Haha, okay. Can I be honest with all of you?
I planned out my blog post schedule for Advent a couple of weeks ago. So when I looked at my planner and saw that I scheduled myself to write about joy today, I couldn't help but feel like God was teasing me a little.
Because, once again, this cycle ended two days ago- without a pregnancy. Again.
Are you sick of me talking about that, yet?
I know that I am. I'm sick of talking about it, writing about it, charting it, thinking it, hoping it, planning it, praying for it... I'm just tired. Of the whole thing.
My infertility journey thus far has had seasons. I can be so positive, so grace-filled and faithful for months at a time... and then I crash and crash hard for a few weeks. For those of you out there who have been doing this for years and years... I pray for you. After a little less than two years, I'm feeling wrung out.
Let's talk about joy, shall we?
(See God's sense of humor, here?)
Here's the thing.
I believe that unshakable joy is real. I believe it. But I just haven't found that place, yet. I haven't found the place where I can rejoice in all things.
Because all things? Really? All things? Orphaned children, sex slavery, abortion, torture, divorce, broken families, pain, death? Infertility- hurt I hold close to my heart right now? How do we rejoice in that? How?
Honestly, I'm not sure, yet. But I do believe that it can be done. I'm clinging to that.
And I sometimes feel that I'm getting closer.
Counting my blessings has made a difference.
Even when my life has been sapped of joy, I have a notebook full of (currently) 322 blessings to prove to me just how full my life really is. How many things I have to be grateful for.
And I think that there's some power in that. When I'm busy giving thanks, I can't feel as sorry for myself. When I'm praising the One who gave me this moment, joy is so much easier to come by.
Of course, my little notebook full of blessings- it's missing a big one.
The ultimate gift, the ultimate blessing, is that Jesus was born. He was born to be Immanuel- God with us.
God. With. Us.
That's what we're waiting for, isn't it? For God to come and be with us? For Him to fill up every corner of our lives that often echo with the emptiness of what could be, what should be, what we've always wanted.
That was God's design from the beginning, the dwelling with us. In the Garden of Eden, He was there. With us. And even though humanity fell, even though we so often push Him away, even though we think we know best, He's still desiring us. He still wants to be with us. So much so that His Son died for us.
There's joy in that.
I... I don't have one for this week. Not a formal one, anyway.
I'm going to focus on counting those blessings this week- on listing each little thing, and giving thanks for it. For peppermint coffee creamer and the left-over chalk on the driveway. Those little, daily blessings. Because I'm convinced that giving thanks not only leads me closer to joy, but it also makes every moment sacred. And I could use some more sacred.
This post has some great biblical references about giving thanks and finding the joy in all things.
And if you're feeling particularly worn down in ministry, check out Philippians 1:12-26-- there's a great commentary for it here.
What helps you focus on joy, even in the hard times?
This post is part of a little series for Advent- you can see the other posts here: Advent 2014
And, like always, Follow me on Facebook so you don't miss a post!