Rejoicing in the depths of despair? Seems kind of like an oxymoron huh? How can one be happy, or joyful in really desperate times? When I was going through all my eye trauma, which started on 2016, I was really struggling with that part in faith, you know… being grateful in all things, As the Bible says we should “Rejoice in all things”:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thess5:18
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phil4:4
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4:6
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col3:17
A big part of the Bible / God’s teaching / a Christian life / Jesus’s modeling, is to be grateful and thankful… which can be really hard. Well, it’s EASY when things are going great- which really has prompted all this in my heart this past month. God has been moving so beautifully and boldly in my life, pouring blessings and signs for me and my family. It’s EASY to rejoice, and give thanks, when God’s blessings are pouring into our lives, when things go right, when things are good. Not so much when we’re in the depths of despair.
I know that as a believer, as a woman of faith, I should adhere to that…but I surely struggle with that too. During all my eye drama, which lasted about 18 months and still impact my life daily, I really struggled with gratitude and luckily have an amazing community I was able to discuss this with. I felt bad I wasn’t rejoicing – I felt bad that I was “Hostess with the Most-est” at my own pity party, on too many occasions to count (this reminds me, I probably should blog about my crazy eye saga at some point). So as I was dealing with vision loss, a sudden onset of intense social anxiety, a fear to drive, and a host of other ramifications of this trauma (all resulting from my spontaneously detached retina)… I had to deal with so many changes and loss that I was struggling with how to find joy in ALL THINGS.
Don’t get me wrong, there were many glimpses of joy, but overall – I was sad and felt bad about my situation. I felt horrible for what my family had to go through as I was dealing with all this too (it really impacted my children and the impact seeps into our lives still, today). Then I felt sad and guilty about feeling sad and bad about it all, because there are so many things to be grateful for… it’s my M.O. I really struggled for a while as I was dealing with this trauma; physically, mentally and emotionally. I talked with several friends, mentors, and family about it. I prayed, I confessed my sin and continually, consciously had to made the decision to focus on the beautiful things in my life. I do have to say, although I can be the queen of my own pity party, I am also the master of a reframe. God has given me gift of Encouragement and Faith and after the life I’ve lived, things I’ve conquered, and endured… a reframing perspective is a skill I’ve had a lot of practice perfecting! Here’s a piece of artwork I created as a reminder to give thanks to God for EVERYTHING… the good and the bad, because although at times it may feel really bad, it’s those dark storms in life that make the brightest rainbows.
So if you’re dealing with something that feels like an impossible situation, having a difficult time finding gratitude in life or thankfulness in your heart then I hope my experience can give you hope and inspiration. Please remember to pray for peace and gratitude. Remember that there are many beautiful things to be grateful for (even if it is as simple as a gorgeous sunset, or a favorite flower blooming), dig deep to find those things and think of them often (Phil4:8). The storm clouds will pass by and your rainbow will be more colorful because of it.