By MEGAN SITES
This is a picture I quickly snapped of the boys as the show was getting started. My nephew Cooper was so overcome with joy and excitement he could hardly contain himself, as you can clearly see in this picture. After I took this picture I glanced down at my phone to see how it turned out and my eyes filled with tears. I realized I had forgotten what joy felt like, and the Lord was beginning to speak to my heart.
I’ve learned life can be hard, terribly heart-wrenchingly hard. I don’t mean I just stained my new sweater, spilled my first cup of coffee, forgot to record last night’s episode of “The Voice” hard. I mean dream crushing, life-altering hard, and that is the season I have been in for nearly the last four years as my husband and I walk out our infertility journey.
Being in a hard season like this for an extended amount of time is so exhausting. But on this night in an arena filled with mostly men watching wrestling matches, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this verse in Psalms 28:7: “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” I have been struggling to see joy around me or really even to look for it.
When I saw the joy I happened to capture on my nephews face, I began to wonder where I had been missing it. Have I been surrounded by joy this whole time and just been too distracted to see it? Oh Jesus, open the eyes of my heart that I might see the joy all around me!
In scripture, we see joy talked about quite often. After this experience, I began to look up verses about joy and I realized something. Joy isn’t circumstantial; joy is a posture of the heart. I didn’t find verses that said, “Be joyful when you are getting what you want or when things are easy and good.” What I found were verses like Romans 12:12 which says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,” and Habakkuk 3:17-18 which says, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
In these verses and many more like them, we see that joy is the posture of our hearts in the midst of trials and hardships, not conditional to our circumstances. As I read, I was reminded that no matter my circumstances, joy is still around when I choose to embrace it. Just like that look on my nephew’s face. And I found myself smiling.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT Read through the verses above again. How can these verses challenge you to look outside your circumstances and find joy in God our Savior? And remember Philippians 4:8 which says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” We have a choice on what we fill our minds with. Today, choose to search for the good that is still all around you.
PRAYER Jesus, oh how my heart longs to be joyful in the midst of the hard things. Help me today to posture my heart in such a way that leads me to joyfulness and not hopelessness. Would you open the eyes of my heart to all the things You are doing around me, and to the joy I am already surrounded by. On this day, I choose to reset my heart in faithfulness and joy and to pursue You with everything that is inside me. Jesus, I love you and it is in Your name I pray, Amen.
You can connect with Megan via Instagram (@mrssites) and Facebook.