Thursday, June 5, 2008


I have had the priviledge of meeting Pastor Kevin Swanson (and his family) of Reformation Church in Castle Rock, CO. His family joined a couple of other families for fellowship at the place we are staying. I have also had the priviledge of getting to know
his extended family through this blog.

As we were talking about my journey over the past couple of months he asked a wonderful question of me. "Where do you find your joy in the morning?"

There was no hesitation in my answer. Joy is a gift. I can not conjur up the joy of the Lord. It is as much a gift as faith. The faith of salvation is a gift that can not be produced by any ability that we think we might have. Faith that sustains us is also a gift given when we call upon the Lord and when we need it the most. Grace is also a free gift given in the moment. Not before we need it or after but right on time.

Joy is the same. I don't ask for it. In my human strength I would barely think I need it. But, it is there waiting for me every morning as I face a new day walking into the path
the Lord has led me down.

Ah, but there is the key! I realized after giving my answer that I had missed one of the most important steps to receiving joy every morning. It is walking into the pain. Walking down the path that God has destined for me. Taking the step forward into the dark wilderness that He is leading me through.

As with many of God's gifts we receive them because we are "Slaves to Righteousness". Romans 6:15-23 states that as I am no longer a slave to sin I am free to obey. I am obeying God's leading down this path which in turn is giving me the ability to "Rejoice in the Lord always".

How can I receive such a marvolous gift as joy if I have not walked a hard path? If I stay stagnant in the mire of despair how would I see the reward of joy? Joy is that elusive spiritual quality that we have so wrongfully described as happiness. It is not some warm feeling brought on by a cherished memory. That seems more like happiness to me. But, joy is taking pleasure or delight in the gift of that memory. Joy is rejoicing in the One who gave you that memory. I don't take pleasure or delight in the path that I am on. I am not even very happy about it but I do take pleasure and delight in the One who is leading me down this path. I rejoice as I see Him guide my footsteps and provide for my every need.



godlover said...

Such a difference between happiness and joy. Yet so many get the two mixed up. Yes, we seek our joy in the One who leads us. He Himself IS our joy! It seems as so much folly to find such joy in the sorrow of our hearts. But our joy is with the Lord and wherever our heavenly Father leads us, He takes us by the hand and leads us into this incredible joy that can sustain us in the midst of our deepest sorrows. May you cling to this joy in your grief, your most awful grief. For there is great joy to be found in our deepest, most agonizing pain if we but reach out to Him. Yes, there is joy to be found in a life filled with pain and I pray you will cling tightly to it during your darkest moments.

Calaveras Co CA

Anonymous said...

Heather I thought of you today when I heard this song by MercyMe:

Bring The Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that
I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may
loom above because you are much greater than
my pain you who made a way for me suffering
your destiny so tell me what's a little rain

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
is the lord God almighty
is the lord God almighty
I'm forever singing

everybody singing
Holy holy holy
you are holy
you are holy

In the love of Christ our savior,

Quinne said...

Hi Heather :) Isn't joy just a marvelous gift? I love that the Father would even think of such a thing!

As I keep you in my prayers, I will continue to pray asking for His joy for your days :)

Joy that overwhelms you a little, joy that surprises you, joy that reminds you over and over of His love, joy that gives you such courage...
Love, Q

The Mom said...

Sending love and prayers from England. You are much in my thoughts as you tread deep waters.

"when thou passest through the waters I will be with thee"


Shanna said...


A friend posted this on a forum I am on and it made me think of you.

“ There is nothing – no circumstance, no trouble, not testing – that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret – for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is – That is the rest of victory. “ Alan Redpath

From PW

anika said...

our family's little struggles are very small in comparison, but He keeps teaching me NOT to compare... so here goes.
Walking through the hard times, remembering the good,
even the bad,
even the sad,
even the ugly,
and taking it to HIM, even when my heart wants to keep it hidden (asIF He could not see it) deep with in me, tucked under some part of me, but for Joy to come, I MUST pull out all the stops, and bring it all to Him, be willing to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, walk through fears, and anger, and all that is too dark too deep for little me, knowing, believeing by faith, that HE will Never leave me, nor forsake me...
you are loved!
<>< anika
crystal lake

felmleyfam said...

what a "joy" to be slaves to righteousness. Praising the Lord this week that you were able to sell the business, get your car fixed and take this amazing trip. Praying for you in the grief.