The Gladness in my Heart
I've been feeling a lot of discouragement lately. A lot of things have been happening, or actually, not happening and it's left me feeling discouraged and a bit directionless. I see so many people seemingly achieve goals and dreams they've set for themselves and yet I can't seem to achieve some of mine. In fact at times I feel like I'm barely moving.
The truth is, I've been in a slump and this particular slump has defeated me more than ones in years past. I'm also adjusting to life with two kids, postpartum anxiety and this last week the whole family got sick with the common cold. I haven't slept much since Florian (my 5 month old) caught it. The poor little guy spends most of the night awake crying because his nose is clogged.
I'm exhausted to say the least. So today, after dinner, as the toddler ran around and I held the baby in my arms, I found myself mindlessly scrolling through pinterest on my phone behind a pillow (I try not to let the kids see me on my phone) I was zoning out, letting my exhaustion feed my discouragement and feelings of unhappiness. When I suddenly realized that my son was laughing, he had been laughing the whole time but I hadn't noticed.
Noah, my 3 year old, was playing an imaginary game all by himself and it was adorable. I put my phone down and started to pay attention (or as he likes to say "pattention" Why say two words when you can one, right?) He was smiling and happy, giggling as the golden hour sun flooded the room and lit up his beautiful face. I looked over to the baby in my arms, from my point of view I could see his round little belly, tiny little shoulders and a head full of soft hair with a profile that was mostly engulfed in cheeks. He was adorable as he tried to eat one of his older brother's trucks.
My boys were adorable, they were healthy and happy, and suddenly this verse came to mind, "You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased." Psalm 4,7
David is basically telling us that when we have Jesus in our heart, our lowest, darkest, saddest, hardest time is better than the richest, most fulfilling, most prosperous, happiest time of someone who doesn't know Jesus. Our fulfillment doesn't come from our earthly increase, but in Christ and the gladness He puts in our hearts. Our goals and dreams can't bring us joy like He can. And those who's grain and wine increase, though they seem happy outwardly, have nothing but fading pleasure, because God is the one who provides lasting joy.
And as I looked around at my children and the joy that was unfolding before me I realized I was missing this moment in time with them because I was allowing discouragement to dampen my day. I was allowing myself to scroll my phone and zone out because I felt disheartened, instead of looking around me at the blessings God has already given me. The gladness He's put in my life, the increase that could only come from Him.
I have two of the most beautiful little boys. They are pure joy, they are sunshine. And these moments with them are fleeting, but God has blessed me with being their mama. He's given them to me to raise and to enjoy their snuggles, their love, and their giggles. I am blessed! And more than that, I know the Lord, He lives in my heart. And I am raising my sons' to know Jesus as well. My toddler already talks about Jesus and sings about Jesus all the time. Nothing could make me happier than knowing that they know Jesus, truly nothing! I am blessed! I am more blessed than those who's grain and wine is increased. I have gladness in my heart that cannot be compared to the gladness found in this world.
And as I mope about dreams lost, or maybe just dreams not yet fulfilled, I have true dreams right in front of me. And I realized it's my job to recognize the goodness of the Lord, to declare that I have gladness in my heart because of Him. Because of what He's done for me and what He's given me.
There's nothing wrong with feeling discouraged, there's nothing wrong with slumps, there's nothing wrong with having hopes and dreams and pursuing them relentlessly. But also, remember in your discouragement what Jesus has done for you and what He's already given you. We are already more than conquerors through Him who loved us. He has put gladness in our heart more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
And the truth is our saddest, lowest, hardest day with Christ is better than their best day without Him. Just remember to make Christ your perspective. It changes everything.