Thursday, February 21, 2013

Does Joy = the Presence of God

I'm struggling right now. I want to write something uplifting and helpful, but the truth is I'm in need of help myself right now.

I had another flashback last week, in the middle of a massage. I got through it, but it's one more piece of the past to be looked at now. And this week I had a physical (which always brings on stress). I saw a different doctor in the group, and she made me feel badly about some of the medication I take. Finally, I'm struggling in the parent department -- not my parents (although that's almost always a background issue), right now I'm struggling as a parent. My daughter has been un-diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, which is a potentially great thing. But, it's really topsy turvy emotionally around the house right now. There's fear, expectations, anger, disappointment, frustration, depression, anxiety, self-doubt -- and those are just a few of the feelings floating around last night!

I've said it so many times before -- all I want is normal. I know, I know -- normal's just a setting on the washing machine, but I crave it like a junkie craves his next hit.

I'm supposed to be writing about joy, but all I've got coursing through me right now is a lot of fear, anxiety, anger, and doubt. And I've prayed, and I've read my Bible, and I'm stepping forward in faith, but I'm still afraid, and angry, and doubting my every thought and move.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. said, "Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God." And if that is true, then I am in a world of trouble right now, because joy is not on my list. 

14 comments:

  1. Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for Melanie. Thank You for the spirit and spunk and fight You've given her, Lord; she's been through so much, and she's so strong. Thank You for her willingness to share her struggles in detail, that we might lift her up in specific ways. Continue to help her in processing her past and moving through the present into a brighter future. I pray, too, for Melanie's daughter and for the dynamic in their household. I ask that You would give the doctors wisdom and discernment to truly understand what's in the best interest of this young person, and I ask that You would work in and among this family. Help them, Lord, to support and help one another. I pray compelled to pray a prayer of protection upon this household. Please let the doors swing wide to the helpers, but protect this family from anyone who would cause further harm, even if unintentionally. Thank You for loving us. Help us to trust You, Father, and really tap into the joy that is a fruit of Your Holy Spirit. In Your precious and holy name I pray, Amen.

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    1. Thank you so much for this blessing through prayer. And especially for the prayer of protection.

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  2. oh friend. your heart here, it is so raw and so beautiful. there are many scars, and they ache sometimes, don't they?
    thank you for sharing your pain with us. although these things are part of your past, *you* are not your scars. *you* are so much more.
    breathing prayers for you tonight.

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    1. I want to be a voice of praise, worship, and hope, but I seem to constantly be the voice of lament. The only comfort I find in this role, is that I think we need to acknowledge lamentation for fully in our world today. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

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  3. craving normal - I get that! I often spend hours on end pondering what it might be like to be just a little bit less of an oddball. But, to be completely honest, when I get moments of experiencing something a little closer to average, I rebel. Oddball is and always will be me, I'm afraid. It doesn't give me more joy to recognise this, in fact maybe the opposite as I resign myself to this fate. But my hope is that once I'm fully resigned I'll learn to find something lovely in the world where I live.

    Not sure if my rambling thoughts make any sense, but thanks for sharing, anyway! It makes me feel less alone.

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    1. Ramblings I fully understand. Dreaming for what cannot be only separates us from God's plan for each us. Thank you!

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  4. I just want to say something that will help you, but I can't think of what to say, other than Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and his theories on Joy can go fly a kite. To say that Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God is too simplistic for this complicated life.

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    1. This is just so kind. It is easy to get caught up in pithy sayings, and embue them with authority and truth. The quote is certainly too simplistic for my life experience.

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  5. Craving normal with you. This is hard, hard stuff, Melanie. Thank you for the privilege of praying with and over you. May God surprise you with glimpses of his presence and joy.

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  6. Oh Mel. I don't agree with that quote at all. I think peace, in spite of sorrow and grief, is the most infallible sign of God. Joy is a side effect of peace, but do you think Jesus felt joy on the cross? No. No, he was miserable. He felt abandoned. We're allowed to go through these times too. It's the only way of finding our way to the cross. Just be yourself, just be broken before the Lord, and he will lift you up in due time, hon. Praying for you.

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    1. Thank you so much for this. It's just so tough when I'm trying to do this writing to help others, and am feeling so lost myself. But I think God is calling me to write my hard stuff as a means to help others. I don't know if that is self-aggrandizement, but I do know feel compelled the truth - whether it is ugly or beautiful or somewhere in between. I have found the truest support (besides my husband and therapist) through the blogging community, so thank you all for that.

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  7. May you be surprised by joy, may it sneak up and overtake you as you see the way a puffy white cloud floats in the blue sky, the first daffodil of spring, the smile on your daughter's face...may God's great love overwhelm you and as you realize how much joy you bring to His great heart may joy come to yours.

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