This is how joy blooms.
In the seconds and the minutes we give up to get our hands a little dirty. To sink our fingers and our hearts into the earthy bits where our lives our most real and to dig up the tiny victories. The moments where we had what we needed even though we didn't think we did. The moments where He was truly with us all along.
A lot of times, as I'm learning, these victories come up looking just like the earth they came from- a bit...dirty, mucky or ugly. Or even a bit ordinary. Maybe even a bit uninteresting.
But if we brush them off and give them a good rinsing, I think we'll find they have great worth and value.
To do this digging takes some halting of our everyday, and maybe that's why it's hard. It's hard to halt and go deeper when you've just been trucking along for a good while up on the surface level. Up where there is a lot of grass and weeds and sameness.
The world around me is welcoming spring into its arms, and soon I will be welcoming a new baby into mine. There is so much life and vibrance and fullness to enjoy all around. But sometimes I feel so empty. Sometimes I feel so much the opposite of full. I wonder why I can't find the joy anywhere. I wonder why I can't find the words or the peace of mind or the excitement and instead there is only fear and worry.
And then I am reminded where to look by the smallest of things. A text message from a friend hoping that God is making our family ready for this new baby.
My first reaction to this was, No, I don't feel ready at all!! And I haven't even seen God around here lately. Not even sure where He might be.
But I had been looking at the boring grass and the stubborn weeds.
So I decided to stop and dig a little deeper. And now I am seeing something much, much different:
I see grace when I think of how Evie has been actually learning what we have been trying to teach her and how she is so obedient and calm during her nap time now. I see blessing and love when I think of how my friends are giving me a shower next weekend to celebrate this new life coming to our family. I see compassion when I remember the sweet encouragement and advice I received when I wrote this post a while ago. I see guidance and assurance and provision when I think about the lactation meeting I went to this week and how I now feel so much less anxious about feeding this new little one when she comes.
So I see how well I am taken care of and how much there is to be thankful for, and I feel joy growing. I feel it blossoming because I see proof that He knows my needs and meets them and because I don't feel like I'm going to lose my mind with confusion and stress anymore.
I'm also finding that my life becomes much richer and much less tedious and oppressive when I actively seek out the details where joy lives. I feel less like a victim and so much more capable.
I should be doing a lot more of this halting and digging, I think. Sometimes I find that I'll dig up something only to realize it got buried again months later. And then I just have to sink my hands back in that dirt and dig it right back up again. Isn't that how it goes, though? We are always having to relearn the same lessons.
I'm 35 weeks this week, and this lesson couldn't have come at a better time. I will try my hardest to keep it close because it will be much needed.
Clinging to joy is tricky sometimes, but it has the potential to bloom into something absolutely lovely.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." -Romans 15:13
Encouraging song: Good, Good Father by Chris Tomlin