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Joy Comes in the Morning

My mom gave me really good advice once. Actually, more than once. More like a bajillion times because she is the most graceful, insightful, and loving woman I have ever met. But anyway, recently, she said something to me that really resonated with me.

She told me that it's okay to face my emotions. To expose them to God, and tell Him exactly how I'm feeling because, after all, He can handle it.

I always felt guilty for being sad. Or angry. Or fearful.

I thought that God would be disappointed that I wasn't completely trusting Him.

I can remember countless nights, clutching my steering wheel in my driveway, unable to get out of the car and enter my house because I didn't want my parents to see my tear-stained cheeks and droopy eyes from fearful and shameful tears. I can vividly remember yelling at God, telling Him that He got it wrong: I wasn't strong enough, and never would be.

And then, the guilt would wave in. I shouldn't be yelling at God, this I was well aware of. I also shouldn't be upset because, holy cow I have a blessed life. What do I really have to be upset about when others are dealing with cancer or living in complete poverty or coping with a divorce?

But we are human.

We have emotions.

And I happen to have A LOT of them.

And it's okay.

God can handle it because he made you that way.

A lot of my guilt came from the place of thinking that I had failed the test God put before me. After all, in order to build and develop faith, we have to be tested on our strength. And here I was, failing and failing and failing. Over and over and over.

I'll be honest with you, last night was a rough one for me.

Sometimes I get this overwhelming wave of fear that crashes over me, and suddenly I feel like I'm overtaken by a tsunami of doubt, anxiety, insecurity and fear of the future. As if that's not destructive enough, swimming in these waters are sharks of shame - yearning to bite into my skin and leave me scarred and bleeding out, drowning amidst this tsunami of fear. Dramatic? Maybe, but it's the quickest illustration that came to mind to try and explain this anxiety/depression thing I deal with to ya. It's this vicious disaster that overtakes my being, and makes it hard to be the happy go-lucky girl you are all pretty much used to/expecting.

The worst part is, nothing really triggers it, usually. It kind of just happens.

And then I feel like a failure.

But, last night in my fearful state, I remembered my beautiful mama's words. "Talk to God. Tell Him exactly how you're feeling. He can handle it. I promise."

Okay, I thought. The tears were hot and fresh down my red, puffy cheeks and the tightening in my chest was suffocating the air in my lungs, forcing their escapes to occur in short, quick bursts. BUT, God could handle this. Because mom said He could.

So, I started to talk to God. Out loud too, because I wanted to make sure the devil heard me. Loud and clear.

Here's a little glimpse into how it went:

"God, I'm scared. Terrified actually. I know you're good, and I know you have a plan, but honestly, I don't get it. I don't see it. I don't know what to do next or where to turn. I'm bitter. I'm bitter because everyone around me gets to start their lives and I feel like I'm stuck. Running in circles. I'm ashamed. Ashamed because I can't measure up. It all feels like too much."

And then, I took a deep breath. More tears. Was this even working?

"BUT, I choose to trust you. Even if I can't feel it, I know you are good. Even if I can't see it, I know you are working in and through me. I know that you will open a door and I choose to believe it. I don't know when, and I don't know how, but I know you see me and I know you know what's best for me. So, while I wait, I choose joy. I choose peace. I choose to trust you."

First of all, please don't picture me saying this like some sort of confident soldier ready for battle. If you really want an illustration, picture a girl hugging her knees to her chest on her pink carpet with her nose dripping snot all over the place. Cute, right?

Second of all, it took me probably thirty minutes to utter these words because I had to repeat them and repeat them and repeat them until I actually believed them.

Now, I'm not saying that BOOM, immediately my worries went away. Sure, some of my anxieties calmed down a bit, and there was certainly more peace in my heart than before this prayer (or sad attempt at a prayer...), but I still felt pain. I still felt like someone was stomping on my chest and throwing words of doubt and shame in my face. It took all of the strength in me (and I'm not even being dramatic here you guys) to say those words. It took every last bit of strength in my fiber to truly BELIEVE the words I was saying.

But notice how I had to say the word choose. I had to reset my mind. I had to speak against the enemy by telling him, nope.

Not today satan. (P.S. that's totally my new favorite saying. I say it at least six hundred times a day. It's fun.)

You think you can make me feel like this, but I choose not to feel scared and hopeless. I choose to feel the way God created us to feel. Hopeful, joyous, peaceful. And it truly has to be a choice, my friends.

We have to want it.

Then, I read Psalm 30:5 (reluctantly, may I add, cause you KNOW the devil did not want me opening my Bible when I needed it the most...NOT TODAY SATAN).

"...weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

So, even David realized that weeping may STAY for the night, but eventually it will be replaced with rejoicing. Stay. Let's focus on that for a hot second.

I think that we think our pain is going to subside right away when we pray about it. We expect all of those emotions to go away and for happiness to come in its place instantly. Now, I don't know about you, but that RARELY happens for me. It usually takes a good night's sleep for me to gain a new mindset. Sometimes even a week, or a month.

But, why? Didn't God JUST say in His word that joy will come to take away my weeping?Doesn't He declare that He will turn our darkness into light? It's morning...why am I still sad?

Joy comes in the morning because mornings bring fresh starts. They bring new mercies. They bring blank slates and new chances to declare joy on our life. God didn't promise that our circumstances would change in the morning. But He promised that we would have joy. We have to believe it, and endure through our trials WITH joy. WITH praise. WITH hope. WITH peace. He will give us that, if we seek it.

Sometimes, God will allow the circumstances to stay broken or painful so that we have no choice but to lean on Him. When we are all out of strength, when we feel like we have absolutely nothing left, that's when we have to lean on Him to bring us through.

So, the pain might stay for a little while. But don't let it linger forever.

Choose peace. Choose hope. Choose JOY.

Even if it takes every ounce of strength, choose to declare it over your life. Because God's got it.

And joy is coming...


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