Nothing in my circumstances changed, but I could feel something shift, some tiny glowing ember in my spirit today that was new and yet something I recognized from long ago, like an old friend. I felt it grow stronger as I saw the faces at church, so grace-filled and kind and good. I felt it keenly when a few pews full of friends got the church giggles and I found myself laughing right along with them, even though it was probably inappropriate, but really not, because we are family in our Father’s house and what is family without laughter. I felt it in the reading when I heard….
No more shall people call you ‘Forsaken’
Or your land ‘Desolate’
But you shall be called ‘My Delight”
And your land “Espoused”
For the LORD delights in you
…and I knew it was about me. I felt it in the words of the song I sang…
I am Your Beloved
And You love me as I am
You have called me chosen
For your Kingdom
Unashamed to call me Your own
I am Your Beloved
…and I knew it to be true.
I’ve been slogging away and working and reading and writing and I have a lot left to do, but I know that God has planted something in me that bore fruit today. Something green poked its way out of the muck of my soul, and it was good. There is a time for everything under the sun, after all, and something in me felt like it’s almost time for dancing. It felt like Spring sunshine, and there’s no better feeling than that.
It was joy.
Joy is not the same thing as happiness. It comes from a different place, it’s peaceful and hope-filled and points us somewhere beyond ourselves. Joy is something that we need to nurture and tend, but it’s not something we can produce on our own. It’s like a perfect chord of music sounding in the heart, and we know it when we hear it. I was so glad to hear it today.