Storms have been battering Milly’s Realm over the last year. So how does one find the joy in the storm?
We know life is hard. We will face danger. We understand our hearts will be broken. There is so much darkness and hurt. Why do we keep trying? Yet while the storm rages the Apostle Paul encourages us to rejoice:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NKJV
I don’t understand why but this verse brings me comfort. It has stayed on my mind since the prince’s wild night. Storm after storm has rocked my life since last March. The wild night was just the most recent storm battering Milly’s Realm.
Questions ramble through my head. I ask the Lord, “Rejoice just to rejoice? Or do I find the reason to rejoice? Is it one or the other? Or is it both? Do I even need to understand? Do I rejoice on faith alone?” and finally, “how do I rejoice?”
Lately, it’s been hard to rejoice. At work, I hear the whispers that lower when I walk by a cube. There’s paperwork for dad’s estate and ours. Cleaning up my father’s property is an overwhelming task. I am angry with the mess left behind for me and frustrated with chronic pain. I am concerned about how my princes and princesses will make it in this cruel world. I won’t even start on the snippets of corruption and immorality I see in the news. I think I see a tear rolling out from under Justice’s blindfold. I see my beloved country walking away from God.
I pray, “Where do I find the joy? How do I rejoice?” In answer, I started seeing little gems of joy in Milly’s Realm. I’ve found humor and recognized the hand of God in recent events. Here’s an example from the Wild Night:
After we returned from the ER, the prince’s memory was triggering on and off. He and I were talking about when he was found. The police report said he was found lying in the grass in front of a local restaurant. The police officer saw his hand move.
I related this to my son and asked him if he remembered the police officer. He thought for a moment and said. “Yeah, I remember something touching my shoulder. I rolled over, looked up, and saw a guy. I looked at his uniform and said: “Thank God a Cop! I need help!”
That caused an outburst of laughter from all of us in the room. I wiped the laughter tears from my eyes and asked, “Did you really say that?”
“Yeah, it was my first reaction. I was sick and I didn’t know where I was. I needed help. That was when he called EMS.” The prince went on to explain he told the officers he had no ID, keys, or phone. He didn’t know where his car was but, he could give them his name, social security number, and address. They brought him to that address. Praise God! They brought him home.
Finding joy that day was like mining for something precious. We had to find it. I remember panning for gems in the Blue Ridge Mountains when I was a girl. We were on vacation and we went to one of those touristy “Mine for Gems!” places. Mom and dad paid for two buckets of mud, one for each of us. My sister and I slopped the mud from the bucket into the screen. We placed the screen into a wooden water flue. The water ran through the screened box washing away the mud.
Excited I looked in my screened box. Nothing sparkled. I had rocks. Disappointed I started to look around for a place to dump my box of little rocks. The guy overseeing our area must have sensed my intentions. He hurried over instructing me to put them in an empty bucket that stood between my sister and me. He explained the gems will look like rocks and we would sort them after we were done mining.
After happily playing in the mud, we took the stones we had collected to the sorting area. They told us which ones were just rocks and what they were. We had agate, quartz, iron pyrite (how disappointing), and one ruby. Wow! We left feeling the joy of finding a small treasure.
The ruby didn’t look like much. It was brown on the outside with a little nick showing dull red underneath. Sometimes treasures like joy can be hard to find under the layers of sediment. We forget the value of something we live with every day. Finding joy in our family is like that. We get used to our people being around. We know they love us. An event or memory reminds us to rejoice for the people in our life.
We even forget to rejoice in those who protect us day in and day out. We don’t think about the cop on the beat who wakes us up from a wild night.
“Oh thank God! You’re a Cop! I need help!”
That statement made me rejoice for caring cops and EMS firefighters. They brought my prince home that day.
I’ve found God rejoices when we turn our hearts to him. We can wait for years to turn towards him or spend every day with him. Think of the prodigal son and his brother.* Just like the father rejoiced for both of his sons, God rejoices in our presence. Let’s return the favor and rejoice in His presence.
I’m going on a joy hunt. So far I’ve found joy in my God, my family, and my community. How about you?
Find your joy today and share it with us,
*Luke 15:11-32 The Parable of the Lost Son
P.S: I added something new to my post. For several months I’ve played with the idea of adding an audio reading of my post. Some friends and family have encouraged me to add my voice and inflection to my writing. Well, I pulled up my courage and read my post for you tonight. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think. God Bless!