Not Stolen Joy

Abuse Survivor, Advent, bravery, Faith, grace, memoir, mercy, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder

More and more everyday, I’m shrugging off, tossing aside, assuredly changing my understanding of what my faith should mean, should be to me.

Believing joy might be for me.

You won’t understand unless you were raised with harsh reins and criticism meant to be corrective counseling that was more control and sometimes coercion.

I’m not accustomed to traditions like Advent and I had no clue until I began to seek to know, the meaning of so many beautiful traditions.

I’m realizing the church of my youth considered itself independent and non-denominational; but, what they taught me were lessons like you’ll never be as good or good enough or those people don’t love Jesus as much as we do otherwise they’d walk around like us, looking miserable and solemn and bent under their inventory of guilty sin.

I messed up the Advent tradition. I started yesterday instead of today.

It’s okay.

I’ll begin from the beginning again, I’ll glean from the glory of the story of the newborn Jesus, even more new and life changing things.

I shifted to a jog in the stretch of straight on the trail. I thought of my morning journal and my note to myself.

His joy remains in me.

This new comprehension of joy, it can’t be taken. I’ll know fullness in my relationship with God when I have joy no matter my circumstances or successes.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Up ahead the birds are flying from tree to tree as if the trail is a river below them and they’re crossing to get to the forest. I get closer, they flutter away and then one, just one remains, as if to be sure I see. Bright red and healthy, sitting on a branch up high like a king.

A beautiful presence.

Yes, I see.

I finish with a song that allows me to go all the way back home, my version of a run, the rhythm of the song, the timing is right, I have no inclination not to go on.

I’m as light as I can be, the thought of struggling so very far removed.

The foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy. Audrey Assad

‘Cause you are, good to me, God.

And every time I hear the words about the foxes in the vineyard, I’m stronger than before, all those sly and conniving distractions and distractors …no more for me,

no more stolen joy.

Good to Me

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