Welcome back! You have made it through another week. One marked by oil and choices and thankfulness and joy. Thanks so much for hanging in for the more difficult moments. The not-so-pretty ones. And sticking with the vulnerability.
We talked this week about God changing sorrow into supernatural joy, if only we let Him. If only we’re open to it.
I was speaking at a past Pursuit Community conference the year after Shawna died when I knew I had to share what I lovingly call “The Shawna Story”.
I didn’t want to. At all. I am not a girl that loves to cry – particularly in public. Let alone while standing on stage in front of 250 women. But His Spirit nudged. And I couldn’t ignore it.
So I walked to the podium with a box of kleenex on hand. And warned the poor women who are sympathy-criers to get ready. Because I probably wouldn’t be able to get through the story without touching toes into the edge of the ugly cry. And I stared talking. About the blessedness of friendship and the holiness of praying your best friend into heaven. And I shared the intimate details of those 18 months. And the precious final 23 days. Sharing more out of obedience than anything. Because at that point? I couldn’t see His glory in it. If I’m being honest, I still struggle to see it sometimes. And on that particular evening, just a couple of weeks before the first anniversary of her death, I had trouble tying it all up with a pretty red bow. The kind that brings it all back around to His glory and His goodness that makes you leave a room full of fire and Spirit and life-changing-truths.
And with shared sniffles throughout the room, I spoke honestly. I don’t know how to wrap this up, I said. But I do know that I miss her. And when we worship our God, we are also worshiping alongside the angels. So I’d like to end our time worshiping Him for the kind of glory that we cannot see. Knowing that she’ll join in with the host of heaven. Worshiping Him along with us.
And I hit the play button on the first of three songs. And quietly walked to the side of the stage. And collapsed in exhausted on the steps, leaning my back against the wall, and looked at the audience. And the Spirit of God filled that place in a way I had never seen. I watched women worship Him in a kind of Spirit I had never before experienced. One marked with joy. And the I-can’t-get-my-hands-high-enough-or-my-voice-loud-enough kind feeling.
And right there, in that moment? I started to recognize His glory in her story.
this week in review
Has there been a time where praise and thankfulness has truly changed things for you?
Have you ever found yourself jealous over someone else’s list of thankfulness? Has this week enabled you to shift your perspective, if only the tiniest bit, on your own list of thanks?
How is God currently kneading your dough of faith? What kind of Isaiah 61 trades are you making in your current season of life?
Can you think of a time when God met you during a particular time of crying and turned it into supernatural joy? It could be the frustrated tears following a fight with your spouse, or an argument with a family member. It could be the loss of loved one, or an unanswered prayer. Describe that time in the comments below.
Have you ever felt rubbed-all-over with the oil-of-gladness? Share your story below – I’d love to hear it!
a peek at next week
We’re transitioning out of Thankfulness & Joy and into Faith & Hope. Because when health fails and life falls apart and our very souls are disquieted within us? Hope is our help. Hope is the victory. Hope is the salvation. Hope is the anchor of soul connecting us to the presence of the holiest God hidden inside the holiest of holy places. Hope is our surety. Hope is our steadfast.
This week’s nugget:
I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices, my flesh will also rest in hope.
Join the conversation by leaving a comment below and replying to other people’s thoughts!
Please Note: In an effort to maintain the security of this website, all comments must be moderated. Because we are all in different time zones, comments might not be approved right away. However, we will get to posting them as soon as we can, as often as we can!
Don’t forget to use the hashtags #TREASURESOFDARKNESSSTUDY and #OBSWITHJANEJOHNSON!
This was a good week. I feel like I’ve lost my joy since (I even hate to say it) getting married. My life has changed so much and I feel like I’ve kind of lost myself in the transition and along with that my joy. I do love that I’m falling more in love with my Savior and His Word in the process though!
I loved making lists of thankfulness. I do have so much to be thankful for. He’s answered my prayers for a husband and children. I get to go to Bethel Atlanta and be near my sister! Yes, I can be jealous of other’s thankful lists or even jealous of my past life but as I once heard, “we have to give up something good for something better”. I’m believing in the better! I love that I’m learning to trade sorrow for joy, depression for gladness, despair for hope.
I remember one time that I was very sad about being single and alone while all of my friends were married and having babies. I felt left behind and forgotten. I was sitting at my desk in my at home office listening to Donna DeSilva preach from Bethel Redding. She was speaking on hope deferred making the heart sick. My heart was sick! She did a mass prayer over the congregation and as I entered in the Lord told me that it wouldn’t be too late and that it would be AMAZING when he put me with my love. I began laughing and crying uncontrollably. And now, he’s given me my amazing! Even though life might not be what we expected and I may be walking through a tough time there’s no one I’d rather walk through it with than my husband. I know that God has great things ahead for us and He leaves little nuggets to encourage me during the walking it out. I am finding joy in sorrow and life in the pain.
I’m kind of feeling rubbed all over with the oil of gladness as I type this. How much does God love me that He knew I could handle what laid ahead of us! How much does He trust me to be the support and encouragement my husband needs! How much does He love me that He wanted me to dig in and get to know Him better during this time of loneliness and transition! He’s a good daddy and he loves me so much…how could I not be filled with joy!
Thanks for reading. It felt good to process that.
Hi Meghan! I love that you’re feeling rubbed all over with the oil of His gladness! There’s something about worship and yielding and opening up clenched fists that releases the negativity that you’re subconsciously trying so hard to hang on to! And thank you so much for verbally processing through it all here with us! xo!!