It's going to get a little bit preachy...
It has dawned on me that my personal posts tend to be more about the lowlights of my life - sadness, depression, or despair. Of course, we all suffer at least occasionally from those things. You've heard quite a bit about my struggles but what you don't hear as much about is my joy.
When I was young, I loved when the church would break out singing these words:
"This joy I have, the world didn't give it to me. The world didn't give to me and the world can't take it away."That's so powerful. Back then, my mother understood the joy she had, but I was just singing along because I liked the song. Once I hit some of life's speed bumps, I was able to totally relate to the song. The song speaks not only of the joy but of the peace and the love that the world can't take away.
In spite of any troubles life throws at me - and the ones I sometimes cause for myself - I have never lost my joy. There have been times when it was dimmed a little under the weight of depression or health problems. Dimmed but never ever extinguished.
I can remember a time when I was in Texas, away from my friends and family. I spent a few hours just laying on the floor in the dark and feeling like I just didn't deserve to live. I kept remembering all the wrong choices I had made to get me to that point and I felt so stupid and ashamed and unworthy. To be honest, I can't remember now how I got past that moment. I have many blank spots of that period in my life. But I did, obviously, get past it.
Today, I still have lots and lots of things to worry and stress about. I am going to be seeing another doctor this week and I am hoping he doesn't tell me anything bad. I have a countertop full of bills that I am struggling to catch up on. But I also have my joy.
There are times when I realize just how blessed I am that I have to stop whatever I am doing and just thank the Lord. That's a joy that can't be measured or studied or dissected or shrugged away.
For anyone out there who might be scoffing at my belief in Christ, let me remind you of something I think people forget or ignore. Even if you don't serve God, you serve a god of something. Maybe yours is a god of self-sufficiency or of money or hate. Maybe you serve a god of self. Some people serve a god of disbelieving or willful ignorance. Maybe you serve a god of nothing. You do have a belief and you do make choices about that belief. My belief gives me eternal hope and joy. What does yours give you?
When you hit rock bottom, where do you turn? What brings you back up? I truly am curious about what holds people together when they don't believe that there is a Creator who loves them.
My joy is so beautiful because it doesn't rely on my health, wealth, well-being, safety, or life. As a matter of fact, part of my joy is based on the fact that the loss or all those things are so minor in the end. There are a couple of more verses I remind myself of when I get tired of this fight"
And fear not them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him that is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)And
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21
I have a sister in law who, when super-stressed, once joked that her treasures better be in heaven because they sure weren't here on earth! I love that. We don't always look like it, but the joy is there, underneath everything else.
So I just wanted to share that with you. If you are tired in your soul and heart, if you just need rest and comfort, try the Lord.
I know the Master of the wind.
I know the Maker of the rain.
This joy I have.
(Just picture churches all over the world
with different races, singing this)