DSC01671“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2.

I love the book of James, although I will admit the above verse has confounded me in the past. Joy when facing a trial? Is that even possible? I believe it is, when we have the right perspective—and it isn’t ours.

Less than two weeks ago, my husband and I had a little “discussion” about an issue down at his office. I’ve said in the past that I tend to be more old testament—law; and he tends to be more new testament—grace. So, when I think something needs to happen now, I can let my emotions get the better of me. Rather than allowing God to work out the details, I become a little god in our household. After this “discussion” I texted an apology to Chris with the suggestion that it might be best if I pull completely back from his practice. Not that I play a big role, but I take part in the staff meetings and spend some time handling bills and learning the business end of things.

Bless my husband’s grace-filled heart, he disagreed. He said he depended on my ears and eyes and my wise counsel, even if I get “passionate” about things. My prayer for the past month had been to let go and let God—to trust that He has a handle on the issues at hand and trust that Chris is listening to His guidance. Then last weekend, it became clear God had a plan in the midst of all this. Rather than have me pull away, he put me smack in the middle of things—full-time. Chris and I both know it’s temporary, but I knew the minute we made the decision to follow this nudge, God was at work—from the beginning.

It’s easy to look at the challenging circumstances in our lives and think it’s all about us. However, when there are others involved, be it family, friends or co-workers, we should remember that it’s really not all about us. It just may be that God is working in someone else’s life through our particular circumstances. Or, maybe, He’s stirring things up with a total shift in mind. That’s what I believe is happening in this season Chris and I find ourselves.

Normally, my response to this would be panic. “What do You mean there’s a change coming? I don’t like change.” But in this instance, there is an undercurrent of excitement and joy—like a child awaiting Christmas morning. Because if I’ve learned nothing else the past ten years I’ve been walking with the Lord, I know He’s always faithful to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. How? I don’t know. What will the end result be? No clue. But it doesn’t matter, because He’s at work.

So, for the next few months, I’m putting my full-time writing career on hold, not that it’ll matter all that much—Francine Rivers, I’m not. I’ll continue posting weekly blogs, but I won’t have six-plus hours a day to immerse myself in characters. Instead, I’ll be immersed in the practice, serving my husband in whatever capacity God deems fit. It’s time-consuming, exhausting and exciting juggling the new work responsibilities with the ongoing household chores. And when everything shakes out, who knows what life will look like? But, I can hardly wait to find out.

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