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Experiencing Joy

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24 NLT)

Today, yes today my soul is filled with joy.

And although I wish I could say that is my normal, I have to admit there have been many days that I have wasted the gift of the present day by fretting about the future. Oh, today though, I stopped and breathed in the experience of being present in the moment and discovered a bounty of blessings all around me. I was met with gladness, with pure joy that overflowed in my heart… you know the type of joy that makes you just want to get up and dance and skip around the room…yes that type of joy!

It was not an elaborate vacation or hiking in a flowering field, that brought such joy. No, it was sitting in the stands of my son’s Special Olympics track and field event. The world seemed to have stopped as I took in the scene of over 100 athletes who all had challenges but not one single individual showed the struggle or the pain on their faces. I watched athlete after athlete, my son included, crossing the finish line with smiles and shouts of joy at their accomplishment. Here were individuals that had to persevere through so much to just make it to the event not to mention the physical or sensory obstacles that stood between them and the finish line. It did not matter if they came in first or last, their focus was locked on the finish line. I saw athletes stop running to go to another athlete’s side who had fallen, I saw athletes walking with what looked to be a debilitating limb, I saw athletes in wheelchairs powering through with their hands… all with one goal in mind, to finish!

I leaned further and further into the moment. I embraced the present and I saw modeled right in front of me how to receive the day as the Lord intended and I watched what it meant to be truly glad in it. And at that moment, I heard a whisper in my spirit say “Child, every day can be like this when you receive the day as a gift from Me and focus only on being present in it!” I breathed in again absorbing the lesson my Savior was teaching me at this moment . A lesson on how he longed for me to receive the gift of the day from Him and embrace it with gladness.

But some days are really hard on this earth, aren’t they? Some days the pain of broken relationships, or of illness, or of job loss, or of loss of life can take us down and steal our joy. But our Lord declares even those days, He has made! For me embracing this truth meant I needed to move the truth out of my head and into my heart. Such a journey would allow me to say through the pain, that there is gladness in my heart and rejoicing in my spirit even on such hard days.

As I sat and watch men and women with such gladness pushing through so many obstacles, tears of understanding of what it looks like to rejoice and be glad came to my eyes. And my soul was being transformed to see with the eyes of my heart. At that moment, sitting there on those stands, I was taking a profound lesson on joy.

So let me ask you a question, are you sitting with joy in your heart today? If not, what is holding you back from accepting the gift of the day and truly being glad in it? If you are struggling to find joy through the pain, then would you consider inviting God into your doubt, your hurt, and your fears? Come to Him authentically and let your heart be molded to His likeness so that you can receive every day (even the painful ones) as a gift from Him and experience joy!

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