The weight of life and its impact on joy

This weekend was the Chicago Marathon, a time of year I will always celebrate but this year was even sweeter as our niece and her family stayed with us.  Her husband ran the marathon, but even more incredible was getting to experience my niece as a mother for the first time.  I can still remember getting the message in fourth period High School English that my sister was a mother, and I was an uncle.  I remember that day, and going to hold her the first time in the hospital.  The joy of that day, and the nights I had the privilege of baby-sitting her when I was still in High School/  And this weekend, here we were embracing her and her husband in their new roles.  Holding their son for the first time I was reminded how incredible our creation is.  How pure, untouched and unspoiled newborns are.

Holding their son, I couldn’t help but think of what lies ahead for him and also the excitement that’s all a part of that.  An excitement in my own life that I realize I’m lacking, but why?  Why shouldn’t I be excited and joyful about every day, and what lies ahead for me, for my family… Where has that gone?
Lamentations 3: 17-25 I thought I would never have peace again.

I forgot about good things.

I said to myself, “I no longer have any hope

that the Lord will help me.”

Remember, I am very sad,

and I have no home.

Remember the bitter poison that you gave me.

I remember well all my troubles,

and I am very sad.

But then I think about this,

and I have hope:

We are still alive because

the Lord’s faithful love never ends.

Every morning he shows it in new ways!

You are so very true and loyal!

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion and I trust him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him.

He is good to those who look for him.

I’m in a bit of  phase where that excitement and enthusiasm has been worn away by the mundane; work, cooking, cleaning and just existing based on a schedule.  When I stop and think about that I know that’s a very human perspective, and one we’re all prone to.  Those times when we can relate with Jeremiah and feel burned out, not filled with hope and even unheard.  Those times it gets really easy to build up anger, resentments which lead to a hardened heart.  An inability to access joy, to hear the good news or see the blessings in our lives.  How I can relate.  But how contrary to how I should be living every day.

Isaiah 61:10  I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!

For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation

and draped me in a robe of righteousness.

I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding

or a bride with her jewels.

I am chosen, I am forgiven, I am beloved by a Father in Heaven that adores me!  He doesn’t care if the dishes are done, or if the last email was sent in a timely manner.  He doesn’t care what I drive, or how I’m dressed.  He cares about my heart.  It’s easy to get weighed down by the day to day.  To be so focused on today that I lose sight on the eternal, talk about short-sighted… I’m called to live every day with a love that is passed on to me by my Savior and to carry that to everyone I come in contact with.

Matthew 6 31-34  “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” So my challenge is to stay focused on the eternal, and put aside the worries I have for today.  God has proven time and again that He is good, merciful and loves me in ways I can’t comprehend.  God doesn’t need to prove anything to me, yet He does consistently.  The creator of me, of you and of the universe remains ever faithful.
Rom. 15:13  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Grace, peace and love

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