Friday, August 12

reclaiming joy

What a summer.

It's an unusually chilly morning here, and I'm enjoying a slow morning with my second cup of coffee. The last of 2011 campers made their way home yesterday, and tomorrow the summer staff will follow. Last night we had all 16 of our staff over for games and a movie. Tonight we'll debrief the summer. And today I'm debriefing myself, evaluating my heart and life and goals.

I have a hard time with happiness. I am happy, a lot of the time. I'm not crying everyday. But I feel like I should. And even when I am enjoying something, it never quite reaches the soul-level. And thus far in the 10 months that have followed Gwen, I've been satisfied with that. I don't want to be fully happy, ever again. Somehow if I am it seems to invalidate the loss of her. I don't want Gwen to ever seem like some small blip on the radar.

But now I'm making too much of Gwendolyn, more than she would ever want and more than Christ will allow...

I also don't fully enjoy anything for anybody else. I've treated myself as 'exempt' from the first half of that verse, "Rejoice with those who rejoice..." I've actually become quite good at avoiding happy people, and have alienated my closest friends because of my inability to rejoice with them.

In realizing all of this of course, I hear the Spirit telling me that this should not be the case. I'm not sure why grief feels so much like fear, and why it can hold such anxiety. But it does, and something about engaging -- truly engaging -- with other people and their joy causes me to shrink back.

Isn't it interesting that the "joy of the Lord is our strength" (Neh. 8:10)? His Joy. Not His wisdom, or His power, or His sorrows. His joy is our strength...

Lord, thank you for your rebuke this morning. Teach me how to fully engage, rejoicing with those around me. Thank you that You are the reason we rejoice, not our circumstances. Please create a steadfast, joyful spirit in me, and remove the guardrails of envy and bitterness from my heart. 


  1. it's difficult to overstate how encouraging it is, as a believer, to see someone handle conviction in such a direct and sincere manner. i think some of these belong in print.

  2. Erin, I just lost a son 6 weeks ago. I have found such encouragement from reading your blog. I would love for you to email me at I could really use some encouraging words right now. I am having a very difficult time.