A few months ago, I was sitting in my counselor’s office and asking for wisdom in some personal matters. She’s a dear friend and always speaks truth into my life. She advised me to obey the whisper of the Spirit and pull away from the blogging world for a while. I’ve needed to involve my heart, mind, and body in other soul-filling endeavors.
Honestly, I’ve wanted to quit writing. I’ve been wrestling with “do I write?” or “do I just need to stop?” I’ve been talking with the Lord about it for many weeks. . .and He hasn’t given me the go-ahead to stop.Yet, I did feel Him leading me to take a break for a bit.
In recent days, I have sensed the urge to write again and share what God has been doing in my own heart through these last few months. God is graciously revealing more love to me, filling my heart with Himself, and using my story for His good and His glory. He has also been working out sin from within, reframing thought processes, and rooting out anger, pride, selfishness, and the list can continue.
Growing in Christ is certainly not easy. Dealing with sin is hard work. Searching for answers to life’s hard questions can be overwhelming.
Life in this world is just plain hard. Heartaches come often. Disappointments lead to confusion. Relationships can be draining. Suffering can seem endless.
But I have been fighting for joy. . .deep joy that is found only in Christ.
Fighting for joy on a daily basis is consuming. Fighting for joy when your heart is broken seems futile. Fighting for joy in grief takes every bit of energy you can give. Fighting for joy in parenting is exhausting. Fighting for joy in the stress of life is work!
YET, Fighting for joy is SO. WORTH. IT!
Christ commands the believer in Ephesians 6:10-13, “Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
As one of Christ’s children, I am fighting in a war on a daily basis. I am fighting for His joy to live abundantly in this broken and messy world. He graciously offers His armor to me–the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit-His Word! I am to be praying at all times in the Spirit and keeping alert with all perseverance. I must not quit fighting! The victory is mine through Him!
So, for the last few months, I have been fighting for joy! Every day, I have to choose to put on the armor of God and pick up the Sword to fight off anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness, selfishness, and loneliness. It is only by God’s grace that I’ve found any victory at all in the struggle of my messy life. But my God gives grace freely and abundantly.”My grace is sufficient for you.”
In August, I hit the 3 1/2 year (halfway) mark of losing my mom to suicide. Early on in my counseling, a counselor had told me that typically it takes a minimum of 7 years to find the “normalcy” of life after losing a close loved one to suicide. Suicide brings much complicated trauma to the ones left grieving. The mind has a really hard time processing through this type of death. Not only is suicide a sudden death (which is hard in itself), but it is also a traumatic death. Grieving the loss of my mom hasn’t ended. . .it’s a journey that I am still walking daily.
In addition to the fact that I still long for my mom daily, I am parenting two middle school kids, a first-grader, and busy, active 4 1/2 year old twins. I’m really not sure most days what God was thinking when He made me a mom to 5 children! Parenting is, by far, the hardest work on my plate these days! I’m fighting for His joy in leading my children to walk with Christ as I model my own dependence on Christ. I am given regular opportunities with my children to display the joy of the Lord! Sadly, I don’t always choose well to display joy, but I sure am working at it. My heart deeply desires that my children see their mom lean into Christ and fight for His joy.
Not only am I a parent and a daughter (who misses her mom), but I am a sister in Christ, a neighbor, a pastor’s wife, a mentor, a friend, and the list goes on and on. Frankly, I find it hard to share joy with others if I am not actively fighting for the joy of the Lord in my own life. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.(Luke 6:45) When my heart is full of His joy, the words from my mouth are able to speak joy into the heart of another. So, I keep fighting for His joy. I know that the joy of the Lord is my strength. (Neh. 8:10)
During the next few weeks, I will be sharing the practical and spiritual ways that I am fighting for His joy. Fighting for joy is a struggle for each one of us. . . if we will be honest enough to admit it. I hope and pray that you will find encouragement in your soul. God desires that we experience abundant joy in Him!