When I Wasn’t Able to Choose Joy

Main Truth: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39

I wrote a blog entitled, “How to Choose Joy”, inspired by the theme of our Women’s tea that year of “Choose Joy.”  I’m grateful that some found it to be encouraging; however, fast forward a few months and I found myself appalled that I had written such a thing.  How could I have so easily forgotten the years that I was unable to choose joy?!

I was diagnosed with depression 13 years ago.  It has been an emotional rollercoaster with some very dark turns and many, many sad days.  Let me tell you how I got through some of those days….and it wasn’t by “choosing joy.”

Some days it was just the love I had for my children. 

Sometimes it was my love for my husband.

Now and then it was out of guilt.

Often, none of those was even enough, and the only way I could cope was to stay in bed.

The love of my Heavenly Father wasn’t enough either.  You see, I believed that He didn’t, and couldn’t possibly, love me.  I couldn’t even get myself to go to church most Sundays.

I believed I was not worthy of His love or anyone else’s. 

It was very isolating, lonely, and scary.

I couldn’t just choose joy.  There was no joy.  Just surviving. 

I longed for joy.  I was afraid to ask for it.  I was terrified I would never find it.  But I sought it through Bible studies, books, and mostly music.  Joy was hope for freedom from the chains of my depression.  It was peace in my soul and in my mind.  It was feeling loved by my Heavenly Father and my family and friends.  

For those of you who are living in that spiritual and emotional darkness, who are just trying to make it through the day, who are too afraid to think that joy is out there for you, hang in there!  You are not alone. Jesus knows.  He understands.  And there is hope in Him.

Psalm 31:24, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”

Corrie Ten Boom said, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”  

In “Footprints in the Sand,” Jesus says, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you.  During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints in the sand, it was then when I carried you.”

Hebrews 13:5 Amplified Version, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [not give you up or leave you without support, nor in any way will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]! 

I would encourage you, if you don’t already, to listen to Christian music.  It was a lifeline for me.  I shed buckets of tears and poured out my heart to God as I listened to the songs reflect my trials and sorrows and sing to me of God’s love and forgiveness.

“Cry out to Jesus,” by Third Day

There is hope for the helpless

Rest for the weary

And love for the broken heart

And there is grace and forgiveness

Mercy and healing

He’ll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus

“Not for a Moment/After All,” by Meredith Andrews

And every step every breath you are there

Every tear every cry every prayer

In my hurt at my worst

When my world falls down

Not for a moment will You forsake me

Even in the dark

Even when it’s hard

You will never leave me.

“Better than a Hallelujah,” Amy Grant

We pour out our miseries God just hears a melody Beautiful the mess we are The honest cries of breaking hearts Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

Until that moment comes when you are able to choose joy, please do not give up.  Jesus is with you.   Leave the door open a crack for His voice to reach you through music, prayer, or your Christian community (church, Bible studies, friends, family…).  When the time comes, He will rejoice with you!  If you can’t choose joy right now, keep choosing LIFE

Romans 8:39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ephesians 3:17-21, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s hold people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work with in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever."

Jesus loves you and I love you. 

Post Written by Joanna Lee

Joanna Lee was raised in a Christian family and became a Christian at a young age.  She is married,has two grown sons and a new daughter-in-law!! She often finds herself wondering how in the world she could possibly be middle-aged! Amidst the all the goodness in her life, she also lives with the challenges of depression as well as some physical ailments. Although she feels wholly unqualified to write a blog, her heart’s desire is to shine her little light for Jesus so that others can know His powerful and life-changing love and healing. To God be the Glory.  Romans 15:13