I REALLY like peanut butter.  I get excited if I am the first one to open a jar of peanut butter and I am that person who spreads it on thick.  Anything peanut butter (or coffee) is my go to favorite.

Peanut butter is one of those perfect foods.  It is high in protein.  It tastes great.  It’s just peanuts.  It goes great with jam or honey or chocolate or…. Most people like it.

I keep peanut butter in stock in my pantry.  It was HARD on me during the Pandemic to be limited with such a staple as peanut butter.  If I only have one jar of peanut butter left, I’m panicked.

Yesterday I went to make myself a piece of toast with peanut butter and I had to scrape the jar hard to get enough to spread over my toast.  There was no thick spread of peanut butter, it was thin.  It still tasted good, but I knew it could be better.

Also, I knew I should go grab another jar of peanut butter from the pantry, but I just didn’t have it in me to do it.

I looked at that empty jar of peanut butter, scraped cleaner than most jars of peanut butter we toss away, and thought “that is what life feels like right now.”

The thought startled me.  I didn’t know where it even came from.

This week I was changing a light bulb in our front hall.  I have issues with most of the lights in our house.  I love my home, but when we first moved in I had an instant dislike for the light fixtures in here and while we have been here for nearly six years we have only changed out one light – because it was broken.  The hall light is one of my worst fights.  Sometimes all the bulbs work.  Sometimes they all come out of the fixture.  And sometimes I have to take all the decorative glass off to change the bulb.  This week it was the latter.

Abe (S4) was helping me and I started in with “I hate these lights.”  Then I took a deep breath.  “But I am thankful I have lights.  I am glad we have three bright lights in this one little hallway.  I am thankful we have electricity for lights.  I am glad I have my favorite lightbulbs.”

“You must really hate these lights,” Abe laughed.

“Why do you say that?”  I asked.

“Oh, you do that when you don’t like something.  You start listing all your joys.  Otherwise you just say “This is my joy today!” but when you don’t like something, you have to list them out loud like this.”  He chuckled.  “You do a it a lot lately.”

“Oh, ha. Ha.” I grinned at him from the top of a chair as I tried to get the teeny tiny screws back into place.

But I had the feeling he was right.  I just hadn’t noticed it yet.

On repeat for me lately is the We The Kingdom album.  There is this one song that man oh man, it pierces my heart so much.  It’s called SOS.  Here are some of the words

I’ve seen traces of
Joy that never ends
It seems so far away
If it’s even real
There must be more than this
Change me if it’s true
If You are for real
Help me follow You
I’m reaching out
One last plea
Is hope all gone?
Somebody save me
SOS
I’m lost at sea
Is hope all gone?
Somebody save me

And while I KNOW I know I Know I KNOW that God is real and He is with me RIGHT NOW and that Joy is so real and that it is deep in me and that it is ALL TRUE….

I still kind of feel like I am lost at sea.  That I am reaching out.  And wondering if Joy really never does end.

Because right now I feel like I need a new jar of peanut butter.  Except to make my peanut butter toast, I need to plant the seed, wait for the peanuts to be harvested, dig them up, take them to be ground up, and put them in the jar as peanut butter.  Just like they did in that video my son watched until we wore it out and had to buy another….Farm Country Ahead.

And then to toast my toast I need to get the sourdough starter started and wait a week or two for it to get healthy and then wait a few days to get enough to make a loaf of bread and then wait for the bread to cool enough to cut it so I can toast it to spread the peanut butter on.

I guess what I am saying is that I feel depleted and life feels like it is so hard right now.

It’s 2020, everything feels hard this year.  But having Andrew (S1) move out and YAY get married, having Jake’s brother die of cancer and having a goodbye party for Isaac (S2) IN THE SAME MONTH has taken a toll.  And it wasn’t just that it was in the same month, it was all things that have been there for a long time but just kind of hit hard all at once.

Right this second, as I type this, I should be in my suburban driving Isaac to the city so I can drop him off for Boot Camp.

 

As it turns out, Isaac now doesn’t leave for four more days so I am sitting here today wondering how on earth we can keep saying goodbye over and over and over and wanting him to start this new life so incredibly much but also getting a hug from him every chance I can get.  He left today with a buddy and I didn’t even care his buddy was here, I gave Isaac two hugs before he walked out of the door.  And offered to send them with a plate full of brownies because I am feeding Isaac ALL THE FOOD this week.

For weeks I have gone to write and I put my fingers to the keyboard and nothing, nothing at all, comes out.

In my day to day, straight up, I spend a lot of days crying but goodness gracious, I also am laughing and seeing God in the little things and the big things and getting so mad and feeling overwhelmed and giving big hugs and feeling such happiness.

I know to fill up my soul I need that one on one with God and I open my Bible and read the words but what used to feel like gulping water and being refreshed feels like my hand is skimming some water that barely touches my thirst.

Right now I am going through Chasing Vines by Beth Moore.  I read it before the pandemic began and wow, it dug deep into my heart.  These months and life changes later, this book and study is hitting me so differently.  Still so good, but so entirely differently.

This is about to sound a little odd (unless you have read the book) but I feel like I am not producing any fruit at all right now and instead of being a thriving vine, I’ve been put on the “watch” list to see how I do right now.

I laugh as I think about how I recently went to my yearly doctors appointment and they asked if I was feeling any stress or anxiety lately and I laughed and laughed.

I know Joy is real.  I know it.  But I also feel like I am scraping the joy container clean and I look forward to instead being so full I can share with others again.

As I stated earlier: Peanut butter is one of those perfect foods.  It is high in protein.  It tastes great.  It’s just peanuts.  It goes great with jam or honey or chocolate or…. Most people like it.

I can’t wait to be high in joy (or fruit in general, if you are following Beth Moore’s Chasing Vines study).  I want to people to see God in me.  I want the basic of God filling me to pour out.  I want to be better than peanut butter, and that is saying a lot.

Or another way to put it, I look forward to no longer being tossed in the waves of a stormy sea and instead sitting down in my candlelit cabin and sharing words in a dry cozy spot wrapped in a cardigan of God’s love like the Taylor Swift music video.

Anyhow, these words spilled out of me today.  They began bouncing around loud in my head and I needed to share them, get them out.

Now off to bake some food for my soon to be soldier son.

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3 Responses to Is Joy Even Real?

  1. Ann says:

    Feeling for you dear, keep in mind the pruning makes you able to bear MUCH fruit! This is part of the process, and yes, it’s painful. Without pruning, our fruit isn’t all it could be. This season is an answer to that prayer for fruit!

  2. Jodi Simon says:

    This brought me to tears. Hugs❤️

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