Psalm 96:1-6

“Sing a new song to the Lord! 
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name. 
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations,

Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worth of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
The gods of the other nations are mere idols,
but the Lord made the heavens!
Honor and majesty surround him;
strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.”
–Psalm 96:1-6

Truly, I have found it to be that He is good and glorious. 
Truly, I have found it to be that His works are worthy of our praise.

Over the past three real years of living life with God, I have seen miracles happen, and I have seen moments where it felt like God didn’t do enough. Moments of great, incredible joy, and equal moments of complete brokeness and pain. 
And yet He is. He is good. He is working. He is relevant and alive. He reigns in the highest highs and the lowest lows. He desires to pull us from the wreckage. He desires to hear us call out His name above all other names. He is our saving grace. 

Some days the world gets dirty and scary and I hear stories of bombings and war and lost children and hurting communities. I walk beside people who are hurting and I beg God to give us wisdom to say the right thing. To not make the situation worse. To not use my tongue against myself. And sometimes He tells me to be quiet. Sometimes He tells me not to speak at all. And those are the hardest moments. Usually. Because I have a thousand words that seem like they would help. A thousand words that I am sure they need to hear. But I’m learning lately the difference between what I think someone needs to hear and what they really need. My propensity to wander down paths where good does not live comes mostly in my thought and speech life. Mostly in the words that surround my world. 

And I’m learning to come back to Jesus. Learning that my world can be turned around when I do. That He can redeem anything if I take the time to give it to Him. And it looks, most days, like putting my phone down when it seems like every other post makes me cringe with jealousy or judgement. And the word I’m clinging to lately is Joy. Replacing the other words that the enemy likes to crack over my head.

Joy, in the moments where God tangibly provides. 
In the past two months, the sales and donations of my little brainchild have raised enough money to send THREE kids to school this year! 

Joy, in the moments where nothing seems to go the way I’m trying to make it go.
In the past week, we haven’t had a single sale. 

Joy, to believe there truly is a “hope and a future” in Christ. 
Around the world, people are aching. Over war and death and conflict. And it’s effecting my own backyard. It’s effecting my hometown and my current home. It’s real and tangible and it hurts. 

Joy, to see His redemption come. 
I get the chance–through Dot–to be a tiny part of the redeeming work of a country who has gone through pain like I could never imagine. On Sunday, I had dinner with the president of our Congo partner. He told me the story of his country, and it broke my heart and made me rethink the “struggle” I believe I’ve faced sometimes. Pain is pain, and mine is legitimate. But there is bigger things if I open my heart and eyes to the world around. 

And I’m looking to find joy in all the nooks and crannies of my life. Looking expectantly for it to arrive. Rejoicing when it does. Rejoicing when He shows up. Hoping to be a small voice that points to love and joy and peace in the midst of the turmoil all around. Hoping to exemplify the words of Psalm 96:3. 

–Hallie

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