Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Can You REALLY Be Thankful and Find Joy In All Circumstances

My cousin found out this week that she has breast cancer.  No woman wants to hear that diagnosis.  I have been amazed at the number of people posting scripture to her Facebook page.  I can tell from her comments that she is finding comfort in God's Word.

Words for finding comfort and strength are filling her heart and mind.  They are giving her courage during this difficult time.  This afternoon, I found this gem on Pinterest to share with her.....
What was I thinking, right???

Be joyful????

Give thanks?????



Be joyful.
Give thanks.


First, let me be clear.

I have never been diagnosed with cancer. There was a time I was fearful due to some changes in my breasts.  I saw my doctor, had an ultrasound, and got the all clear.  So, no, I don't know what it is like to get that diagnosis.

I do know heartbreak in other ways.

I know what it's like to watch your husband walk away from you at the airport not knowing if he will make it back home from Afghanistan. I know what it's like to be Skyping with your husband while he is deployed and there be an attack. I know the uncertainties and hardships that deployment can bring.

In those instances, I prayed.  I found joy knowing that God would hear my pleas (that He wants me to let my requests be known).  I found joy knowing that my children grew in their prayer lives and relationship with Christ.  I found joy knowing that my husband was serving God and country. He was doing something he felt strongly about.

And I gave thanks.  I gave thanks for the amount of communication we had: Skype, texting, email, phone call, snail mail.  We had it all, and I can't imagine the days when women couldn't communicate with their deployed Soldiers like that.  I gave thanks that each time there was an attack my husband was safe.  I gave thanks that he was able to minister to the Soldiers and provide them with Christian guidance.

I gave thanks for answered prayers.

I know what it's like to find evidence in the toilet, the first clue that something was wrong with your pregnancy.  I know what it's like to tearfully find your boss to tell them what you think is happening to get permission to leave work to go to the doctor. I know what its like to cry all the way to the doctor not knowing what exactly is happening.  I know what it's like to see your baby on the ultrasound monitor to find that, yes, it's true, your baby stopped growing.  I know what it's like to have a natural miscarriage and lay weak on the bathroom floor knowing you will never be the same. I know what its like 2 years later to cry, remembering that day, and yearning for that baby.

In all of this, I prayed.

And I found joy.

I found joy in the fact that there is hope in Christ.  That I felt His presence, and I may meet my baby one day in Heaven.  He brought me comfort in the banana popsicles that my husband urged me to eat while I was weak, causing me to remember the love of my grandfather.  He brought me comfort as I laughed about laying on the bathroom floor on my son's toddler bed. He reminded me in so many ways that He was right there with me, that I wasn't going through that miscarriage alone. I found joy in the scripture cards my friend Leslie sent to me.

And I found joy in the things I was thankful for:

I had an amazing medical staff that was honest, yet compassionate and went beyond the call of duty for us. 

My coworkers held my hand (literally) and cried with me.  The love they have for me is amazing.  

My husband and mom never left my side. They cleaned me up, held my hand, and took such good care of me. 

My in laws took care of my children because I was too weak to be there for them physically and emotionally.

I was thankful for those three healthy children, those boys who are my sunshine.

I was thankful for the phone calls and texts I received from those checking on me.

I was thankful for the meals provided for us.

So, I say YES, we can really be thankful and find joy in ALL circumstances. For me, being thankful and finding joy are choices I can make. And let me be clear on this: Happiness and joy are NOT the same thing.  When my kids behave, I am happy. When the bills are paid, I am happy.  When I have a terrible day, I find joy in the comment of the kid that says, "You are an A+ teacher," as he reads my coffee cup.  I find joy in the fact that a dreaded faculty meeting is cut short.

I make the choice to be thankful.

I make the choice to find joy.

What about you?  What choice are you making?

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