Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Joy in the Hard Times

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo courtesy of: Preslie Hirsch

"The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

~Nehemiah 8:10b

I have a certain little cream-colored coffee mug that I just love. It has the word "Joy" forged on it in a beautiful golden script and, actually, that little mug had a little chip on the rim of it the day I bought it a few years back during the annual after-Christmas sale at Hobby Lobby. Call me crazy, but I didn’t think $1 was too much to spend for that adorable mug that just made me happy - even with its imperfection. 

Little did I know when I bought it in December of 2019 all that that little mug would see me through in the following few years. Little did I know that that little chipped mug would serve as one of the most impactful lessons and reminders during the craziness of 2020 and beyond.

I could not have guessed that day in Hobby Lobby just what all we as a country would soon be in for, nor could I have grasped just how appropriate its message and chip really would be.

Because what it has taught me as my coffee companion on many a morning since, during quarantine and then during my husband's 7 month deployment is that sometimes life is a little beat up, sometimes we are a little chipped along the way. But we can still have joy. Conversely, joy isn’t always a case of everything moving along perfectly, just as we would want it to. Sometimes joy is found not in spite of, but in the midst of, really hard seasons of life.

That can be hard to grasp sometimes, but all those years ago I believe the Lord went before me and provided me on the Christmas aisle of Hobby Lobby with a lesson I would need even before I would need it when He brought this lovely though imperfect mug across my path on that cold December day! 

Today, friend, may you find joy even now, even in the midst of whatever you may be going through in this season. The joy of the Lord really can be your strength. 💕

Reflection Questions:

1) What are you going through right now? Have you been experiencing joy in the midst of it?

2) What do you need to get alone and talk to God about in this season? How can you pour your heart out to Him and have His joy be your strength?

3) What could you do to tangibly look for His joy in your everyday moments? Maybe consider started a daily gratitude list to help you chronicle His blessings in your everyday life.

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