An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Joy

I am 51 years old and I still encounter new things that I don't expect.  This Memorial Day, I had the opportunity to escape Kerrville and go to Lake Tahoe.  Most Texas Memorial Day's are spent in  90 degree weather but this one I actually had a BBQ in the snow!  I cannot say I have ever had that experience and it was another adventure in things not going as one might plan but nevertheless a fun experience.   


I am very thankful for the chance to rest and get away from local responsibilities and find it necessary in this season of caregiving.  Although the recent months have challenged me, I continue to see His goodness day in and day out.    I will write more later about the trip and things God is teaching me.  

This weekend I will be speaking in Gonzales for a Christian Women's Job Corps fundraising event.  I had the honor of helping start this ministry and am anxious to see what God has done in the community through this organization.  If you are in Gonzales, come to the Magnolia Tea at 11:00  Saturday.

Below is an article I wrote for the Kerrville Daily Times this last Friday.

Joy...what exactly is it?  Joy is a feeling of great happiness or pleasure.  It is an attitude that I feel God wants His children to have each and every day. But it is easier said than done because some days are simply more challenging than others.  I am discovering that there is grace to access joy when I choose to.  This means that I am responsible for finding my joy if I have lost it or it appears that it is hiding behind difficult circumstances.  So, how do we swing the joy bat  when life throws us a big curve ball?  How do we find joy when we are enduring situations that continue to hurt or linger?  Where is the joy when you feel you are standing alone?
I certainly don’t have all the answers but I do have some experience in the above circumstances.   I have found that it is easy to be joyful when life is going like you like it.  Most of us would agree that life doesn’t always go like we plan.  One of my life scriptures is in Psalms 16:8-11 which says, “I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore, my heart is glad and my inner man rejoices and my body will rest secure. You have made known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence with pleasures at your right hand.”

The important thing for me in managing my joy is keeping the right focus.  I do much better when I look at how powerful God is and how much He loves me instead of looking at my problem or dilemma.  Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness I have drawn you.”  His love never fails.  He is always loving me and no matter what happens in life, I must focus on His love and goodness.  
 As a former gymnast and coach, I know how important focus is to maintain your balance when you are on a balance beam.  The right focus is the difference in staying on and falling off.  The same is true in life.  If my focus is negative, my outlook and attitude will be too.  
  This scripture also says I am not alone.  He is holding me by the right hand.  Some days I get busy or distracted and forget to let Him hold my hand and I am more challenged by life’s circumstance. On the other hand, when I picture myself holding His hand I am much more confidant and secure.   Do you let Him hold your hand?
I love the determination of the psalmist here when he says, “I WILL not be shaken.”  Our will is a powerful thing that we can use in a positive or negative way.  There have been many days I have had to live out of my will to do what is pleasing to God verses what I feel like.
Determination and endurance can be done with joy when you keep looking at the end result.  Often times for me, it is to finish something well.  There are some things you simply cannot control or escape and those situations test your endurance level.  Anyone can quit, champions finish the course.  For example, the first ten sit-ups can be done with a smile but it is harder to find joy and have a smile  with sit up number 97,98,99 and 100.  When I am in a situation that is an endurance race, I have found joy focusing on finishing vs. where I am in the situation.  It is so much easier to do those last few sit-ups when people are cheering.  Sometimes we don’t get that blessing and have to simply breathe and draw on grace and count the trial as one that strengthens us and that is our joy.
Joy follows when our focus is right, we hold His hand and we set our will in a positive manner. The cool thing is hope is right behind along with rest.  Keeping our inner man at that place when our circumstances are screaming at us takes discipline and trust, but it is much better than the alternative.  It is my responsibility to learn to rejoice always and just be happy. (Philippians 4:4)  Join me in swinging the bat and knocking the curve balls of life out of the park! 





Kathleen

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