God usually speaks to me in two or three words, “Get on board.” “Suck it up.” “Let go.” “Trust me.” “All-in-all.” This week, he gave me two very promising words, “JOY COMETH.” I’m not sure why He said it that way. We started reading Shakespeare this week in English 12. Could be that. As I turned to Psalm 126:5-6, the same words were written in the margin of my Bible – in all caps. I had written, “JOY COMETH, a now and later concept.” This must have been from a previous Beth Moore study or something, maybe the ones about the Psalms of Ascent? I’m not sure, but it hit me with new promise this time.
The verses in Psalms say this, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him/her.”
Later that day, a student handed me a song recommendation, “Joy Will Come” by Desperation Band. It is PERFECT. I posted it to Facebook that afternoon. So, this is the promise I live with…Joy cometh.
This morning I woke up with a description that was fitting for my current state as I am processing this promise – and claiming it – JOY COMETH. It’s not that I don’t feel joy in the present. I have good days, good relationships, times of laughter, but in the midst of all that, it’s as if my heart always has a “cramp” in it. Although I continually ask God to fill every hole in my heart that Chris’ absence leaves – and He IS bringing healing in those places pole pole (slowly, slowly) – there is this gaping space by my side where Chris used to be.
God has shown me what it means to TRULY depend on Him, to take captive each of those grieving thoughts and allow Him to carry my burden. He does EVERY time. He is so faithful. The insight He gave me this morning was especially powerful. I pray it helps some of you too.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a (hu)man remains in me and I in him, he/she will bear much fruit; APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” John 15:5
Of course I know that verse by heart, but it hit me afresh this morning, “APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” “IF YOU REMAIN IN ME YOU WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT.” Ok, I get it, Lord. I’m weak. YOU are strong. Use me for YOUR glory here – and for the Nations. As most of you know, this has been my prayer as God renewed my purpose in the hours (days and months) following Chris’ exit to Heaven.
This was from my devotional this morning (Jesus Calling), “TRUE CONFIDENCE comes from KNOWING you are complete IN MY PRESENCE.” Lord, I KNOW this, help my heart catch up!
It was at that point that He reminded me to PERSEVERE. Joy cometh, wait for it, persevere. “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and COMPLETE, not lacking ANYTHING.” James 1:4
This was rich time in His Word! The early mornings pay off HUGE dividends of peace and strength! He added a “what to do for the cramps” at this point. I’m doing a women’s Bible study (Gideon). Not only do I need to take my grieving, trauma thoughts captive and give them to Him to carry, but I need to pray that He will “unleash the power of the Holy Spirit within me” in order to persevere. This added little step of faith is a great reminder. The “homework” had us compare Luke 9:6 with 9:12. I’ll let you do that on your own. It’s pretty funny. I so relate to the disciples in 9:12, “Jesus, can’t you just send the crowd away to feed themselves? We’re in such a remote place here!” They must have been tired! J
In this season, it is my grief and sometimes loneliness that creeps in as a distraction, sapping the power within me. These FEELINGS threaten to derail me, but I do realize that they are just that, feelings. If I take them captive and commit them to the Lord, He helps me with them. I will be adding this “unleashing His power” prayer to my “power prescription!”
Priscilla Shirer finished the lesson with this, “If the disciples would have recalled what they had been given instead of trying to send the people away or attempting to get away themselves, they would have stood their ground – fish and loaves in hand, power and authority in their hearts, smirk of confidence on their faces – as they anticipated what God would accomplish on their behalf.”
Oh, Lord, allow me to have that posture, standing firm anticipating what YOU will accomplish on my behalf.
I want to close with an excerpt from a note that one of my students gave me. It’s not to brag or boast in what I have done, but to say, “Yea, God! Maybe you ARE doing this in me after all!” I also want to SHOW you that your support and your prayers are making an eternal difference!
She said, “To my dearest Mrs. Gennaro, We love you so much and are so thankful for your teaching and devotional every day! Your class is a perfect start of all of our days! God is doing amazing things with you and your kids! My goal is to some day be like you. Love flows out of you even when you are tired or stressed. You make learning fun and interesting. J I am so happy that you are here right now.”
It ended with this cute picture:
Thank you so much for your partnership in this ministry, in keeping us here in Africa and serving the Lord in this way. It is a great place for me to be a part of what God is doing in Africa AND for all of us to heal while living in a faith community. The kids are all doing great – of course we ALL have our days. If I were to describe how they are functioning in one word, I would say “thriving.” Of course, the academics in Junior and Senior high are VERY challenging here, Joseph still has to do Math (which he says is getting easier – The other day he said, “I know what ‘x’ is.”), and Duane still has to learn how to read better (he’s IS doing that!).
We are looking forward to celebrating the TENTH anniversary of our first “stepping foot in Africa”, Joseph and Duane’s SIXTH homecoming anniversary, AND Olivia’s EIGHTEENTH birthday by going to UGANDA in December. This is a much-awaited trip. Julia will meet us there and we will re-visit many places that changes our lives forever – as well as PEOPLE who shared in that – Amani Baby Cottage, Watoto’s Suubi Village (Lord willing), the Goering’s (the H.O.P.E. Center Uganda), and be with our friend, Cassandra, for Christmas in Kampala. We’ll be back here in Kijabe to ring in 2014 with Julia and our friends here at RVA. We are excited for Julia to get a sense of our lives here. She’ll be able to experience RVA WITH students this time! All of these plans are a HUGE answer to prayer and the result of waiting on Him to reveal what our hearts needed. While we REALLY want to get back down to South Africa and Lesotho, He revealed that our hearts aren’t quite ready.
As you enter into the holiday season, continue to lift us to the Father. I know His POWER AND PRESENCE will continue to help us through.
In His strength and for HIS glory,
Michelle G. (for ALL of us)
Website – Gennaro8Journey.com
Facebook— Michelle Michaud Gennaro
Phone – +254 733959492 (Don’t forget the time difference!)
Africa Inland Mission address for financial support—
(We’re at about 95% of our monthly support target.)
P.O. Box 3611
Peachtree City, GA 30269-7611
Checks made out to Africa Inland Mission
Rift Valley Academy
Kenya, East Africa