Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Considering the frustration I shared last week, it's a little hard to answer where I think God is leading me.  Of late I think that God likes to lead me by keeping me in the desert or the wilderness.  I am sure I probably exaggerate my plight a bit but that is how it feels to me.  I wonder sometimes, how much more does He have to change in me?

Beware, Joyce is going to get real again.  Last year I took the Strength Finders test.  My number one strength was "ideation."  I wouldn't have guessed that was my strength but when I thought about it more, I thought yep, that's me.  Throughout my life, I've had lots of good ideas.  I mean really great ideas, even money making ideas. Many years ago when I lived in Hallsville MO they had no daycare.  I wanted to rent the other side of the duplex we lived in and start a daycare.  My husband yawned, my mother scoffed.  I persisted but as with many things, alone I eventually gave up.  Three months later a woman opened one down the street.  She did well. On top of that my mother praised her since she knew her from church.  I kept thinking, that could have been me.

Joyce's Chai Blend
That story is the story of my life.  Trust me, I have plenty of examples.  Usually I am left to bang my head against a wall and wonder why.  I've thought at times that maybe it was that I needed to trust my own instincts and/or leadings and just do it.  Well, I did.  I started a coffee shop that morphed into a deli and tried all sorts of marketing tactics.  I had amazing and inexpensive menu items.  Imagine, fresh cooked eggs to order, fresh made breakfast potatoes with onions and multi-colored peppers, meat of choice, bread of choice - and if you ordered a biscuit, you got homemade sausage gravy with it as well.  Served fast and fresh for the low price of $3.99.  Add to that a $ .50 cup of bottomless fresh coffee and you had a great meal for under $5.  Or you could add a Milky Way latte, an Almond Joy cappuccino, a fruit smoothie with real fruit in it or a steamy creamy chai latte made with my own chai mix that had fresh spices I ground myself for $3.99.  And the weekend omelets were to die for - eventually we lost more money than I care to think about.  Not to mention the blow to the ego.  It was location but nevertheless, another idea gone bad.

Then there was the church.  God told me to start a church.  I did.  Twice.  The spirit of the Lord showed up big time one morning.  The worship leader had a vision.  He saw us all in the start gate of a race.  He said that I was on a horse.  I had been waiting a very long time.  I was dying to get out of the gate.  He said that gate was opening.  Yippie Skippy Glory Hallelujah - within two months I found out I was going to South Dakota.  Not exactly the gate opening I had in mind.  Not exactly a place I flourished.  But oh the things I learned in the process.

Okay, I don't want this to be a downer.  I suppose this has sort of been Joyce's morning lament. I don't want this to be so real that you think I have no faith.  I do have faith.  I do have hope.  I have so much hope and faith that at an age when most people are planning or experiencing retirement, I'm working on a doctoral degree.  The high school drop out welfare mom who no one thought was worth anything, is now a doctoral student.  I'm plugging away with a research study on the use of computer mediated social networking (Facebook) for the purpose of Christian community.  That's what God has led me to do.  That's what I'm doing.  I hope it doesn't end up like all my other good ideas.  I hope it benefits the Kingdom.  But one thing I've learned, results do not mean success or failure.  Success is all about obedience and the process of becoming like Jesus.


Tony C said...

A good 'real' post Joyce until the last line...which makes it great.

Thanks for sharing.

Tracy said...

Gotta agree with your conclusion that results do not equal success; that success is really is about obedience.

There's so many things in my life where I've stepped out in what I thought/still think was obedience to God and did not have what would look like success. But I really believe that, this side of heaven we won't know the why of everything.

FYI - I've always found the fact that you were once a welfare mom and now are a doctoral student a rather inspiring account.

David-FireAndGrace said...

You are a benefit to the Kingdom, I have seen it!

mja2j said...

I love the last line! Sums up the whole thing beautifully!