Yesterday on my Instagram account, I shared two bible journaling pages I had done, after reading through a devotional on Joseph and dreams coming true. It was part of the newest Bible Journaling Kit from Illustrated Faith & Dayspring, called 'A Heart That Receives'. (I've provided the links to both!)
Usually when I am bible journaling, there is a specific verse or paragraph to focus on. Yesterday was 10 chapters expounding the life of Joseph. I found a place to start however, and then found an additional verse, Romans 8:28, that fit well.
It wasn't so much the "Life and Times of Joseph" that spoke to me, but how the Message Bible translated Romans 8: "Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along….He knows us far better than we know ourselves…. (verse 28) That's why we can be so sure that EVERY DETAIL in our lives of love for God is worked into something good….God knew what He was doing from the very beginning."
At the end of Joseph's very overwhelming story (up to this point) he tells his brothers that it was God who was in charge all along. Despite their feeble attempts to get him out of the way because of their own jealousy, God worked out every detail to ensure that Joseph's dreams came true.
When we read Romans, we can see how this happened. I'm certain that Joseph had days where he grew tired in the waiting. I'm sure when he felt overwhelmed by his circumstances he wanted to complain, cry, and ask God how a pit, a jail cell, and a false accusation were going to help him accomplish anything good, let alone arrive as the solution to a future problem!
What kept catching me, was how often I believe that my circumstances are overwhelming. How often to I question the purpose of the pit and how it will get me anywhere? In my faith journey, I've had many, many of my own versions of a 'pit'.
Currently, I'm walking through one of the most challenging times so far. In the midst of a health situation that is costing me independence, activity, and some days my sanity, I question how this will bring any glory to God….and how it can possibly be an aid in any dream He gave me coming true. In the moment, it seems to be a stop sign, or a bottomless pit. A no-win situation which is quickly leading me to a solitary confinement of my room (read jail cell, because some days it feels like one!).
However, IF, and sometimes it is a definitive "if", God is in all the details, shouldn't I be rejoicing in this time and making the most of it? Joseph used his time in jail to impact the lives of others. Paul did the same thing from his prison cell. Do I? Do we?
The last few weeks I have questioned the dreams God laid on my heart many years ago. I've questioned the direction, the calling, the tasks, and just about everything else! I've cried out to Him in my frustration over being stuck in a bed. I've whined about how I don’t see any purpose for all this yuck, that some days is so overwhelming, I spend the day just battling for my thoughts!
Here is where this section of journaling became so important. Before we get to verse 28 in Romans, Paul likens our faith to pregnancy.Now I have been pregnant. At the beginning of my pregnancy I was ecstatic! I was finally pregnant!! It had been a struggle to get there so I was beyond thrilled! Then morning nausea hit, and everyone said it would pass (it didn't - it turned into all day queasy). I started to gain weight and have braxton hicks contractions, everyone said it would pass (this too did not pass - notice a theme here of things that others said would pass that never did? This continued for the whole rest of the 18 year journey I've taken with my child! Now it is finally starting to pass as she is grown(ish) up!). I started to get bigger, and bigger, and bigger…well, my abdomen did. I looked like I consumed the largest football you had ever seen!! I have a picture, and it’s a straight shot out the front!! 30 pounds of extra all in the front.
I was uncomfortable, heavy, and SO ready to be done being pregnant by the end! Paul says that our faith, like a pregnancy, is filled with waiting that we know will result in our dream…. A delivery of a baby! That part wasn't a whole lot more fun than pregnancy, if I'm honest! But I had my baby, a beautiful little 7 1/2" pound girl. Holding her in my arms finally, was so worthwhile! The snuggles and cuddles and all that baby goodness!!!! I had always known my pregnancy wouldn't last indefinitely….and Paul says neither will our waiting in faith!
If we spend our days focused on the pit, or the nausea, or the overwhelming circumstances that seem to be derailing our dreams and hopes, we've missed the point entirely. We should instead be focusing on the end result - the baby, the provision, the dream becoming reality. If it takes longer that we think it 'should', maybe we should remember that God is right there and KNOWS us better than we know ourselves. He knows when it's time to give birth to the child AND the dream!
Take heart friends!! There is a day coming when we will ALL celebrate the dreams God laid on our hearts coming true…if they are of Him and for Him. That is the only catch. I wanted to be a mom, and I am. I was only given one beautiful child to keep and raise, not the many I dreamed of. Two beautiful babies are already with God, but I am just as much a mom with one to raise as I would be with 3. I am just as blessed, just as content, just as thankful. I see that God answered my prayers, allowed my dream to come in His time, and according to His plan. It is still the dream come true, just His way, not mine. And that is okay.
Today, I will choose to remind myself that this too shall pass. That the end of the waiting WILL come, and it will be every bit as amazing as I hope it will be!! I use this time to learn all I can about the dream. (PS - I used my time being pregnant to learn about being a mom. I can use this time to learn more about my dream!)