Previously published: Sunday, June 13, 2010
I work in a sales environment and having a positive attitude and strong numbers are very critical for me to maintain my position as the top sales representative. In 2008, my father went through surgery to remove one of his kidneys. Instead of my father staying in for five days, it turned into a five-month stay instead. A month later, two young women attempted to jump my youngest daughter, she left them scrambling to get away from her, they were unaware that she was a bodybuilder. The very next weekend, my middle daughter broke her ankle while skating. The night after her surgery a glass screen door shattered over my son's head. During that same month, we also discovered my niece had a broken kneecap and that my youngest daughter had a hernia from bodybuilding.
By the time my father was released from rehab, my niece and two daughters all had surgery within 3 weeks of each other. In that particular quarter, I only achieved 98% of my goal. People tried to comfort me by saying, it’s going to be alright, things will get better. What if they don’t, well that’s when I need the strength purpose, and peace of God that joy can bring.
Having the strength to get up and go to work every day, to encourage strangers to pursue their dreams. Strength to take care of the healthy children as well as the sick ones, I needed strength that can only come from God. How many of you have heard the phrase "rejoice through the hard times"? How many of you would be able to remain happy and positive through the season I just described? When all hell was breaking loose in my life, I had to ask myself how I was to keep going. I focused on the bible's promises to me in Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord gives me strength”. NIV I focused on thanking the Lord for the healthy children, for having medical insurance, for my mother who stands faithfully by my father’s side, and for maintaining a job through the recession. As I meditate on the Bible, God gives me direction and comfort. Focusing on joy also gives me a purpose. The joy that brings purpose. "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 NIV
There was a reason why Jesus suffered the pain of the cross, not for glory, not to be a sensational movie hit. He understood that by dying as he did, he was representing all of our sins, sicknesses diseases, shortcomings, and faults and forever putting them to death. Jesus is my example. What is my purpose, and why have I suffered? I knew that after my father's surgery, if he didn’t make it, he would be out of pain forever, and if he did make it through the surgery the doctors were removing his kidneys so that he could live longer. I knew the situations my daughters and niece were going through were stressful but in a year's time, they are all happy and healthier. Like Jesus I was able to focus on the end results, knowing that things would get better, brought me joy and peace. Joy that maintains the peace of God,
When my employer told me they were going bankrupt and we would lose our jobs, I was not worried. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NIV. I knew that God had another plan for my children and me. I remembered that God promised to take care of us. I was able to walk to work every day head held high. I had a smile for everyone because I knew no matter what, God was going to take care of me and open the doors that I needed to have open and he did. People are always wondering, 'Janice I don’t know how you do it' or they will say 'It’s always something isn’t it? Those questions can be a hook to remind me to worry and stress, especially when I have made up my mind to focus on peace and joy.
Recently all hell started breaking loose again; one child was vomiting blood, I had to rush another child to the emergency room for abdominal pains, and another child to the doctors because he was having numerous headaches, while I was seeking treatment for a damaged rotor cup. I had to leave work often to take care of my sick children, and my numbers at work were starting to suffer. When things became overwhelming and stressful again I sat down not knowing what to do. I asked myself how did I ever make it through before. Then I remembered by focusing on another level of joy...joy that gives strength, and purpose and maintains the peace of God. Through the darkest of hours, I don’t forget about joy.