the Three-legged stool…

What does it mean to be joyful?  Is it like living in a utopian existence where you always have a plastic smile on your face? Or maybe always pretending that everything is perfect, while knowing internally that it is not.  Never letting people know the reality of your life for fear of them seeing the reality of your weakness.  

The truth is, those actions actually hinder joy.  It has taken me many years to understand that joy is a choice we have to make for ourselves.  We actually do have the ability to experience joy even in the darkest of times.  Have you ever been to a funeral of a loved one? One minute tears of grief staining your face, while another moment laughter brought on by special memories, that takes us by surprise.  We can choose to stay in the grief, but we can also choose to draw upon the memories that will stir joy even in the midst of loss..  

For me, one of the ways I have learned to be joyful and thankful, is by surrounding myself with special friends.  For years I prayed that God would bring Christian women friends into my life.  It didn’t happen overnight… for years I felt like I was walking the journey alone, but in reality God was working on me… teaching me and training me to be the type of Christian friend to others that I was praying for myself. 

Ours began on a Mission Trip to Costa Rica, here I met two amazing women who both lived in the same city as me, and shared in the same passions I did.  Over time, the friendships grew into a type of Sisterhood.  We jokingly started referring to ourselves as a “three legged stool”, as we were so much support for each other as we held each other up while we carried difficult loads in our separate journeys of life.  

We all recognized that what we had was a gift from God, He had been patiently working things together so that we would end up together on that mission trip.  We also recognized how we could hold each other up, as we prayed together, laughed together and even cried together.  He taught us that Joy was possible even in the midst of the hard times, because He gave us support in the form of each other. 

One of the greatest gifts we received collectively, was the opportunity to come together, this “three legged stool” and God, in a weekly prayer time.  This time we dedicated to God together was like the glue in our lives.  We could be fully open & honest about our struggles and our weaknesses, our fears and our failures, yet miraculously not a single prayer time ended without joy and laughter as well.  God was truly IN it.  

So this time when I read the words I had read so many times before from 1 Thessalonians, seemingly simple words that I had never really understood.  I could finally see them with fresh eyes, thanks to the life lessons God had been teaching me in and through our Three Legged Stool. 

 

Journal Entry:  #34

Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NLT

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your Word.  So often we look at Your Word as complicated, seemingly spoken in parables or riddles.  But other times Your Word is so clear yet so powerfully simple.  “Always be Joyful”, This is not depending on our circumstances, or it would say “be joyful when..” But Always means in ALL things; the good – the bad – and the ugly.

“Never stop praying” doesn’t mean when we feel like it, but constantly talking to you, a never-ending conversation, in All things and about All things.  And finally vs. 18 says, “be thankful in ALL circumstances”.  If we are to be thankful in ALL of our circumstances, it is because You are with us and working IN ALL of our circumstances…even when we can’t see it or feel it.

It’s so easy to be thankful & joyful when everything is going well, but it is so much more powerful to choose to be joyful, thankful and prayerful when we can’t see clearly and don’t have clarity in our life. When the road ahead appears particularly dark and frightening. For this is exactly where You choose to meet us, where You take our hand and lead us onward… Praise You Lord!

Lord Jesus, thank you for being my strength when mine is not sufficient.  Thank you for letting me see glimpses of You in the midst of the darkness.  Thank you for drawing to me when I pray and seek Your face in the midst of the unknown.

Father, today I feel especially thankful for our “Three legged stool”.  Thank you for bringing the two incredible women into my life, each of us being a leg of that stool that creates such stability in each of our lives.  Thank you that You have gifted us each uniquely, yet given us hearts so much the same.  Thank you Father… my heart is full.

In Jesus name ❤️ Amen.

My Final Thoughts & Encouragement:

Maybe you are in that place I was, praying earnestly for godly friends in your life. Maybe you’ve experienced this kind of treasured friendship that honours God and which He in turn, turns back as a gift.  Or, maybe you have had that type of trusted friendship only to see it dwindle and fall away, or worse broken and damaged.  

No matter where you are on this particular part of the journey, I want to encourage you to follow the words captured within these verses.  Make the choice to trust Gods plan and choose to be joyful and thankful.  Spend time with the Father in prayer, often and throughout the day.  Ask Him to show you things you can be thankful for (especially if you are going through a particularly dark time) there are still things I can praise God for.  Sometimes I just need a little help adjusting my sight.  

Ultimately I urge you dear friends to build relationships, yes they take effort, and yes it can leave you open to get hurt, but they are so very worth it.  I Love the verse from Matthew 18:20 “When two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”   What a powerful promise, when we gather together, God joins us… thank you Lord!

I also want to encourage you to remember that there are seasons in life, and just like the seasons in our world, change happens.  As I write this our Three legged stool has changed.  For one of my precious sisters, God had new plans and new directions for her.  Yes, at first the two of us left behind grieved the loss, but in time came to see All the gifts we had received because of it, and that we still very much had our Three legged stool, just this time God was to become the third leg.  

We came to realize that change is not always bad, the enemy would have had us hurt or angry, had he had his way, but thanks to the loving kindness we each experienced during our special prayer times, we learned to trust God in ALL our circumstances…even when they didn’t feel good, and we continue to Love our Sister deeply and support the path she is on as she serves the Lord

I couldn’t have made it through these last couple of years without these dear Sisters in Christ, God used them to be my strength when mine was gone.  He taught us how to really love others in honesty and truth. He taught us the power of praying together.  And He taught us that He will always be IN it with us. And this my friends is His promise to you as well…

Blessings, Janet❤️ Journey4Jesus

Do you know Jesus ? He’s waiting for you… ( click the link to learn more) 

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{ If this benefited you in any way, I’d love to hear from you and I would be thrilled if you would share or invite more people to be encouraged. }

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