Being Woven

Joy Abounds? Seriously?

Oil of Joy by Stacy Lee Christian Art

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.  Isaiah 61:3

On my recent visit with my sisters, the one I spent the most time with noticed something about me that surprised her, I believe.  She was amazed and delighted to see me with “joy” exuding from my very being.  She used the word “joy” with a sweet happiness on her face. She mentioned it again on the phone this past weekend.

The question is: how can I be exuding joy when I am in the midst of mourning my precious husband?  How can this be? My heart hurts.  It is heavy, filled with sorrow.  The tears come and they go, but they are always right there, ready to leak out.

I have been pondering all of this and believe I know what Annette is seeing, sensing, feeling in and about me.  It is the joy of the Lord It is the Holy Spirit dwelling in me.  It is the joy of the Lord as my strength.  This is the only answer.  Truly, it is!

…yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places.  Habakkuk 3:18-19

שָׂשׂוֹן

sasown

cheerfulness; specifically, welcome:—gladness, joy, mirth, rejoicing

Matthew Henry, in his Commentary writes about Isaiah 61:3

  • Beauty for ashes. Whereas they lay in ashes, as was usual in times of great mourning, they shall not only be raised out of their dust, but made to look pleasant. Note, The holy cheerfulness of Christians is their beauty and a great ornament to their profession.
    • (Me: As God changes the ashes to beauty, He turns sorrow into joy quickly for He speaks, and it is done.  Kenneth has been gone almost 3 months now [amazing for it seems like yesterday].  Annette not only saw this joy in me a few weeks ago, but she heard it over the phone within the first month after Kenneth died.)

isaiah_61_3 1

  • (Matthew Henry):The oil of joy, which make the face to shine, instead of mourning, which disfigures the countenance and makes it unlovely. This oil of joy the saints have from that oil of gladness with which Christ himself was anointed above his fellows,

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”  Hebrews 1:9

oil-of-joy-title

  • (Matthew Henry):  The garments of praise, such beautiful garments as were worn on thanksgiving-days, instead of the spirit of heaviness, dimness, or contraction-open joys for secret mournings. The spirit of heaviness they keep to themselves (Zion’s mourners weep in secret); but the joy they are recompensed with they are clothed with as with a garment in the eye of others. Observe, Where God gives the oil of joy he gives the garment of praise. Those comforts which come from God dispose the heart to, and enlarge the heart in, thanksgivings to God. Whatever we have the joy of God must have the praise and glory of.

garment-of-praise

…looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.   Hebrews 12:2 

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  John 15:9-11

“…may be full” … filled with Him.  What greater joy can there be but the joy of the LORD, the One Who went to the cross for us, to save us, to suffer for us.  He was the joy that was set before Him as He endured the cross.  We ask how?  How did He have joy as He died on the cross, the torturous death which it was?  How?  He is joy.  He endured the cross because He loved us each and all so very much.  The cross was horrible, but the purpose for which He endured that cross outweighed the horribleness of it.  It was the reason He came to earth as a human.  He came to take our sin to that cross and gave us eternal life. Joy is beautiful.  Joy is full.

As I was reading a devotional this morning in Psalm 34, I read verse 5.  It said it all:

Those who look to Him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.  ESV

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  NLT

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  NIV

They looked expectingly unto Him, And they became bright, And their faces are not ashamed.  YLT

psalm_34_4-5_3x5So I ask how can I look like joy on the outside when my heart is broken and so filled with sorrow?  Jesus.  I have Jesus.  He is my joy.  I can live each day because I have Jesus.  I am mourning, and I am comforted.  I am mourning and am filled with the love of God.  I am mourning and am filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord.

joy of the Lord

…And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10b

beauty-for-ashes1

Lord, I am truly in awe of Your beauty.  You have so much love for me, Your sheep.  I fail You again and again, yet You never cease to love me.  Thank You, Lord; thank You.  You hold me near as I can feel You right here.  You fill me with unimaginable joy and love in the very midst of grief.  How wonderful You are.  Great is Your faithfulness.  You comfort me with Your touch, Your nearness, Your gentleness.  You change my ashes of sorrow to beauty.  You clothe me in garments of praise, taking the spirit of heaviness away.  And You drench me in the oil of joy while I mourn.  Joy, praise, and beauty that are each and all You projecting from me out into this world.  Thank You for such wonderful gifts, Lord.  I am on my knees before You, loving You.  I pray and I praise in the Name of all names, Christ Jesus.  Amen. 

 

beblacksig

 

 

Credits:

Isaiah 61:3/Joy:  http://stacyleeart.blogspot.com/2009/04/christian-contemporary-art-series-on.html

Beauty for Ashes: https://brandinicolejm.wordpress.com/

Oil of Joy: http://belovedlove.org/

Garments of Praise: https://becomingtheoilandwine.com/2016/06/11/the-garment-of-praise/

Psalm 34:5: http://www.psalmsquotes.com/

Joy of the Lord: https://beingwoven27.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/2adff-joy2bof2bthe2blord.jpg

You Give Me Beauty:  https://mariekalake.com/2014/09/22/beauty-for-ashes/

20 Comments

  1. Amy Benham

    I am so thankful for the joy of the Lord within you! I know that this is a hard time, but I thank you for the courage to share with others what God is doing through you!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!

    Blessings,

    Amy

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  2. Your words are sweet encouragement to your readers. What a blessing for your sister to recognize your joy and for you to know that it is the joy of the Lord. I am praying for you as you continue to heal and grow in your relationship with God in the process.

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  3. Thank you for bravely sharing. How beautiful that Jesus is your joy, even in your sorrow! Blessings to you, Linda. Stopping by from #faithonfire

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  4. Oh, my goodness-that was just beautiful! Your life and your reactions are a testimony to many, I’m sure. Thank you for sharing!

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  5. I so admire your sharing your steps as you walk through this sad and difficult season. I am so encouraged by your faith and your focus. Praying for strength and for the Lord’s presence to be tangible as you miss Kenneth. The loss is more than I can imagine. I am so sorry…

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  6. Dear Linda, your joy is a great testimony. The verses from Psalm 34: 4-5 are among my favorite. I am sorry for your loss, but glad for the time you had with Kenneth.

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  7. Linda, I’m so sorry for your loss and, also, so thankful for your godly outlook. I know your joy must be speaking volumes to many others! But I also know that even with God’s joy there will be moments of deep pain and loss. Praying for you this morning and asking the Lord to keep you on my heart and the heart of many others. Blessings, sweet sister.

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  8. You stated it perfectly. You have joy because of who is in you. And sorrow and joy can be curious bedfellows. And what better time do we need some joy, when in the midst of sorrow. I love how God uses joy to comfort us and remind us to live again. May you continue to find joy and healing as you grieve your husband.

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  9. Oh, Linda! I am so sorry for your loss. May the Holy Spirit continue to fill you with the oil of joy to sustain you as you move through the grieving process. You are beloved.

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  10. Linda, I am so very sorry for your loss and am praying for you in it now. How wonderful that our Jesus is a comfort to you and that you can proclaim His goodness even in your sorrow. You will touch countless lives because of it. laurensparks.net

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  11. Your writing brings me joy, Linda. Your faith inspires me. You’ve been on my mind my heart and in my prayers. ❤

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  12. So beautiful Linda. I can sense the presence of Jesus, His Joy, in all that you share. Truly there is no other explanation, except that the Lord carries us when nothing else can. I am so thankful for the radiant witness you are to His sustaining Grace. You have brought such encouragement through this beautiful study of God’s Word for us. I am continuing to pray for you!

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  13. Linda, what a beautiful post illustrating how the Holy Spirit takes authority of our flesh and our emotions, and floods us with the fruit of His Spirit–including JOY! I was reminded this week of that previous Habakkuk 3:18-19 from the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” Many blessings to you, sweet friend!

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  14. The Lord truly can bless us with joy even during the hard times. I’m so glad you found it so that it can be a comfort to you during this time.

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  15. This warms my heart, Linda. I’m thankful your joy hasn’t left you. He is faithful, even when we feel sad, to continue to undergird us with joy.

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  16. This is such a lovely post…and I am so sorry for your loss.

    I’m at the other end, terminally ill )pancreatic cancer and non-H lymphoma), and watching with a kind of detached horror as bad things keep happening to my body. I mean, YUCK!

    But I’m happy, because I choose to be. God’ll make it right in the end, in HIS house.

    He promised.

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    • Andrew, I am so sorry that you have cancers. My husband had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma also. My Daddy died from Pancreatic back in 1960 when the only thing they could do was Cobalt. My husband chose hospice and no treatments due to his many other conditions that made him immune deficient and weak. He had terrible spinal stenosis. He was ready to meet the Lord and hospice kept him quite pain-free yet very coherent. Kenneth really did not want to leave me, but he had choices to make. I completely agreed with his decision for he was so underweight and weakened that he would not have done well taking the chemo. The doctors in Houston gave him a week to 10 days. God blessed us with 5 months and they were sweet and such a gift. He gained a bit of strength after a couple of weeks at home so we were able to take care of some business around the house, and more than that, we had time to talk of the important things-our love for one another, the road I was facing alone, our spiritual health, and the 25 years of marriage we shared. So much, Andrew. I pray you have hospice. They are wonderful for end of life. I am so grateful that you are my brother in Christ. We will meet in heaven, I do believe…one day. I, too, am ready to leave this world but my time is not yet. May your poems continue to resonate in people’s hearts, minds and souls, Andrew. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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      • Thank you, Linda, for continuing to share your story here. I love the truth of Isaiah 61, and it’s truly a mercy to see it demonstrated in your life.

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