Before Janie Beth, I was settling on the East of the Jordan.
This morning I was reading Numbers 32. It is the chapter where the tribe of Rueben, Gad, and half of Manessah ask Moses to let them settle on the East side of the Jordan. I then moved on and read in John, but I kept thinking about settling on the East side of the Jordan.
How many times do we pitch our tents on the East side of the Jordan because it looks so good even though it isn't the Promised Land. We still get blessings on the East side when we are following God's laws, but what are we missing out on!?! It is wonderful land and our families might be safe there, but what are we missing out on? We are comfy on the East side. We aren't challenged. We don't grow. We don't change. We just hang out and have God in a little compartment of our lives.
I was living on the East side of the Jordan! I had my 3 kids. My husband had a job. We had a house. The kids went to a little 2 hour/ 3 days a week program at the local tech school where they taught teenagers how to teach preschoolers. I had what I tought was the life. God fit right in, and I could still go about doing the things I had always done. My kids were kind of like a status symbol. I had them and I loved them, and I was called their Mother, but I wasn't really mothering them. I would if it was convenient for me, but they weren't really my priority. I was the preacher's wife. I had a title and status in the community. I felt important. I was blessed. God was teaching me, but it was on the surface. Oh, He was calling me deeper, but I didn't really want to hear it. I was having a good time on the East side.
Then life got hairy. We lost our job. We got a home, but it was half the size and the garage was piled high with boxes because we didn't have room and Joey didn't have an office. We became regular church members. I had faith that God would pull us through somehow, but my life was upside down! What happened to the East side of the Jordan!?!
Then, we found our we were expecting. Yay, a bright spot in this thunderstorm we were living in. But, I had a feeling...something wasn't quite right. Little did I know just how "not right" they were. But, I trudged forward. Then, we found out Janie Beth wouldn't be able to live after birth. REALLY!?! Are you serious? "God, I don't know what You are doing, but I pray that You be glorified!" Then, Janie Beth was born Dec. 29, 2009 and then went to heaven 2 yrs ago today. Thus began an even darker storm...
But, this storm would lead me to the river's edge on the East side. All along I thought I was living in the Promised Land, but in reality I was wondering in the wilderness. I was clueless!
God used Janie Beth to part the waters of the Jordan River and call me to the true Promised Land that He had for me. Really!?! We still didn't have a job. We still lived in a small house. I now had 4 children, but 1 of them resided in Heaven. How in the world was this my Promised Land!?!
God asked me if I really wanted to be a wife and mother? Of course! That is all I have ever wanted to be and do. But, you have just used them as a status symbol. A check off your list. They are there to meet your needs. Is that truly what a wife and mother should be?
WOW!!! How little I truly knew, and still know! God called me to accept my calling as a wife and mother. It wasn't a title to just put on. It is so much more than that! It is a lifestyle. It is a huge calling! It has major responsibility. It is hard work. It is rewarding. It is a blessing. It is a true Promised Land!
No, it isn't ready made like the East side of the Jordan, already ready for the livestock and children, but it is where I am truly called to settle. There is a little obstactle. :) Isn't there always!?! :) I have to conquer this Promised Land. I have to work the land to get it ready. I have to dive in with both feet and hands and sweat. I have to fail and get back up and try again. But, it is amazing!!! The land is fruitful if I am willing to take the time to work it. My children's souls and hearts are fruitful! Will I take the time to work them and feed them? Or will I just let them grow as they wish with lots of weeds? I must build my house and make it comfy and cozy. Relaxing for my beloved. I need to make him feel cherished. Am I going to let the world do that? I could try and let it, but it would never do it.
This Promised Land is full. I want to conquer every part of it! I am just scratching the surface of the coast on the West side of the Jordan. It is already amazing, and I know I can't begin to imagine the blessings that await for me and my family as we set out and conquer our Promised Land.
In a little house, with no job, and a child in Heaven, I found the entrance to the Promised Land God has for me. Before life got hairy, I was perfectly happy to be on the East side of the Jordan. I don't know what all awaits us in the Promised Land, and I know there will be hard times, but it will all be blessed. We have God leading us and following us. He has us enclosed all around. He is our helper and our guide. We are wholeheartedly seeking Jesus and following Him on the journey into our Promised Land! It isn't at all what I would have expected, instead it is far better!
Thank You, God, for a precious baby girl named Janie Beth. Thank You for using her 22 hours to bring me on an amazing journey that brought me to the edge of the East side of the Jordan where You showed up and asked me to go deeper! Thank You for Your love and guidance. Thank You for Your grace and mercy as I fail daily. Thank You for Your patience as I have to learn the same lesson over and over. I love You! May I grow to love You more and more. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.