Guest Post from Joy Steed – My Nineveh

Picture by Joy Steed, Thailand
Picture by Joy Steed, Thailand

“The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh!”…. “ But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction…”

This verse translated for me reads: “ The Lord gave this message to Joy daughter of Carole: Get up and go to her …. But Joy got up and went in the opposite direction.”  Or as far away as she could get from her.  Not from God, or at least that’s what I am telling myself, because I like to think I am rather close to Him, in fact much closer to Him than to my mother.  So here’s my question; how is this possible, that I would go to her when for years all there has been is pain.  Years of love that was based on conditions – conditions of behavior, choices – mostly her poor ones, silent treatments, put downs in front of peers, phone calls ending abruptly with her slamming her end down and then not speaking to me for years (yes years).  So, moving in the opposite direction just made sense, in the midst of tears – aching sobbing tears, wondering why don’t you love me?  What have I done, just tell me and I’ll do better next time.  Survival, that’s what the opposite direction is for me pure and simple survival of this now Mamma of two that needs to be strong and loving and unconditional and has no idea how to do that because she didn’t see that, feel that or live in that.  So in survival mode I got up, dusted myself off, wiped the tears and protected my heart – from her – one stone after another, a protective wall around my heart  – I see them, labelled “it doesn’t matter”,  “I won’t let this happen again”,  “note to self, don’t do that to your kids”, “she can’t do this to me”.  So moving forward, in the opposite direction, never to be hurt again.  Except that I am, over and over again and all I know is; her love is based on condition and I don’t have the rule book to her conditions and more often than not usually get it wrong, except when I get them right.  I never know so I just try and to be safe continue to build the wall around my heart year after year – stone by stone.  Protection I call it, until the other night when Melanie mentioned our Great God and His Great plans and how he called on a man with Great faith of the mind but a man with a hard heart.

This is my Nineveh.  My mother is that wicked place that I just don’t see the need to go to anymore.  Too much hurt, too much anger, too much year after year after year of not feeling good enough, loved enough and only wanting to be loved a little.  This heart, my heart is heavy and hard and this is indeed my Nineveh and I don’t want to go there.  So I totally get Jonah; God is slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love, but like Jonah I. Am. Not.  Like him I want to say and being honest have said, “just kill me now, Lord”, rather than make me deal with her.   If I am honest though this heaviness is starting to affect me, and it is really heavy, too heavy.  So I find myself, sitting here, waiting to see if anything will happen, if she’ll change, stop drinking, say sorry.  I am like Jonah sitting under that tree waiting and nothing is changing and I don’t want to go there, don’t know how to go there anymore and then God gently tells me, I don’t have to go I just have to sit in the shade of His love and pray.  How do I do this though, I don’t even know where to start… remember the stones – they are big and there are lots of them and remember the heavy? They are heavy.  How do I love her without being hurt by her over and over again, is it right for me to be angry? Yes!  He doesn’t know the stuff she did, has done and still does! Only… He does know.

This is my Nineveh, this is where I am and I don’t see any of the good in going into that city but He must because he keeps bringing me back here to this place with my heavy hardened heart, which if I really pay attention I am aching for freedom from this load, to see the end, the Greatness in this story, the faith I know, becoming the faith I feel and follow and live out with my whole heart.    I don’t want my book to end like Jonah’s sitting in the hot scorching sun, angry, hardened.  God sees the greatness in my ending and reminds me that all He is asking of me right now is to not run in the opposite direction, away from Him but instead, run to Him and pray.  Pray for her, for me, for us.  This is my Nineveh; a hardened heart towards my mom and this is the place He has called me to go.

About joymsteed

"This is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:4 I love this verse but the problem is I, more often than not, spend so much time rushing through the day that I don't think I really embrace what God is telling me through this verse. So, I am deciding to stand still or at least go slow and enjoy the days and the blessings that come, all of them; the ordinary and the extraordinary, the hard and the good, catching the moments wrapped up in each and giving thanks for the journey I am on. I am blessed to venture forward with my husband of 20 years and our two daughters, life has been hard and good and taken us places we never imagined we would go - both standing still and moving. God has been good and now as we enter a new stage, that point where our family road begins to have forks that are leading our girls to begin chapters in their stories that are separate from our story and although this excites me it also makes me wonder what's next for this mom, where do I go from here and what will this next chapter look like for me? I don't have the answers yet, what I do know though is that God is good and I know that He is going to lead and I will obediently follow, leaning in, standing still and rejoicing in the days ahead, the good and the hard days, the ordinary and the extraordinary days and the blessings wrapped in each. Thanks for stopping by and joining in my journey!

4 thoughts on “Guest Post from Joy Steed – My Nineveh

  1. And now, that you have shared this, it loses it’s power to bind you. We will be praying with you. For you, for her and for your heart and hers to soften. Love you so much ❤

    1. Thanks Lynn for your prayers and love. This is tough but through Him possible and so I walk forward in that knowledge and in His grip knowing His plans for me and for my mom are good.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Joy. Humility…a readiness to hear Him…your example and your transparency. Thank you so much 🙂


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