Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Joy Cometh

A couple of months ago, I heard a song in Pilates that made my eyes swim with tears, both because it was so beautiful and because it was painfully true. The song was In My Arms, by Plumb. Here are the parts that moved me most:

Your baby blues, so full of wonder
Your curly cues, your contagious smile
And as I watch, you start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight
Knowing clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe in my arms
Are full of fairy tales
Of kings and queens
And the bluest skies
My heart is torn just in knowing
You'll someday see
The truth from lies

As I stretched and twisted, my heart truly did feel torn over that inevitable moment when my children will see for themselves that life is cruel and hard. And then I heard these lines, and my pain was for myself, for my own crumbled castle:

Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true

All the way home, I pondered the irony of how the high hopes we have as children are dashed by the harsh reality we discover as adults. I thought wistfully of Allyson's sweet joy, her assurance that she is a princess.

Princess Allyson and Her Cousin, Princess Katie - Dec 2008
Since I was already in a crying mood, I literally sobbed over her future sorrow. How's that for borrowing trouble?

Tonight, I watched a Beth Moore video that made me realize I have it all backward. It's a study called Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. In tonight's session on joy, Beth read Isaiah 60:4-5:

Lift up your eyes and look about you...
 your sons come from afar,
    and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
    your heart will throb and swell with joy....

That's how joy feels, she told us, like a physical swelling of the heart. "When's the last time you felt that kind of joy?" she asked. And then she told us about the last time her heart had throbbed with joy: at a book signing for her children's book, A Parable About the King. All the children were invited to dress like characters in the book, and Beth came in a sumptuous princess's gown. She grinned as she recalled all the girls in their princess costumes and the boys in their knight costumes, complete with swords. What brought her joy was the realization that these children were not "in costume." No, this was who they really were!

Allyson's Mother's Day craft. Do you see it? She's a princess even without the dress-up clothes.
My Princess and Prince, Mother's Day 2013

Tears gathered in my eyes as I recognized the truth of Beth's words. Yes, children really do know there is more to this life than the everyday, ordinary world that we see. They know they are special and have an important mission. The boys believe they are courageous, and the girls know they are beautiful. They are proof that God "...has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Beth also reminded us of Jesus's words in Mark 10:14-16, that the kingdom of heaven belongs these little ones.

Thinking back to my own childhood, I'm sad to say I can't even remember what it felt like to be a princess. What happened to me? How could I have forgotten? And how is it that I am blind to the truth that Beth kept repeating, "There really is a kingdom!"

I know there is so much more to this life than what I'm seeing. I'm still a princess, and I am special and beautiful and I have an important mission. In all my struggles over the last year, I've been sustained by peace that surpasses my understanding, yet I can't say I've had a whole lot of joy. There have been moments of happiness, certainly, but not enough inner joy.

How ironic that I was feeling sorry for Allyson, thinking she was the blind one.

Nearly a year ago, God gave me a promise and later confirmed it through a card from a friend:

They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 35:8-10)

Tonight when Beth read the same passage, I felt that joy finally catching up to me. And then she read:

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5, KJV)

It's almost morning. My joy cometh.


Gentz said...
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Sarah said...

Wow! Those lyrics are powerful. I've listened to that song lots of times and tapped my feet, but never really heard what it was saying. Thank you for sharing the words.


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