Saturday, October 29, 2011

Learning about Joy

We sat at the stern, watching the wake that our boat was leaving across the Mediterranean. It sounds romantic. Exotic, even. But the truth is, we were sad. I sat focused on the bubbles trailing behind us, unsure of what to say.

Our kids were reading and playing games back in our cabin, my parents were on a sun deck. David and I were hiding, trying not to ruin the dream vacation, all the while wondering why the pain of past failures rears its ugly head in moments like these. Probably because in leaving the busy-ness of our day to day lives, those thoughts that we had shoved around like unwanted peas on a dinner plate were all that remained.

We sat close to each other, but truly, there were miles between us. Each one needing comfort and hope that the other could not offer. In that silence, that screaming, painful, silence, God spoke. He did not vanquish the pain or belittle the failures that we were grieving. He simply said, "This is where it begins."

What!?! What is that supposed to mean? What begins in grief? What is born from failure?

To those questions I have no answers.

In the end, we did find peace and take genuine pleasure in our vacation. We played, we explored, we ate, we relaxed, and we had important, heartfelt conversations. We "processed." Through these experiences I am learning that joy can be found in the midst of trials--in fact, it is mingled throughout them. This joy is no less real, nor is it diminished by co-existing with challenges and grief. I claim it, I embrace it, I enter in to it, bringing whatever sadness along. And I am blessed.

The JOY of the Lord is my strength.


  1. Ah, Jenn, I continue to follow in your footsteps. Thank you for honesty, transparency, and a lack of perfection. God bless. Carolyn

  2. Love you, Jenn! Joy...what an amazing possession we have.

  3. Messy, crappy challenges can only be realized as joy through Christ and in Him, though we are not all experiencing the same challenges, we are one in the Joy. It is in that Spirit that I say to you, I AM WITH YOU in the meager way humans can be with one another. And in the mighty way in which the LORD IS WITH US ALL.