Sunday, December 29, 2013

An honest look at JOY; more so MY JOY--or lack there of...

An honest look at JOY; more so MY JOY--or lack there of. 

"For the joy of the LORD is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

JOY comes from the LORD--JOY can’t come from my circumstances, my relationships, my ‘work’, my money or HAITI. My JOY needs to come from the LORD. 

Here comes the brutally honest part and it’s hard for me to even write about but if I don’t and keep it all bottled up well that makes satan happy. The last several months I have found myself having several conversations with other missionaries around here about JOY. I’ve found myself being able to be honest with them and thus opening my eyes to the fact that I have lost my JOY. This is not to say that I don’t love living in Haiti-because I honestly do-challenges, frustrations and all, but something has been missing. Over the past 17 months I’ve never felt it like I do now. 

I have come to conclude that I’ve let life's burdens, life's circumstances, others peoples words and thoughts overcome me. I have been living after the flesh and the things of this world. I have been seeking approval, trying to do things the “right” way, not step on anyones toes, and trying to satisfy other people. I have let myself believe and have been overcome with the lies of the enemy about who I am and what I really am doing here in Haiti. Asking myself the questions ‘why are you even here Jessica?’ ‘Your not needed here.’ ‘You can’t afford to do this anymore.’ ‘What talents and skills do you really have to offer.’ ‘You’ve done your time, now it’s time to move on.’ It sounds crazy-even as I write them they sound crazy to me but it’s the truth and that is what I have let satan do to me. I have let him steal my JOY. I have let him get into my head with all these lies and he has taken my strength and continued to prey upon me. What I now realize is that I have taking my focus and eyes off of the one and only thing that can truly give me JOY-JESUS.

In Psalm 16:11, Jesus says He will show you the 'path of life' - the way of life. Jesus is all I need.  He is where I get my strength from, He is my life. 

The JOY of the Lord is a spiritual strength. When I am filled with His JOY, He gives me the physical strength I need to go about my day and do HIS work and fight the battle.  

I read something today that really convicted me it said, “You can't live off of the joy that you once had because at some point in time you have either given it away or let it go. Joy can give you strength ONLY when you possess or have it.” The last couple months I have been living off a past JOY of my life in Haiti. Now in this time of transition that past JOY has run out and I’m longing to possess that JOY again. 

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

Isaiah 12:2-3
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

John 15:9-11
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

The Lord longs for me to seek Him and to be filled with HIS JOY and HIS Strength. So in this time of lacking JOY, how do I get back to being filled with His JOY and being happy in all circumstances. 

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

So I have a choice, I can continue to have no JOY or I can choose to turn to HIM and get my life back in touch with HIM. I need to confess that I’ve lost my JOY and all my sins to Him and even the ones that I’m unaware of. I need to pray the prayer that David prayed when he had no JOY "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit" 
Psalm 51:12

It’s a hard to be away from family and friends during the holiday season but I am thankful it has made me more aware of how I’ve lost the JOY and my JOY shouldn’t be dependent on circumstances, but dependent on HIM. I am reminded of this daily in Haiti. I’m surrounded by people who are in a pretty crappy situation or circumstance, but yet they seem to be filled with JOY. They have even shared that JOY with me but I’ve been so closed off that it was hard for me to truly receive it or give it back! It has made me feel like a real schmuck at times. Haiti always has something to teach me-I just need to open my eyes to it. 

If your struggling with a lack of JOY I pray that GOD fills you with HIS JOY. But you too can choose to get that JOY back and not be stuck in a pit of no JOY. 

I know that satan has been gleaming lately because he thinks he has won the battle, but I KNOW THAT MY LORD AND SAVIOR IS STRONGER THAN ANYTHING EVEN THE LIES THAT satan TRIES TO FILL MY HEAD WITH. So today I’m starting the climb out of the pit of lies and getting myself back on the mountain top where I can shine and be a true example of what it means to LIVE for JESUS and be filled with HIS JOY! 

If you have a moment could you please pray with me about this. Your prayers are what have gotten me through the last 17 months and I am truly thankful for each and every one of them! I don’t know where God is leading me or what He is doing in my life during this season, but I was recently reminded by dear friend, ‘Know that God has a plan for you....’ and He has a plan for you too! He is in control and I need to let HIM lead me. My job is to follow HIM with obedience and faithfulness. 

May you be filled with JOY beyond measure today!! Be blessed!! 
(The photos are just a small glimpses into the things that bring me joy here in Haiti...the things that fill me up when I need it...but ultimately I need MORE JESUS)


  1. Jessica - words that I needed to be reminded of too. Thank you. I am praying for you and asking God to restore the joy of His salvation in your life. Blessings to you!

  2. Thanks Emily! I'm glad I could send you a little reminder! Joy is a very easy thing to just let slip away and get stuck in a rut. Hope you are doing well!

  3. Hi Jess, Thinking of you and praying that you will find the joy that you long for. I can tell by the smiles on the faces of the people in your pictures that you are a reflection of God's love for them and you are bringing that joy into their lives. May God refill your joy tank with His eternal promise of love and redemption. -Jane S.

  4. Thank you for your kind and uplifting words Jane! Blessings!

  5. I only met you once---at a picnic at Como Park...but I enjoy reading your blog and will commit to praying that your JOY is renewed. I know that your Heavenly Father finds great JOY in what you are doing there! How is the adoption coming?

  6. THANK YOU BARB! God continues to work on me! :) The adoption is slow...I need to prove that I am financially capable of doing the adoption and with me not have a "job" to prove income it is difficult. Praying that God opens up a door! All in HIS timing!!