The Discipline of Joy

February 9, 2011

This week I was hurt. Not the kind of hurt I can talk about on this blog, it involves people I love and things that are not mine to share, but my heart was flat broken. I woke up yesterday morning  with puffy eyes and 4 hours of sleep to the funniest little whisper from God… a verse I hadn’t read or thought of in years.

she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

This woman had her allotted share of suffering just like the rest of us… but she could laugh at the future whatever it held.

It kept ringing in my mind as my command. My choice. After involuntarily crying for most of the day before, to think that joy was mine for the taking… laughter was what He wanted from me, actually made me laugh (and then start crying again. 🙂

As I searched for more of this call growing in me, I got into James 1 where God calls us to “Count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds” because all of this suffering is building something, doing something in us and for God. And then He reminds us later in that chapter that it is all leading to a crown of life… it is all leading to heaven.

If my days are few on this planet…. and I believe they are….to suffer- to hurt- to cry- to ache is a very very doable thing.

In fact, if hurting makes me ache for heaven, makes me need God, makes me strong for my few days here, makes me love and empathize with others, makes me less selfish, makes me humble like I should be, then I want to suffer.

And that makes me laugh… because I am asking for trouble…. and longing for my few days here to be more than happy… more than easy. So yesterday I laughed. I laughed that I had cried so much. I laughed that God told me to laugh. I laughed that God is not always easy and comfy.

I laughed when I thought about my coming days with adoption and ministry and life, there is certain to be much more hurt. But I could laugh because I can do anything for a few days… when heaven stretches out in front of me forever.


Today the most lovely blog and person is featuring a guest post of mine… swing over and check out Wendy Miller’s blog Thoughts that Move

But before you do… tell me what God is teaching you about suffering.

26 Responses to “The Discipline of Joy”

  1. Enjoyed both blogs Jennie. The last 3 days have brought some trying times here in my world. I too often say WAY too much (to my mother, mostly:)….then at other times I find that I edit myself, when maybe I shouldn’t….like right now as I try to determine exactly what to say…..

    You bless me, God blesses me through you.

  2. Oh, yes, Jennie! After my bad couple of days last week, I was totally laughing on Friday. Thanks for reminding me of that verse. I think I’ll carry that around with me the rest of my busy tax season. “she can laugh at the days to come.” Love it!

  3. Jennie, know that I am praying for you! Believe it or not, my involuntary crying came just yesterday after by Bible Study was cancelled, my second attempt for a tea party for my little girl was cancelled, and I was just reminded again about how isolated I am out here. But I spent some time reading Psalm 1-3 and realized “the Lord is the lifter of my head” and I had a choice to make. I got the kids out of bed and we had a great day. I felt like through the Lord’s lifting, I chose joy instead of disappointment and sadness. I played with my kids and the Lord gave me joy in that. (This was after I had cried my eyes out before it was 8 am.)

  4. I’m so sorry for your pain. Suffering is just…no fun. God tells me to keep dreaming even when life is flat and dull and nothing seems good.

  5. Wow, an open look into your heart, sweet Jen. I’m sorry for the heart-hurts and all, but I understand what you are saying. Right now, my life feels overwhelmed with “stuff.” My question after reading your post is, will I choose to laugh? Thank you!

  6. Oh wow, God has brought me to my knees a few times in the last few months. He has used trials, sufferings and weakness in my life to bring me closer to Him, closer to my husband and made me open my eyes to His purpose. He has reminded me that this is not our home and when things haven’t been easy it has made me long more for our true home with Him. It’s not always easy to have this perspective. I put a post on my blog recently about this suffering that brings peace. Love you Jen, Thanks for your honesty and wisdom!

  7. I got a double dose of Jennie today. After reading your post on Wendy’s blog, I had to stop over and read more of your writing. I was not disappointed. Thanks for letting me dip from your well today, Jennie. 🙂

  8. Wonderful, thoughts on suffering, Jennie! Read your guest post over on Wendy’s site and knew I needed to stop by! Love your transparency – we all struggle with things, and it’s our job to search out how the Lord would have us use those trials to comfort others and point them to Him.

    Today I was struck by a verse in Hebrews: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered,” (Heb. 5:8). You’ve got the right attitude, “In fact, if hurting makes me ache for heaven, makes me need God, makes me strong for my few days here, makes me love and empathize with others, makes me less selfish, makes me humble like I should be, then I want to suffer.” So glad I found your blog! God bless you, sister!

    • Thank you Maria- oh dear that verse in Hebrews kicks you in the gut. Wow. Thank you for sharing- I want to learn obedience (I think).

  9. I am sorry for your hurt:( No matter the kind or how it comes, it isn’t easy to go through.
    God is teaching me huge things about suffering these past three years. Mostly, that He provides and hasn’t forgotten about me. He also sends words like these that soothe my heart and make me smile:)

  10. So thankful to have your post over at my blog today!

    My sister and I used to call those puffy eyes cryballs (instead of eyeballs).

    I read in the Message yesterday how we should practice playing second fiddle. I’m learning how sometimes we are most primed for growth when we least expect it or when we are most uncomfortable.

    Thanks again for what you wrote.
    ~ Wendy

    • So Wendy does that mean you two cried all the time? I can’t imagine little girls ever crying!

      I am thankful for you and honored to join your lovely blog.


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