JOY. Seriously...it's what's on my mind...and in my heart and home right now. I don't know if it's possible for me to be more thankful!
I'm not talking about a giddy excitement or loud laughter or a nice "cushion" in the bank. In fact, our home is often full of grumbling, fighting between siblings (remember we have four - ranging in age from 13 - 20) and our bank account balance is low enough to make some people seriously scared - especially this time of year. I can look into any room in my house and see things that need to be picked up, organized, and cleaned. My "to-do" list is never-ending (like many of yours, I'm sure!) The Christmas busy-ness surrounds me. However, I'm experiencing a life full of contentment and a grateful heart - a life full of hope.
I have personally struggled with depression for years. I also take medication to help with it. Life can still be awful. I know what it's like to be overwhelmed, to not know what to do, to feel alone. My husband and I have watched two of our daughters struggle with depression and anxiety over the past several years. We've cried, fought, prayed, researched, asked others for help, prayed, and done just about every other thing we could do to help protect them and teach them how to believe in themselves and seek help when they need it. Oh...did I mention that we've prayed? :) For so long we've been praying for our children. Praying that they will know how much God loves them, praying that they will love Him in return, and praying that they will live full, healthy, productive lives.
Lately, we've begun to see glimpses of these prayers being answered. The result? JOY - a heart that is grateful beyond words and filled with more hope than ever before, along with a deeper faith in God and His incredible love for us. Having experienced both incredible blessings and very trying times, I can tell you without a doubt that there is hope. There is peace. There is JOY! In the past when I've experienced "mountain top" times in my life they were always fairly short-lived. I kind of faced them with a doubting attitude (knowing they wouldn't last). This time, I'm savoring the moments. I'm relishing each smile on my children's faces, every moment of happiness, every smile. I know life can change in an instant. For now, I just want to hold on and be thankful.
For those of you who may be struggling right now, please know that I care - deeply! If you want to talk with someone, go out for coffee, or just have someone pray with you, please let me know. I'm here...and wishing for you this same (and even greater!) JOY.