Friends kept innocently asking me at church today, "How are you?" or even better, "How was your week?"
Ummmm.........how could I answer that? Today? After this week?
So I pulled out my best oratorical evasive actions and tried to seemlessly dodge the question and change the subject.
But a few times I was caught off guard and without thinking would pull out the standard response, "Fine." And then I would turn around and ask the Lord to forgive me for lying.
It is not that anything terrible or major had occurred this week. Just a lot of little things piled all on top of each other. And honestly, I didn't feel fine at all.
It is not always like that.
There can be the sort of days where you wake up early, feel refreshed, and quickly find a cute outfit. Your hair works, your kids are awake, and when you walk out into your kitchen it is sparkly clean. By the end of your day there are lots of check marks on your To Do list and you blissfully are able to quickly fall asleep with a sense of "well done" in your mind.
And on that day, the joy comes easy. Not only do you act joyful, you feel joyful.
And then there are those other kind of days.
You wake up late, with a head ache. The shirt you wanted to wear is clean, but is in the load in the washer...the load you were supposed to put in the dryer before you went to bed....the load that now smells more like mildew than mountain meadows. Your kids are fighting and your shoe laces break. After trying to fix your hair several times you consider shaving it all off but decide on a pony tail instead . You walk into the kitchen to find that "someone" forgot to finish cleaning last night and now you get to start off today with yesterday's work. And that is just the beginning of the day.
At the end of the day you lay in your bed, staring at your ceiling, not only regretting the way you spoke to your husband, but wondering, "What did I get done today?" and honestly, you really don't remember a single accomplishment of the day.
And on THAT day. On that day you have to fight for joy.
Or at least I do.
I don't think I fought for joy very hard this week. I was tired of fighting.
But to not fight for it, is to disobey. I am called to rejoice. I am called to HAVE joy.
To possess it.
To live it.
This morning at church the music was like a balm on my soul. It washed over me and through me. And washed out some of the grump and the pain and the weariness. And it wasn't just an emotional response to nice music. The music was a balm because the songs were songs of praise.
And to have joy I have to praise. Him. And I have to trust. Him.
And this morning at church my precious Lord did something else. He spoke softly to my soul and He met me at my point of sorrow and He first assured me,
"A broken and a contrite heart He will not despise." (Ps 51:17)
Oh the relief of that. He did not despise my broken heart. He did not want me to stay there, but he did not despise it. My soul rejoiced at the immense consolation of His Word.
And then we sang the old song, "All in All"
When I fall down You pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all.
Sweet reassurance flowed down upon me. All that I need my Savior is ready and willing to give me.
A little later a sweet young friend asked me how my week had been and I just looked at him, smiled and said, "God is good." And he laughed. He understood. He hadn't had a very good week either.
My week had not been good. And I hadn't FELT joy.
But always and without fail stands the truth that my GOD IS GOOD. That is not a feeling. That is a foundation.
I did not fight very hard for joy this past week. Really, really did not.
But I vow that I will this week. Because of Psalm 121...(and I am changing pronouns in this Scripture so I will remember, on the bad days, that this is for me...and of course it is for you too!)
The Lord is my keeper;
The Lord is my shade on my right hand.
The sun will not smite me by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect me from all evil;
He will keep my soul
The Lord will guard my going out and my coming in
From this time forth and forever.
I will fight for joy and I can. Because my God is taking care of everything else.