Peace & Joy…
I recently was in a meeting with the amazing women I work with, who all do incredible things to help hurting people. We were discussing how to find joy and peace in our everyday lives. These women are all walking in their calling and helping hurting people. They deal with traumatized individuals and many of them have faced their fair share of trauma in their own lives. One of the many things I love about working at Stand In The Gap Ministries is that we don’t just focus on the task at hand or even just the people we are reaching, but also on our own mental health and spiritual walks and encouraging and praying for each other. As always, I was blown away by the level of depth and insight they each had.
We landed on the question of what we do to find peace and joy in our day-to-day lives and though I had no intention of sharing these insights with anyone else, they were so impactful, that I couldn’t help but share. I share in hopes that it might help those of you that are hurting and struggling to find joy in this tough journey of widowhood.
We discussed having hobbies and things that give you purpose and meaning. We discussed making your marriage a priority because we know that as much as we love our children, they will grow-up and make their own lives and futures. Then one of the very wise women I work with shared a quote she had heard from Kay Warren about joy not being the absence of problems, but the confidence in God and knowing He is ultimately in control. I shared with her that I needed to have that tattooed on me as a reminder.
I (like I’m sure many of you) struggle with not allowing my circumstances to overwhelm and engulf my every thought and bring me anxiety and fear. I, too often, forget who is the ultimate provider of peace and joy. I try to control my circumstances, make things right and figure it all out. I am a human being living in a very broken world and if I allow these circumstances to control me, then the brokenness wins.
Peace is defined as “freedom from disturbance; tranquility” and joy is defined as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.” How many times do I allow my need for well-being keep me from true peace? How many times do I pursue happiness and good fortune and when things don’t go my way, I allow myself to be robbed of peace?
If we are living our lives and believing that God is ultimately the one who is in control and we know that He is with us no matter what we are facing, then we should never allow our circumstances to rob us of peace and joy. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” These words were not written with a clause that said, “rejoice when life goes right” or “rejoice when your circumstances are perfect,” they literally say, “Rejoice always!”
If you are facing circumstances that seem unfair. If your life is not turning out like you intended it to be, it is okay to be sad and allow mourning for what you’ve lost, but (this is the part we often overlook), you still can find joy. You can still find peace in the midst of your circumstances.
So, as I will do alongside you today, when my circumstances seem too much, find joy. Remember where your peace comes from and do NOT allow your circumstances to rob you of the peace that our amazing, loving God ALWAYS provides.
Amy Woody brings her personal experience and passion for helping others to her work with widows. She wants you to never forget you have a purpose and a God-given calling placed on your life, no matter what you've been through! Use your hurt to help others!