Monday, January 25, 2016

Joyful


I've written before about the major detour my life has taken and the toll that detour has taken on my psyche.  Before I get down to business, here's a brief recap:

My husband and I planned our lives carefully.  We had started married life as a family of three since I already had a five-year-old child, and we added another daughter soon after. From the beginning our lives revolved around the needs of our children (which was, of course, as it should be). But as we approached the dreaded milestone of turning 30 (in hindsight, it wasn't the big number we thought it was), we decided our little family was complete. And truthfully, we were already envisioning entering mid-life with only ourselves to take care of, and the freedom to do what we wanted for a change. Maybe we were already tired.

But before we had a chance to catch our breath, we found ourselves raising our two granddaughters. To say I haven't always been happy about the decades of added responsibilities is a major understatement, but contrary to popular belief I've always loved these girls beyond measure. I just had a lot of resentment regarding the circumstances that required this change in plans.

As the saying goes, we make plans and God laughs.

Of course, we now see that His plans are, indeed, better than anything we could dream up in our tiny human brains.  Our granddaughters seem to be on the right track. They're smart and funny and capable of having bright futures if they continue to make good choices. Most importantly, they've chosen to follow Jesus. Hopefully, they'll always look to Him when the darkness of this world tries to overtake them.

But back to the purpose of this post.

God is clearly using this Titanic-sized alteration of my life plans to teach me a thing or two.  I'm learning to think in terms of what God placed me here to do, not what I want out of this life.  I'm learning to turn to Him when life gets too difficult or my insecurities threaten to consume me.  I'm learning to forgive...slowly.  And I'm learning to embrace joy even when happiness eludes me.

I've been trying to explain this last concept to my husband for a while now.  I haven't felt that I was getting through.  Or maybe he wasn't listening.  Either one is possible.  And I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my marbles.  I mean, really, can a person be unhappy yet filled with joy???

Yes. A thousand times yes.

And today, I heard this idea clearly stated on the radio station K-LOVE, so it's no longer just my own delusion. Someone else thinks the same thing.  And from past experience I know that as soon as someone else says something I've been saying for years, all of a sudden my husband thinks it's a valid point.

Here's a link to the article, just in case you, like my husband, need to see it written by someone else before you're ready to believe it's possible:  How to Get Joy and Keep It

Yes, a Christian can be sad, depressed, and disappointed yet still feel immense joy deep within.  Jesus can do that for you.  I'm hoping that eventually, as I learn to let go of my will and accept His, I'll start to find true contentment even in the midst of disappointment. And maybe my life can reflect just a tiny bit of the love that God has shone down on me.

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