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My Story

For most of my life, I've longed for the joy of true relational harmony - but that was rarely my experience. More often, I felt disconnected and alone. The wholeness and joy I craved, I didn't know how to attain. And God, well... I knew He existed, but I couldn't see where He showed up to reconcile the gap between that desire and its fulfillment.

 

But one quiet Saturday morning, God spoke to that specific pain through a scripture reading by my mother. She came to the door of my bedroom with my little sister, Grace, at her side and read these words:

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you..." Jeremiah 29:12-14 NIV

Those words spoke to my inner feelings of lostness and my desperation to be found by God. To be discovered. To be seen. In response, I shut my bedroom door, sat attentively, and told God: "Fine! I won't leave this room until I find you!"

I presented my whole broken-heart to God and discovered that under the acknowledgment of his presence, my heart was okay. Right there, I was at the dawn of hope. In His presence, I could heal. His nearness could make the wrong things right.

 

That day didn't end the presence of pain, suffering, or struggle. It did, however, begin a now 10+ year journey of laying my heart, fully, as it is before the Lord. I've found Him to be a skilled surgeon. I've also witnessed Him be a good shepherd, counselor, comforter, and guide. Over the years, I've listened for His voice, responded to His questions, grieved in His presence, and delighted in His dreams. That relational process has led to renewed identity, restored relationships, and unlocked joy. What started between me and the Lord has spilled out into my family, friendships, and community and sparked the formation of a movement dedicated to the work of unlocking the joy of relational harmony: Returning to Joy.

 

I hope you take delight in this journey of discovery and unlocking with me. I hope you'll share your experience with all you encounter.

With Joy, 

Gabrielle Michelle

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