What is Joy? The dictionary defines Joy as: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Pretty simple right? But as I sat and really thought about it I realized that there is so much more that goes in to the concept of Joy. One, I thought about how Joy seems bigger than happy to me for some reason. Joy is more of a lifestyle for me than just a feeling that is fleeting. Joy is something you can have every second of every day regardless of your current situation. You can also not have Joy every second of every day regardless of your current situation. It is a choice. Making the choice to have Joy every day can radically change your day to day life. Two, how do you get Joy? Well, this answer is simple. You get it from Jesus. 1 Peter 1:8 says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him, and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” So, like I said this part is simple; believing in Jesus and loving him is what fills you with Joy.
Here is your warning: YOUR JOY CAN BE STOLEN!
I let Satan steal my Joy.
The morning after I learned the baby in my womb no longer had a heartbeat I woke up from a restless sleep and started vacuuming. If you know me this is very weird. I avoid cleaning at all cost. The rest of my house was quiet and still, but the turmoil inside me was deafening. I honestly think I vacuumed to try and drown out the noise. As I pushed the vacuum back and forth I looked up and said ” Jesus, please take care of my baby.” Even through my pain I knew I served a good God. I knew that the moment my baby’s heart stopped beating that she ( I believe it was a girl) was in the arms of Jesus. Yes, in that moment I felt Joy! My heart was broken, but there is a peace and Joy that you can only find in Jesus and it doesn’t matter what your current situation is. I felt Joy in the fact that the sweet baby I had loved from the moment I knew they existed was cradled in the arms of Jesus. That brought me the most joy that could have been felt in that moment. Then I made a huge mistake. I stopped choosing Joy.
Satan, that slippery little snake, waits in the shadows to attack us at our weakest. He saw my pain and he saw me turn my eyes to Jesus. He hates that and will do everything in his power to stop it. At that time in my Christian walk I didn’t know to be on guard for the attacks of the enemy. I knew Satan was real and that he was bad, but I had not fully grasped the concept of his attacks. I also didn’t realize that Joy was a choice I had to make. Slowly the confidence I had in my Lord and Savior started wavering. Thoughts creeped in. You prayed for this child and you didn’t get it. This is your fault. God is angry with you. Where is your loving savior now. You will never get through this. Get angry, you’ll feel better. Oh, I got angry. I also got bitter, mean, and selfish. However, I am very fortunate to have family who extended some tough love in my direction. (Thanks Mom and Dad) They opened my eyes to how I was acting and I really thought I was doing better, but one thing had not sunk it yet. That every day I had a choice. Choose Joy or choose depression, anxiety, sadness, guilt, shame, hate, anger, and bitterness. When we choose Joy we are choosing to love and believe in Jesus. Believe that no matter what is going on around us that God has the very best for us, that he will never leave us or forsake us, and that he loves us. It is impossible to not have Joy when you believe that. But. I did not make that choice every day.
I was pregnant again! Tears of Joy flowed down my face and then a pang of fear I was not expecting. I don’t think I moved for weeks. The vision I had in my head of a glowing pregnancy, was stolen from me. Fear morphed into pure misery. I despised being pregnant. I literally had to fake a smile everytime someone asked me how far along I was. Please do not get me wrong I loved the baby growing inside me and prayed everyday that I would make it another day, but fear weighed me down the entire 40 weeks. There were moments of joy that were always overshadowed by the grief of last time. Whenever I started to get excited Satan would swoop in, ” don’t get too excited. You might loose this one too.” I let Satan’s lies distract me from the choice I needed to make and that was to believe and love Jesus, Joy.
The devil is persistent. Even after having my beautiful son he kept attacking. My son could never be out of my sight because I was sure he would die. I was mothering out of fear. I held him 24/7 and stared at his chest all night. I was in a constant state of waiting for something bad to happen. I came up with plans on what to do if he got sick, someone broke in, or any another circumstance I could think of. Every doctor appointment I was sure they would tell me something was wrong and that I needed to go to the hospital right away. I was exhausted. I had lost my Joy. I had stopped choosing Joy instead I was choosing to be fearful, stressed, tired, and bitter.
I was also missing out on precious moments with my son and family because I was usually googling a bizarre symptom or “needing a break” a.k.a. going in my room to cry. I dreamt of being a mother my whole life and there I was, finally a mom, but it looked nothing like how I had thought.
Even though I stopped choosing him Jesus did not leave me during this time. I was tuning in to the wrong station. I was listening to the lies of the enemy instead of God’s truth. I let Satan tell me who I was and what my future looked like. Let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Thank God, I was brought up in church because I knew something was off. Things weren’t lining up with what I had been told my whole life. I started listening a little closer. There was static in the air waves another voice there in the background. Contradicting the words I was hearing in my head. Instead of worthless I heard worthy. Instead of hopelessness I heard hope. Instead of pain I heard you are healed. Instead of death I heard life. Jesus reached down and pulled me out of the darkness and into the light. He placed the Joy back in my hands, but now I needed to choose it everyday.
This is your second warning: SATAN WILL NEVER STOP TRYING TO STEAL YOUR JOY.
It is so important to know that we have an enemy. An enemy that has come to steal, kill, and destroy. We need to be on guard always. Putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) to stand against the attacks of the enemy. We are at war! We need to train hard. Reading the word and arming our selves with scripture. We need to protect our homes, ourselves, and our children. My mom always told me, ” open up the front door and open up the back door and tell the devil to GET OUT!” If we are aware that we have an enemy then we know to be on guard! We know we have a choice to make.
Yes, you are a warrior. You can make the choice to have Joy. If you are feeling attacked open up those doors and kick the devil out. Put on the full armor of God and go to war.
I received some really great advice from my Pastor, she told me to start preparing myself now to fight. Jesus fought, and won, yet another battle for me. But it wont be the last. Her advice was to take scripture like medicine. Gather scripture on what you are struggling with, who you are in Christ, healing scripture, whatever you need. Write these down on note cards and take them like medicine. Ask God what your dosage is and if He says, “take it twice daily by mouth” then morning and night I’ll be saying these scriptures out loud speaking them into existence in my life. This is one way you can choose Joy. Doing something every day that says I’m choosing to believe and love Jesus.
This week I am going to post a fun How-To on creating these notecards, some of the scriptures I am using, and what it looks like for me during my day. I will be completely honest with you, I am more inclined to do something when it looks pretty so my notecards are cute, but they can look however you want them to look. You can jot down scripture on a back of a Target receipt if you want, just don’t lose it like I do!
Other ways to choose Joy everyday? Literally, wake up and say out loud. Today I am choosing Joy. I choose to love and believe Jesus. Spend time with God and in His word. When it starts getting hard to choose Joy, cause believe me it is not always easy. There are times when the last thing I wanna say is I choose Joy, but say it anyway. Look at your life and find the things that our your gifts from God. Looking at my sons face gets it done every time.
It makes me sad when I think of my self during that joyless time. Fake happiness on the outside a storm raging on the inside. Today I choose Joy and so can you! Yes, there will be hard times. I am going to sound like a total Mom right now, but no one said life is fair! But Jesus has won the victory over every single hard time we have ever had, we are having, and ever will have. We can choose that victory through Jesus and have Joy on the inside even when there is a storm raging on the outside.