Joy is something I seem to be on a constant search for. Although I consider myself a rather optimistic person, and definitely not depressing to be around, my entire life feels like it’s been a struggle for joy- true, genuine joy that lasts beyonds the fleeting moments of happiness that life brings us.
It’s easy for me to get caught up in the little happy occasions of life- a new marriage, a new church, a new house, etc. All of these are so wonderful! But I still constantly find myself on extremely high emotions, swinging between happiness and sadness dramatically and usually irrationally. The downs I experience feel so deep, so overwhelming that I lose every ounce of happiness and motivation inside of me. It’s marked by tear-filled days for no apparent reason and a fear that seems to consume. So despite all the wonderful, beautiful things life has brought me, I’ve learned events and feelings don’t replace and can’t come close to the real peace and joy I fight so hard to find.
When I found out we were expecting our first child, I felt such a variety of emotion. Of course, extremely happy and excited for the adventure ahead, but also ripped apart because I didn’t feel like I was ready (or really even adequate). I’m sure this isn’t unusual, any expectant mother has questions. But undoubtedly, the hardest thing for me to pursue this entire pregnancy is a permeant peace and joy and contentment that I know is possible and achievable.
Choosing a name for our child was one of our greatest considerations. We knew, despite the gender, that it was important for us to pick a name that would declare life and give our God the glory for our child’s life. For a girl, we loved names of virtue- Mercy, Serenity, Grace. And when we came across Joy, it seemed to shout out to us that this is it. This is her name.
I never want our daughter to fall into the depths of depression and sadness. If I could, I would shield her from hurt and tears her whole life and she would always be happy. But it would be so foolish of me to think she will never experience struggle, and even moreso to think that merely naming her a virtue will mean she lives by it.
But her name is still true- she is our Joy. Every time I feel her kick, every time I see those ultrasound photos I know we are connected by a love unexplainable that brings me true joy. And it is my prayer for her life that she will know deep, true joy and despite the lowest lows and deepest struggles life throws her way, she will be able to share that joy with others. Not a faked happiness or unrealistic expectations, but a joy stemming from the peace that surpasses our understanding.
Joy Elise. Rejoice. Pledged to God.
“Restore me to the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” – Psalm 51:12