Jars & Joy

In rounding out this year, in all its un-welcomed, unforeseen circumstances, I want to walk out of the closing doors with a thankful heart. To be completely vulnerable, I’m in a mood to list all that has malfunctioned in this machine of a year, but that would be too easy. There is a chance that speaking life, where death can so easily be presented, is best.

So I will instead route this towards a thankful road, with a heart like a vehicle loaded with gratitude. In reflection, I have seen where the trenches of each season has opened up and I have fallen in. Thinking chronologically, through heartache, finding out that my younger brother has stage 3 testicular cancer or that it was time to face the realities of who I am – it has been tiring. It has been like one gun shot after another; with one wound scarring, only to be shot at again.

Through the walking, crawling and mustering my way to healing again, I have found that there is more character to myself afterwards – like a crack in an antique. I have found that the trenches, the deeper they seem to get, are instead a deeper crevice for trust in Him and grace from Him to enter into. They are the waters that rush in to push me back up to the surface. They are the formula for my way back to health.

In all of this, I have never felt the presence of the Lord like I have this year. Each time I feel the wound open right back up, I hear Him whisper how He is with me and He isn’t leaving me. It is such a reminder that He doesn’t just sit on the mountaintops, waiting for me to climb to Him and to find the glory there.

Instead I am learning and finding that He walks right with me through the places where only He can work. Where He knows that I am so quick to expend my energies, when all He wants me to do is to take His hand and to walk forward with Him. Just like that. He doesn’t want me to worry about the tears that I release, because there are jars along the way to collect them. I have been assured that He uses those for when the end is reached and I turn to Him with thankfulness that can only be expressed through tears. He knows when each jar needs to be reopened and poured out.
And this is how my sadness has been continuously turned to joy.

So as easy as it is to admit defeat, I instead offer praise. I praise Him for the patience that He has each time we walk together through another trench. I praise Him for those He has placed into my life that push me forward when I choose not to see the end ahead.

And I praise Him because He is I Am when I am not.

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