Joy Not Happiness

I’d like to forget today ever existed if that could be arranged. My smile and Justin’s “funny face” pictured here were both very momentary. Another day of chemo at clinic but with an extra helping of difficult.

Justin’s port (pictured above on his chest) access and de-access did not go well. He cried in pain and fear while we tried to keep blood from pouring out of his chest. Aghast, he screamed, “there’s a hole in me!” And he wasn’t wrong.

His nurse said that, most likely, scar tissue has built up around the central line and was irritated today by the needle puncture. I felt like screaming, too, until I remembered I’m the mom and supposed adult in this situation. I pulled myself together and did what any loving mother would do. I held him tight and yanked the TV in front of his face until he was too distracted to scream.

Justin is exhausted. I feel drained. I feel nauseated. I feel heartsick. I feel irritable. I feel like I’m not going to leave this place on the floor next to where he’s sleeping even though I really need to make dinner. I feel like I’m ignoring my other boys.

All of this will pass. It will all pass into an intangible memory, yet our souls remain securely in the hand of God. Souls untainted, because of Jesus, and certainly without holes.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5

I don’t have to like today. I don’t like today at all. But I still have joy. Yes, it’s a little more blurry than usual, like I’ve taken off my glasses or removed my contact lenses. Yes, I am struggling to grasp a hold of it. I have to keep saying to myself, “The Lord is near, the Lord is near.” He has not lost control. This all has a purpose. (Romans 8:28)

So I keep believing and KNOWING God is in control of every second. I see a look of peace come over Justin’s face and feel Michael’s arms thrown around me. Joy starts to come back into focus. Not joy in my circumstances. Joy in the Lord. Joy that is based on truths that lead us to LIFE. Joy that holds up under the immense pressure of daily life struggles.

Today I need the joy that comes from knowing Jesus even if it finds me sometime between being a useless heap on my living room floor and stirring a pot of spaghetti sauce. I don’t need momentary happiness today – a day at the beach. I need the tough, sturdy, enduring, invincible joy found at the foot of the cross.

Grace be with you, my friends.

One thought on “Joy Not Happiness

  1. Katie, how heart wrenching to have to be the strong one in such a terrible situation. Poor boy, little Justin. Prayers always for you all.


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