A couple of years ago, I wrote a new mission statement – “I’m a radiantly real woman, always eager to grow. I’m learning to dance in intimacy with Jesus and discover joy even in tough times.” Little did I know then, that the tough times would increase, and that joy would seem even more elusive following the divorces of two of my sons (and losing two beloved daughters-in-law), family health challenges, and my own battle with pain. I’m learning the joy I wrote into my mission statement is not just “peace in the midst of,” but can also be WOW moments – small breaks of sunshine in the midst of gray skies. And, most of the time I have to work to discover where God has lovingly placed them in my path!
Each of us has our own gray skies – sometimes days on end like Eeyore’s perpetual gloomy rain cloud following overhead wherever he roams. Others of us have “hurricane moments” where a huge storm of gray threatens to overtake us in a surprising rain of difficulty or challenge. How do you handle the “wait” for joy in those times – for WOW? What do you do to be on the watch for joy in tough times?
In the crucible of my own gray, I’ve been looking for ways to brighten the days of others. I appreciate author Ann Voskamp for her authentically vulnerable writings on living in our broken world. In her recent book, The Broken Way, she shares, “…you diffuse your own stress by diffusing someone else’s…the best way to de-stress is to bless.” So, I look for ways to bless others. I don’t do it perfectly…what I do may not even be noticed. And I have bad days where I struggle to see through the fog of my own discomfort, even inadvertently bringing my “Eeyore cloud” into the lives of others. But, I know blessing others in turn becomes a blessing in my own life.
Over time I’ve seen blessing others reflected back to me in precious and surprising WOW moments God gives to me like the sweet text I received from one of my sons… “I am SO thankful for my parents! You are both the most influential people that I have or may ever know. Thank you for all your love and support! Through all of the struggle, you were faithful parents and servants of God. Thank you for who you are and the privilege of being your son. God is good all the time…All the time God is good…!
“Dancing in intimacy with Jesus” has been the key for me to be able to see the needs of others through his eyes rather than through the lens of my own difficulties. “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever” (Psalm 73:26). It’s in staying close to Jesus I am able to be more intentional in being a blessing to others – perhaps being part of their own WOW moments. – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist