Oct 25, 2011

In thy presence is fulness of joy...

"My Monday morning thoughts flooded me anew with the reminder that I wanted to live my life and build my attitudes on those truths that give life to my heart and expression to my desire to embrace beauty and goodness. I renewed my decision, that joy would be my goal, that I would look everywhere I go for God's touch, his shadow, his signature."
Dancing with My Father, Sally Clarkson.

Our MOMS group is reading this book for our monthly bible study. My pastor's wife is praying for us by name and the author is praying for our group, but in the end, it's God who can fill my heart with joy. In my own journey to joy, there are some times when I stomp my foot and say, "If THIS is joy, Lord, why does it hurt so much?" Sometimes it's the kind that makes me wave my hand and say, "I'm fine, I'm just crying because I am so happy." Sometimes it comes after God convicts our heart and the feeling that comes after being obedient. Sometimes it's the heart busted wide open kind of happiness. All of the time, it's when we take notice that God is present.

"I will show you the path of life: in my presence is fulness of joy; at my right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Psalm 16:11 (pronouns changed)

Joy is often equated with happiness, but the two are quite distinct. Happiness depends largely upon happenings: good health, congenial compa
ny, pleasant surroundings, etc. Happiness and unhappiness do not exist together; but joy and sorrow can and do.
The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary.
(I love this book that I found at Goodwill, it brings me great happiness and joy.)

Happiness is a Sunday afternoon nap while the sun beams in the windows.

Joy is when you hear truth preached and God stomps on your toes and TWISTS.

Happiness is cleaning out a closet.

Joy comes when I'm humbled by having way more than I need and I find myself jamming clothes into trash bags to donate, ashamed at my addiction to stuff.

Happiness is watching a team pull together and snap on Live Strong bracelets in honor of a mother with cancer.

Joy comes when our prayers are answered and she is declared cancer-free. Joy is hearing her quavering voice giving testimony of God's faithfulness in a season of anxiety and fear.

Happiness is squishing the coffee press handle down after three minutes.

Joy is hearing God speak to me in His Word and revealing Himself in my studies and showing up in my journal.

Happiness is going to Story Hour and listening to Miss Joyce sing Jesus Loves Me, chuckle, mouth the Quiet Song, and read a book to a rapt audience (myself included).

Joy is knowing she truly loved Jesus even more than she loved our children and we can spend eternity with her. Joy is present, even while we mourn.

Happiness is hanging Grandaddy's cane pole in my sewing room.

Joy is sharing my feedsacks with a friend, sewing a costume for one of my girls, or making pajamas at two in the morning while tears are making it hard to see.

"When entering the corridors of heaven, finally meeting Jesus face to face, I do not want to arrive gasping, out of breath, desperate, barely making it over the finish line. Instead I want to enter resiliently with a hopeful, loving heart. If joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment are what God desires for me, then God created me with those capacities so that he could fill them. God disdains dry, mundane obedience as much as I do! He wants true, pure-of-heart, devoted love - to be shared in a personal, vibrant relationship." Dancing with My Father, Sally Clarkson.


McMaster and Storm said...

thanks, joni---for this post I so needed to read that this busy morning.
{praying for the Robert Filbrun family---today}

~Alisha~ said...

Thanks Joni! Great post. I was able to take Carsen to story hour one time & experience the JOY of Miss Joyce! She was a special lady!
Yay for Kristi! I have been praying for her. :)

COLE said...

"sewing a costume for ONE OF MY GIRLS" where have ya been hiding them? cuz we all know the family wants another girl.

deborah said...

I love this! I struggle with joy. I want joy, not just happiness, but joy. I think joy and contentment go hand in hand and I want to be able to say like Paul, "I have learned in whatever circumstances I am in..." I am still so, so far from what I want to be! I very much relate with the addiction to stuff...

ranelle said...

Thanks for showing a few of the differences in happiness and joy. happiness is when berkeley sleeps all night...joy is when I'm content even if she doesnt ;)
I look forward to a time when there is joy everlasting!