Rejoice! I say it again, rejoice! Philippians 4:4
I am weary, worn out, exhausted, done. My precious husband has heard me say that on countless occasions just this week. If you’re a mom with kids in school you know the kind of tired I’m talking about. The tired that doesn’t care if the clothes match, just hopes they are clean. The tired that has no idea what’s for breakfast or lunch or dinner but hopes it’s more than leftover Easter candy. The tired that is counting down until the school bell rings this afternoon. My tired has been exacerbated by breaking my ankle when I was at the beach, attempting to relax and rejuvenate for this week. It’s amazing how God created us to need both legs to function smoothly and not wear us out so easily.
But, with all of that weariness, I’ve faced a child moving on to middle school, many of my “kids” graduating, and a broken ankle with optimism; sometimes even joy. I’ve had the mantra of “it could always be worse.” This isn’t something that comes naturally for me. I’ve been considered a Debbie Downer more than I’d like to admit, always looking for any potential problems. However, I discovered Debbie Downer isn’t a very popular person so I’ve been striving to rejoice over the big and little things in life.
I have a child who is wise, kind, loving and excited about going to middle school (don’t ask me why, he’s seen the movies and heard the stories yet he’s still excited). I have been blessed beyond measure by the students I call mine and am ready (almost) to send them off covered in prayers. I could have been seriously hurt when I fell this weekend or been sunburned or shark bait or not have even had the chance to spend time with a dear friend at one of God’s glorious beaches.
Rejoice means to delight in God’s grace or to experience God’s grace, being conscious of His grace. How can I dwell in all that goes wrong or all that exhausts me right now when there’s the gift of grace in EVERYTHING? That grace that helps us smile when one more paper needs to be signed for school or test results aren’t what we expected. That grace that says, “Sure, let’s grab a slushie,” when you just want to get home and crash. That grace that offers rest, peace, hope, reassurance and is worthy of being rejoiced.
Rejoicing when you don’t feel like it is a challenge. But this week has taught me that redirecting my responses and thoughts to rejoicing makes life much more bearable. We are instructed to rejoice in Deuteronomy 12:7:
“There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall REJOICE in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.”
Y’all, what’s better than eating and rejoicing? Perhaps this verse is what we can attribute celebrations to that involves food! And again in 1 Peter 1:6,
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
All kinds of trials, big ones like car crashes and broken dreams to little ones like someone drinking the last Diet Coke or snatching the last chocolate chip cookie, should be greatly rejoiced.
And why should trials and life be greatly rejoiced? Because I know, without a doubt, that God is always up to something in every thing we consider a trial. He’s behind the scenes, He’s the great designer of our lives perfecting things according to His great plan for us. Why wouldn’t we rejoice in that knowledge and the grace that comes from it?
I say it again, REJOICE!