Do Not Grieve

Originally published Friday, 29 August 2014.

Are you depressed? Are you facing transition? Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

I woke up in the middle of the night a couple nights ago with the words from Nehemiah on my lips. I couldn't sleep because my husband had just gotten a job offer from a company in Austin he had just interviewed with in person.

The only problem?

We weren't feeling joyful.

We were torn.

Although the offer was generous, Marc wasn't sold on the job.

Since we had one week to decide, we needed an answer and quick! It didn't help that Marc needed to travel to his Aunt's funeral during the week we had to make such an important decision.

I began asking for prayer.

I searched the Scriptures.

God and I were talking constantly.

Marc and I took a walk before he left. Things definitely did not feel settled. They felt open ended. Should we stay or do we go? Through much soul searching and prayer, Marc and I slowly started making sense of the situation. We kept praying. Talking. Communicating. Meanwhile, his current boss asked Marc to give him an opportunity to counter.

When I wrote my last blog about not shrinking back from shame -- I had no idea how those words were literally coming true very my very own eyes.

Marc asked.

And we waited.

His boss came back with a positive response. They would almost match Marc's job offer and (AND) give him the flexibility of working remotely from any state we choose, praise God! Instead of feeling guilty about not accepting the job offer -- Marc and I now have the option to move, but on our time and without the travel requirements of Marc having to be gone one week per month. Praise the Lord!

I can't wait to see when and where God calls Marc and I. Now we have the freedom to both work from home and move when the time is right.

This year, my #oneword365 for the year is explore. God has been giving me (and Marc) all kinds of opportunities to explore in the areas of: career, traveling, writing, and even the possibility of starting a family in the near future! I can't wait to see where we end up next year! I have to say, when I was waiting to hear back from Marc -- I had my own encounter, a sign from God.

Call me crazy, call it silly, but my beta fish Sunshine died (pictured above). You see, God speaks to me through my beta fish. Every major transition I've been through in the past 5 years, my beta fish has died signifying that it's time to move on.

  • When I had to quit my job at Outreach Events? My beta fish died.
  • When I needed to move out of the apartment I had just moved into because my relationship with Marc was getting serious? My beta fish died.
  • When Marc and I needed an answer ASAP? My beta fish died.

That was the sign I needed.

That it was okay to move on with joy.

That I did not need to grieve.

Friends, it's okay to transition to wherever God is calling you. You don't have to be afraid!

We trusted that God would lead us in the right direction, and He has! Thanks to all of you who were praying for us during this crazy week. My friend Jennifer said it best:

That's what so weird and crazy about this western world we live in. Still, so much of the fools searching and digging for gold and coming out with nothing. Outwardly, my search looked much different than the California Gold Rush in 1849 but inwardly, very much the same. Different time, different form of transportation, different clothes, different job, SAME DEMON. We will give our lives to attain a false fortune, a sense of comfort and tepid success. But we will not tend to, and care for, and heal, what really matters in this world: Our soul, our hearts, and family. [Read more from Jennifer J Kelly's blog here].

The one thing that encouraged me the most through a week of unknowns was Marc's comment to me. He said how much he loved seeing me so happy. And he's right. This past year I am so much more joyful. God has redeemed all the hurt I experienced last year during my difficult transition.

Friends, real transformation begins from the inside out.

No job change, move across the country, wardrobe, raise, or book contract will make you happy. Real change, real joy, real (fill in the blank) has to come from the heart. I love that God has taken me through hell this past year to show me what needed to change was ME. It is my prayer that God continues to change my husband from the inside out -- filling him with joy. And that is my prayer for you too! I love that the Apostle Paul wrote about transition. Should he stay or should he go?

After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you -- for I will be going through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey,wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. (1 Corinthians 16:5-9)

That's the hardest part about open doors and transition. There's not always one easy answer. Sometimes it requires facing temptation or judgement from others. Sometimes it takes a lot of soul searching, fighting inner demons, and revealing truth. Sometimes it's a whole lot of everything mixed into one cocktail we must drink.

That's why God tells us not to grieve -- even when we are being convicted by sin and shortcomings. That is why we can be filled with the joy of the Lord in the midst of transition, hardship, and opposition!

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (Philippians 2:17)

Stand strong!

Go with God.

Be filled with joy!

Question: Are you grieving in the midst of transition? How can I pray for you?