Thursday, December 22, 2011

Joy

Tuesday morning was rough. I woke up sad and dejected. I didn't want to go to the pool to swim. I was worried that my arms were going to hurt like they did the previous week. I was messaging with my poor husband at work and I was sobbing. I was tired and I was frustrated. My husband encouraged me to go ahead and go - he knows me well enough to know that it would probably make me feel better.

As I was getting my swimsuit on, a song popped into my head: "Trading My Sorrows" by Darrell Evans. It's a song that my husband used to play a lot several years ago, but he hasn't done it at this church. Some of the lyrics include:

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying them down for the joy of the Lord.

and from the chorus:

I'm pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
And His joy is going to be my strength.

The song ran through my head all day, and really into Wednesday as I woke up singing it in my head! When I posted it on my Facebook page, a friend replied with the name of the verse that pertains to that song. I went hunting it down and this is what I found:

“Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10 NLT

A light bulb went off in my head!! This will be my focus verse for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! Disney World's theme recently was "What are you celebrating?" and I intend to celebrate while I'm there! I may not complete the Goofy Challenge, but I'm going to have a great time! I'm going to feast with rich foods and sweet drinks and have a great time with my friends! I'm not going to be dejected or sad, because my joy comes from the Lord and that is the source of my strength! (I will admit that the "sacred day before the Lord" part is a bit of a stretch - not sure how sacred any half marathon or marathon would be, but maybe it's sacred in a way because it means so much to me?)

The more I considered the song and the verse, I recalled that another of my favorite songs uses the same line, "For the joy of the Lord is my strength"! And, as if to put an exclamation point on the whole thing, I remembered that my Word of the Year for 2011 has been JOY! I really don't believe in coincidences - I truly believe this was a whisper from God!

And it could not have come at a better time! It's now a little more than 2 weeks until Marathon Weekend, and I've been feeling sad and scared and frustrated and overwhelmed. I want to do my "best" during these races and I really want to "Go Goofy" but I don't want to set back my recovery. I've worked SO hard to get to this point where I am starting to have pain-free days, and my first pain-free run! I don't want to have to start all over again, and really I can't because I can't afford to go back to physical therapy. So I have to play this smart. But I am a planner, and to not have a plan - and actually to have my "plan" get completely derailed - has been unbearably hard. And it makes me so sad.

But God knows what I'm going through and He is there for me. And He used this song to let me know. And He used this verse to give me my plan: Go. Celebrate. No sadness. His joy will be my strength.

Good plan! :)

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