Funny how I needed to be deeply reminded of the words today when I wrote them two years ago to the day…except replace the spit up with a dirty toilet brush all over the bathroom…

“Alexa- Play ocean waves,” I say desperately to win the war on naptime.

When those waves crash through the speaker, I feel like I’m back in college with my toes deep in the doughy sand during low tide.

Those days studying Scripture, reading endless pages of fiction, or just staring off into the Carolina sunset while ankle deep in sand, ohhh they take me back… but honestly I’d rather not be there. I mean,yes, a l w a y s take me to the beach—- but  I don’t want to go back to that girl who didn’t know who she was, was more than ankle deep in, struggling in her identity. No—- no—- I’d rather have spit up covering the shoulder of my newly washed flannel (yes, the one I just put on five seconds ago)  and be counting and dancing to “peel the avocado.” —- {Shoutout to our fairygodmother Emily Katherine Johnson because this is the NEW Baby Shark in our home}.

I’d MUCH rather be here (a la spitup) than be fighting the war of:

Will someone ever love me, for me? (Oh hi, enneagram 2 over here)

Will I have kids?

Will I have a career that I love?

Will I still love ministry and my calling?

Will I ever be able to love my body?

I can say yes to all these questions, minus the last one. The last answer would be more of an, “Almost, darling,” response. These answers don’t prove I have it all together. Quite the opposite. These questions were/are answered through some serious wrestling in my faith, battling with my physical health, and some serious digging deep and pushing  myself mentally. 

But I’m reminded of Paul in these moments.  In Philippians, he was writing to a group of people that have stuck with him. He isn’t writing to really tell them just how much he loves them… He’s writing to tell them to do better out of their love for Jesus. He is thankful for their commitment to him and the ministry through their physical gifts but he is ultimately reminding them in this passage, that authentic joy never wavers in life circumstances. And who better to say this with authority.

I need that friend. We all need that friend.

He says in Philippians 4, 11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

That last verse quoted is overused to the extreme to fit our first world desires. It wasn’t mean for that—-  it’s meant to really say, I can be content in any climate, in any situation— because JESUS. Yalllll…. it was never about me and never will be. But I rest in HIM.  In the highs and the lows, “in any and every circumstance.” I’m making it a priority to be content in the chaos and the mess of life because He is right there in the midst of it. In relationships, in the vulnerable conversations, in the days where momming is just plain hard (threenagers are a real thing), and especially the days where I just emotionally feel overwhelmed by my todo’s. Instead, I will love my body by feeding it well, I will push to do another tricep push-up because it’s making me stronger.

And while today, my waves surrounding my ears are provided by Alexa and they aren’t “real,” my love for Him is, so much more real than that girl sitting seaside. I’ve learned to love the hard and lean in on Him (and my people). Because I have learned joy is when I rest in Him, that is where the contentment is—-not my station. And of course I’ll keep the flannel on with spit up covering it (for just a while longer) —-because that’s a visible reminder of Him fulfilling my questions and prayers even though I’m not deserving.

So friends of mine, find joy in HIM. Not where you were, not where you are, not where you’re going.

Just in Him. Because HE is joy.