"I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God." - Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
"This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart." - Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." - Philippians 4:11
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,because God has said,“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5
This was originally posted on September 18, 2016 but as I was going back reviewing, it seemed incomplete. Today on August 28, 2021 I'm going to finish this entry.
Since this was written, we have added a child to our family and have had SO MANY JOYFUL MOMENTS! There is nothing in this world that brings me more happiness than seeing my son and husband together playing. However, we have also walked through so much hardship, and now so much grieving. I lost my grandmother to Covid, and my grandfather then basically died of a broken heart. So far this year, my husband spent a week in the hospital in January, we moved homes in April, an adoption opportunity fell through, and I lost my other grandfather a month ago as well. BUT GOD IS STILL GOOD! It would be so easy to fall into a pattern of collapse as we are beaten down by the world. It is tempting to live inside depression (please note - I am not talking about clinical depression - that is VERY REAL and if you have it you need to seek medical help and additional support). When we are hit so many, many times, it can be an enormous effort of will to get back up again.
In all of the bible verses above, we are commanded to choose joy. We MUST:
be "occupied with gladness of heart"
"be content" (yes, two times!)
We approach the throne of God with open hands and open hearts. Sometimes we receive difficulty, sometimes we receive treasures of glorious moments, and very rarely there are little bits of tangible blessings sprinkled down to us. No matter what comes our way, we need to be intentional of our posture toward our Creator, the Giver of all things. Because of the actions of Jesus on the cross, we are ENABLED to find contentedness in the Holy Spirit ALL. THE. TIME. Yes, always.
Please do yourself a favor and read the whole chapter of 1 Thessalonians 5 - it is full of riches and says everything I'm trying to say here in a more wonderful way. I am simply going to emphasize 1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice always".
You have Jesus - rejoice always.
His love for you is unchanging - rejoice always.
Death is not the end - rejoice always.
The dawn comes after the storm - rejoice always.
We will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living - rejoice always.
Everything you have is from God, even your very soul - rejoice always.
God made you for a purpose - rejoice always.
You are a unique piece of creation and hold an important place in this world - rejoice always.
Eternity is a long time and you are going to get to spend it in the fullness of love - rejoice always.
We can and all will be united in Spirit as long as we have Christ - rejoice always.
I will say it one last time, choose joy my dear ones. I will send you some extra today, regardless of your circumstances.