Hey y’all. I haven’t blogged in a while for a few reasons, but one of them is that lately I’ve been struggling to find the joy. That’s obviously the title of my blog and one of the things I strive for most in life. A few years ago the Lord really taught me that despite my surrounding circumstances, I can always find joy when my eyes are set on him and his love. But lately, on and off again, I’ve kind of struggled with this. Looking back at my journal, there’s a lot of asking God for patience, and peace, and a love like his. It seems that rejoicing can occasionally be really difficult and the other times it seems to be second nature. In Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” she says, “Do I really smother my own joy because I believe anger achieves more than love?” Do I strive to get angry instead of see joy? Lately I get irritated and frustrated quicker, and need to remind myself to allow joy to triumph. So my prayer lately has been for the Lord to teach me to see his face in the mess and, with thanksgiving, change the mess into joy. I’ve also learned the joy and peace and love I pray for is also a choice I have to make. My “Jesus Calling” devotional the other day said,“You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust me no matter what. I am an ever-present help in trouble.” – Jesus.
So I’m working on choosing. Choosing God. Choosing to trust. Choosing joy!
The other reason I’m writing again is to update y’all on my life. In less than a month I’m heading to Amsterdam on a Spring Service Project along with 13 others from Northwestern. Our trip is 10 days, and during those 10 days we’ll be working with two different hostiles in Amsterdam. I was initially drawn to this trip because it’s near the red light district (which many of you know is one of my greatest passions), but the Lord actually changed my heart and drew me to this trip for a completely different reason. During our stay we’ll be cleaning the hostiles top to bottom to hopefully give the long term volunteers and staff a break, which I’ve seen in the past can be very important. Ministry can easily wear a person out and it’s my prayer that during our stay we will not hinder the staff, but rather give them an opportunity to rest and spend some sweet time with our Savior. We’ll also just be hanging around the hostile and forming relationships with the people traveling through and leading nightly Bible studies. It’s my prayer that through this seeds will be planted and people will be drawn to the Lord, whether we are there to see that or not. So as me and the rest of the team prepare to leave on February 28th, pray that the Lord prepares our hearts for ministry, but that he also prepares the hearts of those we’ll interact with. We serve a great, big, and mighty God who is capable to do more than we could ask or imagine…so let’s ask! Let’s ask him to bring a revival in the hearts of those we’ll encounter in Amsterdam!