Thursday, October 31, 2013


Waves of love are crashing over me, submerging me, engulfing me, drowning me...that God would love me like He does in the midst of my mess is astounding, humbling, incredible, unfathomable! And I'm such a mess; hopeless, helpless, worthless, lifeless, meaningless, clueless... Never have I known, really known, His love to such an extent as this. My whole existence, it seems, has been a journey on this path of love and grace and mercy. In His mercy, God hasn't (even yet) revealed the whole of His indescribable love to me; but it's little by little, bit by bit as I learn and grow and fail and love and live that He shows me more and more of Himself. I couldn't take it otherwise; even Moses couldn't handle the whole of God's glory - God hid him in a cleft of a rock, covered Moses with His hand and allowed Moses to see just the back of Him as He passed by. (Exodus 33) To be fair though, Moses was a mess, too - major anger issues, even to the point of murder; disobedient, unbelieving, full of excuses...This gives me hope - just look at how God used Moses! Maybe He can use me, too.

It's amazing and wonderful how God keeps on putting people and thoughts and words and songs in my path at just exactly the right time. He's been setting me up for awhile now to be absolutely blown away by a simple song, one I've heard a few times over the years but had never had any continuous contact with - I had never actually read the lyrics until yesterday. Before I go on, here's the song: (It's 4.58 but it really ends at 3.40 if you're pressed for time)

Here by the Water
Music and Lyric by Jim Croegaert
© 1986 Rough Stones Music

Soft field of clover
Moon shining over the valley
Joining the song of the river
To the great giver of the great good
As it enfolds me
Somehow it holds me together
I realize I’ve been singing
Still it comes ringing
Clearer than clear

And here by the water
I’ll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I’ve found here
I’ll set them down here
Rough as they are
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy

I think how a yearning
Has kept on returning to move me
Down roads I’d never have chosen
Half the time frozen
Too numb to feel
I know it was stormy
I hope it was for me a learning
The blood on the road wasn’t mine though
Someone that I know
Has walked here before

I hope you know I wouldn't have posted the whole thing unless I deemed it worth your time :)  It was through this song that God totally broke me and stormed my heart with His love and acceptance! Steve Bell sings about building an altar with the stones he'd found there by the river, rough as they are, knowing God would make them holy, worthy...I've come to know myself a bit better in the past year or so and through that process have become even more aware of my own rough edges, my failings and inadequacies and shortcomings (yes, pun intended). Ergo, it is absolutely mind-boggling that God would take me and choose me and set me apart and adopt me and equip me and use me!  And it's all Him! He's the one who makes me holy, acceptable, usable! He did it for the stones, which are completely incapable of doing anything to make themselves holy - ditto for me! And it is He that goes before me! At the end of the second verse of this song, he sings of the storm and numbness and roads he wouldn't have chosen (and who hasn't been there?). Then! "The blood on the road wasn't mine though; Someone that I know has walked here before" - that's the part that finished me. The visual of Jesus travelling my path ahead of me just made my soul sing with gratitude and that incredible feeling of being cared for, valued, cherished, loved...

There is within all of us the desire to be fully known; understood and appreciated for exactly who we are; strengths and weaknesses, at our best and at our worst, and every quirk and oddity in between; and even in the most intimate of relationships - spouses, parents and children, siblings, the closest of friends - we always fall short. And every time we seek to meet this need and are disappointed, we lose a little bit of who we're meant to be, until we're so jaded and guarded that we don't even recognise ourselves. It's always and only in God that we will find what we're looking for, what we need. That security, acceptance, peace, love, value, worth, purpose, appreciation - the Bible says that God delights in us, even sings over us! (Zephaniah 3:17) Over you! Over me!

And so I'm coming to terms with my big, beautiful mess :) As I learn to stop looking to people to provide what only God can, there is the joy and freedom and peace that I was seeking the whole time! It's so satisfying to be fully known and fully loved! I've always struggled with the issue of self-worth, but God has really brought the whole thing into glaring clarity over the past few months. I've started a great new job at a wonderful church, working with wonderfully skilled and competent and all-around lovely people. Awesome, right?  But all of a sudden, I'm questioning my value more often and more deeply than I have in years! And even though I know I know better, the comparison games began. (And in my own twisted mind, I never win...) But I see now that God brought me through all that to get to this. I so want to be just me, without fear or shame or worry. He is teaching me how.

Thank you for taking valuable time out of your busy life to peruse these ponderings. I'd love it if you'd leave a note in the comments, letting me know you stopped by :)  And if there's any way I can pray for you or you'd like to chat, you can reach me at thejoyofthelord(at)hotmail(dot)com. May you know real joy today!


  1. I love you, Joy. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing this. I hope to come to accept this in my life soon as well.


  2. Joy, you say it so well. I have been struggling as well, but have been encouraged by your words. Praying for you, as always. It's well to remember God's enduring promises. Love you, dear.

  3. Joy, as always, I LOVE your writing....still working on that book? I sure hope so. I have made this journey myself and I can see myself so clearly in your words and can only thank God that He brought me through to the Truth! Keep on keeping on....He is faithful to finish the work He started in you!

  4. so nice to know the music matters Joy :) Thanks for your seems almost trite to say, but never forget that YOU are God's idea in the first place...