It was years ago that I had an encounter with the story of Moses in a remote area of the desert. At that time I happened to be in a desert myself. Hopeless, fearful, and seemingly abandoned by God. I was just a couple of years into being the mom of a baby born with a rare genetic disorder, and a more foreign land I cannot imagine.
The story of the burning bush, and the command from God that issued out of it, completely rocked my world.
“Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” Exodus 3:5
Up until that moment, I had never even considered that there was more than one way to look at a situation. In my mind there was reality, or nothing. But as I contemplated the fact that in a desert of hundreds of thousands of miles of the same sand, God saw a patch of it as “holy ground” my understanding of perspective was born.
Over the next few years God was able to show me His divine perspective on many areas of my life, but most specifically on my son and his exceptionalities. One by one, through scripture and teaching, God empowered me to overcome the mountains of fear, disappointment, sorrow, anxiety and hopelessness.
In my book, Bundle of Joy, I share the wisdom and grace He has provided for overcoming 14 of the most common hurdles that we face in raising kids with special needs. I will share several of them over the next few months, but today I wanted to give you a few of the nuggets He showed me about Joy.
Did you know there are 214 scriptures that refer to joy! Are you also aware that joy is not happiness. It isn’t a mood or emotion. It is from the greek word “chara” which means rooted in and flows from God – as all the fruits of the spirit do. Joy is not based on circumstances or emotion, joy is serene and stable.
My big shift in perspective on joy came when I realized of the 214 occurences of joy in the Bible, the majority are found within negative situations. As an example, In Nehemiah, he speaks this quotable scripture to a crowd that is weeping!
“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Neh. 8:10
In fact, on a search I found not one but multiple scenarios of joy being the fruit that God brings from and through sorrow or mourning (Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Psalms, and John all have this theme).
Here’s the good news for a parent dealing with a negative diagnosis: if you have experienced sorrow or mourning, then you now possess the key ingredient for joy!
My favorite unusual perspective on joy in scripture, is when it is actually the solution to the problem. For example, in Acts 16 Joy literally broke the chains off the prisoners and opened the jail cells. It doesn’t say “the prison shook open and then they were filled with joy”. No! That miracle made them super happy. But, while in prison bound in chains, they summoned joy to sing and praise and then they were freed.
Stir up joy, meditate on scriptures (there are 214 to choose from) ask God to awaken the joy that is inside you. If you’re a believer, it is a fruit that you have access to. Joy dwells within you and it will be your strength.
As I mentioned, Joy is one of the fourteen areas I address in my book, Bundle of Joy. I will be sharing a summary of my book at the upcoming Illuminate: Inclusion Fusion Live 2020 Conference. If you would like to register to attend the conference and my workshop, please click here. And make sure to leave me a comment if I’ll be meeting you there.