Recently our family added to our chickens. We love our hens. My oldest son takes such good care of them. It's a win-win for us: we wanted our kids to experience the responsibility of having pets, but not indoor ones just yet due to my son's allergies. I have become a bona fide egg-snob. I won't order eggs out anymore; they just aren't as tasty. So, we added more baby chicks to our brood recently and our kids were thrilled.
Just like the first time around, our kids began picking "their" chick and naming her. (Honestly, amongst those of the same breed, I can tell no difference). But our kids usually can. And it matters. My daughter Ella promptly decided which one was hers and named her Lilah.
The following day, after moving our chicks to their new temporary home until they join the older hens, Ella could no longer tell which one was Lilah. She was distraught. Ella is a passionate young girl and is extremely emotional, like her mama. I am continually seeking God's help in teaching her not to allow her emotions to cloud rational thinking. Ahh...such an easy thing to do! Smirk! That being said, she was more than just a little upset that she couldn't find Lilah.
The day dragged on and Ella was inconsolable. She had lost her Lilah. We assured her that she would figure it out. But Ella was still upset. Later I was at the kitchen sink when Ella ran through the door and exclaimed "Mama! I found Lilah!" "Yay! I'm so glad!" I told her. Her joy was so evident. She ran back out and I grinned at my husband as I whispered, "She was there all along."
You know where I'm going with this. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, the reality hit me like a ton of bricks. God nudged me, grinned with the love of a Father who knows best, and said "kinda like your joy, huh?!" He knows. He has deposited joy on the inside of us. Readily available as a gift of strength in all of our days, we only need to access it. God promises us that in His presence is fullness of joy!* It is with us as His beloved children.
Just as my daughter's new baby chick Lilah was there all along--though not recognizable to her--joy has always been available to me. Too often, I fail to recognize it. I am so guilty of looking for joy in the wrong places. I am waiting for it to chirp or peep in such a way as to say "Here I am! This is where you can find me!" Maybe in a new place I'd never thought to look? But the truth is that I only have to look inside. Joy has been deposited inside me through the love and goodness of God, in the gift of His son. If I trust in Him, then I can rest in His hope. I can be filled with joy!* It's that simple!
My prayer is that I would remember joy is here in Christ and nowhere else. Help me with this Lord! My joy can't be found somewhere that God didn't place it. He placed joy in His presence. We will only be met with disappointment when we seek for joy and fulfillment in the wrong places. Lilah was there all along, waiting to be recognized. The joy of the Lord is waiting for me to recognize it and access it. In Him alone, it has been here all along.
I'm having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth today