What I find interesting is how God always seems to use life projects/seasons/choices and circumstances to help us put these little initiatives into practice. Take patience, for example. Boy do I pray for a whole lotta patience on a daily basis. With the amount of toiletries my boys get into, the amount of nail polish they discover, the amount of Tonka trucks they stuff into the central vacuum system and the amount of jiffy markers they use to “decorate,” it’s a wonder I’m sane at all.
See. Patience. Everyday of my life affords me ample opportunity to put it into practice. And I’m getting better… I think.
With that said, I have been praying for two months now for a deeper understanding of true joy. It’s not that I’m not a happy person, and I’m certainly not Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh) all doom n’ gloom-like, it’s that I wanted/still want to really understand true joy. Ya know, the unshakeable kind. And guess what… He’s been showing me.
Sometimes in our quests for understanding, He will do/allow for things to happen that perhaps don’t seem in alignment with the prayer request. And for some reason, He has allowed for old wounds in my life to resurface and for me to face some stuff from my childhood that I thought I had dealt with. And perhaps I had dealt. Perhaps I dealt with what I was capable of dealing with in the 20-year-old version of myself. And now that I’m “antiquing” (ha), perhaps He feels its time/that I’m ready to, deal with the next layer. I don’t know. I’m not completely sure. I can’t explain it… yet. But whatever the case, it feels opposite of joyful.
It’s been eighteen days of joy with a few tears thrown in the mix.
How come, through the daily tears, I hear Him repeatedly saying, “I, The Lord, am your strength. I will sustain you.”?
How come, while I was praying a couple of nights ago, I got a text from a friend saying, “Just felt like I should encourage you and remind you that, The Lord is your strength.”
How come, when I was getting ready on Sunday morning, while praying that true joy would fill my heart, my mother-in-law sent me a text quoting Psalm 126:6: “He who goes out weeping… will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves…”
Is this not God/joy showing up amidst sorrow?
Is this not God/joy reaching out and saying, “I will sustain you?”
Are these not the various faces of true joy?
And so, because I trust that, because I trust Him, because I trust that He wants nothing but the best for me, I move forward with a smiling heart even though the tears continue to flow.
I say all that because; below you will find a link. This link will lead you to a guest post I did for a friend of mine who has started a blog about women supporting each other. There are two parts to this post that she asked me to do:
1. A written post about divorce now as an adult looking back on my childhood.
2. A video post about how divorce still affects Christmas.
It was hard for me to do. Opening a can of worms I desperately try to keep dormant is like poking a sleeping bear. It’s not very joyful. These are not joyous memories to resurrect. But perhaps it’s time for me to allow the next layer of my healing to begin. This is why I believe God is asking me to share this. This is also the reason I agreed to write the post in the first place. And in doing so, I believe it’s because God wants me to experience the true joy that is waiting for me on the other side of my obedience; the true joy I seek; the true joy I desire to understand.
So before you click the link, let me just say: 1. If you have an extraordinary family whom you enjoy spending every waking moment of Christmas with… you should smile, count your blessings, hug each and every one of them, and tell them how much they mean to you. Christmas is the perfect opportunity for such warm embracing, and in case you aren’t aware, you are extremely blessed.
But for those of you who feel like I do about Christmas…. stressed, anxious and continuously overwhelmed, let me encourage you with this statement: internal joy is not contingent upon external. True joy radiates from the inside out and is not something that anyone can take away from you. True joy causes your heart to smile, even when your face is not. So friend, allow me to encourage you in the same way God has been encouraging me, by saying this: “The joy of the Lord IS your strength, and He WILL sustain you.” Say that every minute of everyday if you need to. I do. And I promise it works.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The YouTube Clip (see below): Christmas… and Adult Children of Divorce – 1