The Joy of the LORD

“The joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

We have been talking a lot with our boys about why we suffer, why life is hard, and what it means to be disciplined by God (and the differences of all mentioned). Their young hearts are processing so much, more than they should at their age (as far as I’m concerned). They ask big theological questions that even Kelly and I have a hard time comprehending as adults. The hard stuff never really goes away, because there is always some new challenge or hurt we have to hurdle and make our way through.

So of course we explain that life is just that, it’s hard. But our strength comes from the Lord to get through these difficult trials. It’s not just getting through a trial, though, because God uses the hard times to shape us and give us character that resembles His perfect character. And beyond that He promises us joy in the midst of sorrow and trial.

I found this quote from Andrew Murray (which we’ll be using to continue our conversation with our strapping boys next week), and it is positively spot-on:

…Paul gives the strongest evidence as to this unceasing joy. He understood the paradox of the Christian life as the combination at one and the same moment of all the bitterness of earth and all the joy of heaven. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”: these precious golden words teach us how the joy of Christ can overrule the sorrow of the world, can make us sing while we weep, and can  maintain in the heart, even when cast down by disappointment or difficulties, a deep consciousness of a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory…The presence of Jesus, distinctly manifested, cannot but give joy. Abiding in Him consciously, how can the soul but rejoice and be glad?

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Resurrection

I’m not here without Christ. I’m not full of hope and joy without the promise of what His resurrection means. I have no hope for heaven or anything good without a promise of God. And if I don’t have God, I have no purpose in this world. I must be living for something greater than myself. Nothing else in this world makes sense.

I’ve spent the past year and a half becoming. I think I have talked about this before. I’m on a journey of always becoming what it is God calls me to. The newest portion of that journey has included the labels “wife” and “mother.” And after almost 15 months of marriage, I get to become mother again. This season of becoming hasn’t been easy, but my has it been joyful and blessed. And here I sit facing this new season of unknowns (mainly having a newborn while trying to care for the rest of my family, and taking work off for a time), I hope and pray that I can continue to become just what God asks, no matter the uncertainty of tomorrow.

A gal on Twitter asked back in January what word you would choose for this coming year. What word would you come back to dwell upon as the overarching purpose of the year? What word has God laid upon your heart? I answered woman. I long to be a daughter of the King, content and rested in Him no matter the circumstances. I long to be a devoted, encouraging wife who helps her husband at no care for her own desires. To love as C.S. Lewis said,  is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved one’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained. And I long to be a mother who shows God’s character to her children, to help rear them in a way that glorifies the God who created them. Now that I am married, these are my first priorities. It starts with “the basics” and anything beyond that must come from God for me to pursue.

Without God I can do none of these things. Without the truth of His word I cannot be helpful to those around me. I cannot serve Him or others without Him. So this is my journey. Figuring out how to find Him first, so that I can be the woman He has asked me to be. So this blog has been resurrected to be my companion on this journey.

Books I am reading:
My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers
Abide in Christ – Andrew Murray
And a few days each week, I continue to write my way through God’s word. I’m anywhere between Leviticus, the last few books of the New Testament (I have yet to start the Gospels, however), and the Psalms.

Like a Queen

Needless to say, being a wife and a mom is quite amazing and wonderful. All three of these guys are the best thing that’s happened to me. Ever.

Today the whole fam was in Trader Joe’s picking up some delicious and budget-friendly pizza dough, and the lady passing out samples asked if all “three of those guys” belong to me. I laughed and said yes. She responded, “I have three boys. Whenever our family went out for dinner or a special event, I felt like a queen surrounded by my wonderful men.” She nailed it on the head. I feel like a queen. Especially when I get a picture like this in the middle of my work day:

Men at work

I have plenty to say, but not enough time to write. For now? Pictures and some video. Enjoy!

Click here for a video of the boys’ reaction to their sweet little surprise this week. We bought them two Desert Collared Lizards. Needless to say, they were and still are, quite excited.

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Discoveries

I’m discovering many things about myself, which is no surprise to those who are married and also learned much about themselves during the first year of life with their spouse. More often than not I’ve been told the first year is the hardest, and in our situation it certainly isn’t easy. Our first two months (and four days) have been riddled with difficult relationship circumstances, illness, death, and car problems. (What’s life without car problems?) And woven into the trials are life’s daily joys: the incessant laughter and energy of the boys, the hikes, the game nights, the homemade granola bar dash, the dinner wins (and losses), family story time, lizards, dinner time devotions, after dinner nature walks, birthdays, grandparents, cousins, and the pushing of dad into the pool when he’s not expecting it (well done, Zach!). And between those woven strands of our lives I’m learning about simply being a woman. Like how to hide vegetables in dinners that the boys will devour rather than pick apart, how to ward off baby fever by enjoying the antics of baby animals and other furry woodland creatures…ok, I’m kidding (sort of).

Women, it seems, have some qualities that are pretty much in our DNA, whether we like them or not. We have duties, whether we like them or not (and some are negotiable with the husband, like sweeping, which mine is sweetly doing now). I’m beginning to feel the weight of being a woman on my heart. I still want the things I wanted before, like advocating for the oppressed and writing, but I want them in a different context. I don’t even know what that means, but God will show me so long as I’m daily in tune with His friendship and love.

Update: I want to be a wife, a mom, and an advocate. I’m pretty sure those things were still true a year ago before I met Kelly and the boys, but now my priorities have changed. And that’s alright, because I think my priorities are where God wants them. I want to be learning about Him more than I ever have, because others are now watching my daily actions and attitudes more than ever. I want to be a really good wife, the kind that Proverbs talks about. I want to be a loving, approachable, kind mom with the best food on the block (like my mom!). And I want all of our lives to weave so tightly with God’s purpose that He smiles when He thinks about the Walkers. I guess what I’m trying to say, and what our culture’s idea of femininity has previously confused my understanding of is: I’m a woman. And I want Godly-womanly things. And I know you want pictures, so take a gander below at some Walker adventures looking for wildflowers, camping trips turned stranded in the desert trips, and husband&wife camping getaways.

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Upcoming Changes

Hey all, I’m about to make the blog private. If you would like to have access you’ll need a WordPress or OpenID account to do so. Sorry for the annoyance, I know it’s a pain to have one more account and one more password to remember. I hope everyone is having a lovely summer!