Remembering the Joy

remembering the joy

Dearest friends, As I have journeyed with you, God has brought me to so many places. Mountaintops, valleys, wildernesses, waterfalls. And today He has me basking in the rain of His joy. I'd love to share with you a bit of my heart this morning and would love for you to grab your Bible, a cup of coffee/tea, and come with an open heart. This blog is about making much of Jesus, and I pray that through sharing my own story and journeys with Christ that you, too, will be encouraged.

I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of seven. I'll never forget walking down the aisle to my daddy. He was the pastor of our church in El Paso, Texas, and I usually would color or lay down during the service. But that Sunday was different. I listened intently to what He said and realized that I needed Jesus to save me. My heart was beating wildly in my chest and my feet moved quickly to respond. At our house that afternoon, my parents sat me down and talked me through the glorious Gospel. I committed my life to Jesus on January 14, 1997, and was never the same.

Jesus was my First Love. I would fall asleep singing songs I made up to Him. Granted, they were simple and not the greatest melodies, but they were straight from the depths of my seven year old heart. I would sing one of my favorites in simplicity - "I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship You, oh my soul rejoice. Take joy my King, in what you hear. Let it be a sweet, sweet sound, in Your ear." These words were the cry of my heart for years. A simple and pure love for Jesus, my Savior.

IMG_0268

As  little girl, I wanted to be a Christian singer for Jesus. In looking through my old journals, I found a few lyrics I wrote.

Life your hands up to the sky, for He is watching with His eye. Exalt His name above all else, serve no one but God Himself.

Another I wrote was even more simple:

Clap for joy, all good men, for He has come to save us. Clap for joy, all good men, for He is the King of Kings.

I don't write these to impress you with my non-existent song writing skills (my sister got that gift!), but to remind myself of the simple joy and love I had for Jesus. As I grew older, somehow the simplicity got lost. I became a lover of following the rules. A lover of having everyone like me. A lover of doing things rather than simple loving my King. And it has overflowed into my life as a 25 year old today. The Lord has been reminding me of the simplicity of loving Him and the fullness of joy we have in Him.

Jesus is calling me to return to Him. To return to my First Love. The One who holds the stars in the universe, Who counts the number of hairs on my head, and Who knows the number of my days. The One who poured out His blood for you and for me, and the One who conquered death so that we might live. I want to still write songs to Jesus that no one knows but me and Him. I want to spend moments in His presence being filled with the joy of salvation in the secret places.

Sisters, it is so easy to replace our First Love with other loves that will not fulfill. Where have you replaced Jesus? In your longing for your husband? In your actual husband? (I have been in both these situations!) In your work? In your dreams? In your family? In your desire to please people? In your love for material wealth? In your desire for perfection? In your obsession with eating perfectly and working out too much? In your abilities and talents? I ask you today to come with me to return to our First Love. In simplicity, in truth, and in His immeasurable grace.

He abundantly pardons our sins and He always welcomes us home. Do you remember the joy of your salvation? The moment you gave your life to Christ that your heart was literally about to burst with joy? Do you remember the joy, sister? Let us not forget. And if we have forgotten, join me in praying Psalm 51:12 this day:

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit."

He is your Restorer. He restores what we've broken and replaces what we've treasured with His everlasting love.

Let's return to our First Love today and remember His the joy of our salvation. In the simplicity of grace, the truth of the Gospel, and the abundance of His love.

Running to the throne of grace,

Gretchen