sunset3Each morning as I pull from the driveway and make my way down our road I glance at the lake behind our house. To be fair, it’s not our lake…but I secretly wish it was. Even so, I’m humbled by the fact that I get to enjoy it every day when I rise to get the kids off to school. And again as the evening slows down and I’m standing at the sink doing the dishes. The reflection of the sunlight off that still body of water is simply breathtaking. So much so that I truly believe the word “glisten” was created to describe just that.

I would love to stay in that moment where everything glistened. Always.  Sitting out on my deck, taking it all in with a good book, a cup of tea and not a care in the world.

But that’s not reality for me. Life doesn’t always glisten. And I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Sometimes it clouds over and there is no glistening effect, what-so-ever. The light doesn’t reflect because there’s none to be had. It is then that we’re left with the dim and dark moments that so easily overtake us.  It is then that we feel our strength retiring.

I’ll admit that I get more than a little disgruntled during non-glistening hours. Worry sets in and before I know it my hapless demeanor pulls up a chair in the middle of our home. The mood is anything but pleasing and self-condemnation takes over as I blame myself for the disruption of the harmony within our family.

It’s during these moments I have to stop myself before it gets out of hand and focus on three things:

1) I must remember to rejoice in my trials. While an easy concept to remember, it’s not always the cozy-feel-good reaction I try to display when things get tough. Still, when I’m on the ascending slope of the valley I just walked through my eyes are opened to the growth that’s taken place. I’m able to perceive the incredible stamina that develops from the testing of my faith. My character is strengthened and I can take on much more than I did before the trial. Learning to rejoice in trials doesn’t come easy.  I must continuously lean on the One who gives me understanding rather than my own inclinations.

2) I must do the glistening. Often times I tend to shove that light under a basket and try to forget about it. I’m a fly-under-the-radar kinda girl – never wanting to draw a whole lot of attention to myself.  Even in the simplest of conversations I tend to use deflection as a form of taking the attention off a moment I might have to be real.  To be serious.  To show who I really am.  I fear situations that might put me in the wrong or show how imperfect I truly am.  But it’s not my perfection or lack thereof that should be the focus in the first please.

By doing this, I’m still making it all about me.   I am here to expose an image that is not my own.  As I live this life as a fragile jar of clay it is the light within me that is to make the appearance.

3) The joy of the Lord is my strength. As the citizens of Jerusalem wept aloud during the reading of the Book of the Law (quite possibly over the sorrow of having lived without their God for so long and never understanding what that entailed) Nehemiah reminded them that the day was not for mourning and weeping. That they were to go and celebrate! To find joy in the Lord who was their strength!

I think I saved the most important for last. When I remember to look to the One who created joy – everything else will become second nature to me.  His strength will flow from every action, every mannerism, every conversation I have, daily. I will bleed Jesus, just as He bled for me.

When we find joy in the arms of the One whose love sustains us, whose grace empowers us, whose heart forgives us we are able to rejoice in our trials.  We are able to glisten in situations that would normally show no glimmer of hope.  

The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (Psalm 28:7)