After the shocking news that my sweet little sons were choosing deceit and illegal activity, I spent the afternoon grasping for answers to a myriad of questions flying through my head. What did I do wrong as their momma? I taught them to obey and to live in the truth, so how could this happen? We have gone to church as a family all of their lives. I even homeschooled them!
I wanted to ring their necks. I wanted my husband to change their behavior. I wanted them to change their behavior! Becoming angrier and angrier with each new thought, I was falling into an abyss of depression. How could our sweet Christian family be disrupted by this embarrassing and frustrating rabbit trail? Emotions were raging in this mother’s heart. Anger. Frustration. Shame. Irritation. Embarrassment. Disappointment. Doubt. Despair. Sadness .
We had a dysfunctional family, and I was their mother bear. Could I take a long nap and wake up to find this was just a nightmare? Please, Lord! Where could I go from here? I was not prepared for all the emotions their behavior was stirring up within me .
Last I knew, I couldn’t change another human being. I’d tried changing my husband, and it only proved to be destructive to our marriage. I had tried to change my parents but kept hearing my father say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I desperately wanted to change my teenagers’ choices. Alas, all I could do was attempt to change my reactions to all these wonderful, difficult people.
I restarted my “JOY journal,” a journal where I recorded “God sightings.” In the midst of the frantic feelings overwhelming me, I knew I needed God in the same way that I needed oxygen. As I looked for Him, I was shocked to see Him everywhere in places I used to overlook Him. Was this because I was desperate for something life-giving? Had I fallen into a deep well of shock and confusion? Or of anger and irritation? Either way, it was a place of death and despair for my heart. It felt like a grey cloud was ever-present even on the sunniest of days.
The choice to insist that I see God for the very next breath became a turning point in my life. I saw God everywhere. Had He not been everywhere before? Had I just chosen to see Him now because I needed to see Him? Why wouldn’t I always want to live with this new sight?
When I’d focused on things that were bringing me down, I was down. When I looked for God’s blessings amidst it all, I was reminded that He had not changed and that He was still sitting on His throne. I had crawled up onto my own throne even though I had asked Him to be Lord of my life.
When we fall on the ground before the Lord and beg to see Him, we can’t fall any further . Going low allowed me to keep the Lord high and lifted up. Lying down was my only way to get back up. I chose to focus on that which is praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). This act of obedience changed my world. No one else had changed, yet everything changed.
Now for the past eight years, I’ve been keenly aware of the value of my choices. Choosing to see God in everything changes everything!
Join me in starting your own “God Sightings” or Joy journal!