The Beauty of Joy when Christ is Enough

Habakkuk Rejoices in the Lord

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV (emphasis mine)

My friend Joyce called yesterday and I was thrilled to hear from her. Joyce and her husband Tom had flown out of the country to visit family two weeks ago – when my thoughts were focused elsewhere – and I could not remember when they were coming home. I had been anxious for several days to hear from her and to know that they were safely home.

Tom and Joyce were among the first people we met over eighteen years ago when we moved to our home on Pollywog Creek, but we almost never traveled in the same circles outside of the church. The richness of our friendship today is the product of many years of small encounters, occasional seasons of shared Bible study, a common love for Christ and desire to be godly wives and mothers, a passion for the sanctity of human life, and enough moments stolen from our busy separate lives for the sweetness of conversation – though seldom ever completed to our satisfaction – and the best cup of tea. Weeks could pass without an opportunity for us to connect, but we could always pick up right where we left off, as though we had spoken the day before.

God’s sovereignty and purpose in knitting our hearts together years ago and keeping our friendship fresh along the way has become abundantly clear in recent years. The circumstances that took us in different directions in years past have given way to new shared experiences that have made our friendship all the more precious. If anyone understood the deep sadness I experienced two weeks ago, I knew it would be Joyce. My first grandson Mason was born exactly one month after Joyce’s granddaughter Trinia. As I had been blessed to bond with Mason the first year of his life, so had Joyce with Trinia, and not long after both Trinia and Mason celebrated their first birthdays, our hearts were broken when both Trinia and Mason and our sons and daughters moved far away.

Joyce and I speak often of the contentment and joy we have found in bringing up children, embracing their spouses and delighting in grandchildren, and yet painfully aware that we not only gather them near and snugly embrace, we must also loosen our grip and let them go.

Embrace and let go. Embrace and let go. The bittersweet rhythm of a mother hearts.

Two weeks ago, I could not imagine that I would be able to let go of Casey, Jessi and Mason, and still have joy. Kissing them goodbye was one of the most painful things I have ever had to do. I desperately wanted to do so graciously – blessing my children as they clung to each other and left for greater opportunities – and I begged the Lord through copious tears that He would give me the grace I needed for the moment and then fill the bleeding hole in my heart with more of Him.

In answer to my prayer and in His perfect sovereignty, He arranged for Joyce to be out of the country at the very moment of my need – not to be unkind or without mercy, but because He knew that I would be inclined to lean on Joyce for comfort and peace. The Lord wanted me to cling to Him, so that I could know His peace and the unspeakable all-satisfying joy that only He can give – a joy that is immeasurable and multiplied when earthly joy is stripped away and Christ is enough.

When Joyce called yesterday I could hardly wait to tell her how good it was to hear her voice and how awesome it was, as well, that God had orchestrated our lives in such a way that she would be out of the country when I needed her the most.

In this season of sadness, I’ve known a new and joyful rhythm – Embrace. Let go. Rejoice in the Lord. Embrace. Let go. Rejoice in the Lord.

The Carnival of Beauty this week – the Beauty of Joy is being graciously hosted by Vicki at Windows to My Soul.

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