Monday, June 11, 2012

Joy and Happiness

Finding New Joy

This blog has been on my heart for quite some time… It has been a hard thing for me to think about, to face head-on and to write.  Lately, my life has been… shitty less than ideal of late.  Having a baby was an adjustment, albiet an extremely easy one for Jeremy and I.  There is no complaint from me in regards to becoming a Mom.  Some women have a hard time adjusting, or have a more difficult baby.  Harper is literally  She is happy, content, easy, loveable, eats well, sleeps well, poops well and there is rarely a small cry from her!  Life was seamlessly changed for us with her arrival into our family.  We are blessed. 

Life took a big swing for us shortly after we had Harper; my dad had a stroke.  That one word: stroke, has greater meaning for me today, than it ever had…  It changed everything in our then, present circumstances. God greatly spared my dad from losing his life and greater harm to his body.  It is only a miracle from God he is alive today.  Although he is physically improving; my sisters and I lost a father we truly adore and respect, my mom lost a husband she loved and enjoyed spending life with and many, many people lost a man who was their mentor and companion.  Life was greatly altered that Saturday morning for my family.  Today, we are trying to find a new normal.  Somewhere in the midst of all that has happened, we are searching for the man that my dad was in who he is now.  Most importantly, we are trying to figure out and understand the man he is and will become.  We seek a balance in between mourning my dad pre-stroke, becoming acquainted with him today and knowing that who he is mentally and emotionally can continue to change, grow and hopefully, improve.  We grasp the hope that someday, he may come back to us more like his “old self”. 

Like I said, our life was directed into a new path when my dad suffered a stroke.  Not only did he suffer a stroke, but he was provided absolutely horrific care in the hospital.  It wasn’t until we (by we, I mean mostly my Mum) literally managed his care minute by minute, day by day, from one nurse-to-the-doctor-to- the-therapist – from one person to the next, did his care get provided properly.  Finally, when he moved home and only attended the rehabilitation center as an outpatient was his care adequate.  Almost immediately after my dad was hospitalized and in ICU, my 8-week-old nephew became deathly ill with RSV.  Henry almost lost his small life to RSV.  He and my sister were in Children’s Hospital for over a week.  The doctors, nurses and our amazing God worked great miracles and he is healthy today at almost 6 months.  Our little Harper also became sick with RSV as well (both Hank and Harper most likely caught RSV at the hospital when my dad had his stroke).  Thankfully, we caught it quickly and she didn’t become very sick at all.  She only enjoyed a 3 day stay at Children’s.

Since those terrible weeks the end of February and beginning of March, I have returned to work and Jeremy has been a mostly stay-at-home dad.  Although, I am so thankful for Harper and Jeremy to spend this amazing time together, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing all this wonderful time with her.  But more importantly, I also feel like I could be helping my Mum and Dad with so much more if I was at home and had more time to help with rides to/from school for Grace, therapy for my dad and so many other things…  But, financially it isn’t an option for us right now.  In the midst of all of these emotions, I am consciously choosing to find new joy. 

Happiness is circumstantial and determined by what happens around and to you.  Joy is found in the peace that God provides us and the life that we are provide.  I am meditating on the verse, “His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”  I also really enjoy how KJV voices the first part, “His favor IS life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  I can’t imagine trying to walk through everything we have gone through, if we weren’t looking to a God for strength, peace, understanding and joy. 

Ultimately, joy is what will get me through every day, not what I see.  I am thankful for that I know each day is the day the Lord has made… I choose to rejoice.  There are great moments where I look at life with such joy and peace and feel as though I successfully am living glass half full. Then, other moments where I struggle immensely to see what and how God could be working in anything that is happening right now.  I feel like there are times when the bricks of my world are crumbling about me.  Thankfully, I know that I know I can look to God as my source of strength.  Proverbs 18:10, "the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into and are safe.”  Psalm 61:3, "You have been a refuge for me, a strong tower." 

The last three months, life has been so hectic and completely disordered.  At times I feel as though we’ve lost all sense of normal and at some point figure out that I need to accept a “new normal.”  Unfortunately, through all we have gone through Jeremy and I have been very absent from our friends.  We have focused on Harper and our immediate families as much as possible.  A it’s been felt by our friends.  A few people have been EXTREMELY helpful, understanding and there for us through these months.  Others, have been abrasive and angry because we haven’t been there for them.  It’s heartbreaking for us, given that we didn’t choose this life path… it has also brought light to who are real friends are. 

I daily seek to find Christ in each step I take.  More often than not, I fail miserably.  But, I revel in the moments I am successful in living Christ.  I strive to have more and more successful joy and Christ filled days. 

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