The Lessons Learned in Joplin, MO
This weekend was an incredible weekend. The honey and I got to get away kid free (there’s just no good way of saying that) and head up north to Joplin, MO for a craft fair that I had been selected to be apart of. I was so nervous heading into this show because, after all, I have poured so much of myself and my time into this little jewelry business and just what were people going to think of it? Of me? Well the response we got was overwhelming! People were so generous with their kind words and their encouragement and before the first hour was even over I had sold out of one of the lines of earrings I had brought with me. What?!?! But the coolest thing of all was getting to connect with the people there. My heart is that this business will serve as a means of encouragement for others and that it would glorify God. Don’t ask me how it’s going to do that exactly because I’m with you, it’s just jewelry. However, I do know that God is an awesome God and I was reminded of his unfailing love, never-ending mercy and how beautiful His redemption is this weekend. Turns out I was the one who walked away immensely encouraged.
My very last customer of the day was a young mom who when she saw my booth she immediately said, “I love rocks! Rocks are my thing!” She went on to tell me how when her second child was 5 years old they were all together in a church that was hit by a tornado. Her whole family survived, but many in the town did not. As her eyes welled up with tears she recounted how her son was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. How he was so afraid to leave her side and how she watched fear choke out the joy in his life. Needing to get him back into school, she tried to think of a way that she could send him off every day with something that would remind him of her so that when he got worried or fearful he could feel as though she were there with him. They began taking walks together and collecting rocks. Before school, he would select a rock, they would pray together, she would slip the rock in to his pocket, and as he needed to he would retrieve it throughout the day and be reminded of his mommy’s love and his Heavenly Father’s protection. She finished her story saying, “It’s been four years and I am finally seeing my son come back to me. I am finally seeing life and joy come back into his eyes. Rocks are totally our thing!”
I gathered myself from her story and thanked her for sharing it with me. As I have thought about her, her son and their story throughout the weekend I have been overwhelmed with the enormity of God’s plans for each of us and how it is absolutely impossible for us to comprehend them. Regardless of what has scarred you, and we all most certainly have our scars from life, there is hope in Christ Jesus. We may go through times, or watch loved ones go through times, where there seems to be no hope, no joy, no peace. Where it seems like the life has been robbed and what has been left behind is calloused and empty. But that is not where the story ends! The sun rises on a new day every morning and though there may be many many mornings of hurt and despair, there will one day be a morning with a glimmer of hope. And following that will be a morning with a sense of joy. Friends, in Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “I know the plans I have for you. They are to give you a hope and a future.” A hope! And a future! I have walked through despair and hopelessness. My husband and my family have seen me hurt and watched as my joy has been stolen. They have loved on me, prayed for me, and been able to watch the Lord begin new chapters in my life. I certainly couldn’t have done it on my own, but because my Jesus conquered all that Hell holds dear, because He conquered depression, fear, anxiety, addiction and because I have given my life to the Lord and He has called me his daughter then those things have no hold on me. They have no hold on you. They may try to, but there is a Greater God doing greater things. It's like looking at a painting up close and only taking in that portion of it. The individual colors, brushstrokes, and irregularities. But when you step back you begin to see the masterpiece. How the colors blend, how the brushstrokes have been carefully orchestrated together, and how what seemed irregular now makes perfect sense.
Your story is not over yet. You’ve yet to see the finished product. You are a masterpiece and God is ever present in your life. He loves to bring hope and redemption. It’s His song for you.