On Choosing Joy {Even When It’s Not Easy}

On Choosing Joy {Even When It’s Not Easy}

On Choosing Joy {Even When It's Not Easy}

I called 911 for the first time in my 32 years this weekend.

What had started out as a peaceful, fun-filled Saturday quickly turned into a frantic rush to the ER when I found my husband lying in the front yard screaming in pain with his leg bent unnaturally beneath him.

We debated calling 911 for all of 5 minutes before it became painfully obvious that I would not be able to get him to the car even if I wanted to drive him to the ER myself.

So I called 911.

The girls were amazing. They took care of Jackson inside, got me what I needed when I needed it, and generally stayed out of the way.

Once the EMTs got his knee straightened (and he — thankfully — began to regain feeling in his toes), they splinted his leg, put him on a backboard, lifted him onto a stretcher, and then rolled him into the ambulance.

I called a friend who said that, yes, of course, I could drop the girls off at her house.

And we headed out.

***

On Choosing Joy {Even When It's Not Easy}

It didn’t take long before my mind started to race on the long drive to the hospital.

This was bad, very bad.

Sean is a stay-at-home dad, and he takes care of everything. Breakfast and lunch. The dishes. Vacuuming and mopping. Playing with and caring for the dog. Homeschooling our 6yo. Driving the girls to and from various extracurricular activities. Walking the baby when he’s fussy and not content just to be snuggled while I work.

I haven’t been back from maternity leave all that long, and taking off another 2 months just isn’t possible.

The truth is I had plans for this week. Plans for this month. Plans for this year.

Nothing is going according to plan.

***

On Choosing Joy {Even When It's Not Easy}

By midday Sunday, approximately 24 hours after the accident, I realized I had a decision to make. I could let myself be overwhelmed by everything before me. Or I could choose joy.

I don’t mean to imply that in that moment I chose joy once and for all and suddenly everything became sunshine-y and perfect.

{Although that would have been nice!}

No, what I realized was that I can choose joy over and over and over again as we walk through the next few weeks. And maybe, just maybe, the habits I form during these weeks will become habits that characterize my life.

I don’t think being a joyful person means joy comes easily. Rather, it’s a choice you have to make again and again, in every moment of every day.

***

On Choosing Joy {Even When It's Not Easy}

I can choose joy when the girls are bickering over every little thing. When I’ve gotten overwhelmed and snapped at someone. When I wake up with an incredibly sore throat and just want to hide under the covers. When the dog is found chewing on a stick of butter. Hypothetically, of course.

I can choose joy when 8″ of fresh snow falls on St. Patrick’s Day. When the baby just wants to be held and the stack of dishes in the sink is growing by the minute. When deadlines are staring me in the face.

Choosing joy doesn’t mean it comes easy. It means I’m choosing it even when it’s hard. Even when it doesn’t make sense.

It means I know I’m going to screw up and default to overwhelmed, frazzled, frustrated mama sometimes. But when a tiny hand pats my shoulder or the 8-year-old’s eyes well up with tears because she’s overwhelmed too or the baby just wants to snuggle in spite of my to-do list, I will take those not as discouraging reminders of my failures but as an opportunity to choose joy.

I will take time to celebrate the little moments. To say yes to tea. To notice that one of my children is worried and hiding in her shell. To sit and talk with my bedridden husband.

Choosing joy means seeing life through the lens of eternity and realizing that, yes, this is hard. Yes, this is different than what I planned. But God knows. And I can choose to glorify Him in this moment.

I choose joy.

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