It has taken me 43 years to realize the difference between joy and happiness. Even though I started this blog with a post about joy and sadness…even then, I still didn’t know.
- Happiness depends on our circumstances (happenstance) and those can vary by the minute.
- Joy is something we experience only when abiding in our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a precious fruit of the Spirit we can bear through Him, but never produce on our own.
You know how you learn and see things in hindsight, after the Lord has had time to slowly lead you into understanding?
We don’t always want to hear that verse from James that reminds us to consider it “all joy” when trials come our way.
Trials are never invited to dinner, but they still come knocking.
Let me give you a personal example.
For what is the purpose of learning a godly lesson if you don’t share it with others? ❤️
When I broke my leg at the age of 40, it compounded a string of year-long events that had me spiraling to the Upside Down (bad place).
It was Christmas break of Morgan’s senior year and Melody was just starting travel volleyball, but I could barely get myself to the bathroom.
I couldn’t get my own food. I couldn’t drive. I was stressed about my job and I had to sleep on the couch.
There were all kinds of reasons to complain. Where was my joy?
My right leg looked like it had been squished in a waffle iron. It was an important time at work and I tried to go back a week after my surgery because I hated not meeting due dates and or to inconvenience people if I’m not there. I want my neat little stacks with my color-coded labels and my notes written with my red pen.
It’s no wonder God allowed me to break my leg! I had to be stalled long enough for multiple areas to be pruned.
Although I have posts similar to this concerning my “broken” lessons, today’s will be different because March 28, 2018, is the first time I cannot wish my younger brother a happy birthday.
Little did I know as I groaned and hobbled toward surgery, that exactly 60 days later I would lose my first, best friend.
Jeremy and I talked maybe once a month. Sometimes, two or three months would pass and I saw him even less. We were each in our own world, thinking we had a lifetime to catch up later.
If I had not broken my leg on 12/23/16, then I wouldn’t have talked to my brother almost every week for the eight weeks that he borrowed my car; which ended up being the last eight weeks of his life.
You see, his van broke down on the way to my grandmother’s house that Christmas Eve. He was in an awful mood.
My dad and uncle left with him to have it towed, so then he had a non-working blazer and broken-down work van.
I told him that he could just use my car because I couldn’t drive anyway due to my leg.
I’ll never forget the weight that lifted from his face. As he drove away in it on Christmas Day – that was the last time I saw him.
We texted off and on (way more than usual), until two days before he died, about when he was bringing it back or how my surgery and recovery were going…and how we both were in a personal, emotional crisis.
He called me that week and I missed it.
I didn’t call him back.
I texted that I would, but then time ran out. I will always wonder why he was calling…but I’m thankful to have his final words to me, even though there was something eerily foreboding about what he said.
That’s the last thing I have from him.
A crying one.
If I had it to do all over again…I would gladly and joyfully go through the pain, inconvenience, burden and struggle of surgery for this metal plate and nine metal screws in my leg – just to have these messages – just to have the reason to correspond, outside of our busy lives, where we rarely saw one another.
My life came to a screeching halt over a 60-day period and it HURT.
But, I am not sad!
We do not walk in sorrow!
We trust in the Lord!
The joy that comes in the morning is so much sweeter after many nights of tasting salty tears.
Yes, I saw my brother die, but then I saw two people live.
(That story is linked below.)
Even if writing this makes absolutely NO sense to you, my sister and the two ladies who would go on to receive my brother’s kidneys know the delicately-woven fabric of the Master’s hand that led us to one another.
It is beyond my capacity for words to try and explain it.
When you have seen and felt the hand of God move, so close it’s like when He passed by Moses on the mountain, you are never the same.
Your pain will pale in comparison to the glory of the great I AM.
As I sat at the doctor yesterday, explaining my struggle of being active and trying to exercise through the constant pull under my skin, trying to lose weight and get my blood pressure under control, she said my leg, particularly my ankle, would probably never be the same.
And that is okay with me.
For I can now consider it ALL JOY – nothing but joy – my brothers and sisters, whenever I fall into various trials.
Be assured that the testing of my faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].
And then I can let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that I may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.
All of these trials, especially death, cause us to move a little closer on the bench to Jesus.
All of a sudden, the room full of people and all the “stuff” you’re worried about are gone. You sit in silence.
It’s just you and the Lord, as He waits for you to see the big picture...as He waits for you to experience the peace that passes all understanding, that will guard our hearts and minds in Him.
Not my will, but Yours.
Thy will be done.