18 Jul Why Should You Count It All Joy?
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4,
This motherhood gig is sanctifying in a slow burning, refining fire kind of way. And the trials? Well, they come fast and furious, intensified by the peculiar details of our story.
Since we are all new here, let me tell you a bit about us. We are a military family, a traveling circus, and this life, it is a particular kind of hard. Six moves and five deployments. The loss of dear friends. Six pregnancies, four small babes, and a whole lot of single parenting. It is a good life, yes, but the joy is often tinged with grief.
My husband came home the other day and said, “We should celebrate.” And I said, “Whatever for?” And he said, “Because I don’t have to deploy.”
And so when he says he doesn’t have to deploy, when I didn’t even know deployment was an option in his current job, the relief wells up from places I didn’t even know I still had.
Do I really count it all joy?
Do I count it all joy, the mundane moments of mothering and the holy ground that we stand on once in a lifetime? The small beginnings and the giant leaps?
Do I count it all joy when I whisper the gospel to my daughter when she asks me if her daddy will die?
Do I count it joy when grief and worry leave me face down on dirty linoleum, crying out to God with deep, wracking sobs?
Do I count it all joy when I break up the hundred millionth punching match of the morning in between cold cups of coffee and a teething baby?
A year apart from my first born. Multiple overseas deployments. Cross country moves and new schools. Postpartum anxiety, broken arms, and highly spirited children. Plastic dinosaurs embedded in my feet, sibling rivalry, and emergency dental visits. The terrible twos.
What will I choose?
The reality is that I set the tone of this household on a moment by moment basis.
Do I choose patience and gratitude for my wee ones, and teach my babes that obedience can be joyful, that loving well takes time, and slow breaths, and sacrifice, and sometimes at the expense of punctuality?
If this camouflaged life has taught me anything, it is to be joyful, always. And oh friends, I don’t mean being cheerful, or happy even, but the deep abiding joy of knowing Christ, of knowing peace – even when it is tenuous and tear stained. We have spent somewhere north of five years apart in eleven years of marriage and we desperately seek to be patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, and above all, joyful in hope. And the latter, it always, always is the rock upon which we build.
I count it all joy, knowing that I serve the Namer and Counter of Stars, the Almighty God of the Universe, who cares for me. Who measures the oceans in the hollow of his hands, and carries my babes in His arms.
I count, and I count, and I count, because this counting, it makes me free.
Free from fear, free from worry, lacking nothing. I aim to be steadfast in this life, two feet in this earthly kingdom with my heart longing for Home. I am a sojourner here, a broken soul treading faithful on the journey, and yes, joyful always.
Mama friends, whether you are braving toddlerhood or the (pre)teen years, how is motherhood testing you today?
May I encourage you, whether you are elbow deep in dirty dishwater or dirty diapers, to count it all joy? I pray that you will breathe in deep the moment, set your course for Home and surrender your grief for grace. Count it all joy, the trials of motherhood, knowing that you serve a God who works all things for good and glory.