It’s a strange time to be alive.
God has blessed my family, but I know there are many out there who are struggling right now. I pray peace, protection, and provision over all who read this. If you have a specific prayer request, feel free to leave it in the comments and I will lift up that request to God.
It’s often hard to find God during the bleak times of life, but I find that’s when He seems most present. Not because He gets any closer to us, but because we invite Him to draw closer instead of falling into our habit of thinking we are self-sufficient. We’re not, but we like to believe the illusion. Hard times chip away at that illusion, revealing our ever increasing need to rely on God.
I think the most important thing to get out of this strange time of life is how to find joy even in the not-so-good times when we don’t really WANT to find joy. Choosing joy isn’t a choosing to be happy, it’s realizing that while there are struggles we are going through, God still loves us and will provide for us. In this world that’s full of things we can’t control, we can control our attitude and outlook.
I woke up this morning after a rough night of sleep. I had a headache and was somehow still tired. I looked at my phone to make sure I hadn’t missed anything important. I didn’t. Instead, it showed me memories from three years ago when I was in the hospital due to my lung spontaneously collapsing.
It showed pictures of some of my wonderful friends who came to visit me in my huge hospital room at Hershey. It was a Sunday.
Two days before, I had arrived at Hershey. They had taken me off of suction so I was allowed to walk around freely for the first time in over a week, carrying my tube and the box to collect drainage from my lung cavity. I had finally been transferred from our local hospital to Hershey after being stuck to my hospital bed for over a week.
The day before, they had shortened my tube and put on a cute little thing called a pneumostat that let the air out of my lung cavity, allowed it to drain, and also made a cute whistling noise when I laughed. My niece visited me and we had a grand old time. I was thrilled to be so free, especially after I had been cooped up for so long.
Three years ago today, I had several people visit me. Some walked in bringing sunshine and puzzles while others walked in expecting me to be in bed, hooked up to all sorts of things and looking awful. I was in my chair when the less optimistic group arrived. They tried to get me to stay sitting, but I was too full of joy, freedom, and pain killers to not get up and practically dance around the room. I had been confined for so long, there was no way I wasn’t enjoy my freedom and show them how okay I actually was.
Maybe physically I was still not totally okay (we were planning a surgery in the near future to remove part of my lung), but you could practically hear my soul singing “It Is Well”, and my face reflected it, too.
Maybe I was still stuck at the hospital, but I didn’t have to let being confined confine my spirit.
When I woke up feeling awful this morning, I could have set the mood for the entire day (or week, or month…) but I chose instead to borrow joy from the memory of that day (and I have been singing songs from musicals all day so far. You’re welcome, Andrew.)
Joy doesn’t come from our circumstances, but how we look at our circumstances. Joy isn’t a happy feeling or pretending everything is awesome all the time. (And yes, I may have mentally sang that as I typed it.)
Joy is choosing to look at the good things in life when the not-so-good things may be trying to keep our attention instead. It’s delighting in the sunshine that comes through the window, dancing around your kitchen while singing dramatically, seeing the blessings in working from home. Joy isn’t something we can always find on our own, but it’s a gift God shares with us and I believe He willingly gives us as much joy as we choose to take.
I hope today you choose to take some joy, if only borrowed from a memory in your past. Borrowed joy can become real, day changing, life changing joy if you let it grow.
(Now, excuse me while I act out “Let It Go” for Andrew again. Poor guy thought I was listening to the Frozen soundtrack or something…)
May we ask God to show us joy. May we pause long enough to notice the light creeping in, the song of the birds, the gift of beauty, the joy simply waiting to be discovered. Perhaps we need to borrow joy from a memory. That counts too. Whatever it takes, may we find joy in today.
Also, I’m so excited. I am part of another book launch team and this book is fantastic so far. I will certainly be posting about it soon, so keep an eye out!