When You Feel Like This is Not What You Signed Up For

When You Feel Like This is Not What You Signed Up For

It starts like this …you sense/feel/are nudged by the Holy Spirit to step out in some significant way. It may be a move, a shift, a calling, an adventure, radical change or all of the above. And in some cases, as is mine so often, the Holy Spirit gives your husband that nudge/sense/feeling and you are faced with the decision to follow …or not.

I followed — several times in fact.

Together, we’ve left close family, friends and areas of the country we called home for many years. We left comfort, square footage, low humidity, proximity to the beaches and lakes, and more importantly — our kids and grands.

We (I) calculated the cost and said yes. While I love my husband, my “yes” to leave people and places I love dearly was more deeply rooted in my love for my Father. I’ve experienced His love enough to know that saying “yes” to Him is worth it. Not always easy but deep in my soul I know it’s worth it.

Sometimes the “yes” is hard …the road uncertain …lonely. Over time you realize there’s no way you can fully “calculate” the losses you will endure by one simple, “yes.” Your eyes strain a little harder to see the “good” in everything and the often quoted promise that God works all things for our good.

Sometimes it just doesn’t feel so good. Loss upon loss can leave you empty. Watching others celebrate with family and friends close by can bring that sting of reality that your path is not always the same. Your normal is very different.

Every “yes” requires many “no’s.”

Yes to God can often mean no to many things of this world that we grow comfortable with. I’d love to live closer to our kids and grands. I’d love to have those family vacations together we were used to experiencing. I’d love to have Sunday dinners like we had growing up in my Mom and Dad’s home. I’d love to have a family home that all our kids and grands forever picture as “Nana and Papa’s house.” That’s not the case with us.

Regret? Not really. Sad? Sometimes. Contentment? Often. Lonely? Of course. Resentful? That, too.  Depressed or anxious?  Often comes with the territory.  Deep down joy?  Absolutely.

Nothing prepares you for the sheer discipline and strength from the Holy Spirit it will take to “rejoice with those who rejoice” as you watch others share regular time with their family close by. There are not enough words in the illusive handbook to tell you how hard it will be to keep starting over in friendships and telling your story all over again in order to forge new relationships …and that’s only if you have the emotional energy to even try.

I know good things are growing in me. Moments when your homeless friends invite you over to “their tent” or their cookout give you a glimpse into eternity’s joy. Knowing these friends by name and getting hugs along your daily walk remind you that these experiences are a gift and a privilege in these places some are afraid to travel. 

But letting go to take hold of the joy set before you isn’t always easy.  Jesus was very honest with us.  There will be joy and sorrow mixed…promises and persecutions …rewards and weeping …

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”

Mark 10:29-30 (NIV)


There are moments you feel like screaming, “But I didn’t sign up for this!” And then there are moments you breathe in new mercies and trust in a loving Father Who one day will tell you all about it.

Until then …I’ll make another choice today that “my heart will go on singing.”

Until Then (By Ray Price)

My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a trail that’s winding always upward,
This troubled world is not my final home. 

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

The things of earth will dim and lose their value
If we recall they’re borrowed for awhile;
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
Remembered there will only bring a smile. 

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

Dedicated to a dear friend who just left “all” to follow Jesus as well as continuing to speak truth to myself on these harder days.  

Keep holding on.  There is  joy in the journey, my friend!

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Joy3

    Well… if you didn’t nail that clear in the center!!! Love you deeply and I’m grateful for your understanding! The hard is still hard but having someone “understand” somehow makes it sting a little less. Very well written from my heart indeed 💛🦋

  2. smithjungle

    Thank you, Joy. Sometimes saying “yes” involves submitting to a stripping process and allowing it to take you deeper into life with God, who is Love loving.

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