Finding JOY!

I  have been really busy lately, and feeling a little overwhelmed (Dave might say that is an understatement).  The other night I was feeling a little sorry for myself as I looked at the plethora of things that I need to accomplish in a short amount of time.  I would love the luxury of being able to stay home and just work on it all.  However, Joel’s therapy and appointments are very important and so we have to make it to those.  Samuel is cutting teeth and loving being close to me, there are meals to make, clothes to wash, children to help with various problems and issues, which in the end leaves very little time to check things off the long list of things to do.  (Yes, once again you will most likely receive your Christmas card in January… better late than never!! 🙁 )  Dave helps where he can but he works and when he is home he is winterizing chicken coops and the house etc.

So there I was putting a load of laundry in the washing machine (feeling sorry for myself).  I was thinking about all the work I had to do, my feelings of loneliness, I was thinking about all Joel has been through, and was just wishing things were easier,  when an image flashed before my eyes.  It was of a little boy, to be honest I remember very little about him.  I don’t remember his name, or age, or even when exactly I met him.  It was shortly after Joel’s surgery.  We were in the hospital and one night when our night nurse came in he was wheeling this little guy along with him.  He was around 14 months old and was in a body cast of sorts.  Our nurse asked me if I minded having him in the room while he did Joel’s vitals.  I said, “Of course, not!”  Our nurse said, “Oh good, he is all alone and because he is in foster care no one comes to visit him, so he just lays in his bed.”  I talked to the little guy who was all alone in this world, while our nurse checked Joel’s vitals.  He gave me big smiles and my heart broke for him.

I sometimes feel lonely but I have never been as alone as that little guy was.  I sometimes feel life is overwhelming and unfair.  Yet I have always had a place to call home and a family who loves me.  I went from feeling sorry for myself  to feeling ashamed.  Yes, life is unfair, hard, and lonely at times… but that little guy was able to find joy and share a smile with me in his unfair, hard, and lonely life.  I have said this before but I’ll say it again; how very much we can learn from children.  If things were reversed and I was in the body cast, alone unsure of where I would be tomorrow and you spoke a few kind words to me, would I respond to you with joy or would I tell you your words were worthless.

Lord, I have no idea where that little one is but I pray this world would not harden his heart and that your joy would remain in him.

I pray that I would respond with joy.  That my first reaction would not be look at all this laundry I have to wash and think poor me, but rather, praise God I have clothes to wash.  When my kids spill their food or drinks, praise God we have food to eat and drinks to drink!   When my children argue with one another, as I correct them help me to be grateful that I am blessed with children enough to argue, and that they have voices to use and thoughts to yell at each other.  (Obviously, I am in no way encouraging squabbling but you get my point.)

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  ~ 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

He did not say, Be joyful when you feel like it, pray when it is easy and give thanks for the good times, but rather always, continually, and in all circumstances.  That means in the tough stuff, the unfair, and in the lonely.  I challenge us all to put this verse to memory and to say it first thing in the morning, say it several times a day, and as you lay your head on your pillow at night.  Imagine how differently we will respond if we live this out.

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