Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Joy of the Lord

Many times, I've found myself indulging in "pity parties", those times when things weren't going the way I wanted them to, or when my heart was broken, or when I wanted something I couldn't have or afford, or when I was just having a bad day. On those occasions, I didn't want to speak to anyone, and sometimes didn't even want to go out of the house. Years ago, it was so bad that I would do whatever I could to avoid people, because that would often remind me of what I was missing, didn't have, wanted, needed, longed for and hoped for. Looking at the success of my some of my friends, I compared my life to theirs, thinking that they somehow "had it all together."

The Bible tells us in Nehemiah 8:10, "The joy of the Lord is your strength."

If I had known back then what I know now, I could have saved myself from a lot of heartache and frustration, especially in that my trials and shortcomings create character in me that nothing else can.

God has a way of helping us to change our perspective, and if we listen and allow Him to guide us, we can be blessed in ways that will alter our lives for the better. In the video above, you see my grandmother at 95 (she's going on 97 now, praise the Lord!) She has seen her share of heartache, loss, loneliness and physical challenges. She lost her mother when she was a very young child, and her father, a preacher, allowed her siblings to be raised by other family members. Granny has outlived all of her siblings, as well as her daughter, my mother. In fact, when mom passed away 29 years ago, who could have known that Granny would still be here, quickly closing in on one entire century of life?

As I visit with my grandmother, sharing meals with her and sometimes just watching her sleep, my heart has been turned in a completely different direction from where it was years ago. Over the years, I've gone from feeling sorry for myself, to watching this beautiful "old" woman (old in quotation marks because she's indeed young at heart!) inspire me with her love for God, and her endless faith that He will sustain and comfort her, no matter what. Just about every time I visit with her, Granny is singing or humming - humming even while eating - and her heart is so full of love that it spills out into the room. Despite her surroundings and situation, she has the joy of the Lord, and as that is HER strength, she has truly shown me that it is most surely my strength.