Joy: gladness not based on circumstances
So when I first moved into this apartment, after three years of living in other peoples’ houses, I was super glad to have a place that I could decorate and make my own. The Lord provided abundantly what I needed to make it a home I like and can enjoy hosting others in. One of the first things I added during my quarantine in 2021 were vinyl scripture verses or sayings on the walls. One in my bedroom said Joy: gladness not based on circumstances and I was able to hang up “praise” cards that my Pit Crew and I wrote from the last year next to it.
Even before I moved in, in August 2021 we had talked about replacing the drop down ceiling in this apartment, but it hadn’t happened yet. But on a Wednesday morning in early February the phone rang, and they said they’d like to come start the project! The two PNG carpenters planned to redo the ceiling in two rooms and a hallway, so I lived in a construction zone for over two weeks. Part way through, I showed a friend a soft piece of wall right next to my “joy wall”, and we joked about how I might lose my “joy.”
Well, when they took down the ceiling in my bedroom, there was still water leaking in the ceiling from the leak that was “fixed” a month prior. It became apparent that I would indeed lose my joy [wall], when they took it off and it was all rotted along the bottom. It was a hard few weeks of moving furniture and having things displaced and needing to sweep and mop every day. In the middle of it, I found out a good friend and mentor wouldn’t be returning to PNG. It was totally unexpected, and I needed a good cry, but these guys were in and out of my house all day.
Gladness not based on circumstances
In the 1 Peter 1 passage referenced on my “joy wall” the believers are actually suffering and being persecuted for their faith, and yet they could have joy based on Christ alone and the salvation promised through him. How often do I allow my circumstances to dictate my joy, my attitude, my reactions? All of the time!*
And yet, I’m promised something much greater than a nicely decorated wall or a nice ceiling or even a consistent community of close friends. Pray that the Lord would give me an eternal perspective and joy in Him despite my never-ending task list and the revolving door of people I grow to care about here, whatever may be going on in my life.
Something good did come from my “joy wall” being removed. The two carpenters working on my house all that time knew I wanted to keep that wall, and they were trying their hardest to keep it and really to do a good job on the whole project. I developed a good relationship with them and can trust them to finish the job well this summer while I’m gone. And the wall itself got re-purposed as a reminder to me, right outside my front door, that I can have joy despite whatever circumstances might come that day.
I have a ladies’ debriefing reflection retreat starting on Friday. It’s the first time I’ve had a full group (5) in awhile. We’re holding it here on center in a guesthouse and most of us will stay in our own homes at night and just meet together during the day. *So, while I advocate for setting our gaze on Jesus and the eternal hope and joy set before us, I also advocate for grieving the things that are hard. Recognizing that both the good and the hard do exist and one does not outweigh the other. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s leading as I guide ladies through the process of telling their stories—both the hard and the good.
I’m still hoping to start another video about the extensive translation checking process we go through to make sure that our translation of scripture into the heart language of different people groups is accurate, while also communicating clearly to the people. I’ve also started a video about what we do as a mission that is in the trade language— Tok Pisin. It’s certainly a challenge to be interviewing and editing in a 2nd language and one I’m not entirely proficient in.
There are many projects I am hoping to complete before I head home in April. Pray for discernment in what is most needed by the team here.
I continue to watch through Bible School classes online, right now Hermenuetics, Galatians and Theology 2.
I’m looking forward to being home for Warsaw Community Church’s Mission Focus at the end of April!