Saturday, January 18, 2014

“Doh!” moments in the "Ya, buts" of Joy!

My mind wandered as I was sitting on my bed preparing to read my evening devotional. I thought about how I’m not in touch with either of my ‘daughters’ very regularly anymore. I miss them. 

Throughout my 20's I lived with someone but I’ve never married. And while I’ve not borne any children there are  two great young women to whom I am Mother.  So last night I was about to let the sadness of this change with my daughters get me down. I was hearing myself say, “YA, BUT how can I be joyful when they’re both living so far away and communication has become so irregular?” 

In my mind I immediately  heard, “My joy is not in my circumstances; my joy is in Him.” Clear as a bell.

Doh! I know this! 

I’ve heard variations of this so many times that it’s become cliché. But something about this time felt different. I think it finally sunk in. 

I’ve known this but I didn’t KNOW this! 

As you may remember, my One Word for 2014 is JOY ! I am asking the LORD to help me find joy in those areas where I have difficulty seeing Him. So, yes, I’ve known this but this time it resonated! 

“In His presence there is fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11)

My joy is not in my circumstances; my joy is in Him. 

Right after I heard this statement in my mind, I was looking up the Scriptures related to my devotional when my eyes landed on Isaiah 54:1: 

"Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child;

burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor;

because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,"

says the LORD.

“Burst into song!! Shout for joy!!” He says.

Further on this chapter in verse 4 it goes on to say: 

"Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.

Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.

You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

I’m not a widow obviously but I’m going to count being unmarried here if I may. 

I don’t particularly feel any shame about not being married. Nor do I feel shame about not having borne children. I more so can tend to feel shame about how I am pigeon holed by others because of this. I can sometimes feel shame about being marginalized and pushed aside as a single woman.

God’s word says I will not be put to shame. This is one part of what my journey in learning joy is about this year. It’s about learning to see Him more fully in this scenario. It's about learning to find joy in Him regardless of how others view me in my singleness.

Verse 5 says:

For your Maker is your husband-- the LORD Almighty is his name—

the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

 My joy is not in circumstances; my joy is in my Husband.

I still miss my daughters. And my circumstances will continue to change for the rest of  my life. If I base my joy on them I’ll be on a roller coaster ride. But if my joy is in the LORD then I will walk on a more level path. I’m getting better at it. I’m catching myself more quickly when I go to the "ya, buts".

My joy is not in circumstances; my joy is in Him. 

P.S.  I don’t know how God speaks to you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that that clear voice I heard in my mind that night was the Holy Spirit giving me my catch phrase for 2014. 


  1. Hellen, thank you for this nice, frank blog. I am sorry you have so little real contact with your daughters. I recognize it a bit because my daughters no longer live at home. But the Netherlands is a small country and we can visit each other. And thats the powerful lesson: Our joy is not in our circumstances: our joy is in Him.

    1. You are fortunate that yours are close enough to visit. My one daughter lives in the next province about 10 hours away. And the other lives in Australia now.

  2. Hellen, I hear this post as a declaration of who you are in Christ -- feeling the sorrow/burdens of these earthly circumstances but choosing to live in God's kingdom where there is overriding joy as the daughter/bride of the King !!

    (I pray that God will restore to you a closer relationship with your daughters too!)

    1. Precisely, Julie, I like how you've summarized it: "feeling the sorrows/burdens of these earthly circumstance but choosing to live in God's kingdom..."

      Thanks for stopping in...and thanks for the prayer.

  3. Well written Hellen - and such a great point! My life will always be full of change, so my joy needs to come from Him! Thanks for sharing!