April 2

The Valley of Vision

In honor of Easter, the celebration of our Savior, I’d like to share a short Puritan prayer. Wishing everyone an Easter full of joy!

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine; Let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my death, thy joy in my sorrow, thy grace in my sin, thy riches in my poverty, thy glory in my valley.

March 4

Sustaining Joy

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.  C.S. Lewis

Ever have one of those days when everything seems to fail, fall apart, or even fall away. Forget “days” I have had weeks, years, and even a decade of the such. And then suddenly it seemed I awoke from it all (whatever it was) to find my life in complete order, such happiness and content all over and within me. I know I’m fortunate as there are many whose entire lives are in a constant messy state, many even die and leave this world in such disarray. Often times, it seems so unfair. How could God or any giver of life allow such things? Of course many times we bring ourselves into the mess, but there are so many other times when the mess just seems to latch on and follow us wherever we go.

Now that I have my own daughter, you bet I’m seeing the world a bit differently. I want so badly to keep all the evil and sadness as far away as possible. I know there will come a time when she will face deep darkness and sorrow, that there will be many failures in her life, and that she will go through days or perhaps even years when nothing seems to work. Just knowing this breaks my heart. But, as parents we can’t keep the things of life away from our children. We can, however, equip them with the resources to handle them. We can also live our lives as an example, allowing them to see that despite the hardships or failures we may face, we have an everlasting hope that gives us joy and a reason to look forward to tomorrow.

When I “awoke” from those years of endless darkness and hardship, it wasn’t as if my life suddenly turned peachy and cleaned itself up. What changed was the condition of my heart and how I viewed the world around me. Although my heart and life were broken, I had a joy within me that was sustaining, a joy that no one, nothing could ever take away.

Photo credit.

February 21

Finding Joy

I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy. C.S. Lewis

As someone who has often struggled with “the blues” and even depression at various times in my life, I often have to ask myself, “where is your joy?” The question is really a reminder to the self within me, a reminder that true joy is unfleeting and cannot be affected by outside forces. Joy is a state of the heart, and unlike the other states of the heart; happiness and peace, joy is the only one I have control over. No one, nothing can mess with my joy unless I let them. So regardless of who has harmed me, or what my circumstances may be, or what sorrows I may face, the joy in my heart will always prevail.

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