Sunday, December 25, 2016

Splintered Joy

My apologies in advance.  Dear friend, if you are hunting for a wrapped up in sparkling paper post, please skip my words.  Real.  Raw.  Unedited.  My syllables today.

This picture, 5 years ago today popped up on my Facebook feed.  Just moments before, tears trickled down my cheeks as I dropped off my children to spend some time with their dad on Christmas.   Everywhere, as I drove home alone, I watched as families gathered, giggled.  Reminders of my shattered family.

Whispering the hard, daring to ask the tough.  Can joy exist in the midst of the pain?  Isn't that what Christmas whispers to us?   Wrapped up in random blankets, God gave us His Son.  Joy abounding.  Angels singing.  Shepherds coming to worship.  All because God loved us so crazy much and he knew we would need him.

The manger pointing to the cross.  He knew the pain Jesus would endure.  He knows the pain we endure.  Abandonment.  Betrayal.  Sickness.  Disease.  Divorce.  Death.  and the list goes on.  Jesus was the answer for all of the pain and heartbreak and anguish.  Joy came to infiltrate our pain.  Even when we didn't ask or understand.

When life hits hard, he holds your hand.  When all you can do is fall to your knees, he wraps his arms around you.  When you have no strength to even breathe, he lets you sob in his arms while he carries you.  My testimony.  My life.

Sometimes, this life sucks.  There is a real enemy that roars around like a lion just waiting to devour.  We all have felt his teeth.  On our families, our children, our self esteem, our (insert your own word).   But it must be possible in the midst of the teeth and tears, to cling to joy.

A single mom can stay up late wrapping presents on her own, cling to joy and wrap his present too.  A driver can hand a crisp $5 bill to a homeless stranger, whether they deserve it or not, cling to joy and slip away.  A cancer patient can vomit with a daunting round of chemo, cling to joy and snuggle with her baby boy.

Maybe Joy never fades.  Maybe in the midst of the hard.  the horrible.  the horrendous.  Joy splinters with you.  And the shards spread out to others, each little piece infecting in a beautiful glorious way.

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent." Psalm 30:11

Maybe Joy invades when we need it most, just like baby Jesus all snuggled in the manger.   Maybe it's not a feeling, but rather the fingerprint of God on our lives.  Maybe joy is how we face the hard, trusting Him, and take one more step.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."  Psalm 28:7

Maybe Joy.  In the midst of the happy or the hard, may your Christmas be drenched in it.  Splintered joy and all.


Anonymous said...

I love you! And am here for you. He holds tighter. So glad He's your joy and strength. The best is still coming. FF

Keystone said...

Sorrows shared is cut in half.
Joys shared are doubled.
Share and share away, Sarah!

I worked as a trained facilitator to help children in divorce recover. The program was Rainbows For All God's Children long ago. The need grew beyond church ability, so programs began in schools to help hurting kids. "God" can't go to school, so the name changed to Rainbows,Inc. The references to God in topics like forgiveness were jettisoned, but the genius of the program remained. Search your area to see if there is one available.

My girls were age 11 and 2 at the crash of marriage. They remained with me (dad). It was the 3rd year of court crazy when I recognized the need for both girls to get into Rainbows. It ran for 13 weeks, one night per week. We went twice and it soothed both so well that I trained to help kids from kindergarten thru 12th grade. I repaid 3 years with kids of all ages because of the help given my own in those 26 weeks. I now meet these little ones as grown men and women thriving in town.

Divorce pain contorts our body and soul so deeply, we miss that same contortion in our children. Some, silently blame themselves for a split. Others, hold false hope of reunion for their family, when that just won't happen for many.

Remember where you were, are, and will be one day. Hard to do when your brain feels like cotton candy strands being spun. So use an example.

"LOOK Dad! I FOUND A "pat-a-pilla". Can we keep him???"

"I don't know what to feed him honey, but we can try."

We took a Tupperware bowl and added grass, then a stick of thin limb from base to top at an angle. All that went on the picnic table on the patio. It was sheltered from storms. My youngest placed her new pet in the grass. He curled into a ball of fur and didn't move. She checked him every day, me...less often.

I remember her calling me when that fur had stretched and moved part way up the stick. He clung that spot forever. He actually molted in a gray web until he disappeared inside.

Cocoon awhile, Sarah. He did!
A long while.
I quit checking. Karli never stopped.
"DAD, Look here", she called from the picnic table. "HE IS ALL GONE".

I had to explain that her pet came to us as a slug, a caterpillar mosying the ground. He molted on the stick and stayed in his new home, coccon, for the purpose of transforming to a new life.
"He is a butterfly now honey! He flew away! He will never play in dirt again cuz he is flying toward heaven".

She is now 28. We still talk of her pat-a-pilla pet who transformed his life.

Get a stick Sarah. Maybe a small wood Cross for your pocket.
For now, go with Psalm 46:10
... "BE STILL and know that I AM God"

And while you lay still, as He prepares your transformation, listen to His words in Zephaniah 3:17, incorporating "Sarah" for every "you" there!

The Lord your God is with Sarah.
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in Sarah.
He will quiet Sarah with His love.
He will rejoice over Sarah with.... SINGING!


We do too!

You are loved more than you know.


Keystone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BARBIE said...

Thank you for this reminder that there is joy in the midst of the hard. Praying you had a blessed Christmas.

Unknown said...

Amazing post!! Your blog is very nice and inspiring.