Early in the morning last Tuesday I parted the blinds that cover my living room window. My thumb and forefinger created a space just wide enough for my tired eyes to peer through.
Same scene, different February day.
The guy across the street was sitting on the cold cement again, staring into space while he chain smoked his hundredth cigarette. Beneath his feet was the remnant of one of Chicago’s biggest blizzards in history. Only now the once glistening white powder was just black, frozen sludge drizzled with the wind blown trash from down the street.
I watched him for a minute, counting his drags. One for every breathe he took; as if the nicotine, not the fresh, frigid carbon dioxide, was his very sustenance. He smoked his cigarette right down to the filter before flicking it into the sewer and lighting another.
The guy across the street and I had something trivial in common: monotony.
The sky was gray and I could feel the sub-zero temperature in my bones despite the heat that poured out of the radiator next to me.
I glanced over at the flat tire on my car, deflated from the freezing temperatures and then over to the chair where a mound of laundry needed folding.
My kids pulled me out of my “zone” with their barking orders.
“Mom! I need a drink!”
“Mom! Get me my blanket!”
“Mom! Mom! Mom!”
No please. No thank you.
God, I can’t do this today…This winter crept into my soul and I’m as gray as the Chicago sky.
My thoughts spiraled down into the familiar abyss of self-defeat that is oh so hard to climb out of.
As I strolled into the kitchen to fulfill Makaio and Mikayla’s orders for chocolate milk and juice, I began praying.
God, how should my Christianity play out in everyday life? There’s more to it than this. I know there is because I’ve experienced it before. Help me Lord!
Why should I feel so cold inside? I know it’s not the heart of my Heavenly Father.
Jennifer, joy, contentment and peace are not circumstantial unless you allow them to be. Being in Me means abundant life regardless of the weather inside or outside your soul. Abide in me. Yield to me; for I AM JOY.
A fresh revelation of a familiar truth.
I’ve been allowing my circumstances to have their way in me.
I know God doesn’t condemn me for struggling. He knows what I’m made of. But He does want me to draw close to Him; since He is the source of life. He wants me to have joy in the valley; for this is the power of Christ in me.
When I go through difficult times, I often wonder why. But it doesn’t take long to see that trials have a unique way of purifying my vision of God and reducing my love for the world. They create this vacuous desire for surpassing peace and the presence of God where no imperfection or fault exists. Don’t you want that?
My soul rejoices when I think of heaven and God and how I have an inheritance awaiting that excludes sin and sickness and all the wretchedness that I experience and witness daily. For now, I’ll let that promise act as a magnet drawing me near in the now.
When the world’s got me down, I know I’ve drifted from grace. I know God is bidding me to come back. To abide in Him and rest. To warm myself by His Son.
No, God isn’t calling me to deny my struggle or come to Him once I have it all together. He wants me in my tumultuousness so that He can BE my perfect peace. I can have joy in the winter if I simply