In Hope of Joy

2018/2019 have been immersed in my experience with depression. I’ve learned its names, kicked its butt and been trodden down by it too. Waves came in and waves went out and I laid hold of Hope. I hadn’t ever chosen a “word of the year” before, but it seemed right to claim hope for 2019. It was surprising how much power that decision produced. When difficult decisions came up, as they do in life, I made decisions based on hope. Meaning, when I was paralyzed by the possibility that I was making the wrong decision, I chose to make the decision out of hope for the best outcome. I won’t dig into it now. But it mattered. And helped.

The last few months, depression has been a little less heavy, but anxiety has been high. I get hit with it often and intensely, though no panic attacks, thankfully. It’s been a very physical and emotional response to life’s stresses.

I am tired and distracted and really struggling to form sentences and thoughts right now. But I want to get this out. I’m going somewhere with it.

The girls and I have been taking taekwondo twice a week. The instructor says it’s awesome, because we can leave everything at the door and think only about taekwondo. But I can’t always leave it at the door and it’s heavy to carry everything with me. He also says that he wants to live to be a 3-digit-number (meaning 100+) and expects us to respond that we do too. But, I don’t. I have had enough suffering and I’m tired and am hoping my work on earth doesn’t last that long.

I recognized something from trying to think of an answer to the taekwondo master if he confronts me about my not-responding to his 3-digits-old question. I realized that I am living each day, just crawling to reach the next. My goals extend only moments ahead, with the ultimate success being to make it to bedtime. I am so weary. I am so depleted.

And that’s why I’m blogging this morning. Because I realized that although I am not living a terrible, miserable, suffering-filled life 95% of the time, because of my physical fatigue and depletion and the fear of my own developing health issues and anticipation of other hard things in the future….. because of those hard things going on in my head and body… I’m living with dangerously low levels of joy. I am sincere, compassionate, determined, committed, supportive, caring, and genuine. And sometimes I am silly and sometimes I stop for a second to look at the gorgeous leaves as they change colors. But smiling, laughing, and joy are distant.


Joy is a big word with complex meaning. It can exist even within suffering. I want to find it.

2020…. when it gets here. I’m naming my word of the year… the word that seems most impossible to find. Joy. I did that with Hope and I discovered that I could find it.

Now I’m hoping for joy.

My living-in-hope self at Maggie’s 10th birthday party


Filed under Everyday Stuff

3 Responses to In Hope of Joy

  1. Brian

    Good words hon. Coincidentally (or not) I’ve been meditating on John 16.
    So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. – John 16:22

  2. Brian

    There is no shame in joy being hard to find. Sorrow, grief and worry put you in good company.

    He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. – Isaiah 53:3

  3. Joanna Pearson

    Hey, you are inspiring to me. You are real. The Lord loves realness. I do too. Many of us feel free to share our “real” pain and “real” brokenness because you share your “realness.” Thank you, friend. I have thoughts on this, but I don’t want to dump more thoughts on you. So I’m sitting here wondering about it. Wondering what to write. Wondering if I should. Just sitting here in the 5:02 stillness of the room I’m renting in Vancouver B.C. and wondering. And as I wonder I have to agree with Brian. You are in the best of company. And somehow, though I don’t understand, the Lord set His face to the cross with “joy.” Joy because He knew He was getting “us.” Why He would be so joyful about that is beyond me, but I’m so grateful that is the kind of love He lavishes on us. He treasures us. I wish you and I could both sit down together and talk with Wendy who is here visiting from Bolivia. She goes into the prisons of Bolivia and talks to assassins and they open up to her about how they have NEVER known love. And she shares Jesus with them. It is very, very beautiful. But not without it’s pain. An 85-year-old lady hugged me yesterday so hard in the local little jewelry store in Vancouver B.C. because she is hurting over her friend being diagnosed with cancer. She doesn’t know the Lord, but she believes there is “Someone or Something out there bigger than her.” Andy, the owner of the jewelry story” was giving me kleenexes and trying to comfort me after this lady left…but I didn’t have the words I felt were enough for her. I felt heart pain over her evident pain and it touched on past raw pain in my own heart over my dad’s death. Andy and I were talking about how hard life is sometimes. This life on this sin-filled earth and with all the brokenness is NOT easy. Why do we expect it will be? I’m like you, Rachel. I have no desire to live to be 100. If the Lord wants me to then I will, but my desire is not to live a super long life because life on this earth is hard. I’ve had stress, second-hand trauma, anxiety, and depression in these last two years. It is hard. It feels so dark sometimes. My heart goes out to you, my friend. Know this. You are loved. You are precious to the Lord and others, not because of what you “do” but because of who you are. Your heart touches many others, whether you see it or not. Nothing you will ever “do” will be as important as the love you give to the Lord and others. He wants YOU close to Him, much, much more than He wants something you do for Him. Also, your kids want “YOU” much, much more than something you do for them. Crunch the leaves with them. Laugh over the silly. Hug them a little tighter. Tickle them a little longer. Add more bubbles to the bubble bath. Add caramel or coconut or vanilla to the latte. 😉 Take 5 minutes longer looking into your girls’ eyes and smiling with them. Tell silly stories. Make forts in the living room with ALL the blankets in the house and ALL the pillows. Use silly voices. Laugh. Hug. Smile. Enjoy. Repeat. It helpes the neuroscience of our brains. Read “The Upward Spiral.” I sent it to you, right? It’s a game changer. Actually, it’s the beginning of a game changer. Come visit me in Vancouver, B.C. and we’ll plan our very own “run” around some of the beautiful places here. Know that I don’t know you well, but I appreciate you, my friend, and I love you. Thank you for your candid honestly. I admire you. And right now, I’m thanking the Lord for you.

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