Proverbs 17:22 "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
John 16:22 "So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."
Romans 12:7-9 "If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."
For 48 hours this week, one of my daughters was sick. The kind of sick where she would only stop crying if she was being held and I was the designated "holder". Which meant that there was very little sleep involved and I was working on fumes. It became very easy to see the world (or even just my immediate surroundings) as one dimensional and all about my situation but I tried something different, this time.
We all are going to get sick and we all are going to have sick kids, family and life just happens. Nothing new and nothing revolutionary. Life is all about days and weeks and moments and circumstance but I wanted to try something new. While Frankie was crying, for the 10th time, at 12:58am, I would sit up and say, "Give me joy, Lord."
Sound corny and a little "church lady?" Yes, it seemed that way to me as well. At first. But if you continue to say it....it begins to become a mantra and life seems a little easier. Instead of being irritated at my daughter for withholding sleep from me (afterall, it IS her fault she has a 102 degree fever), I began to have a spirit of joy. I was able to walk down the hall and thank the Lord for being gifted children to care for. I would enter her room, pick her up from her crib and hold her, knowing that there are woman who, if called, would admit that they would bare that cross over and over, if only given a sweet baby. I began to see the joy in making meals for a feverish and angry toddler and smiling, rather than rolling my eyes when she reached for me.
I asked and found joy when I realized that I was able to stay in pajamas and care for my baby. Joy is always all around me, mine for the taking but I have to look for it, even when life suggests you feel sorry for yourself.
Maybe it has always been as simple as saying, "Give me joy, Lord." If it has been, I feel ashamed that I have let circumstances and less-than-desirable life happenings shade my view.
Try it today.
The Lord hands out joy freely and to all. Go looking for it.
And if you need a jumpstart, here are my kids. Always filled with joy (that is, until I switch off BubbleGuppies half way through the program).
A Joyful Friday to you!