Updated: May 21
It is a road I never wanted to travel. It is a road I never thought I'd travel. Somehow I thought my hope would be based on all that is right. But that reasoning was so very wrong. Had I thought about it more, what need would there be for hope if life was full of joy? Joy would presuppose that all was right and perfect in my world, right?
Nah, that's not only a skewed and dangerous way to look at your life, it is not the reality we face every single day, often catching us off guard when we feel life has no where else to go, no hope, no joy.
My last year in review shows a life of unwanted circumstances from my health to my children's struggles to my family unit falling apart and leaving the kids and I to figure life out by ourselves, to the addition now of two pets suffering various ailments.
But I believe hope and joy go hand in hand. Joy doesn’t start with a change in your circumstances, but a change in you. That change begins with knowing you have hope in all your sorrows, grief, trials and tribulations. Leaning into joy is about finding strength and courage to face difficult tomorrows because of that hope you have.
When we can find joy, even in the times of our dark night of the soul seasons, we will not only be able to endure these challenging times, we will be able to be triumphant and in turn pass the reason for our successfully navigating and moving beyond the surface difficulties on to others whose struggles are pulling them down into deep holes.
Referring back to my "It's the Little Things" post, this is where we need to remind ourselves of the joys we have amongst our sorrows. They point us to the Light. They point us to the Way to finding joy. They give us a recipe for being thankful in all circumstances and finding joy therein.
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12
The way we lean into joy is to lean into hope with faithfulness in prayer. Sounds simple, right? But when you are sitting by the bedside of the child who is about to take his/her last breath so prematurely that you can't comprehend why this is happening, it is easier said than done.
Hope is experienced when we have seen it all (so to speak) and have endured everything and still do not despair. It is from this experience of continuing to travel on this rugged road that we discover that we can find joy by changing how we look at things, not by changing the road we are on.
Today, my little joy is celebrating my middle son's 21st birthday. It is a milestone for us both. It marks 21 years of adventures, ups and downs, discoveries about one another and celebrations of life and all it has to offer in every circumstance. It has involved many prayers and trials and so much joy and laughter. Looking back at those last 21 years makes me see my hope...makes me feel joy...makes me continue to want to be faithful by leaning into bringing joy, love and light to others. I will tell you this one thing I know for sure, it takes a shift of focus to find these things that are seemingly hiding beneath the things that have caused a dark veil to cover our lives.
Lean into joy by celebrating the hope you have as you patiently travel the road you are on! Today's reflection is below:
"Leaning into joy,
Experience new focus,
Living love and light."