The past few days The Lord has been doing a work in my heart regarding friendship. One of the reasons for deleting facebook was so that we could pursue more intimate friendships with our friends instead of just reading a status and pretending we knew what was going on in their life. I am still digesting some of the information that Jesus is revealing to me so you will have to wait for it in a different post. However, as a different part of my New Years Resolutions (check previous post) I wanted to assign each month a different fruit of the spirit to focus on and naturally January became Joyful January.
I have certainly been put to the test the past couple of weeks and have had to CHOOSE joy. Oliver has struggled to sleep and stay asleep pretty much every night of January thus far, that is 21 nights of 5 hours of sleep or less. Being a mom (and dad) is hard. You can’t do anything to take the pain away, all you can do is be their comfort. You can rock and cuddle them until dawn breaks, always being near in case they need your soothing touch. The first couple nights were not so bad. I was able to function and to choose joy but as the sleepless night doubled in number I became more and more irritated, angry, and even bitter. I failed several times to be joyful in these circumstances and my heart was ugly and sleepy. Now that I have become a mom I realize how much of yourself you give up for your little and I would like to say it is all with joy, but it isn’t…. you have to choose joy. You have to decide to be selfless and happy about it. Babies certainly are a miracle and they grow so fast. They get a good routine and then change, keeping mommy and daddy on their toes.
During the first nap of the day I drink my cup of coffee, which is usually cold, and dive into the Word. I was searching for verses about joy so that I might be encouraged in my struggle. I found a few:
Pslam 97:11 (MSG)
Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.
All I can say is wow. I took a farming class (yes, you read that right) and learned about what it takes to prepare soil beds. There are two types of tillage that will prepare the seedbed but multiple ways to preform the tillage (harrow, rototilling, ploughing, etc.). Primary tillage is deeper loosening up the clumps and destroying previous roots. Secondary tillage is shallower and more selective on the location, it has a smoother finish which makes a good seedbed. Both types of tillage are cultivating and refining the land. Cultivation encourages the growth of something. See the spiritual connection here? Till my heart Lord, remove the roots of bitterness, anger, and irritation and plant joy-seeds in my heart-soil. SO WONDERFUL. Thank you farm class!
Another verse that I found (the one that is connected to friendship):
John 15:9-15 (MSG)
“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
What does wholly mature joy look like? If the best way to love is to put your life on the line for your friends. What does that look like in the friendships I have today? What is friendship? I am God’s friend, but do I make him MY friend?
Now you see why I have so much to digest. It is slowly being revealed to me. It is so neat to intentionally pursue friends and to challenge myself to go out of my comfort zone. Anyways, Joyful January, prepare your heart-soil for those joy-seeds and choose to water them and check on them regularly because they are often easily forgotten. Feel free to respond to the questions about mature joy and friendship. I would love nothing more than to add your thoughts to my search.