Today, I was blessed to have lunch and conversation with a cherished friend.
While driving home I rolled the windows down, turned up my music, felt the sun on my face, the breeze in my hair and I allowed a cleansing wave of joy to sweep over my heart. Because I needed to.
This morning was a tough one – a combination of a hard conversation with my eldest son (suddenly, at 17, time seems to be going ten times as quickly as in his previous years and big conversations regarding his future are becoming frequent), and the knowledge that a sweet friend was walking through a tough time, and just my own sensitive heart hurting as I prayed for the broken hearts around our country.
So yeah – just the type of day that begins low, and stays there.
And my heart was achy.
I tell you that, to tell you this: if, in the midst of an “achy heart” day, you suddenly find yourself longing for a break from it all and longing for joy – it’s ok.
Its ok to lay down the burdens – to want to throw off the heavy robe of sadness and feel lighter for a bit.
Its ok to embrace joy in the midst of pain.
I find that I can stay in the deep waters of grief and sorrow for only so long before I have to come up for air. I have to come up and breathe in joy.
I struggled with this for so very long. I used to think that when hard stuff was going on in my life trying to be joyful in the midst of it would be somehow fake, phony, or a form of denial.
It was a very long time before I understood a simple truth: grief and joy are not mutually exclusively.
A heart can, and will, hold both sorrow and joy at the same time.
The joy of the Lord exists ALWAYS – on the good days and on the really hard days and on every single day in between.
And opening your heart to the reprieve of joy in the midst of sorrow does not diminish or invalidate our pain.
Joy is simply..
..a gift from a Heavenly Father Who Loves To Give Good Gifts..
even in the midst of the very real hurt.
And it is in joy that we remember that someday, one very REAL day, we will get to feel only joy.
It is in the moments where the music is up and your chin lifts towards the sun and the breeze sweeps across your face, that you are assured – not an assurance that your hard stuff suddenly disappears – but assurance that you can make it through.
Because if joy here on earth exists.. hope exists.. and heaven exists.
Moments of joy are simply tastes of eternity, and we all need that.
Breathing Joy and Authentically Yours,
“Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart” Psalm 97:11