Joy Turned Raw, Returned, Restored

by Shasta Douglas

Stealing my Joy.

A thief came up and stole my joy. Not momentarily but for some time. One post, one phrase, just words, ripped my joy away and left me empty, vulnerable, exposed hurting and broken. In silence, pain wreathed deep. Nothing I did could restore my joy, my thankfulness.

My prayers became cries of why? Can you hear me? Am I alone?

I know the answers to these questions. I believe them, but my deceitful heart was controlling me. 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Pain, desire, entitlement filled me. Christian music blared with songs of hope, prayers and scripture. Music usually helps but not this time. Prayer usually helps. Refocusing on things I am thankful for, blessings and others who are struggling usually help, but not this time. My joy was gone. Tears, some streaming, most hidden, fell. Ache, empty, numb and alone. 

Holy Spirit pray for me. I don’t know what to pray.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[a] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

 

I lay myself at the Father’s feet, silent with tears streaming. Raw. Breathe, be still.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14

Quiet. Breath in. Breath out.

There is a time for this. 

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Rest. 

28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

A Peace.

7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Healed.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

Hope.

17 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Joy restored.

13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

Thankful again.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7

Amen!