Thursday, March 20, 2014

Count it all Joy

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I wish I could just quote the whole chapter...because it is a an awesome one. However....when I was going through a study on James about three years ago now, I hated it. Jordan had just left for boot camp, and I thought 'JOY in my trials?!, whatever.' In fact, I thought it was a little cruel that that was the subject matter we were covering. Little did I know that it was EXACTLY what I needed. It wasn't something that I was ready or willing to hear, but I see now that it was placed in my life at a specific time for a specific reason. I continued to struggle to find joy in my trials, and in some ways, I think I actually failed pretty miserably at finding any joy in that time. But I needed to hear those things, because it was preparing my heart and my mind for MORE trials. Having a spouse that is always planning to leave is a difficult thing....especially when you were very used to things not being that way. However, we ALL can change. And I realized that if I wanted my marriage to be a happy one, I had some changing that I needed to do. My attitude about his absence was at the top of the list.

I started doing things that helped me out. I began to dive back into my devotions, I prayed every morning and night, I read a positive book, I chose a workout program, I surrounded myself with people that truly love me and lift me up. I knew that atleast in this particular time that's what I needed. It was hard, because a part of me felt a little selfish, I will give to others until it hurts, but what I've found is that the more I practice each of these things, the more I CAN give to others....because frankly, I have more to give, and it's a little more on the positive side.

I realize that not every trial is one that you can prepare for, or one that you sign up for, like we did. And maybe you're hating this post as much as I hated reading that first chapter in James. But know this. I have been through more than I ever thought I could handle, and even in the midst of it, I can truly smile, and say that I am joyful. I serve a God who has a plan for my life and my husband's life, and I see now that no matter what the plan, I will find the joy, not because it's nice or convenient to look for it, but because it is ESSENTIAL to our growth. Find the joy, and you will find growth, strength, perseverance, and best of all, peace.


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