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When Joy Doesn’t Come Naturally

by Cathy Baker

So here we are on the final day of our April theme and the one post I didn’t want to write refuses to loosen its grip. 

Truth is, I selfishly chose this subject because I feel like a total failure when it comes to exuding joy. I look at others who seem to naturally tap into that particular fruit of the Spirit with such ease and wonder why it seems more difficult for me. Is it because I’m a bona fide melancholy introvert?  

While preparing to kick off the April series, I said to a friend, “I’m not a naturally joyful person.” And there it was — my answer. 

There’s nothing natural about biblical joy. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds… James 1:2

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…1 Peter 1:8


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13



Be joyful always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Biblical joy isn’t grounded in a particular temperament 
or swayed by outward circumstances.
It is the supernatural manifestation of Christ
that flows in and through us.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. There’s still much exploring to do on the subject of joy so maybe we’ll pick it up again another month. 

Coming Up in May…

In the meantime, let me give you a sneak peek into May’s theme: Save the Date – Engaging God and Your Creative Senses. You may just be surprised by the ideas that unfold next month. The new posts begin Monday, May 4th. Hope to see you there!

When Joy’s Fragrance is Most Potent


by Cathy Baker

Last year I had the privilege of leading a writer’s workshop for a retreat focused on caring for mothers who’ve lost a child of any age. I marveled at their strength, faith, and joy, despite the heartbreaking circumstances facing them every waking day.

Someone who knows much about this kind of pain is Dee Dee Parker, an extraordinary friend of mine, who lost her 34 year-old daughter to cancer several years ago. It’s because of the forever fragrance released through Dee Dee’s life that I asked her to share how joy is possible even on the darkest of days. 

◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆

Brooke’s death was imminent. 

I remember gazing into her eyes, memorizing her face. I longed to gather her frail body in my arms, a mother’s arms, designed to protect and run away to where pain could no longer ravish, and death could not steal her life’s breath. 
I remember thinking how our hearts have always beaten in tandem, when her heart stops, so will mine.

Truth:  

I could not whisk her away. She was heaven-bound. Death did come; I was left behind. Brooke’s heart stopped beating. My heart continued beating, but not my will. 

In the wee hours of morning under an ink-stained sky, I crumbled to my knees. 

Yes, I paint a harsh picture, but that’s because so many of you find yourselves in a place so black, so painful, and appearing void of joy. 

Since Brooke’s home going, I’ve been asked numerous times, “How have you continued on? How have you found joy?”

Truth is, I didn’t have to find my joy. My joy is in the Lord therefore it is constant, strong, and eternal. Happiness, on the other hand, like the fickle thing it is, had flown. I wasn’t happy seeing my daughter suffering or knowing I’d never hear her say mother again on this side of heaven. 

Brooke was a believer; therefore, according to scripture, she is with her Savior and Lord. She no longer is paralyzed from cancer’s tentacles. Praise the Lord she has a glorified body, she dances in stardust. Brooke lives, and I will be with her again. I have reason to rejoice!

I pray that you know Christ, the foundation of joy; it comes by establishing an intimate relationship with Him. I don’t know your names, can’t see your faces, but I can pray for you in your time of heart-rending hurt. I will fling the words of Romans 15:13 to the very courts of heaven on your behalf: 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   

Precious readers, I wish you all joy unspeakable.  

◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆

Thank you, Dee Dee, for bringing difficult but powerful words to the surface for the benefit of others. 

Friends, Dee Dee welcomes the opportunity to pray for you. She also wants to make herself available to those who’ve experienced the loss of a child or grandchild by lending a welcoming ear. If you would like to contact her, please email me or leave a comment. She can also be found on Facebook. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who
comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we
ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3,4
Don’t forget! There are only three more days left to put your name in the drawing for the teacup and saucer from my personal collection. Visit this post and leave a comment to register. A name will be randomly drawn on Friday, April 10th.
 

Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time

 
Welcome, friend.

I hope
you’ll pull up a chair and make yourself comfy while I’ll pour us a
cuppa tea. Imaginary tea, after all, is always special.

I’m asking God to STIR us, awakening us to His Word that we might allow it to STEEP deeply into
our souls. As we take a moment to SIP on one word this week, my prayer is that it will move us to the point of action.

So, how was your holiday weekend? 

Ours was great! Bucky’s BBQ, time with the family, and an opportunity to attend our former church, where Brian played drums for their patriotic music service. Old Glory surged through my veins, exposing a gap in gratefulness of the heart—both as a citizen of the United States and more importantly, a primary citizen of heaven.

 
Heavenly Father,

Open our eyes and stir our convictions as You reveal places of ungratefulness in our lives. Those places lacking honor for the sacrifices made on our behalf.
Places blinded by busyness, selfishness, and ignorance. 

Amen. 

 

Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul? 
Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good…Hebrews 13:16 The Message
 
 
 
  
Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 
led to “sip” on, to meditate on, throughout this week?
   
———————————–

My word this week is “you.” This tells me it’s my responsibility to see—really see—people, things, and circumstances with fresh, appreciative eyes. 


Before
we bring our time to a close, consider one tangible way to “pour”
out His truth in response to the word(s) we’ve chosen above. 
Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time. Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your “word” in the comment box? Blessings!
He
does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take
pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those
who wait for His lovingkindness. – See more at:
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Romans 15:13
 
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