Fruit of the Spirit: Joy (A Wife’s Application)

“I just can’t anymore; I give up. I cannot take another night,” she said after more than 8 months of restless nights.

 

At no time in my life have I felt more broken than this season of life. Since childhood, my parents have joked that they never had to tell me to go to bed, and even in adulthood… well, let’s just say I am not a night owl. I’m not really sure what I am, but all I know is that I love sleep. Not in a lazy kind of way, because I can get more done in 4 hours than most people can get done in 8. It’s just how I’m wired—that get up and go personality. Two extremes: All or nothing.

 

However, sleep is a crucial part of this equation. I worked full-time + hours in college while finishing my degree early, and I have STILL never felt more run-down than I do in this season. I LOVE being a mom more than anything, but find that I am really struggling…all because of something entirely biological and completely out of my control! Have you ever felt this way by what life has thrown at you???

 

I have struggled, squirmed, and have been stubborn to this season of life. I have tried to fight it with everything that I have. I have dealt with severe hormone fluctuations, exhaustions due to breastfeeding, and sleepless nights. I have had mood swings that have caused me to even scare myself (LOL!).

 

Like I said, I have tried to fight it with all my being, only leaving me MORE exhausted. A couple of weeks ago, it finally hit me with something that Pastor said during his Dry Bones series… that sometimes we just have to give up and let it go; that there are some seasons to fight through and some to just ride the current that God has us on at that time. When I heard that it was like I exhaled all of the fight, frustration, tears, and anguish. I sobbed because the weight had FINALLY been lifted, and I could finally learn what God had wanted to teach me all along: how to experience true JOY.

 

I had to learn that joy is not an emotion. Joy can feel a lot like happiness, but they are not the same thing. Happiness is a temporary feeling resulting from good circumstances. It is fragile. However, JOY is reliant on our Creator. Joy can survive devastation, exhaustion, and irritation. It defies all odds amongst tough circumstances.

 

But let’s face it, oftentimes rejoicing is easier said than done. First, we must understand that joy is not something to DO, not to FEEL. Joy is experienced with the voice, not the heart. It is seeing God’s hand in EVERY circumstance. Joy is seeing the future glory (Rom. 8:18).

 

1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perished though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

 

It brings glory to God when our faith is tested by difficult circumstances—our husband is snappy, our kid isn’t sleeping, our job is frustrating—and we still experience joy through faith.

 

After all, it is easy to say we have joy when all is well. When it isn’t is when our faith is truly tested. Don’t get me wrong, joy isn’t plastering on a happy face, but rather seeing the pain and suffering (James 4:9), but also seeing the hand of God actively at work—acknowledging the trial, but also being thankful.

 

My belief in God is that He does not play with His children like a bully with a magnifying glass, and we are ants. I don’t believe my loving God manipulates situations to cause me to suffer. However, difficulty is a part of life, and I do believe that everything—both good and bad—falls through His hands. Therefore, He ALLOWS me to go through certain things to test my faith.

 

My challenge to you—wife, mom, and myself—that we see difficult times as opportunities to show God and the world our faith and joy, rather than being plagued under discontent. That we would use the opportunity to grow, show authenticity, and praise God.

 

“Let the truth enter deep into us—as long as our joy is not full, it is a sign that we do not yet know our heavenly Vine; every desire for a fuller joy must only urge us to abide more simply and more fully in His love.” –Andrew Murray
Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/pertu/4102670671/”>Stefano Pertusati</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/photos/happy-images/”>Visualhunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

Photo credit: Stefano Pertusati via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

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Katie Wimberly She and her husband, Nate, have been married for five years and have a two-year old son, Isaiah. She is a licensed mental health counselor, and currently works for a private counseling agency in Statesville and Taylorsville. She attended Liberty University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies, and a Master’s in Professional Counseling. She is passionate about seeing people liberated from things holding them back in life so that they can live the limitless life God has called them to.

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