joy: a life of repentance

Sin certainly hampers joy, doesn’t it?

But: there’s the Cross.

I’m reminded of this as I ponder joy and the things that stand between it and me.

The cross means that the sorrow of sin is no longer where I have to live. Repentance restores joy.

Repentance is a process, yes, but it’s also quick. It’s saying, Yes, I sinned. Yes, I’m so sorry. Yes, I want to change. Jesus, cover my sin, and give me the grace to turn and walk the other way. Again. (And again. Oops — and again!)

Suddenly, amazingly, even my own sin need not steal joy away.

Repentance is a place I need to find more often. The Enemy wants to keep me from the throne of grace, make me think it’s not necessary. Blur the lines of sin and holiness. Make it sound like a huge ordeal that I don’t have time for.

Not true — none of it!

Repentance is taking His yoke. Shedding chains. Being made clean. Turning my face toward the sun. Stepping from the shadow into His healing love.

And all in a split-second! Isn’t that amazing? Why don’t I do it more often? Why do I trudge through sin — and then guilt, and then condemnation, and now I’m a slave again — when I could be living at a throne of grace?

So I remind myself, when I feel the weight of my own failures mounting — frustration, impatience, sharp words, rolled eyes, worry, stress — to just stop, repent, and have joy restored. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes I don’t want to repent, because it feels deceptively good to hold a grudge or a bit of anger and frustration. But that’s not abiding, and there’s no joy there.

Really, “repent” is just another way of saying “return to Jesus.” And that’s the direction I want to always be headed.

You will make known to me the path of life ; In Your presence is fullness of joy ; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. –Psalm 16:11

joy: delight in His will

“I delight to do Your will, O my God.”

Why do I lose joy?

Perhaps because I need to be freshly filled with the Spirit.

And perhaps because I need to be reminded: it is the Lord Christ whom I serve. Seasons come and go, but joy doesn’t have to when I realize that I am called, fundamentally, to serving Jesus. Yes, I love this wonderful family! Yes, I love being a mother. I do! — far more than I ever could have imagined. But the thing that has continually been a source of joy, through every season, high and low, has been this: Doing the will of my Father. Knowing that I’m doing what God has asked me to do, and delighting in serving Him.

My soul delights to do God’s will. It just does. And sometimes, the cherubic face of my sleeping 3 year old just won’t cut it: my soul needs to know that I’m doing the will of God. No matter how menial the task, how exhausting the day, how buried the seed, I can find joy in the secret communion of my soul with Him: This is for You, Jesus.

And He smiles.

That brings joy.