Why the heck am I so joyful in this crazy season of my life?!
BECAUSE. GOD. IS. GOOD.
Let me give you some background.
2018 started off AMAZING.
•There was The Rise student weekend in January which is the biggest student weekend in ETX.
• My bachelor Party was the weekend after that and God has truly blessed me with the best friends one could ask for. Collin, Caleb, Clay, Skylar, Darius, Zack, and Matt I love you guys and I’m so thankful that I have the privilege to have y’all as best friends.
• The week after that was the second most beautiful, life-transforming, dreams do come true day of the year because I got to marry the most GORGEOUS woman in the 🌎! WOO! February 9th 😍. I love you Mad!
• Do you hear that? Sounds like Marvin Gaye! Ohhhh that’s cause right, after that we went on our honeymoon 😝. It was fun! We went to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas for two days then drove to Hot Springs and stayed there for a couple days and I don’t have actual physical proof, but the way that Madalyn’s eyes lit up while at the gangster museum truly makes me wonder if she’s in The Mafia…stay tuned..
Life was going SO well!
Then May rolled around and things began to shift. I found out that I wouldn’t get the full time position at New Beginnings as the High School Pastor. I had truly never been more hurt in my life. I was angry. I was upset with God. I was upset with the process of waiting to find out if I was going to get it or not. I was upset with the staff members. I was just truly hurt and didn’t know how to handle it.
That same day I went home after work and just sat on my couch and just sat silently. Madalyn was at work and didn’t get off until midnight. So I just sat there in pain. And this might sound dramatic but I truly felt like my life was over.
Why did I feel this way? Because sin will make you put more value on things than there should be. Sin will tell you that when the door that you wanted open so badly close, it’s the end of all good things for you and your life. Sin will tell you that you’re not good enough. Satan is a liar.
I experienced so much pressure and I could feel it building up. Mentally I was exhausted. I felt completely defeated. I realized that for the first time in my life, I experienced depression. It is SUCH a serious thing. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. It is vital in my opinion to talk to someone to protect yourself. I literally just stopped typing and told Madalyn that we need to be careful and help each other watch for signs of depression.
The last 102 days have been SO challenging.
But who’s counting?
I have experienced more rejection in the last 3 months than I have in my whole life. At least it feels like it. We’ve interviewed with churches in Oregon, Oklahoma, Colorado, Austin, San Antonio, Bastrop and applied at a lot more. It truly has been a rollercoaster season. But it has been such a fruitful season. God has been growing my roots like crazy!
HOW CAN I BE UPSET WITH GOD WHEN I HAVE LITERALLY PRAYED FOR MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO LOVE AND TRUST HIM?!
A simple mindset shift can allow us to experience more joy than we thought possible in some of the craziest times of our life.
So often we look at our circumstances like God is punishing us. We quickly began to pray and ask God to get us out of the discomfort. We ask Him to save us from this versus sustain us through it. We ask Him to remove us from the circumstance. Replace our job, replace our friends, don’t allow me to be alone. We’re humans! When pain or discomfort comes about, our first reaction is to go the other way.
I was listening to a podcast from Mike Todd, a pastor from Tulsa and he has been completely killing it! The basis of the podcast comes from Psalms 1:3 “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
God plants seeds, not trees. We all start off as seeds and then we began to grow into a tree and we’re called to bear fruit. But how can we hold the fruit that God wants us to when we’re so quick to uproot when we’re uncomfortable. Weak roots can’t hold the fruit that God wants you to hold. But we have to allow the root growth to happen so that we can bear fruits in ALL seasons! That’s the image the writer gives and explains how God wants us to be. Bearing constant fruit and not having to wait on the rain to grow because your roots are so strong and so deep that they are able to constantly feed off of the source.
We have to build our roots and allow them to strengthen so that we can hold the fruit that God wants us to! When you plant a seed, so much work goes on underground before we ever see the plant bud. It’s the same thing spiritually. What are our roots? What are some things that uphold our walks? Integrity, Character, Trust, Faith, Commitment, Self- Discipline. Roots are the characteristics that usually can’t grow exponentially unless we’re in a season of pain or discomfort. We have to remind ourselves that we’re not buried, we’re planted! Our season of being underground isn’t punishment, it’s a growth opportunity. It’s a launching pad for that next season of your life.
This simple truth has CHANGED MY LIFE! I have never experienced more joy in my life honestly. It’s insane. It’s simply the Spirit! Want proof? Anytime I get an email from a church that I applied at that says that they’re moving on in a different direction I BEGIN TO GET EXCITED! Why? because it’s another opportunity to grow! Another root growing stronger. It doesn’t make sense! The world tells me that I should be hopeless, but my father tells me that I’m hopeful!
As followers of Jesus, we have a responsibility to glorify God in tough seasons just as passionately as we would when it seems to be the best seasons of our lives.
We must suffer well for Jesus. And what a privilege it is.
In conclusion: I am 7 months into marriage. We’ve struggled financially, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I’ve felt alone. I’ve felt misunderstood, undervalued, underappreciated, underestimated, under attack and so on. BUT GOD! God has repeatedly told me that I am valuable! God has repeatedly told me that I am loved. God repeatedly told me that I am the complete opposite of what our circumstances have been telling me. HE. HAS. BEEN. SO. FAITHFUL. My roots are growing. There is no doubt in my mind. If you’re experiencing a season like this, KEEP PRESSING FORWARD! DON’T GIVE UP! GOD SEES YOUR FRUSTRATION, ALLOW HIM TO USE THAT, REDEFINE YOUR MINDSET.
Thanks for reading! If you thiink this might be encouraging to someone else, maybe send it there way! The gesture alone can encourage that person.
We all need encouragement, no matter the season.