Friday, December 9, 2016

FMF with Kate Motaung
//The word is Joy

Joy and grief

Joy…I don't always understand it. I get happy, elated, enjoying for a moment of time. These are feelings, emotions people have. But joy? Hmm, haven't noticed it on me lately and no one has told me they can see it either.

To skip the details and fast forward to last week, I didn't want to do Christmas this year. A whole lot of grief topped with a tragedy sealed it. Dread of epic proportions set in like mortar between brick as a fortress was being built around me. Scripture, Bible studies, counseling, friends, humor and prayers were keeping my head above the layers but I was quickly losing sight of any hope, even in the midst of confessing it.

Then one day I bought an ornament, and another day I bought a handmade wreath from a second-hand store. The next day I went to a garden nursery and purchased six tiny glass angels for my clients I care for. As I walked around looking at all the things I would like to buy but can't my grief just silently ran from my eyes as I approached the register. It really had nothing to do with the decorations. Everything the season represents just dissolved into despair. As much as I know and believe, I couldn't bring it to the surface of my thinking.

Later I went home and opened the Bible. “The light shines in darkness and the darkness did not understand it” Jn 1:5. Immediately I thought, doesn’t darkness disappear at the entrance of light? What is there to understand? I continued “…there was the true light which coming into the world enlightens every man. He was in the world and the world was made through Him and the world did not know Him. He came to His own and those who were his own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”, Jn 1:9-13.//

As I thought about light and dark I thought about joy and grief. I realized the antithesis of each. I saw that we live in a dark world and even though I have the light of Christ inside me I still have the choice to walk in that which I have received rather than let darkness consume me. Darkness will always try to oppose light just as grief will try to overshadow joy. “The joy of the Lord is your strength”, Neh 8:10.

Things haven't changed. The tragedy can't be reversed. There are unresolved issues and hurt feelings. There are losses, broken relationships and words that can’t be taken back. I cannot control the responses of others or circumstances. I can only relinquish that control over to Christ and receive His light.

I have turned a corner. I am in a different place than yesterday. I sense a new strength, I don't call it a  happy, elated feeling. I call it joy.

“Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart”. Psa 97:11

I think I will do Christmas and celebrate Christ, the light of the world.


  1. I'm sorry for what you are experiencing this season. I pray you will lean into Jesus and let his joy be your strength. I also pray you will find peace. Be blessed and know you are not alone. Never alone. I'm your neighbor from FMF.

    1. Thank you. Never alone. Never abandoned.

  2. Ahhhhhh, now your comment makes more sense. No, my friend, you are not alone in your process. We may not all have the same circumstance, but we all have the same choice. Do we let the darkness snuff out the light? Never.
    Praying strength, courage, and joy for you in this season! Well done for doing the "ordinary" so God can do the extra-ordinary!
    Shauna (from FMF#13)

    1. We are one body! And we confirm it in our words and Spirit. Heaven will be glorious when I meet all who helped me that I never meet on earth. Our words matter! Thanks for visiting.

  3. Mary, this is heartrendingly beautiful.

    "I don't call it a happy, elated feeling. I call it joy." You have it exactly right.