Life has been full here. Full in a good way – Seth and I both enjoying the challenges and privileges of our jobs and of parenting two beautiful, funny, exasperating twin three-year-old daughters. Trying not to lose sight of each other in the midst of a busy season. Trying to remember the busy season is that – a season – and thinking about how to proactively create space and a different pace at the conclusion of this spring season of Easter, my retreat speaking, his mission trip to Peru.
So here I am, this Saturday morning instead of yesterday morning, doing my favorite blog prompt by Lisa-Jo Baker. Five minutes to free-write – no editing, no second-guessing, just writing. Today’s word: JOY.
Joy comes hidden. It’s not where you might expect it to show up. It may be part of the grand wedding day, the huge birthday bash, the day you see your name in print for the first time, the graduation, the job promotion, the moment you cradle your newborn and gaze into her wide-awake-to-the-world eyes.
But more often, joy has come for me in surprising places. Like the day after weeks of weeping for a love lost and you realize you can hear the birds singing again. Or the time in the very midst of suffering you thought you’d never live through that you hit something sustaining you under it and through it. Happy? Of course not. But there’s a rock-bottom Joy that holds you as you fall; that keeps you; that assures you you’ll not be utterly undone.
Joy is what gives courage to face the hard, the impossible, the sad. It will not have the last say. Joy will still be there. Joy will increase more for all the sadness we know now. For, as Sally Lloyd-Jones says in The Jesus Storybook Bible, heaven is a day “when everything sad comes untrue.” She alludes to the mystery that every heartache and heartbreak and dark season of the soul will somehow increase Joy for the one who finds refuge in the man of sorrows, Jesus, the most joyful one who was also the most sorrowful.
Can I fight for joy (not happiness) even in pain and suffering and loss? Yes, yes, yes. Wait for it. It will come as surely as the sunrise after a long, dark night.