My Journey to Joy

February 22, 2012


Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I just finished reading the book of Job not long ago. I avoided it for a while because I felt I wasn’t in the right emotional state to read it. Some difficult circumstances in the last several months had left me a bit fragile. However, after the new year Job and I got to know each other again. And once again, as I had before, I fell in love.

I don’t love Job because it is an easy book or a neat and tidy book or a book with all the answers. On the contrary, Job is messy, real, and leaves many questions unresolved. I love Job because he is transparent. He is honest. He doesn’t hide the depth of His grief. He speaks of depression that causes him to wish for death. He rails in the face of pain. He doesn’t just put a happy face on a broken heart. I love Job because he’s not afraid to plead his case even when he is the only one left on his team. He begs for an audience with the Almighty.

 We always quote the famous verse, “Though he slay me, I will hope in Him,” but we often forget that there is a second part, “Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him” (13:15). Job inspires me because he is CONFIDENT of his innocence before God – even when his circumstances and his best friends say otherwise. Would I be that confident in the same setting…or would I begin to doubt myself? Job delights me with his biting sarcasm to friends who doubt him. (Don’t believe me? Check out Job 12:1-3, 13:3-5, 16:1-5, 26:1-4. Wonderful stuff.) Job challenges me because even when he has no clue what God is doing, he refuses to question God’s character or His goodness. He acknowledges that He can’t find God, but he knows God can find him (23:8-10).

 Besides falling in love with Job while reading, I also saw another facet of my Heavenly Father which causes me to love Him all the more. I love the fact that God doesn’t sugar-coat this book. He doesn’t soften Job’s cries of grief or mute his violent protests. He lets us see the depths of pain unmasked. God doesn’t intervene right away. He lets us see one of His best and brightest saints in real life – untidy, questioning, angry, depressed – certainly not what we usually see on Sunday morning! God chooses not to answer Job’s questions or his challenges. God never tells Job that he passed a huge test and showed Satan up in his “wager” with God. God simply says, “look at Me.” And Job is reminded that he is not owed an answer.

 The fact that God shows us the “ugly” side of things actually makes me trust Him more. God is not a trickster; a sideshow huckster who promises one thing and delivers another. God gives us the truth – even when it’s not pretty. But the really beautiful thing is that nothing is ever wasted – not even the darkest moments. Our God can redeem EVERYTHING and use it for His glory. The shattered remnants of our world can give rise to monuments of His grace.

As a part of a broken world, I need the book of Job. I need to be reminded that it’s OK that life is not always tidy and I don’t always have the answers. What I do have is a sovereign God who is in His essence loving and good, who took on flesh and bore my punishment as part of His work to redeem creation, who will one day make all things new and will heal forever all the brokenness I see around me. I have the assurance of His steadfast love even when I cannot find His hand. What a blessed hope! What a wonderful God! How kind of Him to give us this honest, messy book to show us another facet of Himself.  ~Sonja Vernon


September 29, 2011


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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This is a hard thing to write.  I’ve been procrastinating for a long time.  So bear with me…

People like to be chosen.  We’re excited when we get the job.  (And thank God, I did this week!)  We like it when we’re selected for special honors, privileges, and positions.  We love verses that say we are “chosen” by God.  It doesn’t feel any better than that!

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

But God hasn’t chosen us for our own comfort, plans, or purposes.  He’s chosen us to glorify Himself through our lives.  And sometimes the way He accomplishes that is painful.

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

Sometimes, we are chosen to suffer. 

And to show God through our suffering.

2Corinthians 4:7-10 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Am I alone in wanting to opt out?  “No, thank you just the same, God, I’d rather not.  You just keep that ‘lil gift for someone stronger/wiser/older; I’ll pass.”  But that’s not an option.

Several years ago, I prayed a prayer that would change my life.  I didn’t know that at the time, and I don’t know if I would have made the same decision if I had.  I hope so.  I prayed for two things: 1-that God would make me real and genuine.  (I’d had it with faking it and going through the motions.)  2-that God would use me.  That’s it.  Nothing grand or complicated.  Until God took me up on itAnd He had big plans.

1Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Would I have asked to be chosen for infertility?  Nope.  Did I beg for the painful ups and downs of adoption?  You’re crazy if you think so.  I’m no masochist.  I like me, I take care of me, and I like me to feel good.  But I’m not in charge of me.

1Corinthians 6:19-20 …ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.

So, I’ll continue to pray the same prayer, and trust God to make it all work.  “God does not call the equipped…God equips those He calls.”  And I’ve been called and chosen.

Ro 8:14-39 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.  I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.  And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.  And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.  What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

November 12, 2010


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 9:15 AM
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What is beauty?  I used to think that it was perfection, an absence of any defect, flawlessness.

I’m coming to see a new, richer kind of beauty.

True beauty is never generic, and seldom as expected!  It’s intricate, complicated…and marred.

That’s what makes it real.

Can a painting be unique without imperfections?  Can a relationship be rich without difficulties?  Can we truly appreciate happiness without experiencing grief?  We realize beauty when it is contrasted with ugliness.

Or is the ugliness part of the finished product?

My relationship with each of you has grown closer, deeper, and more intimate as we have shared the pain of my infertility.  My relationship with God has become more authentic, honest, and correct.  Daniel & I are closer than ever as we unite against this unseen enemy & unthinkable pain.

Either/or?  Or and/with?

Beautiful pain.  Exquisite sorrow.

I Corinthians 12:9-10 “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness’…for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Isaiah 61:3 “…to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..that He might be glorified.”

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