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I wanted a white vase, so I spray painted white over my shiny Goodwill find.

I must not have prepped well enough as the white paint began to chip off around the edges after a while. The chipping didn’t look much like shabby chic or farmhouse decor or anything nice so the vase was relegated to the closet.

Recently my husband got a hold of it. He sanded the vase down, added a little texture fixing where the chips were jagged and sealed it. Voila! I have an amazing vase now!

We all want to be a conqueror, but we don’t want anything to conquer.” – Joyce Meyer

That stings my heart a bit. Oh, how my actions, more often than not, reflect this statement. I want to learn, grow and conquer until I have to, then I grumble and fight it. I wanted a new vase until it became more work than I desired.

By nature, I try and take the easy route. Who wants to suffer anyway? Whether it’s not fully prepping a vase and then hiding it away when the finish begins chipping off or trying to escape those hard life lessons that include exercising the muscles of faith, patience, and endurance. During those times of being stretched, I want to escape and hide from or avoid it all completely.

I have gone through stages of learning as we all do. Stages of unbelief and then experiencing what God can do.

Stages of believing God and then seeing what felt like the opposite of what I believed for come to pass as doubt, anger, and disappointment settled in. I couldn’t see beyond myself for a while.

Stages of darkness that felt like God was not there at all, but he was there. His light began to shine through the pitch black of my life. Treasures of His love blew me away as He imprinted His faithfulness deep within my heart and soul.

There are so many stages you and I walk through. We experience his miraculous hand that takes us to new places, literally sometimes. A move, a new state, a new home, new people and the miraculous can feel foreign, lonely and awkward in so many ways. Here I learned to grow in ways I never thought I would or could.

There are stages where bad things happen to us and then He uses those very circumstances to shift us into a new season of expectancy, hope, and fulfillment of His promises. You find yourself walking in a new place, yet you may physically be in the same location. He’s calling you to expect new things, to rise up and flourish in His promises being fulfilled even before they come to pass. In this place He’s answering years of prayers and longings of your heart. Watch Him do this new thing!

Thank you, Lord, for all of these stages, for all the things that have chipped off my mixed up painted finish. For the sanding down and taking off of layers. For the added texture. For the healing and sealing.

At the time I didn’t like what I was feeling. I thought I wanted to be a conqueror, but I didn’t really want anything to conquer. You knew better. You knew what I needed. Thank you!

You knew I would need situations to overcome, with your help, or I would never grow into all you created me to be. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness and divine purpose in my life. Thank you for my chipped vase and for the process to make it beautiful and me beautiful – not perfect, but beautiful in your eyes. Thank you Lord!

I love decor projects that are quick transformations, they are fun. Like transforming jars with a little yarn, crocheting, and some jute twine. Thank you, Grandma Theobald, for having the patience and taking the time to teach your granddaughter how to crochet.

There are others projects that take longer and are more involved like the bathroom wallpaper I am still removing. Those projects require more out of us in every way – they teach us all the hard things. How to conquer when we want the easy way out, how to stay when we want to run and how to believe for what we hope to see. The end result is always worth the pain of the process if we keep showing up every day expecting the best.

I believe God gives us both.

He blesses us with easy, fun things that bring us joy. God delights in giving to us and watching us enjoy His good gifts.

He also blesses us by helping us endure the things we want to run and hide from. He knows if we stay the course, how we grow and what we learn, as we lean into him for help, will be invaluable to our future selves.

Maybe that is why James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds . . . “. It’s not really the trial we are rejoicing in; it’s the fruit, the end result, what God develops in us, if we allow him to, as we walk it out with His strength and grace. His purpose and plan far exceed what we can think or imagine.

As the New Year unfolds I have such an expectancy for all God has in store. I am claiming this year to be a year of Rising Up, of Flourishing and seeing the Fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives here on earth as it is in heaven.

Let’s be expecting together!

Joelle Povolni

About Joelle Povolni

Faith Caffeine: Inspiration for faith and creativity. Building a creative life of faith and beauty in the heart and home. Inspiring and empowering others to do the same.

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