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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

He already said I Do


It’s wedding season…I’ve attended two behind and still have two ahead of me.  As an unwed single person who honestly doesn’t see a wedding in my future, I was amused that the conversations I have had include what I would and wouldn’t do in my own wedding, if I ever had one.  It’s amusing because I’m nearly positive it’s not in my future, yet there I am, daydreaming and planning. 



“So why these thoughts?”, I asked myself.



As I searched my heart, the best answer I could come up with is the “I do” moment.  Traditional wedding vows read something like, "I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith." 



Even I suffer from fairy tale hopeless romantic ideals.  That dream that someone would look around and of all the human beings on this planet, they’d say to me, “I choose you…..I choose you today, tomorrow and for each future day.  In times of sun and much rain…I will still choose you even when the seasons change. Lots of aspects of life will come and go but to the best of my ability, I promise to remain.”



But what’s often forgotten is that this has already been said to me by a God who knows all the absolute worst things about me and yet still loves me intimately.  I have a God that chooses me and loves me no matter if I’m at my best or worst.



I don’t really want to get married.  I just want to be unconditionally loved.  With God, I am.  In Christ, we are.  When will this be enough?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Real Talk- A Time to Rest


It’s that time of year again….the point in the school year where everyone asks anyone in a school setting what they are planning to do in the summer.  Being a teacher, I am not immune from asking nor receiving this question so what am I planning to do???



Some answer comes falling from my lips….gaining professional development hours to keep up my NH Teacher Certification….writing letters to people….visiting friends and camp….resting………..



Ah, rest.  What a loaded and needed word.  According to an Oxford dictionary, rest means “cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep or recover strength…..allow to be inactive in order to regain strength or health.”  One of the definitions in Merriam-Webster says “peace of mind or spirit.”  After this particular school year, I feel in desperate need to search and find rest.  This year I have put myself out there more than ever before as a teacher, it seems, and have experienced great joy in building better and deeper rapport with my students all the while fighting in the midst of the most vivid battles for my mind and emotions.  I know I have connected with several students individually in the ways I have prayed about for so long and yet, now that they are that close, my own hyper awareness of my flaws is exacerbated and I don’t feel good enough. 



All year I have wrestled with giving up in so many ways.  I have actually sat down and had conversations with my bosses about me resigning and stepping down for the good of the school.  The nature of my roller coaster and my inconsistency is not what these students need.  They deserve a life modeled and lived by faith and quiet trust in the midst of the storms knowing that God’s got this.  They don’t need to worry about is today going to be a good day where we can laugh with Miss Chambers or a day where we need to be quiet and careful because she just may break.  That’s not a fair burden for anyone to have to carry.  And so I have fought with the idea that maybe stepping away is what is best for everyone.



I still struggle there.  If I am so broken, maybe I’m in a place where I need to step away to get whole again before trying again in ministry to others.  To be a little selfish and as Lori Brown Harris said, “I’m going to learn how to breathe, not so I can teach someone else to breathe but because I need to breathe. And it’s the same way about approaching God’s Word… it’s not so I can teach it to someone else but it’s because I need it.” 



So what will I do this summer…rest, recoup, and maybe seriously look at getting into some sort of counseling.  The school year is extremely hard to get into that because of the hours I spend at school overlapping directly with available office hours.  So maybe this summer, it’ll be investing time there. It’s not the first time I have thought about it and certainly has been suggested by people who are close to me, but listening to a podcast with Lori Brown Harris, may have been the two-by-four across the head to bring the suggestion home.  She said, “Yes, you need therapy.  You need someone else speaking into your life who doesn’t need you…Yes, I had a lot of people in my life and I could share with them but I needed someone who didn’t need me.  Someone I could dump a load on and just walk away…someone on the outside to make sense of my puzzle pieces and help me put them back together.” 



I have too much sense of obligation and too deep love for my students to not finish out this school year and I just really pray that these six weeks of school that are left are ones that I take the time to take care of my own spiritual journey because it doesn’t have to wait until summer to begin.  This April break, I got real with God and asked Him to help me be willing to make changes in some of my routine to help.  I know someone who recently cut sugar out of their diet for a time and they shared with me how much it improved their mentality and such and though I don’t plan to cut sugar, I do plan on cutting out some of the forms of needless entertainment to make time and space for other things that are more edifying and profitable.  I think that will help.  There are times I want to spend with God, podcasts I want to listen to, books I want to read and I said I didn’t have time, but I simply was wasting the time in other less than ideal ways.  So for now I want to reorganize and redirect my energies and this summer, I want to work on the deeper layers of my life that need some major threshing. 



That’s the plan….I just pray I have open hands to follow through with it.  Thanks for reading and for praying alongside.  What’s your real talk?  Where are you at in your journey?  Feel free to write me a line here or in a message so I can pray and know we are not walking alone. 



Until next time,

In Christ,

Joy Lynn

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Continue the Work


As a precursor and explanation, I had the wonderful privilege of leading a Girls Bible class at school for a brief season. It was wonderfully purposeful in so many ways but I very much have too much on my plate and it had to be a short season. I invested so many hours into prayer and prep for that class that when it was done, I thought I would feel a sense of relief but I didn’t expect the feeling of loss and the battle that would follow. I went from drowning in the midst of the season to wondering what the value was in even swimming after it. This piece is me preaching to myself. The job is not done. The Christian life is one meant to be lived out and not simply talked about. May we walk worthy.



Continue the Work

I come to Your feet

Desperate and needy

Lord, oh Lord,

Why am I so greedy?



I say it’s for You

Still I look for the glory

But it’s not my life but Yours

That can change their life story.



Help me, humble me,

Break me if You need,

But from this spiral of pride

I long to be freed.



When in moments I can’t speak,

Let my life be the light

But not by my own accord

But because I attempt to walk by faith and not by sight.



Lead me, guide me,

Please use me as You will.

Please take away my people pleasing ways

And may I only seek Your will.



My role may have changed

But I still get a part

So continue the work You have started, Lord,

Continue to draw in and shape their heart. 



Joy Lynn

Friday, April 6, 2018

Please Don't

You watch her walk away saying “You’ll soon see in time!”
You wonder if this moment will soon be forever etched in your mind,
A moment you wished you spoke up and broke through,
A moment to at least say “goodbye” and “love you.”
Please don’t’ do this,
Believe you are loved,
Not only by me,
But by God up above.
I know you’ll get through this,
It not just biding time,
I can’t promise it’ll be easy,
But the perspective is worth the climb.
I know you don’t believe this
But God’s got a plan for you.
He sees you nearly drowning in life’s waves
But He’s the life raft that will pull you through.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Wherever you go, there you are


“Wherever you go, there you are” is a truism that can be interpreted a numbers of ways from “duh” to deep.  In this case, to me, it means, the things that God is trying to deal with me on, that He has His thumb on, are not things that I can simply run away from.  It’s not as simple as pulling up my bootstraps or dismissing the issue and forgetting about it.  And the more I try to deal with it on my own or run away entirely, the more I am reminded, that no matter where I go, those things are very much a part of who I am right now and just follow with me and I actually have to deal with the matters and give them over to God daily because no matter where I run all the baggage that makes me, me, currently, follows me there.  So this is simply a reminder that we are who we are and can’t run away from that, but God is also who He is, and is right there in the midst of it ready to help us and do the dirty work if and when we let Him and until then, He’s still by our side.  As we float along and seemingly alone in the ocean of life, He is not simply sitting on the shore calling out to us, but He’s right there with us in the midst of the ocean, in the midst of the storm, faithful and true, holding you. 

I try to run,
I try to hide,
I try to fix myself
Out of selfish pride,
But wherever you go,
There you are. 

I can’t escape,
Trying to find others who relate,
Yet because of fear of judgement
Trying to also find a clean slate,
But wherever you go,
There you are. 

“If only, If only,”
My poor soul cries,
If only I weren’t so broken,
Then I wouldn’t have to wear this disguise,
But wherever you go,
There you are.

Can’t run away,
Can’t change this fate,
Have to tackle the issues,
Have to get it all straight,
Because wherever you go,
There you are.

So God, I come to You,
As my brokenness ensues,
Because even in the darkness,
Your faithfulness pursues,
For wherever I go,
There You are. 

Help me to surrender,
To hand over my plate,
To let You mold and shape me,
Into the masterpiece You seek to create,
Thank You, that wherever I go,
There You are.    

Joy Lynn

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Character


Lord,

Help me know

When to speak

And when to be silent

When to fight

And when to bail

When to stand tall

And when to stay on my knees

When to push

And when to pull back

When to try to clear my name

And when I should simply let my character do the same

Saturday, January 13, 2018

With the Closing of a Chapter- A Brand New Scene for You and for Me


It’s been a while since you crossed my mind,

I used to think about you all the time,

Imagine what could have been,

Before that chapter hit an abrupt end. 



We talked for hours,

Shared our hearts,

Imagined what life would be like

If we lived closer rather than apart.



Then it came to fruition,

What a transition.

But I gave you the cold shoulder and dragged my feet

That summer ended in total defeat. 



It’s no wonder you quickly moved on,

She was ready and I was not,

So came the end of our song,

But the beat still goes on...



Because ultimately the closing of that chapter,

Led to the writing of something new,

A bold new path,

For me and for you. 



So it wasn’t meant to be,

And though I sometimes wonder if I missed my chance,

You probably look back and see,

That the end of that chapter was the transitioning scene to your fulfilling romance. 



With every closing of a chapter,

God’s in it still,

To lead and to guide,

And to do His will. 



So may I not regret and question the past,

For it’s led me to paths I never dreamed,

And though it didn’t go as I had once imagined,

It is still a story in which God continues to guide and redeem. 



Joy

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Spoken Word- Why Do I Do What I Do?


((I don't particularly love my voice, but this piece begged to be spoken word so I went with it...it's still a battle raging and this is still the prayer of my heart...))


God…
Why do I do what I do?
Certainly not for the pay…
Not fortune nor fame…
I’d like to think I do it,
To glorify Your name.
But I know I’m failing,
Pretty epically..
For my motivation is twisted
My eyes are set on me.
In this battle I’m losing
But I’m longing to be free…
Free of insecurity,
Free of expectation,
Free to let Your work be done
Without stipulation.
Humbly loving and planting seeds
And fleeing temptation…
Temptation to let the lows dictate my days,
Temptation to let emotions order my ways,
Temptation to grade my failures or success
On how many students pass or fail a test,
Or how many didn’t do their homework like the rest,
Or how many like me the best.
So bring me back
To the reason I’m here
I didn’t come all this way
To let depression and fear
Be the center of my life
And ruin my career.
I came to be a light
Reflecting Thee
To students who often
Remind me of a teenage me
Wandering through life
But lacking to see...
To see a life of faith lived out
Vulnerable and raw
Not without mistakes
Yet He catches every fall
Broken yet beautiful this walk
For He always hears us when we call.
So fix my eyes on You now
Help me to clearly see,
Help me to hear Your voice
Over the whispers of the enemy,
And draw these students to Yourself,
This I humbly plea.
-Joy Lynn

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Why do I do what I do?


God…

Why do I do what I do?

Certainly not for the pay…

Not fortune nor fame…

I’d like to think I do it,

To glorify Your name.



But I know I’m failing,

Pretty epically...

For my motivation is twisted

My eyes are set on me.

In this battle I’m losing

But I’m longing to be free…



Free of insecurity,

Free of expectation,

Free to let Your work be done

Without stipulation.

Humbly loving and planting seeds

And fleeing temptation…



Temptation to let the lows dictate my days,

Temptation to let emotions order my ways,

Temptation to grade my failures or success

On how many students pass or fail a test,

Or how many didn’t do their homework like the rest,

Or how many like me the best.



So bring me back

To the reason I’m here

I didn’t come all this way

To let depression and fear

Be the center of my life

And ruin my career.



I came to be a light

Reflecting Thee

To students who often

Remind me of the teenage me

Wandering through life

But lacking to see..



To see a life of faith lived out

Vulnerable and raw

Not without mistakes

Yet He catches every fall

Broken yet beautiful this walk

For He always hears us when we call. 



So fix my eyes on You now

Help me to clearly see

Help me to hear Your voice

Over the whispers of the enemy

And draw these students to Yourself

This I humbly plea.



Until next time,

In Christ,

Joy Lynnn

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Forgiveness (October 20, 2017)

Forgiveness: A topic that I have been having on-going conversations with my students about. This was birthed out of the theme God has firmly pressed on my heart lately. 


Forgiveness (October 20, 2017)


What will you do to make amends?

What can you do to make things right again?

Looking at my life that has fallen apart

How on earth can I grant you a brand new start?



The pain you inflicted,

A heart left broken and stricken,

Unless you plead and beg for forgiveness

The bitterness grows in the name of unfinished business.



So here I am, prisoner, to bitter shame,

I suffer from grievous depression and I assign you most the blame.

But what if I can experience true healing,

A wholeness that transcends all feelings?



I don’t possess grace, like God, my Savior,

But with His mercy and strength I seek His favor

In forgiving you without need of amends,

For I, myself, have experienced freedom from God’s forgiveness that has no end. 



Lord, give me healing and let me set them free,

So I will have the freedom to simply be who You created me to be.

Alive in Your presence and washed by Your blood,

Let Your healing and mending descend like a flood.



For holding on to this bitterness has done me no good.

I had to steep deep in Your grace and then I understood,

That forgiveness truly sets the captives free,

So may I willingly extend that grace to others and find healing only found in Thee.



Joy Lynn