This last week during BSF there were two questions at the end of the notes that preoccupied me.
Do you today experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the fruit of inward joy? (Compare Acts 13:52 with Galatians 5:22.
Are you experiencing, with the disciples, that opposition brings a special tenderness and love of the Lord Jesus, so sweet and strengthening that you are even glad for the ‘persecution’ because it is accompanied by joy, as well as mental satisfaction which is the unique comfort of the Holy Spirit? (Compare John 14:16; Acts 9:31; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
The simple answer is no. I’m not experiencing this kind of joy. But I want to. If even the disciples who experienced such difficult obstacles with threats on their lives, huge opposition, persecution from neighbors and authorities could have joy, then it should be possible for me as well.
It has been awhile since I’ve written here. Mostly, because I was hoping to have something better to write about. Who wants to constantly read the challenges I’ve experienced to be a stay at home mother ALL. THE. TIME? The problem is this seems to be that sort of season of life for me. A season of desperation. It’s taken me awhile to realize, but I’ve finally come to believe that it’s okay. Actually it’s more than okay. Why? It’s because I believe it’s in this place that the Lord is able to do some amazing things and that perhaps, it does put me in a place to be able to experience this sort of joy that’s previously eluded me.
From 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I was reminded at church this last Sunday that, as one of the pastors, Joe Boyd said, “It’s part of the human condition to be desperate. I don’t think you can avoid it. It’s the way God made us with a hole in our heart and we search for everything to fill it up.” For me, this recent new job of being a stay at home mother has made me more desperate than I have been in a long time. I’m constantly reminded of my flaws, my inadequacies which feeds into guilt. The thing is, it’s an ugly guilt because it often leads to a soul sucking despair that drains hope. This is especially true when I get caught up in the lie that my identity is wrapped up in being a perfect mother to my children. At one point or another, I always fail. It’s a very dark place to be in.
This isn’t the kind of life that Jesus desires. In Matthew 5, when Jesus speaks on the beatitudes in Matthew 5 and says, “Blessed are those poor in spirit,” I don’t think this guilty living is what he’s intimating. In fact the New Living Translation includes “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” It’s only when I give this desperation over to Jesus that joy is possible. Filling this hole or desperation with anything else, such as my need or desire to be “the perfect mother” on my own, will only lead to more guilt, more sorrow and more disappointment.
I’m reminded that the Bible is filled with stories of desperate people. Some have great faith before meeting with Jesus, some grow in faith after they engage with him, and some with none. This is all to say, that Jesus meets us where we are no matter where we are in our faith progression. So instead of responding with the usual guilt and despair, I can take hope that this “desperation” can lead to this great joy. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be able to look back and be glad for the desperation.