In my last post, which was rather here and there because I was trying to keep it abbreviated and give the Cliff’s Notes version of life rather than the novelette, the overriding tone was depressed. I admit it. I have been battling a rather significant depression for several weeks, and I have done all the right things to work through it, but yesterday it became apparent that I was still struggling.
Yesterday morning I sat on my deck as I had my quiet time and poured my heart out to the Lord. I didn’t realize the depth of sadness and hurt over some things until I began to weep as I prayed. One of my honest prayers was simply, “Lord, I need out of this pit, and I am lost as to how to get out. Please reach in and get me.”
One area that has been hard lately is marriage. We are in a season of change and growth, which is great, and I know God is doing good things. Right now, though, there is uneven personal growth between Rob and me, and that is hard. We are also entering into a new season with our children as they reach a different level of independence, and all the changes often leave me feeling like I am on a boat in the middle of a lake in a huge storm wondering if the Guy sleeping in the bottom of the boat is aware of the situation or if He needs me to help Him grasp the reality of it all. While I know He isn’t sleeping and He does know, I have moments when the trip still makes me sea sick, and jumping ship seems to have some significant perks.
Lots of lovely imagery, eh? Well, let me put it simply: it seems that everything the Man of my Dreams has been doing lately is getting on my nerves. His very presence can be aggravating, and it isn’t just him. The children are the same way. Friends are the same way. Life is getting on my nerves, but it seems to be worst with Rob. Point blank prayer, “God, I’m tired of being annoyed. Help me find the joy in Rob.” Immediate thought: Get a journal and start writing every good point and all the things that make you thankful about Rob. Then do the same about the children. And do the same about your friends, and then write them notes telling them.
WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!
I thought about it, and I think I have journals that will work for that, and I was sure I had note cards, and I was excited. The Lord had answered my prayers, and IMMEDIATELY! How great is our God!!!
And I got up and went in the house where children were hungry, schedules had to be met, and life took over, and the journal was left where it was, and subsequently, so were my emotions, thoughts, and mood.
At the end of the day yesterday, I had a stress head ache that was trying to turn into a migraine. My muscles were so tight that moving at all was painful. If it hadn’t hurt so much, I would have cried. I replayed the day and sunk even deeper. I talked to Rob about the fact that emotionally I was whipped. Physically, I was stressed to extremes. Mentally, I was battered with feelings of failure since I couldn’t snap out of it. As I lay down, I again prayed, “God, help me. I can’t do this.”
First thing this morning, I did a morning no-no. I pulled out my computer and decided to visit some favorite blogs. I visited Paula’s first because I had seen that she posted a new entry yesterday, but I didn’t have time to read it last night. Let me say, God speaks through Paula. Her whole post was on joy, and one of the comments from SharonB said “Joy…it is a choice of obedience”.
And I sat there with tears feeling overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness. He had answered my question two mornings in a row, and not once did He roll His eyes or say, “If you’d just have listened yesterday…” No. He just said, “Let’s try again, Jer,” and this time, I got it. In fact, I am recording it as part of my testimony, and you can be my witnesses. God is faithful, and there is joy in the journey.
So keeping with the Fifteen Joyous Things in my Life:
- My family enjoying each other. I love hearing Rob and the children playing and laughing and being silly. It is great and wonderful joy.
- Walks on the beach at sunrise with the children. That started about three years ago for us. I was going to take a walk by myself, but my daughter wanted to come, and I was afraid she’d wake Rob up if she didn’t. The next morning my son wanted to come. At first, I was annoyed because I wanted my time. In retrospect, those walks are the highlight of the beach and treasured memories.
- Mornings. The first thing each child does is find me and hug or snuggle me and tell me how much they love me and how thankful they are. I tell them the same. That is pure gold.
- Doing dishes with Rob.
- The smell of fresh cut hay.
- Reaching over in the night and patting Rob. Missing him when he has to travel.
- Get the Thing. It’s perfectly clean dirty fun.
- Friends who see me as I want to be and courageous speak life into that desire even when I seem to be very different from that.
- My photography when I see God’s hand in it and the picture is just right.
- Receiving emails from our soldiers that we support.
- Naps with Fred on the big bed.
- Encouraging other people.
- My mom, step-dad, and brother, getting together with them and playing games.
- Talk time with the children.
- Knowing I have a purpose and the Lord will fulfill it for His glory. I didn’t always know that or trust that, so this is a source of great excitement and joy for me.
I considered putting the “right” answers such as breathing, having food, having a home. You know, I have those all the time, praise the Lord, and too often, I am not very joyful. I find more and more that my joy centers around a few areas: my relationship with the Lord, my relationship with people who are important to me, my faith in God to care of me and my needs, and my value in Him. How those things manifest are different from day to day. All in all, though, the things that make my heart stop, breathe deeply, and feel full remain the same, and often, they are always there. I just have to stop and cultivate them.
Now, I need to go find that journal and start making my list.
Praying you recognize and cultivate the joy of God in your life…
And while you are at it, leave a comment telling me what makes you joyful. And, Iona, beloved friend who always brings me joy, you are tagged.