Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Don't steal my joy!

When Pax was born, almost 4 months ago, it was such an amazingly easy transition.  He was a great baby, slept all night from the beginning, and nursed like a champ. It was like Pax was always here & we always have had 3 kids, because it was so natural.  I was in this euphoric state of floating on cloud 9.  God's blessings were so apparent to me in my precious little family, and I was just plain joyful.

That lasted for a couple months.  Then things started going downhill fast.  Could be part of the reason why I haven't been able to keep up with my blog ;)  You know that phrase "when it rains it pours"?  Well, it's been a hurricane in the Stephens house for the last several months.  It has seemed like one thing after another after another.  Dathan got injured at work and was off work for 6 weeks.  Workman's Comp didn't decide to pay him until the end of those 6 weeks.  Pax got a cold and was only able to sleep in the swing. Which is downstairs. So I slept on the couch for weeks.  Our car broke down.  Like died. Bit the dust. Not sure if we can get it working again.  And to make matters worse, we are still paying on it.  Yep, have about 2 years left on our loan.  When Dathan was finally able to go back to work, he worked for a week and then they didn't have any work for him for a couple weeks.  Then Nolan got sick.  Of course the one week Dathan did have work and wasn't here to help me.  Then Christmas came, then I got sick. So Dathan missed another week of work to take care of me.  I was sick from Dec. 26 until last weekend.  I'm still not 100%.  In being sick I missed out on a lot of things: New Years, several parties, seeing every college student who was home for Christmas, Girl's Night Out, play dates, etc.  And had to stop nursing.  I feel as if I basically missed out on almost a month of my life.  And through all of this we have had ants in our house.  This constant battle that we are not winning, even though we've tried practically everything to get rid of them & have had the place sprayed... 3 times.  On about day 10 of being sick I had a mental breakdown. Lost it. Sobbing uncontrollably.  Everything came out, all my frustrations with money issues and health issues and issues I wasn't even aware that I had ;)  I. Was. So. Mad.

I was mad at God because I felt like He wasn't answering our prayers.  I was mad at satan because he was being a jerk to me and our family.  I was mad at myself for not getting better.  I was just mad. 

And then I got over it. What else do you do? I don't want to stay in a place of anger & sadness, what good does that do?  I cried. I poured my heart out to God.  And then with His help, I made a choice: 
I will NOT let the enemy steal my joy.

It's a choice.  It really is.  We can choose to focus on our pain & struggles.  It's so easy to do that!  But when that is where our focus is, that is where our heart is.  And when that is where our heart is, that is where bitterness & anger creep in.  But when we look to God & all that He has done in our lives, then that is where our focus goes... and so our heart does too.  Sure, many people may have less struggles than we do right now.  But many people may also have more.  And honestly, we all are dealing with something. Some people you can tell they are going through stuff and some you can't.  I think part of it is because of where they choose to put their focus.

When I chose to see the blessings, I was overwhelmed.  There were more than I thought.  Really all I have to do is look at my precious family and I can see where God is at work. 

"But You, O Lord, are a shield around me; You are my glory, the One who holds my head high." (Ps 3:3)

This is a verse I clung to during my frustrations.  Such encouraging truth is in this!  God is my shield!  I may not see it, but He is protecting me.  He's my glory, & He holds my head high.  I don't have to hang my head in shame or sadness or anger.  I also don't have to use MY strength to hold my head up.  God's here to do that for me.

In knowing that I am shielded & my head is being held high, how can I not find joy?  Who couldn't use more joy in their lives?  And besides....

"...the joy of the Lord is my strength." (Neh. 8:10)

"And these things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11)

So today, I choose joy.  And tomorrow I will do the same.  Will you?

1 comment:

Breanne said...

SO good Erica! Thank you so much...I needed that! This was inspiring, and not just this post, but how I've watched you choose joy through the past few months. I love you and your family! You guys are awesome :)