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As the afternoon faded and the evening began, the weight of the day began its descent upon me. I kept my smile for many hours. I held my tongue. I kept my heart and mind from wandering into the ugly. But then it happened. That final straw that allowed the dam of emotions to emerge. I pushed through to get everyone tucked into bed, but I felt my heart sinking deeper and deeper.
The fatigue had come as had the darkness. I made my way to my favorite crying place. My closet. And there I let the tears roll.
I imagine you’ve been there, too. To that place where enough is enough. The cry needs to come. The pouring out of soul needs to happen.
For me, as the tears fell, a steady stream of unanswerable questions ran through my mind..
How will I keep doing this every day of my life?
Where will I get the energy? The brain power? The joy?
How can my children survive this?
How will my marriage remain intact and strong?
Where…where…is God and why is He letting this happen?
I could easily continue down this path of fear-filled questioning. But, I go where I know hope lives. As much as my flesh desires the continued groveling, I push toward that hope. I open God’s Word and I start where I know He has faithfully met me.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5 NIV
I remember the many occasions on which this particular Word proved true.
The times God showed His faithfulness when the hurt was deep and the problems large. When defeat threatened my spirit and my joy.
But each time the morning did come.
The sun found its way from behind the clouds. And with it once again, I too, found moments of joy.
That particular night I still went to sleep wrapped in grief. But the grief felt cleansed. It was if the tears had washed over it and His Word had put hope back in my heart.
As the morning arrived, I dragged myself out of bed asking the Lord for the reassurance of a better day. At least for the strength to put one foot in front of the other and be the Mom I knew He wanted me to be.
I stepped into the hallway, took a deep breath, and walked towards my children’s rooms. Seeing their precious sleeping faces, reminded me yet again of the gift God gave me in them.
Another deep breath, an arrow prayer for joy, and a gentle, “Good morning, sunshine.”
I could feel the tinges of hope beginning to form in my heart. And then then God did what only He can do in the moments we need it most.
I looked into the very set of eyes that just the night before had grieved my soul and caused the damn to break. She looked up at me and said, “I love you, mama. Hug me, please?”
And it’s real. The emotions are there. For that moment she is completely with me – connected. I’m her mama and she’s my baby girl.
I hug with all my might, feel the hope grow even more, and then feel His joy of the morning renew me.
And I let that one moment be enough. I let that one moment fuel the hope in my soul.
Friends, I don’t know exactly what your story entails, but I do know that in the darkest hours of our pain we have a choice to make. We can follow the trail of darkness or we can turn toward the hope found in His light and in His Word.
It isn’t a one choice deal, however. It is one we will need to make over and over and over again. I am willing to make that choice because in the trail of darkness there is no hope at all. Will you make that choice with me?
Because you know what? When we make that choice, God redeems it.
He shows us the moments of joy. He opens our eyes and heart to see and feel the beauty of the everyday. And He fuels us forward with a joy that is deeper than momentary happiness.
Happiness creates a smile that lasts merely a moment, but true God-given joy is the author of a smile that cannot be taken away by the circumstances of life.
Looking for more joy and hope? Here are some of my favorites from the Word of God.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; –Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
May the God of my hope so fill me with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of my faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. -Romans 15:13 (AMP)
When the Complete arrives, my incompletes will be canceled. I don’t yet see things clearly. I’m squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! I’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees me, knowing him directly just as he knows me! But for right now, until that completeness, I have three things to do to lead me toward consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. -1 Corinthians 13:10, 12-13 (The Message)
I am overcome with joy because of God’s unfailing love, for He has seen my troubles, and He cares about the anguish of my soul. -Psalm 31:7 (NLT)
I call out to High God, the God who holds me together. He sends orders from Heaven and saves me. God delivers generous love, He makes good on His word. -Psalm 57:2-3 (The Message)
Though I am surrounded by troubles, my God will preserve me against the anger of my enemies. He will clench His fist against my angry enemies! His power will save me. The Lord will work out His plans for my life – for His faithful love endures forever. -Psalm 138:7-8 (NLT)