Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength

I am fully confident in my inability as a mother, because I am fully confident in the ability of my God. And I am fully aware of my need for His strength to make it through my days. I ask, no beg, for that strength a lot. Strength in the form of energy, or patience, or wisdom. Lord, I need your strength. But since the birth of my 5th baby He has been showing me that I sort of had this whole 'gimme strength' thing backwards...

Somewhere in those first two weeks at home with 4 children who were stuck in the heat and boredom of Summer and a brand new baby that made her presence very known those first few weeks, the Lord gave me the verse "The Joy of the Lord is my Strength" Nehamiah 8:10. I can't remember where or when I actually read it, but when I came upon it, it was as if I was reading it for the first time. The joy of the Lord if my strength. Click. So many times I have prayed and prayed for strength, thinking if I had more strength then I could be joyful. And all along I had it backwards! That was it, the secret to His strength which I was so desperate for as I adjusted to life as a mother of 5 and tried to clear the air of that 'new baby fog' I was living in was to be Joyful.

And then several months later He gave me another piece to this marvelous puzzle. While we were singing our Praise Songs at church one Sunday I noticed the lyrics I was singing read "It's my Joy to Honor You". Stop right there! Lord, is that where my Joy comes from? Honoring you? Being Obedient to you? Well then no wonder I'm not always feeling so joyful. So many times I choose what I want to do over what I know I am called to do. To be completely honest I had let my prayer life slip away and I wasn't even being obedient in my call to spend quiet time with Him. I choose my flesh over my spirit more than I care to admit, and I wonder why I often feel so puny in my joy department. The rest of the World may think that being obedient feels like a prison sentence, but the Child of God knows that there is no better feeling, no greater Joy, than living constantly in the presence of God. And that means seeking Him in all things and following him with your whole heart. That is Joy.

And then I remember a sermon preached a year or so ago about how we as human fleshly beings need God's strength to do everything. We even need His strength to pray. We need his strength in us to do anything that is pleasing to God. We need his strength to be obedient to Him. For in our own flesh we can do nothing but, "I can do all things through He who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13.

So there it is. My sweet Savior has taught this weary mama a big lesson in such a gentle way over the past few months. I need his strength to even come close being the Mother that I am called to be to these 5 children he entrusted me with. And If I want that strength, I need His Joy. And If I want that Joy, I need to be Obedient to Him. And in order to be Obedient, I need his strength. Are you still following me in this circle? You see, what it all boils down to is that when you feel so weak and weary as us mamas often do, instead of asking for God's strength to get through your situation, ask for his strength to simply Honor him and be obedient to Him {trust, seek, listen and follow Him}. Which, as a Child of God, should bring us Joy in knowing that we are pleasing the one we Love, the one that loves us, which in turns brings strength to continue our obedience in following Him. Hallelujah.

Dear Lord,
I'm asking for your strength today. Not in the form of energy or patience but in the form of obedience to you. Help me honor you with this day, Lord. Give me the strength to seek you, to obey you, to speak with you, to hear you, to walk with you, and to follow you all day long. I want to have a heart that is full of Joy simply for knowing that I have pleased you today. For if I do nothing but strive to honor you, the rest will follow. In Jesus name,