I choose JOY
Last Friday was my birthday. My 56th birthday. (Gee… I’m getting old!) I’d been on the brink of 50 when God led me into my Writing journey. It has been the most fulfilling time of my life. Yes, my ‘golden years’ ushered in a beautiful season filled with hope, promise and joy. I love my life (most of the time). I love being a writer (all of the time). I am now 56 years old and blessed to be exactly where I am.
Events that took me by surprise during the week brought me to my birthday morning shocked and perplexed. I hardly slept the night before so I was bleary eyed. The day whizzed by in a state of bewilderment and sadness, tears and questions. Yes, it was a most unusual birthday. I felt then that it was my saddest birthday.
Today as I write this is the day after my birthday. I reflect on the day that was past. Yesterday I dubbed it the saddest birthday of my life. Today I realise that it was also the gladdest birthday of my life. “How’s that?”, your eyebrows ask. Let me explain.
From the time I woke up last morning I was showered with love. While my heart was sad – I was also warmed from wthout. My husband blessed me – with many giant bear hugs, special, thoughtful gifts and a card that said it all. From a caring text message while at work (that made me smile) to surprising me with red roses when he returned home. From being there for me when I needed him most to being TBHAGEH! Yes, he lived up to the title I’d given him when we were newly married – The Best Husband A Girl Ever Had!
My son warmed me. His caring words in a perfect card made my cry. His hug was a unique treat. His words of concern thrilled my mother-heart. Yes, both my men came up trumps. I couldn’t have asked for better. A close friend took me out for coffee and cake (that melted in the mouth). Her love and her kindness choked me up. The phone rang all day. My two older sisters blessed me so by their comforting big sisterly listening ears and their love and prayers for me. Talking to my Mum was just the medicine I needed. I had plenty of warm, uplifting Facebook wishes (too many to count), joyful birthday emails that came tumbling in all day, cards and e-cards, caring text messages, long conversations with family and friends who love me – all which blessed me beyond measure.
So how can I say it was my saddest birthday when many amazing people in my world made it so special? How can I say it was my saddest birthday when God’s love and care has held me up all week? How can I say it was my saddest birthday when I felt so rich in the love of family and friends?
The Christian life is a paradox isn’t it? In the Christian walk – it is when I am weak that I am strong. It’s when I am poor that I am rich. It’s when I have nothing to offer the world that God gives me everything through His Spirit. It’s when I mourn that I can be comforted. It’s when I grieve that hope shines brightest.
Yes, it was the saddest birthday of my life. But… it was also the gladdest birthday of my life. It was a day when heaven smiled upon me. When birds sang and breezes blew. When the sun shone bright. When the hurt and confusion I felt could not mar the immense love poured on me by so many. A day when God affirmed me. And told me He loved me.
Today my heart is still weary and perplexed. I may have stormy times ahead. I will need to trust God with my tomorrows. But I do have God. I do have Jesus. I do have His Holy Spirit leading me. I do have many precious, loving people in my life. I do have hope. I do have the Word of God which encourages and builds me up.
It is not our circumstances that direct our attitudes. It is the hope that Jesus came to bring. I could choose to wallow in my misery. Or I could lift my head high and walk in His strength. It is not what happens to me that makes my heart sing. It is Jesus. It is not yesterday that matters. It is today and what I choose to do with it.
I choose joy.
Let me walk into a brand new year of living with the wind in my face and the bright hope of Jesus shining within. Life is good. Life is always good. Even during its darkest moments. Because God is good.
I choose JOY.