Joy in the Midst of Trials
Today we have a guest post by a dear friend that I've "met" through Faith Music Radio. She will be sharing about one of my favorite subjects, JOY. Her joy is very contagious, and it truly comes from the Lord. I love this dear lady. She is such a blessing and an encouragement to me! I know she will be to you as well.
To most people, I come off as an extremely fun, happy person! I love having fun, and laughing HARD! I am an extrovert, so I love being with people, put me in a room full of people, and I am totally recharged! And in general I just love LIFE!
I remember a couple of years ago, in between two major surgeries, I was spending quite a bit of time at physical therapy to get the range of motion back in my arms. I worked with a certain therapist each and every visit, but we were in an open room, so I was seeing many of the same people each visit. One day one of the therapists asked me, "Why are you always so happy?" I honestly had not really even thought much about it. But, in reality, I was going through the start of one of the most difficult trials in my life. A trial that doesn't end on this side of Heaven. I didn't always feel 100% happy. It was at that moment that I realized, I was happy on the outside, but deep inside I was in pain. I had a plan for my life that I thought was the same plan that God had for my life. And that plan did not include having the BRCA1 cancer gene.
Every single one of us has trials, no one is exempt. Our trials may all be different, but each of us will have those dark days of feeling alone and very sad. The trial that the Lord has trusted me with is the BRCA1 cancer gene. Your trial may be something totally different. Even though our trials may be complete opposite, we each need to work through our hard times and give God the glory for them!
Here is a list of several things that can help us find JOY in the midst of our trials.
IT'S OKAY TO CRY: I used to think crying was a weakness. I thought that when I would cry it showed that I was not strong. That is not the case! Crying is healthy, it is actually good for you. From time to time as women, we feel overwhelmed with everything we are juggling. Every now and then a good cry is all you need. And then it is easy to move on!
I know as women, many of us make "to do" lists. Sometimes when you are going through particular struggles. It may be a good idea just for a time, to get rid of the "to do" lists, and maybe if you need to make a list, make one at the end of each day with everything that you accomplished for that day, you will be surprised at how much you can get done!
Realize that NOBODY'S life is perfect! Do not compare yourself! Do I like being at the doctor or hospital so much? Do I like all the different medications, blood work, procedures? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But would I change my life? NOT FOR ANYTHING! I am who I am because this is how the Lord made me and He trusts me to reach others through life's trials.
Smile / Laugh EVERY SINGLE DAY! I decided I would make this goal part of my life many years ago. This is something that helped me so many times through my trials. Find a reason to smile. Every. Single. Day. Read a funny joke book, watch a funny skit, watch a crazy video clip. Be around someone who makes you laugh! When you smile, you are happier! When you smile, your whole tone of changes. If you smile at someone, just watch, they will smile right back at you. Smiling and laughing are CONTAGIOUS! Even if you are down, smile. Smiling will make you feel that much better!
ASK FOR HELP: After one of my surgeries I really struggled with this. I tend to be very OCD on things, especially on organization. I was down for 8 weeks at one period. I had people coming into my home to help me with various things, which was a tremendous blessing. But I felt so very useless. There were so many things I could not do. I had no physical strength. It was hard for me to learn to let others do for me. Learn to let others help you. You know that if the role was reversed you would be willing to help.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE: This is so important to remember as we go through certain trials in our lives. The Lord has put so many different people in our lives. Every single one of them has a purpose. We are here to help and support each other through every step of the way. And if you do feel like there is no one there, there is always our Father in Heaven who will never leave us! "The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:" 1 KIngs 8:57
CHOOSE TO HAVE JOY: Last, but probably the most important. Every single day we wake up we have a choice... We have the opportunity to be sad or to be happy. No matter the trial, no matter the heartache, we can choose to have JOY!
"Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice." Phillipians 4:4
I have learned that life is not always easy, it is actually pretty hard sometimes! I have learned things do not always go the way WE planned, but they ALWAYS go the way He has planned. Patience is super important, unfortunately this is something I will always probably need to work on. I have learned that when life is just too hard to stand, kneel. I know many nights I would cry myself to sleep. My husband would remind me time and time again, "The Lord has something BIG for the Sapp Family, we just don't know what it is yet." I have learned that trials can bring us closer to the ones we love so much. I have learned not to take life for granted. I have learned that everything happens for a reason. If that reason is for one person to be saved, or if it be for me to be able to help one person with my testimony, or if it is to draw me closer to the Lord, I am content with that. I have learned that all of my prayers are answered. They may not be answered immediately, or in the way I would think is best. I have learned that I am not perfect, and I have a ton of things that I need to work on. I have learned to have FUN even if things do not go my way! Every single time I have a doctor appointment, I do my very best to pass out at least three gospel tracts, and I also wear some sort of silly costume or hat. I have gotten several of my doctors to wear the hats also and take selfies with me! Usually this results in smiles all around! I have learned to never ever give up! There have been times when I would hear of family members getting a negative result for the cancer gene. I rejoice with them, but each time, without fail, it throws me for a loop back into that alone feeling. Always keep going! Never let someone tell you that you CAN'T do something.
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11
To sum it all up, and to answer the physical therapist's question. I am happy, because I choose to be! So while I am at physical therapy, I am going to cut up and laugh with others. If you put me on a stretching machine for 30 minutes next to another patient who will also be stretching for 30 minutes. I am going to do my best to give them the gospel. Yes, while I am getting stretched in ways that hurt so bad, I am going to cry, but I am going to be OKAY! I choose to have JOY!
About the Author
Mrs. Amy Sapp is wife of Chad Sapp, a youth leader in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also the mother to three awesome Sapplings: Abby, Luke and Logan. Mrs. Sapp is always busy! She is an encouraging ladies’ conference speaker and a representative for Faith Music Missions. She works on a church bus route and teaches a youth girl’s Sunday School class. She loves homeschooling her children, showing others how to have joy and just having FUN! Also, she hosts the Helpers of Joy program on Faith Music Radio. She has made it her mission to spreading God’s joy everywhere she goes. She is now helping others help others have joy as well. You can find her on her website here https://www.sappsolutely.com.