I Choose Joy

Ever see that sign?
I often think, “Who wouldn’t want joy?”
We’ve all heard that saying,
“Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Jesus.”
But what does that mean?
Do you have joy?

I resolved to “rejoice.”
I wish I could say I made it my resolution for the entire new year, but I just made it for one day
I choose one day to rejoice.
You know the verse in Philippians 4:4 that says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice”?
What can be so hard about that?
Know how long I lasted with my resolve?
did get out of bed and rejoiced.
But it wasn’t too much later that something came up that made me not want to rejoice. 

It was just a little thing, but enough to turn my thoughts from God.
It wasn’t even the people around me that caused me to forget to rejoice.
It was just my thoughts.
Joy starts in your mind.

As we looked for houses and land in OK, we considered building.
When nothing seemed available in our price range, we waited and readjusted what we’re looking for.
We're in escrow for a house in town with no yard.  
Perhaps our dreams of land will come true later. Or not.

I have a son who adjusts to anything that comes to him.
He just brought his horse here in December after staying in California, mostly by himself with on-line classes, to finish his semester at school. 
A rancher graciously allowed him to board his horse.
Not what we envisioned when we moved here. 
We thought we’d be living on our own land already. 

My sister asked if she was missing any possible options regarding care for my mom, whose dementia increases when she's at work.
As I discussed the options with my husband, my son silently listened.
Two days later, he had the only option we would never have considered.
He'd live there and help on my sister’s days’ off.
What about school? He had already applied here in OK for EMT course to start in January. 
He would apply in Indiana for the class that started in July.
He made plans to move in Indiana by the end of January.

While he waits, he trains his horse every day. 
He knows selling it may be the one option left. 
Right now the rancher is willing to wait and see.
My son has chosen joy.

I, on the other hand, cried daily when I left him in California to finish his classes.
I couldn’t wait for him to live with us, even though I knew it would be a short time.
When he arrived, the other boys talked and laughed non-stop, in contrast to the one or two words they said the entire two months without him. 

Now I cry again. For the anticipated loss is great.
I do know how nasty and hurtful my mom can be: like feeding my son to a lion.
How can I have joy with that?
If it weren’t for God’s peace in my son's countenance, I could not do it.

You see, he has chosen joy.

It’s not in his happenings. 
They have changed every day for him.
He’s expressed willingness to exchange his cow dog with the rancher so she can have more space. 
Our expectant house has no back yard. 
She’ll be happier at the ranch, but she will no longer be his.
Of course, the rancher said only on the condition we take his rowdy stray puppy. (Jeremiah will be joyous! I will try to be.)

But see how my son chooses joy.

I’m a mess of soggy tissues and tears.
I won’t even tell you all the other frustrations from this move.
This is not how I envisioned our move. Or our house. Or my husband’s job. Or what my boys must do.

But this is the happenings.

Read Philippians 4:4 again. “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice.”

What do I do with the happenings that aren’t what I expected?
I give them to God.
And let Him work them out.
And I rejoice that He will.
It's not a fake joy, that says "All things will just work itself out."
It's a trust in Him Who can and will work things out well.

Joy does come from God.

Know that song, 
“Come Thou Fount of every blessing, 
Tune my heart to sing Thy praise.”

I want to make a sign for over my piano, “Tune my heart to sing Thy praise.”
My heart must be aligned with His to sing His praise.

How do I do that?
Spend time with Him.

Why do we think five or ten hurried minutes of reading and a quick prayer will be enough to delight God?
My entire day should be constant asking what He wants and praising Him.
My thoughts are tuned to Him.

Every thought must be taken captive to the will of God. 
2 Corinthians 10:5.

Every the will of God.

Then the praise comes.
Know what comes with praise?
AND Joy.

You see, choosing joy isn’t a moment’s whim. 
It’s a moment by moment decision to think about God and what pleases Him.
Choose Him.
Then the joy will come.

Displaying 1 comment

Thanks Sonya for sharing honestly about what you are going through. It encourages me to know I'm not alone in working on the minute by minute rejoicing. Praying for you as you adjust to the changes and the ongoing heart-break of letting go of your kids, and your hopes and dreams. xoxoxo

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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