Part Three: Joy, Mercy and All That Jazz
I was sharing with someone recently that one thing I would love to say about myself, and can't completely yet, is that I am generally a joyful person. I want to pass that on to the little ones, or at the very least model a joyful heart for them so they can aspire to one as well. It's not that I am a Debbie Downer most of the time, I just don't label myself as "joyful," at least not to the extent I would like to be. Insert comparison here - I want to be that woman that just exudes the joy of the Lord, even when I am miserable. I know a handful of women like that, and I want to be like them, at least in that respect. I believe the Lord will honor that eventually since it is about Him, and not about me measuring up to some earthly standard.
So this has been my prayer - to let inexplicable joy fill my heart. I've talked numerous time about the insidious whispers of the evil one. Now I should make clear that as much as that bothers me, the voice of God is definitely louder if I stop to hear it and feel it on my heart. Nichole Nordeman's "Mercies New*" has been playing through my head a lot lately, so I thought perhaps God was leading me to reflect on that verse. While trolling on Facebook at night, a friend actually had that very verse** on her status. Then, at Mass on Sunday the homily was all about leading others to Jesus by having and sharing real joy in the Lord. And to top it off, I was trying to get my hands on a transcript, video or audio of the Fordham event with Stephen Colbert and Cardinal Dolan for a friend and Cardinal Dolan's remarks showed up in an email I got from an unrelated acquaintance. The topic? You got it - joy, mercy and resurrection. Yeah, God isn't whispering - He's screaming. (The transcript of his remarks are on his blog, found here.)
My other prayer, given that the Hubbers is an aspiring Scripture scholar, is that I would find the discipline and desire to pour myself into the Word on a daily basis. For years I have "wanted" to do this, only to find excuses - too tired, can't find a translation I like, can't find a devotional that "speaks to me," etc etc etc dot dot dot. The truth is that I would read in cycles - I'm really good for a few weeks and then it trails off. It has more to do with discipline than anything.
Now with the kiddos, I want to be able to instill a love of Jesus in their hearts and they need to love the Word to love Him. "Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." St. Jerome's words, not mine. Pretty convicting, though. While I'm not ignorant of the scriptures, I can't really say I know the whole of them intimately. Again, part of that comes from the mentality that I need a devotional or book to help me pray.
Well, on Monday as I was driving to work, the Lord was shouting loud and clear on both those accounts. To begin, for the first time in my life, I feel as though I felt that supernatural joy in my heart - the joy that exudes a true love for Jesus and longing to be with him out of love, not escape. I found myself smiling from ear to ear driving down the road for no reason. When I realized what I had experienced, I was smiling from ear to ear for GOOD reason! I now have that moment to hang on to as I continue my search for a lasting and true supernaturally joyful heart. In addition, it hit me that I have been searching for a good scriptural devotional to buy but have been finding nothing. It hit me that perhaps why I hadn't found anything is that these books were written by someone else and their journey and call from God. My journey to joy wasn't going to be found in someone else's words - I had to seek it myself through the Scriptures and God's own words. So now I am on that quest as well - I've decided over the next few weeks to go through the Scriptures and find all references to joy and make my own study/reflection guide. Who knows, maybe my journey will lead to a book of my own!
More importantly, I pray this journey will fill my heart to overflow, so I can love on my family with more of His love than mine and fill their hearts to overflow with His love, so we can rogether share it with a world so desperately in need of His love and mercy. How's that for a run-on, stream-of-consciousness sentence?
Lesson learned: Stop searching the world for joy, start searching in Christ.
* Your mercies are new every morning, so let me wake with the dawn
**'The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent. They are renewed each morning, so great is His faithfulness. My portion is the Lord, says my soul; Therefore I will hope in Him.' ~ Lamentations 3:22-24