Friday, November 28, 2008

Joy and thankfulness ... right now

Do you ever have those times in life when a certain trial or hardship threatens to undo you and you feel like you just want to shut the world out? You too? *Whew* Actually, it is (I should actually say was) all to familiar in my life. Too often I give in to the flesh, thinking, "I can't do this. Oh Jesus, I can't do this! Why are You asking me to let go? Why are You asking me to give You this dear and precious thing?" Tears flow, sobs come. Sorrow is becoming a constant companion.

Now before you think I need help for depression, let me tell you what the Lord has been teaching me!

It was one of those "said times" when I didn't want to talk to anyone, I didn't want to try to explain why the tears were so near, why the ache in my heart was almost more then I could bear. So I went shopping ... or rather, just went walking around stores, I didn't really have a destination in mind. I walked around for a few hours before returning home. Once back at home mom pulled me aside and asked me what was wrong. Of course I told her ... I tell my mom everything. I told her I couldn't let go. I needed this thing which I was clinging so tightly to.

I could just imagine the pain, the sorrow, the hurt if I did let go ... forever to be single.

But Mom, in her gentle motherly way, spoke the words which God knew I needed to hear.

(I'm kind of paraphrasing because I can't remember word for word what she said. :)) "Ana, joy and happiness doesn't just come when you get married. God wants to give you joy and happiness right now, as you let go, as you give up. Giving up and letting go doesn't mean that is has to be a sad, painful thing. God gives joy ... right now, in this time of surrendering."

Of course I knew that, but I was shocked ... really?

She went on. "I know you think that you can't do this. That you can't go through this trial." (How is it that Mom's always know stuff, even if you don't tell them?) "But God never gives you anything you can't do. He'll give you the victory, He wants you to have victory. You can do this, but only with God's help and strength. And not only can you do this, but you can have joy as you do this!"

As her words sank in and I really thought them over the tears came and my heart cried out to Jesus.

Then Wednesday night Pastor went through some verses to help us with giving thanks. He took us to Ephesians 5:20 ~ "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (emphasis mine) and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ~ "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (emphasis mine).

In everything give thanks? Even in trials, in pain, in hardships? Give thanks? Like to be thankful for them? ... Yes! And only through Jesus, our Lord and Savior, can I do that!

All of this ramble-i-ness to say. Don't loose heart you singles who desire beyond almost anything to be married. God will give you joy, right now ... in this time of longing and unfulfilled desire. He will give you the strength and grace to endure until the time He has planned for you. And be thankful, God always does everything for a purpose. For our good and for His glory.

So pray, dear unmarried ones, pray, ask the Lord to make you truly thankful and give you the joy and strength that only He can give! (Although this post was written to encourage the unmarried, anyone can have joy in Christ ... right now, anyone can fly to Christ for strength and grace to have victory and thankfulness in the trails and situations in your life! Praise the Lord.)


Anonymous said...

Thank you, that was a real blessing and encouragement. I am struggling with the same thing and your post was very encouraging. Thank you!

I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now and have really enjoyed it. It is such a beautiful place to visit.

Ana said...

Praise the Lord for His mercy! And welcome to my blog! :)

Shelly said...

Ana dear,
My heart understands this ache and this battle! Surrender is hard when there is something/someone (husband or baby) that you so desire, but God is faithful! I have been counting the blessings of unanswered prayer lately. Sounds strange, but I realized that that so many things would be different if I got what I thought was best, and in the end, I do like the way God is directing my life, even if it doesn't seem my prayers are answered MY way... It isn't about me... it is about God and may He be glorified in my life and yours Ana! Yes, Ephesians 5:20!!! You are such a blessed woman Ana! So blessed with a special mom/family! I am getting excited for our snow walk. We hope to be home the 19th, and I was hoping to walk the following Monday or Tuesday depending on your work schedule!
Huge Blessings!

Ana said...

You dear, sweet heart! What an encouragment you are to me and my heart!! I thank you so very much for the wonderful reminder that no matter how much it hurts, in the end it's not about me. It's about God. Thank you for directing my focus back to where it should be!!! Let me know when you're around and I'll make my schedule work!

Jayne said...

Happy Thanksgiving precious child of God. Thank you for sharing your journey of faith to encourage the hearts of others in their journey's to trust God in the place where God has put them.
I love reading your blog.

Ana said...

Thank you for the comment and your kind words! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

Melanie said...

Beautiful post, Ana!! While I am probably too young to worry about getting married (just 16), I have felt similarly before, only it was over a different circumstance. Our family was needing to make a big change, and I resisted it and didn't want to "let go". I was almost frantic about it. Finally the Lord brought me to the place where I surrendered everything to Him and chose to trust Him wherever He would lead us, no matter what happened. The change was made, and I soon came to find that it was one of the best things He ever allowed to happen to me. Indeed, it was for our good and for His glory!!! God knows our needs even more than we do, and He knows what is best for us. This realization has been such an encouragement to me. And like you said, it gives us joy even in the midst of trial. Perhaps not necessarily "happiness" but definitely a sense of joy and peace in the will of God. How wonderful it is to serve such a kind and loving Lord!

Thank you again. I love reading your posts; they are so encouraging and Christ-honoring. :-)

Ana said...

Yes, yes! So often when we let go of things and surrender, truly surrender, we can look back (at least sometimes) and see how God's hand lead and protected us!

Elizabeth said...

Ana, what a beautiful post - thank you for sharing, dear! *HUG!* May you be blessed in every way ...

Ana said...

Thank you, dear, sweet friend!

Lady Heather said...

Hi Ana! Thank you for sharing your heart!! Months ago when my heart just couldn't take knowing that I may be single for the rest of my life.

I used to say before that I was fine being single, but I never let it go. I don't know how long it took from complete hopelessness to really give it up to Him. But there was a verse, that I can't think of at the moment, that said "God is hope". I had to re-train to think that hope wasn't pain, but it is God!

Natalie said...

The Lord's blessed me with peace over this recently, but I'm sure it will again be a struggle sometime because of my sinful, discontent heart. :(

I tagged you for a blog photo thing, Ana. :)

sydney said...

God has interesting timing, Ana! Even though I haven't been struggling with the singleness issue, I have been dealing with the issue of letting go of something that I'm not supposed to have. Specifically relationships with friends that are not healthy for me or my relationship with Jesus. This did encourage me even though it wasn't meant exactly for this purpose. I'll be praying for you! :-)

Shalom! :-)

Rosebud said...

Thank you for posting this, Ana--I also struggle with being single. (Yeah, even though I'm only 18! =S) But anyhow, thank you for encouraging us to find our joy in Christ now--after all, if I'm not delighting in Him now, what makes me think things will be different when I'm married?

Ana said...

Welcome to my blog! Thank you for leaving me such wonderful comments! :)

I think loneliness knows no age. But, as you've wonderfully pointed out, we need to be focusing on and delighting in Christ now! And not on our loneliness! Thank you.

Jada said...

You don't know me, but I stalk your blog every now and then from a friend's link... :)

beautiful post, wonderful reminder to surrender your life to Jesus. actually just what i needed to hear at this moment.

Also, you sound a little like you have "surrendered" to being single, not only surrendered to Jesus! You don't look that old yet... 20 maybe? lol. I just think that you definately don't need to give up hope in getting married yet! plus you are beautiful inside and out, and i would actually doubt that in ten years you'll still be single! :))

be encouraged, you encouraged me!

Ana said...

Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Sometimes I forget that I am young and that God has the perfect time for my getting married, if that's what He should choose. Thank you, again. Your words spoke much encouragement to my heart.