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Monday, August 24, 2009

Blissfully Happy?


"Are all the Proverbs 31 ladies just blissfully happy all the time?" the woman asked. She didn't ask me. She asked a friend of mine, who repeated it to me. I couldn't help it, I laughed out loud when I heard it.

Blissfully happy?

Uhhhh, no. Yes, we write and speak about walking closely with God and we encourage others in their pursuit of being godly women. We share our successes and our failures. And we do try to find the silver lining in the dark clouds of life. But are we blissfully happy while we do it? Not all the time.

We are normal women dealing with the normal, "in-this-world-you-will-have-trouble" stuff of life. We have money problems and marriage problems, kid problems and job problems. We struggle. We fail. We wonder. You should see our private prayer requests to each other: mammogram scares, undiagnosed mystery illnesses, financial problems, wayward children, suffering children, spiritual warfare, long waits for answers to prayer, disappointment.

But in the midst of it all, we keep coming back to Him. To renew us, refresh us, strengthen us and encourage us. And we turn to each other for prayer, for verses sent to lift our spirits and point us back to where we need to be, for a laugh (You can always count on this group of women to laugh...), and sometimes for shared tears.

Blissfully happy?

As I type this, my husband and I are in a fight. We don't fight nearly as much as we used to in the early days of our marriage, but there are still times that miscommunication or misunderstandings sneak up to bite us. When it happens, it feels like our world slides off kilter. Two of my girls are fighting over sharing paints, their voices escalating, spilling into my concentration level. The economy has affected our family and left us wondering about money decisions-- financial book or not, we have lots of responsibilities and it takes a lot to juggle it all. My 7yo took a nasty spill this weekend and is walking around with a big goose egg on his head and the skin scraped off his nose. He cried this morning about going to school because he was so embarrassed for people to see him. No, life is not blissfully happy at our house.

And yet, there is still this deep, abiding joy that resides within me, and within all the other P31 ladies. Not because we love all of our circumstances all of the time, but because we trust the One who allowed those circumstances to weave them together for our good, to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a future and a hope. We might not be blissfully happy, but we still manage to find scraps of joy here and there. It might not be much, but somehow it's always just enough.

Blissfully happy? No.

Supernaturally joyful? Yes.

Not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Not because of what is happening, but because of what already happened.
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20 comments:

www.luannprater.com said...

Blissful?

I had s brush with blissful this past week. And it was in the middle of the strangest thing. A 24 hour round trip drive alone to visit my mom in the Alzheimer unit.

I haven't cried this much for a very long time. While God poured me out like a drink offering He replaced it with an absolute spring, welling up inside me that I cannot put into words.

Seeing His hand in the midst of the storm, rocks!

Love running this race with you Marybeth!

Rachel Olsen said...

Amen to this Marybeth. At my house we're processing the death of my mother-in-law that happened late last week, while trying to prepare for the start of school tomorrow. Not exactly bliss here. But we do have God's peace.

I will say one thing that lessens the load of my burdens is having a group of authentic, loving, godly women like this team to share them with. That brings me a great deal of joy in the messes and stresses of life.

Holly said...

Supernaturally joyful - love it. Well said Marybeth. It's always all beyond us.

Wendy Pope said...

Marybeth
You spoke well for our P31 family. We are so blessed to have each other "behind the scenes" of our calling.

Lynn Cowell said...

Marybeth,
Some of us have prayer requests under multiple headings! This morning, while trying to shower away the sad feelings I was carrying, there was an underlining thankfulness. A thankfulness in that in Him every day is a NEW day. Every day has hope. Every day has joy.
Thanks Marybeth.
Lynn

Charlene Kidd said...

Marybeth you captured it perfectly. My oldest two children fought all the way to school this morning, I was in the middle of it with them. It is definitely not blissful; but as I cried on the way home from dropping them off I knew that those children are my main ministry field. With all the good and bad-God is my strength and He will direct my path.

Judy said...

I love that you so freely and honestly share your life with us!

Anonymous said...

Amen.

mary said...

One of the whole reason I started to read the many blogs from the ladies of Proverb 31 was the realness of you all. Women who love Jesus who are normal every day kind of women. You are women who love the Lord who struggle like me. You are women who fail but know that you have a friend in Jesus. You don't make me ever feel less in Jesus if I am not where you are in Jesus. You encourage & support me in my walk, knowing Jesus will show each of us where we should be in Him. I thank God for you all! You have encouraged & blessed me & my family in so many ways. May our Lord continue to bless, guide, & give you all wisdom to help & encourage us all on the net! Blessing & peace Mary

Anonymous said...

I so loved reading this post... that is why I love P31, you are all so transparent and authentic. As I am sitting at work beating myself up because I forgot to put the 1st day of school love note in my daughter's lunchbox...I feel better knowing that others didn't have a perfect morning either :) Blessings to you!

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Scraps of joy... yes ma'am that is what we seek to find each and every day. And isn't amazing what we look for is what we inevitably (sp?) find!

Great post sweet friend!

Seriously great post.

Might I use it for a radio show, giving you credit?

Alyssa said...

I had the privilege of attending She Speaks 08 and I can say that the women of P31 are REAL and AUTHENTIC and that means you have "good days & bad days' just like us. Thank you for sharing and being so real with us.

Lindsay @ Not2Us said...

Yes, and amen!

Deb said...

Thanks, I needed that! Life has been anything but blissful here...you name it, the economy, working 3 jobs, school starting, two kids in college... etc..I am constantly reminded of the song lyrics.."I will praise YOU in this storm."
Blissful? No, loved and forgiven? yes!
Makes me feel so much better to know that I'm not alone. In fact, I'm in pretty good company!

Karin Katherine said...

I so appreciate your honesty...and the message!

Oh Dear said...

thanks for letting me be a fly on your wall...

Danielle said...

Thank you for being 'real' Marybeth. It's always nice to get a peek into someone's life when there are preconceived notions that all is [always] well.

Mary said...

Marybeth,

That is why I enjoy reading the P31 devotionals. You ladies show us that its ok to have a bad day with kids, husband, finances, friends, anything. As long as we find the "scraps of joy" and remember God is in even the little things. Thank you for being so transparent.

Diane Rumley said...

Thank you so much for your candidness.
Hugs,
Diane

Colleen said...

I have learned that there is a great difference between happiness and joy. Happiness can be fleeting, an emotion of the moment, much like anger or frustration . The feelings come, and they go.

Joy I equate with inner peace. True joy bubbles up from a well-spring deep inside of me. It is there for me to tap into when I am hopelessly lost in life. And when I sing for my savior, my joy overflows like a fountain.

Blissfully happy? No, ma'am.
Joyfully serene? You betcha!