Last June, our local high school softball team won the state championship. To say that this was a big deal for our community would be an understatement.
Even those of us who don’t regularly watch softball jumped on the bandwagon, my family included.
We found out when the team would be coming back home that evening and decided to go to the town where my husband is principal to cheer them on as they passed by.
As we stood on the side of the highway, fire engines, police cars, the team bus, and many cars passed by.
People waved, honked their horns, smiled, and cheered. We couldn’t help but catch their enthusiasm and be just as excited as if we had gone to the game ourselves.
When Your Joy Seems to Be Lost
The excitement and joy of that June day was a sharp contrast to the way I had felt during the winter.
Negative, hurtful comments, a busy schedule, and working too much on the computer at a job I no longer liked were stealing my joy and I didn’t even realize it.
I tried to hide what I was feeling from everyone and I think I was able to. However, inside I just had no energy or focus and I just felt sad.
Yet, what did I, a wife and mom of five who gets to stay at home to take care of her family have to be sad about? I have never suffered from depression, but I think I was about as close to it as I ever hope to be.
I also kept thinking about all of the people who were facing terminal illness, the loss of loved ones, abuse, hunger, fear for their lives because of their beliefs, and it made me feel even worse about the way I was feeling.
So, what did I do to find joy again?
I sought truth.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NLT) So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Nothing I was going through last year was unique. It was just another opportunity to lean more on my loving God and to be refined into the person He wants me to become.
Learning About Joy From My Little Girl
One afternoon late last spring my sister-in-law called me in kind of a panic because her freezer had gone out and she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. The kids and I jumped in the truck with our two coolers in tow and headed to her house to help.
We had just pulled out of our driveway and were only a few hundred feet from home when Janna said, “Mommy, stop and take a picture of the beautiful flowers!”
So, I stopped right there in the middle of the road and took a picture of those beautiful “flowers”. My daughter didn’t know they were weeds, she was just so filled with joy that there would be a field of flowers for her to enjoy.
I want to be filled with joy so that I can see the beauty in a field of weeds, be fully present for my family, and share God’s love with others.
Finding Joy in the Journey
During the past month I have read a lot of passages in the Bible about journeys. Mary went to see Elizabeth; Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem; the shepherds visited Jesus; the wise men journeyed far from their homes to see Jesus; Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fled to Egypt.
All of those verses about people being on a journey culminate in one of the most terrible and wonderful journeys ever: Jesus’ journey to the cross, the grave, and ultimately to Heaven.
The painful steps Jesus took, while carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, must have been anything but joyful. Yet, He made that journey for you and for me so that we can have eternal life.
And, when I think about that, I can’t help but have joy in the journey of this life.