Do you ever stop to look at how much joy you have in your life?
Joy is the first thing that tries to escape me in a difficult moment.
Loss of joy is a scary thing because in the last part of Nehemiah 8:10 it says
Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!
As a part time working mom who doesn’t get a lot of sleep with three little people to love and adore, I know I need strength. My guess is you do too.
I go to great lengths to ensure my body has everything it needs to thrive through my days.
Exercise, nutrition and water intake are three things that I watch closely to make sure I am in optimal shape for all of my roles and commitments.
But in this verse there is a little key that has been unlocking pretty big doors in my life.
Joy is strength.
Since I have encountered the fact that when I have joy, I have strength, joy is something that I have been monitoring closely.
If I notice I’m feeling weak or discouraged, I check my joy levels. Where is my joy at? Have I let it all leak away without taking notice of it?
The secret to joy, is thankfulness. When you have a thankful heart, God is free to pour out his joy, which is literally strength, into us.
I was at a revival service not that long ago and the speaker prayed over me to receive more of the joy of the Lord.
As I enjoyed a beautiful moment in His presence, I saw a picture of a lot of the things that drive me crazy in my life.
I saw my son run past the kitchen counter with his arm out, knocking everything off, cheerios spilling everywhere, and my favourite mug breaking.
I could not stop laughing. I laughed so hard and thanked Jesus for the gift of my kids. My thankfulness could not be stopped in that sweet moment of joy.
After this experience I was tested in my joy. Andrew and I went away without our kids for our fifth anniversary.
We arrived at the restaurant and I could tell that my husband wasn’t feeling well at all.
As I watched him push his fries around his plate, I knew that something MUST be wrong. Fries rarely go untouched! My heart sank.
By later that evening, he was throwing up, and shortly after him, I was too.
We laid on our king size bed in a beautiful hotel room battling the stomach flu.
In that moment I consciously chose thankfulness, which turned to joy, which turned to strength.
I thanked God that our kids weren’t with us and that we didn’t have to take care of them. I think I thanked him for that over and over and over!
Don’t allow your strength to be zapped from your body, mind and spirit. Use thankfulness to unlock joy, which will unleash strength!
My sister, walking out thankulness and joy on her grad day, getting out of the hospital just in time to be at the ceremony! She was so strong!