Through the years I have heard many sermons on *John 16:21 and I have to be honest, each time I’ve heard one I felt a little shame. Am I the only mom who remembers?
I get the joy part, no problem~
but forgetting the pain in childbirth??
I don’t know what mother that is, but it’s definitely not me.
That woman must be a superhero.
I can remember every detail.
When both of my daughters went into labor,
I may or may not have experienced sympathy pains!
(I’m joking 🤔Haha)
I can remember when we arrived at the hospital, ready for our first born to be delivered. Mike and I could hear a woman screaming in the room next to us. It literally sounded like she was being murdered, I kid you not. I’m sure my eyes looked like saucers when I glanced over at my husband. 😳 No one warned me about pain that horrifying.
I don’t think that woman ever forgot HER pain,
I don’t care HOW cute her child was.
The more I contemplated that age old saying, the more I realized the truth of it. I might remember my labor pain like it was yesterday, but today~that pain doesn’t define me and I am not stuck there. Sure it hurt like nobody’s business (especially having my first two with no medication at all), but it wasn’t horrifying, murderous pain. It lasted for a moment in time and today I see all the beautiful joy wrapped around it, just like Jesus talks about.
And that’s the key. It’s the key to so many situations in our life. We just have to put that key into the lock and turn it, opening the door to God’s unlimited, joy filled promises and inviting them into our hearts, souls and minds.
The key is joy.
Retraining our brains to find the joy in every situation. If we could do that, I think our lives would be drastically different.
Instead we have turned ourselves into a bunch of Negative Nancy’s, victims and martyrs in our own minds. Sadly, the next generation isn’t going to be any better.
Every bad scenario is the end of the world, and we make sure everyone knows about it.
Too often we turn petty little complaints into prayer requests, seeking the pity of others instead of looking to Jesus for everything and finding His joy through everything.
This is not the life God intended us to live. God intended us to live a life of joy, shining so that others could see His glory. Shining so that others want that joy that lives inside of us.
Again, that woman wasn’t me. When I was younger and the “hard” hit, I was always the victim. Poor Charisse. Look how busy she is, look how hard her life is, look at all she’s going through. From years of fighting a disease I didn’t know I had, having Epstein Barr and mono 5 times, dealing with allergy ridden babies, sleepless nights, many moves, heartbreaking deaths, sick children, hospital stays and cancer scares. I have always made myself the victim. I still get drawn into that mentality and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I truly looked for joy in my “bad” situations. If I had, it would’ve changed my life. My husband would have had a different wife and my children could’ve seen a different mama. They would have had a completely different perspective on life.
Yet, God is faithful. He is merciful. Every day is a new start. He doesn’t hold my old victim mentality against me and despite me, His glory has shown through my children a thousand times over.
Today, I want to encourage you to find the joy. Look for joy in every single thing. If you truly look, with your heart open to all of God’s promises, promises that will never fail, you will find it.
I’m not trying to say that life isn’t hard. The death of a loved one is excruciating. Cancer scares are hard, continual sickness is overwhelming. Pain and sorrow can truly break us. Sometimes they are harder than we ever imagined. Days where we don’t think we can make it through. When you don’t have the answers, when your heart begs to know why, these are the days you beg God for a glimpse of that joy. These are the days you beg God for His peace and comfort. These are the days you hold onto that truth that Jesus is the author and finisher of your faith, you are not. These are the days you look ahead and in His strength know that you will conquer.
You will overcome because~
HE WILL NOT FAIL.
Maybe today life for you is good. You’re smiling and things couldn’t be better. I encourage you to start small~
If you stub your toe (ie-if I hadn’t stubbed my toe, I would’ve tripped on that rug and broken my ankle 🤷🏼♀️)~look for the joy. If you’re stuck in traffic (ie- this is the alone time I was begging God for, after complaining about not having enough time with Him)~look for the joy.
Look and you will find it. If you retrain your brain to look for the joy in the little things, soon you will see that even on your worst day~you will find it.
Because Jesus is that joy and when you’re holding on to Him, His joy floods your heart and soul with comfort and peace.
Finding joy in the bad does not come easy for me. Sometimes I want to park there and just feel sorry for myself, but all the times I thought it was the end of the world proved otherwise. None of them were as bad as I had allowed my mind to think in the moment. The older I get, the more I realize this and the more I want to encourage others in this area, especially young women and moms just starting out. That phrase- “this too shall pass” can certainly be irritating when you’re in the thick of it, but it really is truth. Horrifying labor pains and all.
Sorrow might be there for a while, but joy always comes, it’s just waiting for you to invite it in.
* “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.” John 16:21