Today we have a guest post from Jennifer O. White, blogger at Prayerfully Speaking and author of Prayers for New Brides: Putting on God’s Armor After the Wedding Dress (to be released in February 2015). Jennifer has battled depression and brings some much-needed encouragement to us all.
It’s Christmastime. People around you are singing “Joy to the World.” Parties, gift exchanges, and smiling faces on Christmas cards all suggest joy is available for you.
Do you find yourself looking back at others’ joy and wondering, “What am I missing?” Do you feel the pressure, even from your spouse, to find the wonder in the most wonderful time of the year?
The weight of depression can make celebrating feel impossible. I’ve been there – going through the motions and longing to feel what I see on other people’s faces.
Someone came along and taught me how to reach for joy. It’s changed so much about how I celebrate the gift of Jesus and my husband. So, hang on for at least a few paragraphs. I’ve got some good news for you.
This Jesus we celebrate knows what is missing in your life and He knows who took it from you. He identifies the source of all sadness here:
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 NLT
While all of heaven is pouring out peace, comfort and joy, Satan works to keep it all out of your reach.
But do not despair, friend. God is stronger and His generosity trumps every stingy action the enemy employs. He offers us Jesus, our present day Savior. He is known as Immanuel, God with us. He is our Amazing Counselor, our Strong God, our Eternal Father, and the Prince of Wholeness. There is no limit to the wholeness Jesus gives. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 MSG)
So how do we achieve more wholeness? What can we do to live on the “rich and satisfying life” side of John 10:10?
We reach for more of Jesus.
Here is biblical proof that relying on Him will bring us joy and happiness:
“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.” Psalm 119:1-2 NLT
This joy comes to us when we surrender our way for His. He is inviting us to learn and live out His commands. Not because He is a hard to please, perfection-demanding God. He’s your Creator and He knows how to help me and you live a more satisfying life.
He supplies us with all we need to live His way. His Word goes to war against evil much like an antibiotic combats infection. His Spirit helps us understand the Bible and apply it to our lives.
We can pray God’s Word. Doing so helps us to acknowledge His kingdom guidelines while admitting we need His help to follow them. You and I can read the Bible looking for His will and ask for help by praying it right back to Him. We can identify His promises and ask Him to help us embrace them.
Here’s an example of praying Psalm 119:1:
God, I desperately want to experience the joy You have promised. Help me follow Your instructions and live with great integrity. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
God has given us the incredible privilege of praying His will for our spouses, our children, and ourselves. Doing this has made the most significant difference in my emotional health and my ability to delight in my husband. I want to share this great gift with you.
I’ve created Marriage Armor for the #PrayingBride –one-sentence prayers for our marriages based on God’s Word. These prayers can be emailed to you daily or in a weekly digest, whichever you prefer. It’s a very simple way to reach for what God wants to give you.
Here’s a sample of the weekly digest:
Reach for the joy God promises you and your spouse.
I’m trusting God’s powerful Word to renew your mind and increase the joy in your marriage. He does this for me and I know He is wiling and able to do this for you.