My deck umbrella waves in the slight August wind as I sit in its shade. God has granted a beautiful summer morning and time for reflection.
So beautiful outside yet not so lovely within.
Still struggling with an illness and wondering why healing waits. Disgusted with myself that I cannot find joy when I face uncomfortable circumstances.
“Count it all joy,” James demands.
I am not in a joyful place. My faith is too weak.
“Let endurance, steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work.” Waiting is so hard for me.
“Come to me,” Jesus said, “all you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Rest. Not the rest that revives during a vacation to the mountains of New Mexico, but the emotional and lovely rest of a contented soul.
I think of the brave women I know who live with chronic pain. Somehow, they find their joy even in the midst of the struggle. They live with gratitude and accomplish what they can while setting healthy boundaries. My she-roes, every one of them.
But I cannot reproduce what they own.
My joy button needs to be re-set, and I cannot find the mechanism.
Although I DO know joy resides within me, somehow I cannot feel it on this beauteous August morning. I attempt joyful activities, because I know I should and must. I journal through the struggle, work on my Southwest puzzle, bang on the piano.
But the feeling of joy – that inner light sparkling in the eyes of my friend who has multiple sclerosis, laughter bubblings from infants, the glow shining from weathered saints’ faces – somehow that brand of joy eludes me.
Can I only be joyful when every circumstance feels perfect and in sync? How shallow is my faith!
Yet hope peeks from behind the curtain of Psalm 68 as the divine calls me to find the page. “God is beginning to rise….”
Somehow just knowing there will indeed be a beginning brings hope and the knowing that God is present. A sudden blip of peace.
The Psalm urges me onward to nuggets of hope:
- Let the uncompromisingly righteous be glad. Have I somehow compromised my joy?
- Let them be in high spirits. I cannot remember the last time I was in high spirits.
- Let them glory before God, to rejoice in him.
How can this “letting” happen? How can I manufacture this feeling of joy once again?
The solution whispers in Psalm 68:4:
- Sing to God.
- Sing praises to his name.
- His name is the Lord. Jehovah, my eternal Husband and Maker, Friend, Lover of my soul.
- Be in high spirits and glory before him.
So I obey, moving to my back yard to dance near the strawberry patch. I lift my hands upward. The song comes timidly at first, a familiar melody yet different words.
No soul response yet, so I dig deeper and sing louder – uncaring if the neighbors look out and see me cavorting with God in my back yard.
The hallelujahs of melody begin to ring true. I sing the words of Psalm 68:4 and forget the rules of musical theory. The important focus is on the spirit of the words.
I ignore the enemy’s taunts, the memories of the past week, the frailties of my humanity. Instead, I lift my praises to the only one who truly knows the condition of my soul.
And glory – there it comes – a bubble of joy resurfacing and lighting my inner self with its purity.
God sends a dragonfly to cheer me, to flap his lacey wings in response to the beat of creative worship. He flicks his beady eyes in my direction and dares me to imagine a creator who fashioned his spindly body one day and a sturdy oak the next.
God is beginning to rise. I praise him for the beginnings and glorify him for the rising of his presence once again.
Hope sings and joy responds.
©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh
Rebecca, is there a way to share this on fb? Love your writing!
Sent from my iPhone
I just shared it on your FB page, Cindy. There is also a Share button on the post so that you can always share where you want it to be. Thanks for the encouragement !
So beautiful and honest! We are only human. Isn’t it interesting how all the parts of ourselves are connected? We are indeed ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ You had to move physically before your spirit changed, yet God provided the spark, too. So glad HE is beginning to rise. Please God ARISE! How desperately we need it.
Thank you, SuZan. From your lips to His heart – the plea to rise !
Love this….love this! great insights and honest words! Thank you as always.
blessings bea I have been asked to share at a ladies tea about REST. Your words have pushed me to consider other ways we rest even when we don’t feel/sense the joy, contentment or assurance of our Lord’s presence. Your prayers for my talk would be greatly appreciated. It’s the 21st. >
May His words be with you, Bea, as you share from His heart. He will tell you how to rest in Him and then increase your joy. Let me know how it goes on the 21st. Prayers for you !
“God is beginning to rise.” That needs an exclamation point, friend.
Rebecca – How did I not have a subscription to your blog until now?! I thought I did that long ago. I am so glad I was led to this space today. God has been speaking to me about HOPE on so many different fronts today. I can’t wait to dig into your hope posts. #preach
PS – Love the blog theme you chose 😉
Thanks, Sara. I wonder if the changing of themes caused me to lose followers cause I haven’t had nearly as many comments as before. Anyway, glad to have you back. Yep – I “borrowed” your theme !
There are many times that my chronic illness stands in the way of doing activities with grandchildren, my husband, my dear friends, and attending church. There are many times I stay at home in pain or to dizzy to walk or some other problem. And, I have to remind myself that this is my new normal.
So, I have looked for things I can do to distract myself. I can’t dance with Rebecca, but I can draw pictures in my art journal and let the colors carry me away. I can read and walk in the pages of a book. I can research a topic that is new to be and take joy in learning. I can be grateful that I did one load of laundry, or unloaded the dishwasher, or picked up my messes of art supplies.
My sisters and I exchange via email three things we are grateful for every day. That doesn’t mean I am overflowing with joy, but I can live with the normal that I have now.
There are times of outrageous, wonderful joy, but I find being content with where I am now is a great blessing.
You are one of my she-roes, Ginger. I love how you find joy – even in the ravages of chronic illness. Love you, my friend !
Really loved this. Really. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Sylvia. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.