"You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30: 11-12
I ran across this verse this morning as I was reading "If God is Good" by Randy Alcorn. It caught my eye first because it had the word "joy" in it, and if you've followed this blog for any length of time at all, you know that's my word.
We have re-decorated what was Hannah's bedroom with the word "joy"...as I sit here typing, I am surrounded by probably 40 or 50 different items that say "JOY" in some form or fashion. But, as I've shared with you before, I don't always feel the joy. I've still been keeping up with my Joy List, and one of these days, I will catch you up on that. But even as I continue to add to the 1,000 Things That Bring Me Joy, I don't always find myself "clothed with joy."
Maybe the secret to being clothed with joy is the final sentence of that passage. "O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." I believe that there is joy to be found in giving thanks. But there's also the rub.
I give thanks for the opportunity to be Hannah's mother.
I give thanks for every minute of the 17 years I had with her.
I give thanks for the family, friends, and even strangers who have prayed us through the past 2 1/2 years.
I give thanks for the peace God has given our family, no matter what the circumstances.
I give thanks that Hannah is eternally healed and is herself in a place of unimaginable joy.
I give thanks for the eternal perspective and understanding of God's sovereignty we have gained through our experiences.
But I find myself unable to give thanks that Hannah is not here, in her bedroom, where she should be. I'm unable to give thanks that she is not preparing for her sophomore year in college. I'm unable to give thanks that Bethany has no sister to share secrets with. Am I supposed to give thanks for those things?
I don't really think God expects us to be filled with gratitude for the things that are so painful in this life. But I do think He wants us to accept them...and in acceptance, there is peace...then thankfulness...and ultimately joy. Do you remember when Job asked his wife, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" (Job 2:10)
So, even though I may not have fully arrived in the thankfulness department, He is gently leading me toward that acceptance so that one day, I will truly be clothed with real joy.