Joy. It’s a simple three-letter word and yet sometimes it’s one of the hardest emotions to show. This little word has been on my heart for a few weeks now but I kept putting off bringing it to the blog. Why? Quite honestly, because I haven’t felt all that joyful recently.
As my regular readers know, I was in a car accident 14 months ago. That one moment, that one day in August 2013, changed my life and turned my life upside down. I went from being a girl who had a full social life, a bright future, dreams and goals that went on for days, to being someone I barely recognize internally. The person who had plans just about every single weekend, the world at her fingertips, someone in the “prime” of her life suddenly was fighting for the will to live on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. Physical pain took on new life, the days of “normal” sleeping hours went from 6 to 18, the amount of doctor visits in just three months was more than most people go in 10 years. I can’t tell you that during these moments I had joy, because that would be a flat-out lie.
The first few days and weeks after my accident, I was grateful to be alive. That in itself was and is a miracle. However, soon after, I was wishing I hadn’t made it. The amount of physical pain I was dealing with was excruciating. The months and months of not having ANY answers was difficult mentally and emotionally. Spiritually, it’s been one battle after another and I felt like I had nothing left worthwhile to offer the world. Heck, I couldn’t even stand for 5- 10 minutes. What was the point in life anymore?
These last 14 months have been a long journey. I’m sad to say, that during this time, more often than not I haven’t had joy. I was angry that God would allow this to happen. I battle often with thoughts of discouragement and wondering if I’ll ever find someone who will love me and be able to handle the issues I face. In fact, I often still struggle with the fact that I can’t do things most can do on a daily basis.
Recently Jesus has tugged at my heart and I had a mental change (no doubt to the hundreds of prayers on my behalf). I wanted to stop thinking about everything I couldn’t do and be grateful for the things I COULD do. I could still craft occasionally. I could still blog occasionally. I could still work occasionally. There are days when I almost feel normal and have energy….THOSE are my favorite. Finding joy in these things have made a difference in my outlook. Taking captive the days when I do have energy carries me through the days when I can’t work or get out of bed. Finding joy in the little things (that might normally get taken for granted) has a way of changing your outlook on things.
During this whole journey, I have continued to blog and share life when I was able to. Who knew that in THESE moments, the times when I opened my “book” and shared a few pages, these would be the moments that bonded you all to me. Sharing my journey (and pain) has been humbling and yet God has been able to use it to bring joy. The emails and comments I have received when I have opened my life to you, the prayers and encouragement, the letters and gifts I have received, those things have brought me joy.
Is it easy? No. Does it take practice? Yes. Am I a pro at it? No. Do I strive to find joy in at least one thing daily? Yes.
I know many of you are going through difficult times right now. I encourage and challenge you to find JOY in at least one thing daily. It can be big or little, take that thing captive and hold onto it.
We are all on a journey and it’s easy to get discouraged, frustrated or even angry at the one we are on. Let’s find JOY in the journey we are currently on….you just never know where it could take you.