These past few weeks homeschooling has been patchy...you can imagine. So I've tried to be content with doing lots of reading of the curriculum books with the girls and not so much paperwork. One such book I've been reading with Lily is called, "Catching Their Talk in a Box" and it's the life story of Joy Ridderhof. She was a missionary all around the world in the 40's and the organization she created in the midst of terrible sickness, Gospel Recordings, continues to record the Good News for those who have no written languages, the illiterate, etc...in over 5000 languages!
I have been powerfully touched, to the point of tears, by the simplicity of her faith. Convicted as a young woman of her worry being a sin, she committed to the Lord that she would refuse to worry, that she would rejoice in all things, and that she would trust Him with or without.
The book shares story after story of awful and dark times in her life, insurmountable problems and jobs, extreme difficulties, lack of help and money and health, and each time, tells of how Joy would grab someone's hand, and say, "Let us rejoice as we pray, knowing that He is good and His timing is perfect. We will rejoice in this."
As Lily has been teasing me about my tears, "MOM!!! You're crying AGAIN??", I haven't been sure how much Joy's story has really been impacting her, until last night.
We were in the car, heading home, and she was asking about the fuzzy future.
Lily: "So, if we can't stay at Grandpa's house next time, where are we going to stay?"
Me: "I don't totally know, Lil."
Lily: "Are we going to keep all our stuff in the van?"
Me: "Well, this van is going to be sold, too...so...we won't have our van next summer."
Lily: "No house, no van?"
Me: "Not our house, not our van."
Lily: "Mom. Let us rejoice! We must not worry, because God knows where we will stay, and God knows what we will do, and God knows what we will drive, and we should rejoice! You know, like Joy! God is never late, right?"
Then she made fun of me while I was crying again.
As I laid in bed praying with the girls again tonight, I followed suit and pushed away the temptation to mourn and instead started to rejoice, praising God for the thousands of ways He has used this home to care for me and my parents and my siblings and many friends and then my husband and then my children, over the past 30 years. I praised him for the thousands of sweet moments, of the thousands of cherished memories, for the thousands of provisions He has given me to have a safe and happy home, and a safe and happy home to bring my babies home to.
I rejoiced for the days this home housed cherished pets, cherished friends, cherished family, cherished memories. Rejoiced for the days Matt and I lived here, working our tails off and throwing every penny at college debt, preparing for Haiti. The girls fell asleep as I rejoiced for the night we brought Lily home from the hospital, and she cried all night and I paced the hall thinking, "I am never ever going to sleep again...but just LOOK at her!" I rejoiced for the breaks Matt has needed that he has hidden here, for the hilarious memories I have of Sofie on the porch, in the tub, in the kitchen, for the peace of a quiet and happy and loving home to call base while living so far away.
And the more I rejoiced on and rejoiced on and rejoiced on...the more my heart truly rejoiced...which is how rejoicing works, I think.
I am thankful.
There is no room for worry. There is no room for fear. And even the mourning He is pushing out with rejoicing.
He has brought me home, here, time and time again...to Himself.
So I rejoice. I'm going out, on Him, rejoicing.
Whatever you're heavy with tonight,
start to rejoice in every crevice you can...
and watch Him help you rejoice in the places you never thought you could
not because the situation is joyful,
but because our God has been faithful
...and always will be.