Lydia and I were in the car earlier this week, listening to the radio on our way home. She was energetic after playing with friends, but I was feeling depleted. I wasn’t quite myself, and the dreary weather didn’t help my attitude.
Soon we heard these words on the radio: “Jesus, He loves me, He loves me, He is for me…” Now Lydia loves the original “Jesus Loves Me,” but this one, by Chris Tomlin, is a new rendition of the classic song.
Preoccupied with my thoughts, I hadn’t paid much attention to the song lyrics. Lydia’s matter-of-fact statement snapped me out of my funky mood. “Mom,” she said with a sigh, “Jesus already knows He loves me.” I smiled at her misinterpretation. In her childlike way, Lydia was irritated at the ‘suggestion’—as if Jesus could ever forget His love for us. As if!
With a jolt, I understood I needed the reminder of God’s love. I hope Lydia is always confident in Jesus’ love for her and boldly proclaims, “Jesus already knows…” To remember He knows what I am going through…to know He cares…and that He is with me is powerful. I can be joyful because of His love for me!
(photo credits: Becca Albertson)
For me, joy is found where gratitude, grace and peace converge. Giving thanks focuses my attention on God’s goodness. I find joy when I accept God’s grace in exchange for my effort and His peace for my chaos. Sometimes it just takes my preschooler to remind me!
This may be a difficult time of the year for you. I understand. Holidays can remind us of loss, as we miss loved ones around the table. You may feel lonely, but with Jesus, you are never truly alone. For me, it is bittersweet because later this week is Lydia’s birthday—her third one without Dave. Nonetheless, I will celebrate the beautiful girl God has given me!
I choose to rejoice in the small things, because those really become the big things! Lydia and I enjoy warm morning cuddles and making banana muffins together. We share silly jokes over popcorn, laugh at our ‘dollar store’ treasures, and pretend we can dance (ahem).
Similarly, I am learning to embrace a slower pace while Lydia is young. This requires making plans to rest instead of resting when my plans are finished (which rarely happens). This includes reading more good books together, instead of booking my schedule. I am thankful for the ability to do that right now because someday that will change.
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
True joy goes beyond feelings of mere happiness. Joy brings steadfastness in sorrow or uncertainty. We might not enjoy a difficult situation, but it’s possible to rejoice in the final outcome. My mom is a great example of choosing joy in the midst of pain. She is excited to undergo knee replacement surgery this week. My mom is thrilled to finally get relief after many years; her surgeon said her x-rays are the worst he’s ever seen!
Joy may look different for you. But we can all give thanks for God’s love.
Give thanks for His strength to stand firm during trials. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Give thanks for His peace as He guides us on our journey. “You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace” (Isaiah 55:12).
Give thanks for His presence along the way. He is always for us! In His presence is fullness of joy (see Psalm 16:11).
Lord, thank You for daily reminders of Your love. Guide us with Your grace. Thank You for filling us with joy! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Questions: What brings you joy? What are you thankful for?