90 Days to Awaken Joy – {guest post by Liz Ditty}

I met Liz Ditty at an engagement party last year, and instantly became a fan. When we saw each other at the wedding in May, I asked how the last few months had been and she told me this story. I don’t think I breathed once as she talked. I wrote her the next day and asked her to share it here – and I’m breathless once again. Welcome (and thank you!) to Liz.

freedom in red – Jesus Solana (flickr creative commons)

We belonged to each other but lived in a friendly, stale silence.  Our paths had parted at some unknown crossroads and I found myself physically present but emotionally distant.  Our conversations focused on logistics with a polite formality to them. I began lowering my expectations dangerously, assuming that what we had could simply be as good as it gets.  No one but us may have ever noticed the fire was gone.     

I could have gone on like this for quite some time, keeping up appearances in my stale relationship with God, but it just was not enough anymore.  I needed the power and passion back.

 Real life was happening.  My fairy tale should have been at the point of happily ever after as my husband and I began our family with two healthy, beautiful children.  Instead I slipped into postpartum depression and felt deeply ashamed for lacking gratitude or joy. I needed a safe place to wrestle my demons, but I could not find a sacred ground of grace that could stand the weight of my shame. Instead, I hid.

 In the midst of my secret struggle, a friend invited me to read the entire Bible in 90 days.

 Her words of invitation, and God’s words of love that followed, forever changed my life.

I was an exhausted mother with every reason to say no- but I was absolutely desperate to claim God’s promises of joy and abundant life that felt so far away.  Honestly, when I started I had no idea how I would finish or if I could even survive on an hour less of precious sleep each day. 

I said yes out of weakness, not strength.

I needed God himself to breathe fresh life into me.  This journey meant venturing outside of the comforting guidance of authors, teachers, or pastors.  I prepared myself to tread cautiously onto holy ground where I felt unsure and unworthy, with no presence other than God and mine.  My prayer was simply, “Speak.”  He spoke.  Holy ground was more beautiful than I imagined, with an unexpectedly wild acceptance he bestowed on me there.

 I started waking up while it was still dark and cold.  As I sat in my chair with hot coffee, a soft blanket, and my Bible, my house was blissfully silent.  Instead of dreading my alarm I began waking up moments before it would go off, in excited anticipation of my peaceful retreat. Every morning, for about an hour, the Ancient of Days told me the history of mankind with wisdom and perspective that filled me with peace, broadened my perception, and challenged my view of God profoundly.

The Word of God rushed through my weary soul like a mighty wind that tore through every dark and heavy drape and blew out the tall, stifling windows to let new air and life and light inside.  It was not a random verse or two on the pages of the Bible, it was the presence of God.  I just needed to sit there for a while, seeking his voice and searching out his tone of truth every morning until I could learn to recognize it amongst the noise of my own thoughts and the clamoring of my day.

I needed to see Jacob wrestle with God.  I found my sacred struggling ground of grace where Jacob stood. I realized that I needed to stop wrestling my demons of depression and wrestle God instead, holding onto him fiercely until he blessed me with purpose, identity, and joy.

I needed to watch Israel journey to the Promised Land. God shows his heart of rescue, provision, and presence so beautifully.  I needed to realize that God’s Promised Land is flowing with milk and honey, but also swarming with giants.  Learning that God’s blessings are as often hard won as they are abundantly free shattered my disappointment; inviting me to choose courage over fear and fight to claim my promises.

I cannot possibly recite every heart directing, perspective altering, soul grounding truth that was spoken over me.  I cannot explain the love that I felt pour over me.  I cannot move you to tears when you read the story of Jesus being crucified even if, like me, you have heard it told countless times before.  I ended Revelation face to the floor in worship, more deeply connected to and powerfully loved by God than I have ever been. 

 God’s lavish, relentless love is anything but mediocre and stale.  He is ready to pour life over the dry places of our heart like a raging waterfall.  He has beautiful, challenging words to speak into your spirit if you will listen. What will he say? 

You can the Bible in 90 days (about an hour a day). Here’s how to get started.

You could try 20 minutes of reading a day to finish the New Testament in 97 Days.

At least consider setting an alarm on your phone or using an app to listen to God’s voice directly in the Bible for even just a couple of minutes every day for 90 days.

His words will change your life.

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photoLiz loves to listen to stories, share truth, and occasionally write.  She lives in the Silicon Valley of California with her handsome techie husband and two wild kiddos.  Her soul comes to life in sunshine and open skies.  She devours podcasts while folding laundry and considers blog writing a completely valid excuse to leave dishes for the next morning.  She is in the process of becoming a Spiritual Director and daily discovers how freedom, love and calling shape the life of a Christ Follower. Visit Liz at  her blog Faith Like A Mom.

2 thoughts on “90 Days to Awaken Joy – {guest post by Liz Ditty}

  1. Write on Liz! You inspire me to lean in harder and dig deeper. You’ve reminded me to treasure those early morning quiet hours, that I’ve honestly been dreading a bit lately. Totally stoked for you about the Spiritual Director work! May you walk into all the plans He has for you!

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