Girded with Gladness:)


Psalm 30 is in the readings for this week, and it perfectly describes my heart this morning. I especially love verse eleven, for God truly does turn mourning into dancing and gird me with gladness in a way that leaves my heart singing with abandon:)

“Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” NASB

In “The Message,” Eugene Peterson translates verses eleven and twelve beautifully.

“You did it: you changed wild lament
    into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
    and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
    I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
    I can’t thank you enough.” 

The last line captures the way my heart feels this morning because I find myself struggling to thank God enough for this amazing feeling of freedom. Sin is a black mourning band or confining sackcloth when I cling to it and forget that the Holy Spirit is waiting for me to let it go so God can change that wild lament into a whirling dance.

Connecting with the Holy Spirit is indeed a whirling dance, and Eugene Peterson refers to His sweet indwelling as the Trinitarian dance. I love that dance and miss it when I let sin creep in and steal my joy. Sin does steal joy and fill my heart with guilt. I cannot dance with its weight upon my heart, or if I listen to those who would have me sit alone. Christ extends His loving hands, bidding me to come out on to the dance floor and join Him as He bursts into songs of praise and glorifies God, the Father.

Sin creeps in to steal the joy God has in mind if I allow Satan to convince me that there is nothing I can do about it. He’s right because there is nothing I can do about it except feel guilty and wear a black armband and cinch the sackcloth tightly if I try to handle temptation and sin without God. The great news is that Jesus loosens the sackcloth of sin that tightly entangles my heart. When I step out of it and toss it aside, He girds me with a gladness that will not let my heart be still.

The beauty of singing with abandon is that you don’t hear the naysayers around the dance floor. I’ve let others define and confine me my entire life, and I’m finding that living in God’s Spirit is a beautiful dance that comes naturally when I take Christ’s hand and let Him lead. It’s the most amazing dance ever, and it causes my heart to burst out into songs of thanksgiving and love for a God who loves me just as I am. God reminded me this morning that I always have a dance partner, so there is no need to sit on the sidelines and mourn any more:)

Ready to Dance

Joy Comes in the Morning:)

Weeping may last for the night,
 But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (NASB)

Psalm 30:5 reminds me that God knows what’s best for me and will watch me pitch a fit or sniff sadly when I don’t get my way, but He will not give me what I want when I want it. I needed the reminder last night as Lillyann pitched a wailing fit for mommy in the middle of the night. I was frustrated by my inability to console her, and poor little Mylah just watched quietly.

God promises to be with me always, but He doesn’t promise to give me what I want. I’m sure it hurts Him to see me suffer, but He sees the joy that’s coming and knows the hurt will be greater if He succumbs to my wails. The shout of joy that comes from obedience is filled with thanksgiving when I come through the tough times and understand the lesson He has for me.  I always get something much better that what I wanted.

The problem with getting what I want is that it is never enough. If God gave in to my every whim and want, I would only find something else I had to have:) He’s a patient, loving parent who is willing to listen to my weeping and whining because He hears the shout of joy coming in the morning if I will trust and obey Him. Storms, like tantrums, come when two fronts collide. The worst storm fades and is soon forgotten as I look at the light and breathe in the fresh air after a storm. I love Psalm 30:5, and I find hope in the joy God promises in the middle of a stormy night of weeping.

Joy and God’s peace are far better than happiness and easy peace. God knows that better than anyone; He lived it out as His Son walked in His kingdom here. Christ cried out to Him on the cross, but God could see the joy that was coming on the morning of His resurrection. Christ chose to be obedient to the point of death, and the shout of joy when He rose is still being heard around the world:) I am eternally grateful and look to His example when it comes to obeying.

There is someone who delights in spoiling me. Satan tells me what I want to hear, gives me just what I want, and constantly tells me I’m right. That brings easy peace, but never satisfaction. The spoiled child will always yearn for the joy and satisfaction they will never find without obedience. It is a sad, unfulfilled life. Unlike earthly parents, God is able to give me everything I want, but He loves me far too much to do that.

I’ve learned to pray for His desires to become mine and for God to please not give me what I want! It is the cry behind the screams of every spoiled child. We are all working together to help Lillyann and Mylah learn to share and understand they cannot always have what they want. It’s not easy or popular, but we want them to have the joy that will come in the morning:)