So in this time of extreme difficulty, we are finding joy. I find myself looking for it every day and frequently it finds me. God is putting joy in my life and putting it right in front of my face. Here are some examples:
- Despite our extreme sadness the moment Zachary was born we also felt joy. Joy in meeting our son and in finding out that (shocker) we had another boy! Joy in seeing his round little O'Brien face just as we had 3 times before. Joy in giving him a name that honored my grandpa and knowing that now all 4 of our grandpa's names are represented in our boys names. Joy in having him immediately baptized and knowing that his sweet soul is safe and loved in heaven. Joy even in heartbreaking sadness.
- My marriage to Jeremy is stronger than ever. I love him more than the day we were married and I know he feels the same. We say it to each other. Joy. We rocked this tragedy with a togetherness we had never experienced. We were on the same wavelength at every single step. That's not true for other challenges we have come across, but it was true for this. True love. Joy.
- I smile every single time I leave my house because I have a beautiful tree (soon to be two) in the yard with a guardian angel sitting beneath it. Joy.
- We have seen and heard from friends that we haven't seen in a while. And it's been wonderful for all of us. Joy.
- We are raising an amazing amount of money through donations to Synergy Services for children who either have no home or their home is unsafe or so chaotic that a shelter with caregivers that are strangers to them is a better choice. Those babies will be rocked in chairs, sleep in beds, and cared for between the walls that are paid for by our family and friends simply because sweet Zachary will never get that opportunity. Joy for those kids. They will feel comfort, love, and security that they would not otherwise have without our help. I have rocked all of my babies and I was able to rock Zachary. Rocking babies tugs at my heart and these babies will be rocked with love. Joy.
- Our kids are learning grief at their own pace. They are gaining an understanding on what it is to lose someone, even someone they did not know, and still be able to live a life full of joy. They are learning that its ok for adults to cry and cry hard. Ugly cry with hacking sobs of grief and there have been many. They are learning, Leo in particular, that it's also ok not to cry if that's not what your heart feels in the moment. It's ok to be ok. It's so ok to feel joy.
My friend Rachel sent this devotional to me tonight just as I was starting to write this blog. Joy. Thank you Jesus for all of the JOY in my life.
"I continually call you to closeness with Me. I know the depth and breadth of your need for Me. I can read the emptiness of your thoughts when they wander away from Me. I offer rest for your soul, as well as refreshment for your mind and body. As you increasingly find fulfillment in Me, other pleasures become less important. Knowing Me intimately is like having a private wellspring of Joy within you. This spring flows freely from My throne of grace, so your Joy is independent of circumstances. Waiting in My presence keeps you connected to Me, aware of all that I offer you. If you feel any deficiency, you need to refocus your attention on Me. This is how you trust Me in the moments of your life."