The price of joy

December 18th, 2017

In the final days of her pregnancy, young Mary endured a journey of almost one hundred miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem while riding on a donkey. Although my own children were adopted, my friends have told me about the uncomfortableness of those last few weeks before the baby is born. They talk of restlessness and heaviness. Even the simplest tasks, like cleaning up the kitchen, can be exhausting. But Mary rode across the countryside with her betrothed as they anticipated their firstborn son. Why? Yes, she was abiding by the decree of the land, but more than that she was obeying the will of God. The Father was orchestrating every detail so that the ancient prophecies might be fulfilled. 

How often do I find myself making an uncomfortable journey into unfamiliar territory like Mary? One thing I’ve come to count on in life is uncertainty. Whether as an educator, entrepreneur, artist or mama, I have had to learn to accept the fact that I cannot control people or situations. As I open my arms and embrace the unknown, I make room for myself and others to grow.

I am not trying to make this seem easier than it is. Believe me, I have shed many tears and wrestled many fears. But I have come to believe that the deeper the pain, the greater the joy. I could tell you my story of a spouse’s cancer treatment, subsequent infertility, adoption rollercoaster, painful and public divorce, single parenthood, and business failure. I can also tell you my first-hand experience of Jesus’ presence, protection and provision. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. He heals and redeems all things. 

There is a plaque in my house that reads, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.” So true!  Even though at times the darkness seems never-ending, “Weeping may stay all night, but by morning, JOY!” (Psalm 30:5)

As we look at Mary and Joseph with their newborn in the less-than-ideal conditions of the stable, we behold a serene joy. Their “yes” to God cost them much. They endured the ridicule and the loneliness because they had caught sight of what was to come, and they trusted the Lord to do it. Hold fast, dear heart. He still keeps His promises today.

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