Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: February 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012


I’ve been reminiscing through pictures from my trips to Kenya and I am reminded just how much I love both the land and the people of this beautiful country. Apart from the people, the thing I miss the most about Kenya, is the simplicity of life. In America, we get so busy running the rat race called life. How often do we take time to just sit under an oak tree and do absolutely nothing! I’m not suggesting we should be lazy (the Kenyans are incredibly hard-working, particularly the women I met), but I am suggesting that we take time to enjoy life. So often I am guilty of focusing on my “to do” lists and striving for the future that I miss the present moments.

Some of the photos remind me of fantastic memories. I laugh as a giraffe licks a snack from my hands. I giggle with the children as we try to communicate even though neither of us understands the other. My focus was not so much on doing great things in Kenya, but on being with the people and allowing Christ to “be” in me. Why is it so hard to be versus do when I am home?

This weekend our youth are at Disciple Now and the theme of the weekend is Pause. So, today I am taking time to pause. If it weren’t so rainy outside, I’d go and chill under the trees in my hammock, but instead I will be content to sit by the window and listen to the rain fall, to listen to the sound of laughter coming from Jorjanne’s room as she plays with a friend. I will be content in the moment for the grace of God is far more than I ever deserved.

I am going to share a few of my favorite pictorial memories from Kenya with you, and I invite you to pause and reflect on God’s goodness in your own life.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Costly Joy

I just finished reading the book, Kisses from Katie, and let me just say – WOW!  Katie is a remarkable young woman who is living the surrendered life. (You can follow her story at kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) This is a story about obedience to Christ, perseverance, and sacrifice. Something she said leaped off the page and into my heart. She said, “We must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy. Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it. After all, the murder had to take place before the resurrection.”

As I pondered this truth, I realized just how accurate it is. Before I really knew suffering, I had happiness in my heart, but I never fully experienced joy until I encountered the power of God in some of the darkest trials. Joy is costly – but so very worth it!

I think this is what James meant when he said to “Consider it pure joy when we encounter various trials…” Anyone can feel happiness at times, but joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is impossible apart from the power of God in our lives. God has chosen to manifest joy in our lives through our pain.

It is after intense labor pains that the joy of giving birth is felt. Knowing that the labor is not in vain, but will give birth to new life makes it all the more bearable. The same is true of other hardships. Our sufferings are not in vain. God wants to make something beautiful out of our hurts, and He wants to create a joyful Spirit in us in the meantime. 

Sometimes I can be so oppressed by life’s problems that my focus is on my circumstances instead of on my Lord. Though my circumstances may not change, when my focus does, then I experience joy. My ultimate hope is that there will be a day when all my earthly pain will be resurrected and I will spend an eternity in the joyous presence of our Lord!

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