Joyful Faith: Mother, Nurse, Teacher, Pastor’s Wife
There are few words to describe the complexities and the depth of a Mother’s heart.
A mother’s heart is a place where ships can safely dock in a storm. Where imagination and adventure take flight. It is a launching pad for the greatest discoveries yet to be found. Motherhood is the most deeply challenging role I have accepted and yet the most infinitely giving process of joy.
I did not know the depth of character that being a Mother would build.
As a pediatric registered nurse working for years in a level one trauma hospital, I have experienced the weighty honor of holding hands with those on the path from life towards death. That changed me forever. As a Mother, I daily experience the weighty honor of holding hands with my children. And whether it comes quickly or slowly, they too are every day on a path from life towards death – we all are. The nursing experiences I have gone through have taught me that lesson with such a tangibility, that now I hold hands with my own children in a whole different way.
I hold them gently, knowing they do not belong to me.
I love them fiercely, knowing it is my calling and mine alone.
I teach them curiously, waiting to hear their ideas about inventions.
I listen to them, because there will be a time when there are no more words that can be shared between us.
I have been allowed the extreme privilege to view the world through a countless number of children over the past years while working at this trauma hospital. And I learned some remarkable lessons.
I saw the tiniest blue eyes dance with joy even while the scalp was shiny and smooth from chemotherapy.
I felt the sweetest, most tender hugs after a bandage change from a child whose body was scarred rough in total body burns.
I heard the laughter of a little one giggling in their hospital crib in a full body cast, long after the hours that the caregivers had been removed by CPS custody.
I lovingly dressed and made footprints of a beautiful baby who came into this world and immediately went to heaven. I may have held her frame, but her spirit danced onward in joy.
I stood in the joyful spirit filled room where a family took turns singing and holding their baby even though they knew they had only a few days of time left to spend with him, they spent it in joy.
There is a spirit of joy that I have seen.
It transcends circumstance.
It goes beyond understanding.
It is experienced by some but it is waiting to ignite us all.
I have experienced it in my own life even after heartbreaking struggles. I have seen its shadows dance on the walls illuminated sometimes brightest by the light of a challenge or suffering such as those children in the hospital showed me.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
What happens when we do not give up?
When we do not lose faith?
When we grow weary but we do not faint?
When all that is emotional in us is refined out through struggles, or lessons, or life, and yet we recognize that we still have to make a choice how we will live.
Choosing to follow Christ with my heart and life has been the defining moment of joy in my life. Before that day I existed. After that day I lived with joy.
Do you really believe? Someone asked me the other day. Do you really believe in God when there is so much pain in the world?
Without hesitation I answered, Yes. I believe in God because I have seen so much pain in the world. Yet, I have seen joy in its midst. I have seen joy on those children’s faces. I have seen joy in those hospital rooms. I have felt still joy in the moment where life breathes its last breath and hope lives forever. I believe in God yes, and I have seen even through the darkness, His gift of joy.
The gift of joy is abundant, but I know the Giver is even greater.
What a gift that is waiting for us today.
In this life, I have grasped for many things that have left me empty handed. I have chased after dreams that left me wanting. I have ran after materialism that had me full with emptiness. But since I made that choice to stop living for me, and to believe in Him and live for Him, I have never been disappointed by the joy of God.
Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”