I have definitely been running low on the joyful juices lately - as well as the motivational ones.  I have only been able to get myself out of bed for one early morning run this week (goal: 4 mornings), which has left only evenings for quick runs before supper.  GRE studying . . . what's that?  I have only been able to study productively one evening this week due to storms, a migraine and laziness.  This week has also been especially difficult at work, dealing with neglectful parents, making Child Protective Service reports and trying to help foster children understand why it's not their fault that everything in their life has been turned upside down and all the people whom they love dearly have been ripped away from them.  I will not lie.  It's been a rough week.  On top of this, I have been having a lot of second thoughts about my graduate major choices.  Am I limiting God's almighty power by saying, "I can't do this job.  It's too hard."?  Just as I found teaching difficult, my job now has many of the same stressors and heartbreak as I work each day to help children deal with their problems and rise above their circumstances.  

So decision time came around for what to do during this wonderful 3-day weekend.  First I had thought of flying to the Caribbean, sitting under and umbrella and reading all sorts of feel-good-useless-books to drown out the many questions in my mind and the disturbing issues that I've face this week.  Then I thought of simply staying at home in my bed, watching movies and blocking out life for a bit.  But God had other plans.  God truly works in mysterious ways because today as I was shutting down my inbox at work, the last email I read was from a co-worker who plans to go to Joplin, MO this weekend to help out with the disaster relief effort.  I could feel God's still, small voice in my ear urging me to think of others instead of myself.  In fact, out of all my goals, helping others selflessly has received the greatest shaft.  I hesitated, almost walked down the stairs and out the door.  I was tired, irritated and felt on the verge of tears after my last fax to Child Protective Services.   But it is not written "my will be done" but rather "God's will be done."  

My co-worker was so helpful, providing me a number for a local church in Joplin that is organizing volunteers to help those in need.  Armed with a post-it note and a scribbled phone number, I headed home to call.  I still felt doubt.  The television and my comfy bed was calling for a long, relaxing weekend of doing absolutely n-o-t-h-i-n-g.  The woman who answered my call was so kind and amazingly positive given the devastation.  She promptly arranged accommodations for myself and Cody, offered us 3 meals a day and even took into account what we would like to do as volunteers.  Amazing. 
"Rejoice in the Lord always and again I'll say 'Rejoice!'."

So tomorrow, Sunday and Monday, I will put aside my wants, doubts, goals and thoughts and instead focus on others in much greater need.  I will rejoice that the Lord saved my home from destruction.  I will rejoice that I am physically capable of helping others.  I will rejoice that is using me to brings His joy to others.  Rejoice in the Lord always!

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