I wrote this post for my friend Heatherly’s blog, A Pinkdaisy Life, last Monday. The struggle to hold on to joy is so real to me right now that I actually went back to reread this devotional.
Ever have a time when you had to be so intentional in keeping your joy at a detectable level? Life is hard and we get dinged by it. But God offers us a way to hold on to our joy.
Sisters, enjoy this post. I hope it speaks into your life right now.
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Don’t be sad because the joy you have in the LORD is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10b GWT)
I’ve been clinging to these words.
In the past 18 months, I have faced some of the biggest joy-draining challenges in my life. It’s been – without a doubt – emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausting.
- I’ve faced a cancer diagnosis and two related surgeries.
- My family discovered a mammoth betrayal from a beloved uncle that has deeply affected all of us.
- Our son was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the effects of bullying at school.
- We left our church home of 12 years and lost dear friendships in the process.
- My husband was recently laid-off with little in the bank.
There have been times I’ve wanted to curl up in a fetal position and wave a white flag in surrender.
Can you relate?
But God makes us a promise we can’t deny.
He tells us when we press in during those times where we feel discouraged and dejected… when we praise Him regardless of the storms we face… when we trust that He is working it all out… when we choose to remain faithful no matter what… God will give us strength to stand.
But sometimes we are drama-mommas.
We think that since our life is experiencing a rough patch, we have to walk around with a scowl on our face. We think that if we look sad enough, people will take pity on us. We use this opportunity to make it all about us.
Please tell me I am not the only one.
When we act that way, however, we are choosing to not accept God’s best for us. We are looking for that same end result of strength in all the wrong places.
Then God whispers, “Beloved, don’t be sad. Trust me in your journey. Praise me for what I am planning for you because I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Trust me and watch your joy arise!”
So I press in to Him. I start believing that God is working it all out behind the scenes. I see glimpses of His fingerprints.
- My heart begins to soften.
- The stress leaves my shoulders.
- My thoughts are more easily taken captive.
And then I watch it happen.
Always at the right moment, money shows up anonymously in the mail. During my second surgery, the surgeon couldn’t find any traces of the cancer 4 pathologists noted. A very spirit-filled therapist decided to counsel my son and charge us next to nothing. Our new church home has introduced my family to a deeper relationship with Jesus. My husband has had time off to pour into his family.
God really is who He says He is and He really does what He says He’ll do.
Sisters, the joy you have from your relationship with God is what will give you the strength to press on in tough times.
- Maybe you are having a hard time finding that joy right now.
- Maybe life seems too big.
- Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel really is a train.
If that is you, try this. Make a list of all the things He has done for you.
It will remind you… encourage you… challenge you to trust just one more time.
And the result will be… joy.