Finding Joy in Chaos

Joy in chaos? How can I find joy in chaos and confusion? How can I find joy when I can’t even find time to brush my teeth in the morning?

In the moment, which seems to be every moment, I tend to only focus on MY circumstance. Which makes finding joy impossible. Why do my boys always fight sleep? Is it really necessary for you to sit on your brother’s face? Can I just have five minutes to myself? Did I really forget to buckle you in your car seat again? Twelve months apart…this was not what I planned. Is this really what the rest of my life is going to look like?

toymess

Then I remember what joy really means…”rejoice, gladness, delight.” I struggle to look at those words and see any of that in my life. I don’t find delight in changing poopy diapers that have oozed out into clothing. I surely don’t find gladness in the persistent fight against my authority. And there’s no rejoicing in the never-ending days and nights. Why is it that I can’t rejoice, find gladness, and be delighted in motherhood?

My understanding of Joy has become so earthly. Not like hippie, tree-hugger, I eat bark kind of earthly. I’m referring to the selfish, not fair, this is MY life, kind of earthly. So when I see the definition of joy referring to delight and gladness, I feel so discouraged.

My joy lies in Christ…or at least it should. And if I’m focused on my circumstance (be it dirty diapers, exhaustion, or my lack of social life), I won’t ever see delight or gladness. If my hope and desires are solely in Christ, I will find joy in my circumstance, because they are drawing me closer to Him. That’s not to say that it’s easy, or even enjoyable at times. But I want to see the bigger picture…Christ. I want to see Christ in my circumstance. I take delight in knowing that every circumstance is conforming me more and more to His image. And in that I’m joyful.

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Isaiah 40:29-31
“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Praying, moment by moment:

Lord, don’t give me a better circumstance, but rather, give me a more clear view of you in my circumstance.

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Serving the Lord…fervently

As the days/weeks draw near to baby #2 being here, I’m daily being challenged with my role as a mother.  Having one child has been a huge change in my life and one that I was not entirely prepared for.  I made a lot of sacrifices and adjustments, but I came to realize they were mostly with selfish motivations.  And then…I got pregnant again.  The Lord always knows how to challenge and motivate me.  And it’s often not at all what I expect.

Throughout the past 10 months, I have learned how to serve my husband and my son in ways that I’ve never known.  The simple things in life have become far more complicated. The things I use to enjoy doing to serve my husband have vanished from my everyday life.    So, how do I serve anymore, when I feel like all I’m doing is exhausting myself just to function?

My sink full of love…

A friend recently wrote a blog about Colossians 3:17-24

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

She challenged us with the words, “Not by way of eye service as people pleasers but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.”  My service to my husband and family have merely been to please them and convince myself that I am a good wife and mother.  I don’t necessarily expect complements, but I want to be the woman my husband brags to others about.  I rarely ever think about my service to the Lord.

Which is why I painted Romans 12:11 on a piece of barn wood and hung it in our living room awhile back. “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”  I want to have zeal in everything I do…including serving my family.  I want to have a passion to work heartily as for the Lord, not for myself, and not for my family.  The only way I will reach this point in my life, is if I’m serving the Lord first.

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In everything…rejoice

As many of you know, the Gatten family has been through some crazy stuff in the past year.  From the loss of Oliver’s mom to the birth of our first son, and the new life we will be blessed with this November…we have seen God’s faithfulness, grace, and eternal peace more than ever before.  Daily we are being challenged and encouraged by what God is doing in our lives.  And we’re learning more and more about what it looks like to trust Him in EVERY situation/circumstance.

When both of us were called to work at Snowbird (Steph in 2002 and Oliver in 2007), we had confidence in what the Lord was calling us to.  We both didn’t know if this would be something we would do for the rest of our lives, or for a season, but we knew that at that time the Lord was calling us to be here.  Even through financial instability, trials, and uncomfortable situations, we’ve not questioned the Lord’s calling on us to be at Snowbird.  It has been such an awesome opportunity for us to be here and grow in our relationships with the Lord, surrounded by such an awesome community.  And now to raise our children in this community, we are truly blessed.

As this season at Snowbird comes to an end, it’s such a bittersweet time for us.  We rejoice at what the Lord has done in and through us during our time here.  And yet we’re so sad about leaving such an incredible ministry.  The Lord has conformed each of us individually, and us as a married couple, more into His image.  We wouldn’t have had it any other way.

This week was such a difficult time for me as the past 11 summers continued to run through my mind and the reality of this being the end was so fresh and overwhelming.  Even though we’ll still be in Andrews for the next few years, I know that our lives and place in this ministry will never be the same.  I thank the Lord for what He’s done and I question where He is taking us.  But I pray, trust, and rejoice in whatever and wherever that is.  I’m challenged, encouraged, and motivated to keep pursuing Christ…as I know that He is the only way I will make it through this “transition”.

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