This post is long overdue. (It’s a good thing I don’t get paid to write or publish!)
My excuse is that I was busy, and my reason is that I was struggling with the topic of JOY.
I started and stopped several times, and I didn’t quite know why joy was such a difficult topic. I am not a particularly unhappy person. However, each time I sat down to write about joy, I found myself overwhelmed with frustration as I kept being reminded of so many obstacles and hardships that many of us face. Joy just seemed too lightweight compared to things like depression, anxiety, death, grief, loss, fear, and especially now – loneliness. And, I was especially confronted with those experiences in my own family, especially as a mom.
And then this morning, I finally felt released to revise and publish this post according to what the Lord shared with me.
I still am not a fan of this empty nest thing. I miss my kids a lot, especially now. (I was supposed to be back in the US right now helping my daughter move. Stupid COVID-19.)
Apparently, it is quite obvious how much so. Our young adult children were able to come visit us in December, and I made sure they made it to my school so I could take them around to meet as many staff and friends as possible. Over and over, my co-workers greeted them by saying, “I’ve heard so much about you,” and “Your mom is really glad you’re here.” As I’m standing there grinning from ear to ear, I realize the refrain is becoming a bit of a joke. I am not a bit ashamed of how much I talked about them.
I love my kids a lot, but I can’t love like God. I know this because I recognize that as much as I devoted and poured into them, I still don’t know or love them as our Heavenly Father does. I did a lot of things right, AND I made lots of mistakes. Even as hard as I tried (and still do), I couldn’t (and can’t) love them well enough to keep them from experiencing fear, doubt, grief, and losses – sometimes from my own choices and words.
But God is their Heavenly Father. He has provided redemption for me, and He can heal what I harmed. There is no room for pride. There is all the room for joy.
Have you heard the song, The Joy of the Lord is my Strength? I mentioned this song briefly in the post, Music in Me.
It is my joy in the Lord that strengthens me – my joy in knowing the Lord and trusting Him. I trust Him to complete the work He started in my family and me.
Perhaps joy is like a muscle we all use, but don’t realize how it works until we try to isolate it. It’s important, and it needs other muscles working collaboratively to be effective.
More importantly, we need to work collaboratively with God.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 – 30 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (HCSB) This is what I read this morning that helped me feel free to publish this post. I will continue to collaborate with the work God is doing, and trust Him.
This is how I find my joy in the Lord and find strength.
- Joy in knowing that God loves them more than I do.
- Joy in knowing that God knows them better than I do.
- Joy in knowing that God has heard all my prayers.
- Joy in knowing that God has a plan for them, and He will work it out according to His will, a plan that has been arranged since well before they were born.
- Joy in knowing what He has done for me, He will do for them.
- Joy in knowing that God understands our weaknesses, and He has provided a way to bring us into a right relationship with Him.
- Joy in knowing God’s love really is perfect.
- Joy in knowing that God forgives.
- Joy in knowing Jesus Christ.
There are so many songs written about ‘joy’- old hymns and new praise and worship pieces. Here’s a list of just 10, https://www.mediashout.com/worship-songs-about-joy/
So when I get down, I sing. I worship God. I praise the Holy One. I claim Jesus Christ as my Savior, and I let the Holy Spirit fill me with joy.
Friends, there is nothing lightweight about that!
Here is where I find the Truth in the scriptures:
Nehemiah 8: 9-12 (At the reading of the law) “Do not grieve, because your strength comes from rejoicing in the Lord.” (Verse 10, HCSB)
Psalm 30:5 “For His anger lasts only a moment, bus His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning.”
Psalm 30:11-12 “You turned my lament into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, so that I can sing to You and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise You forever.”
Psalm 94:19 “When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, your comfort encourages me.” (ISV)
Scripture even talks about God singing over us!
Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (ESV)
John 15:11 “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (NLT)
Here’s something to lift you up! Overflow by Tobymac. Enjoy!