When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God
Then you will find your joy in the LORD…Isaiah 58:14a
Just a side note, this post became a bit longer than intended, and may end up becoming a series of posts in the future.
When Joy Is Hard to Find
2019 has been an intense year. There has been joy, but there has been a lot of “hard” too.
Though, if I’m honest my family has been in a rough season since 2017 when my husband left Active Duty. It appears we’re not quite ready to reap the harvest yet.
If this past weekend is any indicator, we’ve got quite a bit more sowing left in this season.
To those who know us personally, it isn’t a surprise to know we’ve been struggling. The move from Active Duty to civilian life has not been an easy experience. There have been more bumps in the road than either my husband or I ever expected.
Life without the security of the Marine Corps is a constant act of faith.
Never have we been what you would call financially “well-off”, but we’ve always been able to provide for ourselves and our children without too much struggle.
Until we no longer could.
When we moved from Washington State to Virginia, we left nearly everyone we knew.
My children left their friends and Sunday school teachers they loved. I left my sister, my cousin, and my childhood best friend.
We also drove away broke, because of a paperwork error that took months to straighten out before the Marine Corps would release my husband’s final paycheck.
Driving across the country nearly penniless, heading to a state where we still hadn’t found a place to live, could have been terrifying.
Instead, there was joy.
Okay, there was some fear too, but whenever the fear would claw at me I’d remember that everything comes from God. That He would provide in His way and His time.
So, I gladly accepted the joy He provided.
I shared adventures with my favorite people as we explored amazing sites, both created by God and made by man; the joy of giggles and drinking too much caffeine; staying in questionable hotels that would be safer if they were condemned; and cramming three kids, a cat, a dog, and two adults as well as everything we thought we might need, into a minivan.
With excitement like that, who had time for fear?
Joy in God is Accepting Help
After arriving in Virginia things became more complicated.
We needed to find a place to call home.
What should have taken only a couple of days turned into a two-month ordeal.
During this time, God once again provided for us, by opening the hearts and home of our dear friends.
Looking back, I believe God led us to explore Classical Conversations in Washington simply so we could connect with Rachal and her family, because once she moved to Virginia He led us away from CC and in another direction with our homeschool.
When Rachal and her husband offered us a place to stay while we looked for a house, neither our family or theirs expected it would be more than a weekend affair. So when place after place fell through and we were led to purchase a home instead of renting, my heart was filled with such gratitude and love when they welcomed us with open arms.
Let’s just say, there are times I think they deserved a medal (and possibly a parade) for that alone.
Having never needed to rely on others, accepting that my husband and I couldn’t do this on our own was difficult.
Especially since he was in a completely different state going through federal training.
Joy in God Comes When He Provides Family
Rachal and I weren’t close when we lived in Washington. We were friendly, and she was always willing to swing by and get my kids when I was dealing with rough moments during the pregnancy with my youngest daughter; we just didn’t spend time together outside of CC or our small-group Bible study.
God Knew What We Needed
Suddenly my kids and I were part of her family. We did pretty much everything together for those two months. My eldest daughter celebrated her 10th birthday sitting at their dining room table. She finally had older brothers, and she was thrilled to be there with them.
When I discovered I was pregnant with my youngest, Rachal and her husband were the first to know. In fact, they knew before I did, since they were convinced I was pregnant before I ever considered it. Later she was there holding my hand during the early morning hours as I gave birth to my youngest son.
Through every hoop we had to jump through while purchasing our house, to being hit with a stomach bug while pregnant, God filled me with joy.
There was joy in little things: having a second set of hands to snuggle my youngest daughter; someone to love on my “spirited” and struggling son, a church that had everything we were looking for. Things that would often be taken for granted just kept leading me right back to God, and the joy that comes from knowing He is taking care of each and every one of us.
God always provides, and my joy is always because of Him.
I Chose Joy in God Anew This Week
On Sunday as I prepared the kids and myself for church, I received a phone call from my husband. He’d been in an accident on I-95 and his car was totaled.
As the kids and I drove to pick him up, I sang praises to God. My husband’s car was totaled, and I thought I knew the hardship that would cause, but he had walked away from it without physical injury.
My children didn’t have to visit their father in the hospital, and I didn’t have to explain to them why their daddy wasn’t coming home.
Worries, Stress, and Choosing to Be Positive
Each day since the accident more and more obstacles have been placed before us. Some of them God immediately removed.
When He answers a prayer, the only thing I can do is praise Him and focus on the joy flooding through me.
Monday was especially rough, because my husband was trying to process what had happened, and I was as well.
The first wave of adrenaline and relief had past.
I woke up to a panic attack that only God could calm as I prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more, until finally the panic subsided and I was able to sleep again.
My husband was frustrated and bitter, and all I felt was an overwhelming sadness and heaviness of heart.
It didn’t take long before I was irritated with myself and decided to give it all to God.
I wrote out my prayers, my concerns, my frustrations, and my overwhelming belief in God. I wrote out my praises to Him.
Then I spent time in the study of Isaiah.
Isaiah 41 reminds us to stop lamenting and to return to rejoicing. That God provides for all our needs even during our struggles.
His testimony is that He will never forsake us.
We are to trust God as our shepherd and allow him to do it in the His way.
God Trumps Fear and Worry. Every Time.
While I immersed myself in God’s word, the fear and worry began to fade. Nothing had changed about our situation, but I gave that stress to God and accepted the peace and joy that replaced it.
Today things are still “bad” and there are no answers in sight. We don’t know where the next days and weeks will take us.
What I do know, is that I have joy.
Not because of any physical or material thing, but because I know joy in God.
The joy only experienced when you know God is in control, and that this isn’t our forever home.
Joy isn’t just a feeling.
It’s a knowledge that you’re never alone, and Our God is bigger than any problem we will ever face on Earth.
Until next time,
For more on the topic of joy check out this post.