One of my main hopes for 2020 is for more joy. The kingdom of God is about peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). The pain of 2019 has lead to an expanded understanding and appreciation. That all yields joy, but on a daily basis, I need reminded. Each day I wake up to our loss, all we don’t have, and the uncertainty of the future. After those thoughts creep in, I need to shift my thinking and remind myself of what we do have and what we do know. What we do have – love, lots and lots of love.
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” Psalms 126:5
I think of the moments I feel the most joyful. I get a rush of joy in my heart when I feel the sun shine on my face. I’m not sure why, but for years the sun shining on my face has reminded me of God’s love. I get such joy at that thought!
I also have the most joy when spending time with Daniel and others I love. Eating together, playing games, joking around, or snuggling on the couch are all things that bring me joy because I have so much love.
For me, love brings joy. So I’ll focus on the love in my life. When I focus on my love for Ginny, my grief is joyful. When I focus on the love of God & family and eternity in heaven, my future is joyful. When I focus on the love of those around me, my day is joyful.
“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
It’s okay to need reminders. It is easy to slip into fear or to slip in to sadness. It’s okay to feel those feelings, but it is also okay to remind yourself of love and joy. And it’s okay to experience it all. I feel like I experience it all within an hour sometimes.
I want the core of my life to be love though. I want joy to burst at the seams of every area, even my grief. That is possible. It is possible to be full of joy and grief because it all comes from love. And my grief is not a hopeless grief. My love for my daughter is still alive in me, and my daughter is still alive in heaven. I can have joy in that! I do have joy in that!
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14