Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One of those days....

I write it in my journal for the fourth or fifth time: 

"JOY: it is most difficult to find joy for me in the everyday life." 

What is joy anyway? - rejoicing, gladness, enjoyment, bliss - to celebrate. 

The Bible talks alot about joy over and over,  joy only comes from God. Joy is different than happiness because happiness is an emotion, joy is truth that can (but doesn't always) become emotion. Joy is so entangled in God that you could say joy is God and God is joy.
Joy is/can be constant whereas happiness is not. 

Yet It is a constant battle for me. It always has been. It's easy when you have something to look forward to, when you can keep looking forward to the next "happy" time. When you know you will get a break from the "everyday." But when it is just day to day stuff dealing with people, for me, little people and doing stuff..... finding joy can be a battle. 
Doing the dishes, making food, cleaning toilets, making beds, doing laundry, folding laundry..... it can so easily be actions...and mundane and can easily make anyone grumpy!

Today was just, "one of those days." The boys were a lot of work today and I know it is these days that are opportunities for some of my biggest times of growing, but today I just wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep and grow another day! Alas we had to go grocery shopping. As we pulled in and I stopped the car, I just stared, you know that stare right? The I am so so tired, and tired of kids who aren't obeying stare, the stare that says, my fridge is almost empty so I absolutely have to open my car door and walk into that store but everything else in me wants to drive home and sink beneath my covers and catch up on the sleep i am obviously missing?!!? Yes that stare. 

I prayed for strength. Then i turned around and told the boys how they were to behave and 1 1/2 hrs later we were back in the car. The boys did awesome. i actually felt a little refreshed.

Then we came home and dinner brought me back to that hard place.  No one wanted to sit on their bottoms, no one wanted to eat all their food. So I pulled the oldest trick in the book. I sent them to bed. 6:20 and both boys were sound asleep.  

After preston died I always said that I had to fight for joy.
 I did. 
And I won. 
I won because of this one simple yet profound promise: 
"Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" - James 4:8

I clung to God with everything in me, He was all I wanted.  I fought for joy because I knew it was my survival to get through the day. I asked God for joy, I knew he was capable of giving it and I opened myself up to him to work in my heart so i could see the joy around me. 

Today looks different, I am dating a man so great.... so soooo great. A man who captures my attention, my heart and all the love I can muster. Life is more than i ever imagined. I am more content than i ever have been. I don't feel I need anything else. Anything else would just be icing on the cake. And that is the first time in my life I have ever been able to say that. 
I am so thankful. 

God's gift of my boys and Kevin gives me joy but I still live the everyday, I still do all the same things I did before Kevin, and it is there in the "doing" that I find joy hardest to find. 

Before Kev, I craved him. I craved that other person to help me and walk through life with and now praise God, I have him. I remember wondering ok so tara, God gives you a man and then what? life is just perfect? What will my relationship with God look like? Often when we finally get an answered prayer it is easy to step back from God, not away, not far away, just back a little.... bc we feel maybe we don't need him as often, maybe we're busier with our answered prayer - that you know, He gave. I never would want that. I prayed that I would always crave God above all else because I have worshiped man before and it's not fulfilling. And I think God is really really teaching me in a huge way what it means to need him everyday: when life is great. 
I know how to cling to God when life is hard, but when life is good... I didn't do such a good job at it before preston died, and after he died I had an excuse as to why i was having a bad day, oh i am grieving, oh I am a single mom. I have been given a second chance when life is good and I am not going to waste it.
On days like today I think about three things...

1. I think getting JOY starts with thankfulness and being thankful is praying and pretty sure that's a key to life. Thankfulness for big things but also little details, seeing God in the little details of our day.  I looked and found these details all day long today, it doesn't take away from my disobedient children haha, I wish it did!  but it does add joy where I was not seeing joy before. And when you are constantly in prayer you are far more likely to pray when those around you are driving you crazy and not act in anger. 
2. I am also thankful for my salvation. Salvation isn't something I can give myself, it was a gift from God through Jesus that I totally didn't deserve. It was by His grace that I was saved. 
And this thought is so helpful remembering that gift and that this is not all about me. I am not the center of my universe (as much as society tells me otherwise) Salvation is God's so it is about Him. And the irony that the world doesn't know is that when God is magnified and we aren't Joy results. I find joy when I remember my name is written in Heaven. 
3. I find joy in knowing that God is working in my life, even though I don't see how he can mold me and grow me some days through the "doing" in my day, if I allow him to work he will and I can rejoice and find joy in what he is and will do through the everyday.  And just a side note, when you do see God working write it down, then when you are struggling you can look back at your monuments and remember He is faithful. 

So, bad mommy day. But I still found joy and I am thankful for that. Joy doesn't always mean a huge smile on your face, sometimes it's just peace in knowing that God is in the everyday. Finding Joy brings me closer to God, helps to lighten my mind, my mood.... my heart. And it magnifies God because he is the giver of all the little details I'm thankful for. 
Hope you can find joy in the everyday!


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tara--I have been struggling to find joy in my days and you gave me some keys. May God bless you with joy as you continue to look to Him --Nancy Jones

Anonymous said...

I've commented here before, saying I was participating with you in a bible study held at a Multnomah's married couple's housing (My name is Risa). I have been following your blog for three years. You have been an inspiring example of faith to me and I want to thank you again for sharing your thoughts here. I, too, have the answered prayer that keep me busy now (three siblings we adopted from Ukraine), and I think I was stepping back a little from God. In reading your blog, I was reminded of my need to depend on God even more when things are going well (as we're busier with the gifts we received!!!). It was good to look back and remember that I don't deserve what I have now...so thank you!
Risa Hoffman

Just Leslie said...

Tara, I so appreciate this blog post!
Joy is something that I NEVER used to struggle with, it was such a gift. Then life happened (as it always does) and this truly is the #1 thing I struggle with daily. It is SO easy to get pulled down by the mundane. I appreciate your encouragement, and as always your willingness to be open and share yourself with others.
I also want to give you a huge cyber hug! I so adore that you haven't been willing to allow tragedy to hold your future hostage.
Loves, Leslie

Warrior Princess said...

You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today! Thank you for always being so raw and real! You are such an inspiration and a beautiful example of finding joy through trials. May God bless your socks off!!!

glenda said...

Beautiful post! So happy that you and the kiddos have Kevin in your life. May God bless you always!
Happy Holidays!
Peace & Strength!