Experience Joy

A smart, beautiful young girl dies of cancer.  Her mother writes a book.  I read the book.  I know I wasn’t having the emotions that I was supposed to have.  I felt frustration. This poor woman really struggled – really, really struggled.  For example, she could not bathe because the water caused so much pain on her skin.
Poor lady!  As I read of her struggles at first I just wanted to say, “Get A Grip Lady!” – Not very nice, but I couldn’t understand her reactions.  I have been through so many of these same experiences and handled them so differently.
I am a nice person and I repented of my reaction –  Then my frustration stemmed from the fact that I couldn’t step into the book and help her out a little!  I wanted to talk to her and share some things that I know.  Her daughter was an amazing little girl and I was sorry that their last months together weren’t lived differently – but alas, I could not change the story.  In the end, the mother finds a sort of peace, though I still think she is off the mark.
A few weeks ago I was able to speak in church.  My topic was “How a Christ-Centered Life brings Joy.”  I love this topic!  Because we are new in Texas I was able to share a few of our cancer experiences.  I share this because I wanted them to know that, despite a couple of really trying years, our family experiences JOY.

I think this is supposed to be
accompanied by M&Ms.
I would share if I could….

This is a message I wish that I could share with everyone.  I know that childhood cancer doesn’t reach every home.  However, I also know that trials, heartache and suffering do reach every home in one way or another.  Cancer is easy to talk about.  I am blessed in this way.  I know that every mother will watch their child struggle with something and most of those struggles are not to easy to discuss, or should not be discussed with others.  We have some of those.
Cancer, however, well – we can talk about cancer.  If your child hasn’t been diagnosed, you know a family member or friend has been.  We all know the fear and we all want to help.  So… I talk about it…. Hoping that those other mothers can read and learn and know that we can experience Joy in the midst of our trials.  This is one of the most beautiful and powerful lessons that I have learned through our childhood cancer years!
I have thought more about this during the past couple of days.  I know I can feel sadness, discouragement, apprehension, anxiety, exhaustion and many other less-than-positive emotions and still feel Joy.  I may not be smiling.  I may be crying.  I can still be joyful.  Joy is deep.
I also thought that I cannot feel Joy when I feel emotions such as anger, malice, jealousy, etc.  Why is that?  If my Joy is deep, where does it go when I let myself be angry?  I think that the key is “let myself.”  When I make the choice to let myself have such negative emotions, I experience the consequence which is to drive away the spirit of Christ.
Jesus Christ taught us the way to be happy.  That way is to follow Him.
He taught us, he asked us to do certain things and live a certain way… then he gave us the agency to choose how we will live.
I have learned that when I choose to follow his teachings and example, I can be in the midst of great heartache and still have joy… still have peace.
It is simple, but so many people don’t know where to turn or how to get there.  I have learned a lot over my life – I will write more of what I have learned…. later.  This is because I have learned that joy in family life is not achieved when Mom spends too much time on the computer…

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