From our dear Joanna

Today I had a lovely conversation with one of our church’s homebound members. This dear lady in her late eighties is widowed and mostly homebound due to severe chronic pain. Despite the suffering she endures each day, she is one of the most joyful and encouraging Christians I’ve ever met. As we got off the phone, I told how much I admire her and the beautiful, grace-filled woman that God has made her to be. It was then that she said something profound, something that I think is key to getting through the difficult days that all of us encounter: “Misery,” she said “is optional.”

As a barren women who’s now past the age of childbearing, I can tell you that this is true — misery is indeed optional. God’s mercy and goodness have been present every day of my life, but there were days when I opted for misery — opted to wallow, opted to feel sorry for myself, opted to push the limits of legitimate grief past its boundaries to the place of selfishness and self-pity. I wanted to feel sorry for myself, I wanted others to feel sorry for me, and most of all, I wanted God to feel sorry for me. In the end, the only person I made miserable was myself. 

I think that as I go through my days, I will remember what my dear friend told me. Grief and pain are legitimate, but misery is optional. I opt for Christ’s joy and His peace that passes all understanding.