Learning joy

Me and the hubby at my uncle's wedding

Pit and I have our traditional silly christmas shoot

My mom soooo beautiful

My family with me on christmas... so blessed :')

When I thought of writing a post on joy, I wanted to do a very sistematic approach on definitions, Bible verses and contrasts. However, this is not that kind of blog. It is not meant to teach or convict. It is merely my own revelations and truth I learn as I walk with God.

Joy used to mean to me: to feel happy and good inside, and I wonder how I sought this "joy." Webster's New World Dictionary defines joy as synonymous with "happy," "glad," and "cheerful." A thesaurus relates it to "exultation," "rapture," "satisfaction" and "pleasure." Yes, this last two were my personal definition: satisfaction and pleasure. The first four month of 2011 where probably the most unsatisfactory and unhappy days of my life.

I thought I lived a joyful life because I tried to live a life of serving. I spent probably more hours at church in my youth than at home. It brought me great satisfaction and pleasure to serve in different ministries at church: 180°(youth church), music band, Bible study group, etc. I thought my joy was in the right place for ALL of these I was doing for God, but was I really? As I grew up and learned many things, saw many things, lost many friends, had differences of opinions and crossed feelings, the satisfaction and pleasure of doing the above diminished, hence my joy diminished. Today, as a busy married woman, a working adult, a barely-ever-have-spare-time-to-do-what-I-love girl, the day by day brings no satisfaction or pleasure. I'm barely involved in these ministries and, if I am, I find them a burden instead.

Then the lie that joy will come from finding the "one" (I could write another post(book) on this subject of the "one", but another time maybe (mental note)). I have found my one to share my life with. I would use up the whole post to describe how amazing he is, but he truly is. But, alas, joy eluded me still those first four months being almost a newlywed! If you are expecting a man or a woman to make your life joyful, you are mistaken. Not only do you have tons to accept, but you have more tons of change to do. I remember my hubby telling me he was worried he wouldn't make me happy and I said to him: "Why would that worry you if that is not your job? Why would it worry you if my happiness does not depend on you?" And it is a good things we have both learned this (for I worried as well :P) Your spouses job is to love you, not make you happy. To be happy is your job and depends on God. 

This year taught me many things, most importantly: life is harder than you think. It is definitely no walk in the park. You know, if your mother ever tells you when you grow up you'll finally understand her and see what she sees and means, she is not lying one bit and she is probably withholding. Boy, Oh boy, is life hard. If you are not working, you are doing errands. If you are not tired, you are sick. If you are not paying bills, you are paying debts. If you have free time, there is no money to go out. Money is hard to make and barely lasts, time is short and barely enough, everything around you demands of you: the house needs cleaning, the clothes and dishes needs washing, the car needs parts and repairs, the dogs need feeding and bathing, the food needs cooking..... And I still have no kids!! Please don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I'm just trying to portray how hard life has become, and I am pretty sure there are bunches of people having a harder life than mine. You know the phrase: "youth is wasted on the young"? I'm not sure it is, it's just they are so oblivious. I surely was. I have expressed here many times how much admiration I have for my mother and how it grows and grows everytime. Be grateful at how easy your parents make your life and never complain because your main responsibility is to study and do homework; THAT is a walk on the park!

This brings me back to my ecclesiastes posts and the toils under the sun. I was talking with a friend the other day and we were talking of life and love and why. He told me he stopped caring about life and I said: "What you need is to read my last blog post."(where I spoke of being in awe of God) and he said: "Nah, what I really need is a million dollars." This is another lie that joy will come if you have money. I'm not gonna lie, this has crossed my mine and my heart has desired it. "Life would be more satisfactory if I had more money," the world thinks and I too. And every raise I've had since I began working has brought no drop of joy to my life, no sign of relief and release.

I think 2011 was my year of revelations. As for joy, I had one this christmas. I think not even the christmas were my parents had just gotten divorce can match the pain, affliction, agony, concerns, anxiety I felt this season. Yet it was my most joyful christmas. Ah, the paradox! Is it ironic? is it contradictory? Is it GOD? Oh yes, God. Finally my joy were it should! Here is one of my favorite revelations on joy: It is a fruit of the Spirit, hence only a believer can have joy.

Joy is this to me:
Remembering the cross: To think the price for my life is the blood of my precious Jesus. My worthless, sinful, low life is worth His glorious, perfect, precious life. Been a while since tears of joy fall down my cheeks as I write. My God has provided me with salvation through His Son!
Psalms 63:5-7 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

His mercy is new each day: or else I would have already been obliterated by His wrath. I fail so much and He remains faithful. That brings joy to my heart.
Psalm 90:14  O satisfy us with Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning [now, before we are older], that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 

It is His plan: And His plan is good and perfect says the Bible. He has control, He has knowledge of what He is doing. And it may seem hard, and I may not understand, but I can rest, worry no more, and trust the Creator. That brings me joy.

Psalm 16: 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety. 

Psalm 5:11But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. 

Hope: This hard life is not forever. Jesus has spoken of the houses He is preparing for us in heaven. There will be a day when we will see Him and our joy will be complete.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the 

Psalm 16: 11 Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. 

I'm sure the revelations on joy will continue. Joy comes from what God does and what He gives, not what I do or have. Above I wrote that to be happy is YOUR job. Here is what the Bible says: 
1 Thesalonians 5:16 Be joyful always.

Letting sorrow fill your heart, specially when life is hard and times are bad, is a temptation we must not fall into. There is too much to be joyful for. As much pain and struggle I see in my family more than ever, I choose joy, because I rejoice in the Lord; and no matter the circumstances, I can always rejoice because of the Lord and for the Lord.

Merry Christmas!

How many gifts this christmas!

*299 My mom, sister, and my brother (he was supposedly not coming) spent christmas with me!!!
*300 A picnic under the wind mills with my sis Pit and my daughter Denise, and my hubby nicknamed by the girls "Bimbi" :P
*301 A night with my mother and her hands caressing me. (mental note: write a poem of your mom's hands!)
*302 A loving husband, my greatest gift from God this year. Oh, I am so fortunate, so humbled.
*303 A christmas music box by the hubby! Never had one before.
*304 A wedding spent in dancing with my family
*305 My mom's fractured toe :'( ... God knows why and I'm grateful.
*306 My sister's confidence in me.
*307 Time spent with my dad and his family on christmas too.
*308 Food! I am full and happy.
*309 A night with daughters Denise and Sarai. It was such an awesome time!
*310 Salsa lessons for the family from Pit!
*311 My famous torrejas (honduran traditional christams desert)
*312 A lunch for the in-laws at my little house.
*313 Being able to sing at the christmas special and losing my voice till it was over.
*314 A lovely christmas play by the youth church. So proud of their hard work. It was amazing and many new people came to see it and hear the gospel.
*315 A lovely time with Danny and Carlos Arturo taking Pit out.
*316 A lovely dinner with Tito, Roy, and Carlos again with Pit and Rodol-
*317 Real España lost the championship. Hope the hubby is also giving thanks for this.
*318 Getting sick yesterday but being able to go to work today without murmuring much. :P

1 comment:

  1. Linda - it's always a joy to read you. My Christmas season was filled with too much sadness as well – it's hard to see joy in sadness – but the joy that goes beyond emotion is there. I really got your words – totally. And I'm sorry Real España lost the championship. I'm sure your husband IS also giving thanks. That was funny – but only because they're not my team – my team just shared the same fortune – and I'm not giving thanks. Your thoughts on joy, and what it's not, and finding out that life is hard – all the wisdom you are gaining – good for you. I'm glad you've learned so much. I'm glad you can see joy even in darkness. God bless you and all of yours.