"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.
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.
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.