Letters to Ivan · Reorienting Myself

Examining the Heart

Last week my eldest very seriously announced to me, “Mama, I have one problem in my life.” “Son,” I said, “Please tell me about your problem.” “Well, I love Jesus a lot. But I love people the same amount.” My son’s awareness of his own heart and the need he felt to love God more without knowing how encouraged my own self-examination. Is my “one problem in life” needing to love God more? Do I prioritize this goal above house projects, mothering goals, and career aspirations? With a sickening feeling, I confess that I do not. Lord, please forgive me and help me to put you first.



Why the title “Give Me Joy?”

In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles with a man he later discovers to be God in human form. He struggles or strives with the Almighty, refusing to let go until his opponent blesses him. I too am fighting for a blessing.

Facing the joys and trials that any mother might face, I need endurance. When everything goes wrong from the first cry of the morning until the last wee one is tucked into bed at night, I need consolation. Living an awesome life, loved by my husband, surrounded by my children, and so obviously in the position God desires for me right now, I need to express gratitude.

So how do I reconcile the tremendous trials and blessings that fill my life? I ask, plead, and wrestle with God to give me joy. A feeling that does not depend upon my circumstances but instead exists because I trust God in the midst of it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. A feeling that fights self-pity and expresses thankfulness. I am sometimes a mess and my life with four littles is perpetually a mess – albeit us a beautiful one. I need joy to make it through this day and into the morrow. And so, I wrestle.