed. He will give me back the same thing. what was lost in the trial and testing will be given back to you in an even better way and form. when God closes one door, he opens another, better door. there is a promise of restoration, full restoration, whole restoration and that is what we can take joy in during our trials. we don’t have to work to overcome this trial because God already overcame it, and we have a promise of whole restoration in His name. in Jesus’ name, in the name of the king of kings, the name that moves mountains, splits seas, heals the blind, restores the broken, snatches people back from the grave, you have been promised a full restoration after the trial, so take joy in that, know that, and live that. you are so loved sweet friends and i appreciate the many of you who have prayed for me through this trial and i am praying for you as well. you are priceless.