Hello Joy!

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Last Saturday morning began like all others.  Every kid had a event between 830 and 2, and Jon and I were going to spend the day driving them around.  But when I got just a brief moment alone in the car after the first drop off, I realized that there was something new inside me, something I hadn’t experienced in a long time.  I felt joy.  Not happiness.  Joy.  Just a complete sense of peace within my soul.  It was overwhelming.

Joy has been elusive this year.

Last January my daughter almost died.  It was the most traumatic experience I have ever been through.  It was surreal and the memories of giving her mouth to mouth and then watching a grown man on top of her in the ER doing chest compressions have haunted me like a demon.

When most people consider the word trauma they think of it as an event, a moment in time.  And where this is maybe how it begins, trauma is actually a noun.  It’s a thing, born out of an event, that lives, breathes, changes, and sometimes even consumes the person it settles into.

I can feel my trauma like I used to be aware of my babies inside me.  It is rooted down in there and holding on for life.  Most of the time I get to control it.  But sometimes it finds the power to rise up and shake me to the core.  Trauma puts you on the floor of aisle 2 in Trader Joe’s with your head between your knees or in the fetal position in a parking lot because you just can’t keep driving.  Trauma has power.

But here’s the thing about me.  I’m stubborn and a natural optimist.  And so when we finally got home after 89 days in the hospital, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to find joy in life again.

Because joy is worth fighting for.

I admit I was afraid.  I wondered if I would ever be able to move aside the fear of losing a child and live in the present moment.

And then there was this glaring question: Could Jesus restore my joy in the midst of the worst thing that has ever happened to me?

My faith wasn’t shaken and I never doubted God was still all good, however the only thing that overpowers trauma completely is JOY.  Crazy, no good reason, joy.  It’s different than happiness.  I can be happy for a day or a reason, but joy is about the soul feeling hope and amazement and fulfillment for no reason other than God is on our side.  And I just didn’t know if I could accept God’s sovereignty and find joy again.

It hasn’t come easy. I’ve had to fight for it.

I started by getting Xanax for those massive panic attacks. I needed a backup to help me get through them. And it worked.

I picked up my bible again. It was so hard. But once I got back into the word, God was able to speak to me again through it.

I did usual things like flying to Portland to visit a friend.  I was so afraid to leave my daughter, but I was even more afraid to never live life again.

And most importantly, I stopped praying for things to change and I started to just say thanks for the day.  As it turns out, we are all dying.  Not a day is ever guaranteed.  I almost did not get a single day of 2015 with my daughter so I refuse to not live them all with gratitude.

Gratitude brings about joy in the most amazing way.

And so does serving others.  So today I find myself boarding a British Airways plane to Kenya to help in a school for special needs kids. Yep, I’m a little scared. There could be a major catastrophe at home. But as I mentioned, we are all dying and deciding to live every day in the present, serving others is where my joy is.

11 responses to “Hello Joy!

  1. Love u! Praying for you. Let’s get that lunch date scheduled when u get back my sweet friend!!! Joy! Joy!Joy!!!💗💗🙏🙏🙏

  2. Love u my sweet friend! Praying for an amazing joy filled trip!!! Let’s get that lunch on the calendar when you get back!! Joy! Joy! Joy! So thankful it’s back!!💗💗🙏🙏 He is faithful!

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