I had a fairly happy childhood and I remember when I got to high school, suddenly I started struggling to be the cheerful little girl I once was. I smiled on the outside but on the inside I was sorting through my faith, boys, grades, and finding my path in life. I remember purchasing the book by Warren Wiersbe titled “Be Joyful: a study in the book of Philippians” because I wanted my joy back. I knew that my joy would only come from the Lord but life circumstances were stifling that joy.
Then I went into college, got married, began working, having babies and writing.
Life did not get easier — it got harder and more complex.
And that fight for joy –got harder and more complex.
One sad season was when my husband was gone on a business trip over 200 nights in one year. I stood at the window weekly, with little toddlers wrapped around my legs, waving bye bye to daddy with tears streaming down my cheeks. This was a long and lonely season.
Every time I’ve moved from city to city – from my hometown to Chicago to Columbus and back to my hometown, I’ve experienced deep sadness that sometimes turned into anxiety and an outbreak of hives.
I’ve had dark days when tears came easy or I felt like a failure and like quitting everything in life. We have had hard moments in our marriage where I’ve woken up to the reality of why some people throw in the towel when the going gets tough. I get it…marriage is hard.
I’ve cried over my parenting struggles trying to raise my wild child and my whole family can attest to years of me –crying in the New Year– because I get emotional on New Years Eve. Lol!…I get way too reflective and sad about all my failures, flaws, fears and frustrations.
Statistics prove that Christmas is the most depressing season of the year for many. There is a spiritual battle raging this month – wanting to steal our joy. There is NO other time throughout the year when Jesus gets more attention and God’s enemy does not want us to find joy in celebrating Jesus’ birth. He wants us to buckle under the pressure of decorations, bows and cookie trays. He wants us to mourn the hardships and losses of the past year without looking up to see the Savior who has come to save us from this lost and empty world!
“Rejoice evermore” – I Thessalonians 5:15
Easier said than done right?
But this is what I’ve learned…
Rejoicing is a command and it’s a fruit of the Spirit. Though we may not always “feel” joyful we can–
Fight for joy.
John Piper writes:
It is crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him. This is the way Paul thought in Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” ESV
The key in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him.
This baby, born in a manger who is Immanuel, God with us — holds us, when we have no strength to hold Him.
This season is a gift where we are reminded to pause – not to reflect on our failures and frustrations –but to rejoice that we have a God that holds us!
“The merry heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15
I pray that the world would see the merry hearts we have this season and that they would be drawn to the fountain of life from which our joy overflows.
Have a very Merry Christmas!
Walk with the King,
Need more encouragement as you seek to sustain the Joy of the Lord in your life?
Courtney is the author of the newly released book titled: Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home available now in paperback, Kindle or Nook.
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