Maybe that is it. Maybe that is the key. Light, in forms of friendship and texts and prayers. All those things, yes, among darkness, yes. Darkness, in forms of stress and to-do lists, not feeling enough, weariness. Darkness can be many things, and it can cloud our minds.
My small group is doing a bible study called Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg. It is a 6 week study with questions and commentary and scripture-memorization cards all related to joy. Week 1 focused on God being a joy-giver, week 2 focused on identifying joy-robbers (such as shame, busyness, lack of rest), and week 3 focused on “poking holes in the darkness to bleed light“. Today specifically, she challenged us to think of joy as a discipline.
Currently with 8 days until my wedding, this past week hit me quickly with an endless to-do list I hadn’t even realized. Emails after emails with each vendor, realizing things we still hadn’t officially booked, strategically creating a timeline for the whole weekend to manage a 22-person bridal party. Lots and lots of lists and emails and errands. I quickly became overwhelmed, worried, fearful, scared, annoyed, dismayed. Everyone says “Don’t let the stress get to you. It will all be okay. Think of the real reason for a wedding– your future marriage.” Yes. Yes to all that! Yet also, we still have to confirm vendors and make sure we have music and food and drinks and toasts and people knowing where to go. I’m not trying to be super detailed and over-the-top, I am just trying to be organized and confirm my vendors.
I’m not getting this right. I want to look back and remember being calm and happy. I am probably draining my mom and Sanjay and bridesmaids. Possibly all true. I can’t re-do the last two weeks (and nor would I want to!). So maybe this is it. Admitting stress and darkness, and just allowing light to poke through.
Today I told Emily and Lillian some dress-stress, and they encouraged me and loved me over text. Sanjay listens to me every single day, does his to-do lists, and prays. My mom and I realized we both had to work on patience with each other in order to make these weeks go smoothly, and I cried real tears one night, happy tears another night, and both nights, we prayed. Stress, tears, prayer, encouragement. All together.
I can’t wish anything away. There is always something. Someone may look at me and wonder how at all I could be this stressed during a time like this. I woke up today with a definite cloud of fear over my head because I am sad and worried about my wedding dress that still isn’t done and still doesn’t fit correctly.
I have been thinking to myself, what would make me happier, calmer, more joyful. A finished to-do list, Sanjay coming to Michigan, a job. Yes all those things would bring happiness! But not a deep joy that lasts, because they are not love from my steadfast God. My weary, overwhelmed heart needs Jesus, not just a finished to-do list. I went to the Cedar Lake with my mom and did my joy study. Margaret encouraged us to celebrate. So I wrote in my joy bomb journal, listed praises, and then wrote in my journal truths of how God sees me. And with this, today, this was how I sought and found Jesus in a new way; through gratitude and joy.