Finding Joy in the Journey

Is it hard for you to find joy in your journey?   Do you find yourself “wishing your life away” instead of being happy in the moment?  I want to share with you a snippet of a testimony I received from a precious young lady, Mrs. Kristy Rhodes.  She was willing to let me share so others know that they are not alone when they sometimes find it hard to have joy in their life.  

Wishing My Life Away..

As I look back over my life thus far I realize that I have always been so ready for the next stage of my life to arrive. In fact, so much so that I was often missing the life happening all around me.

When I was in elementary school I couldn’t wait to get to high school because I would be grown up and life would be so much easier. At least I thought so.  But boy was I wrong! As it turned out, High school provided friends with much bigger drama.  I dreaded going to school each and every day. Because of my faith, I often felt I didn’t fit in.  This led me to becoming anxious about getting through high school and ready to be on my way to college. I reasoned that not having to get up early for school, and not even having to go every day, would be great!  Once again, I was wrong. 

I dreamed of College being a way to provide a new start, a whole new life for me. I was sure that God wanted me to go to school to be a physical therapy assistant, so I could help people. I drove an hour every day to a Community college to start my two year plan of taking all the required courses.  I met all new people who were struggling just like me with classes that were nothing like high school. So there I was once more, you guessed it, I couldn’t wait to be done with college and have my career started! Boy did God have other plans in store for me! (Which I am very thankful for today. God showed me that PTA was not the field for me when my dad was in the hospital. Thank you Lord!!)

 I had completed all the required courses at the Community College.  My next stop was the PTA program.  I was almost there! Months later, I received the letter in the mail I had been waiting for. “We are sorry to inform you..”  Wait?!  What? This is not how an acceptance letter should start out!  I was devastated and had no one to turn to.  My friends from high school were nowhere to be found.  We had been out of school for a couple of years and had all gone our separate ways.  I felt so shattered and so lost as I cried out, “God I was so sure this was what you wanted me to do! Why did it not work out? I was going to be able to help your people.”

God heard my questions, and continued to reveal himself to me.  I ended up continuing school knowing that if I stopped, I wouldn’t want to return. At that time, I was working as a teacher’s aide, so I decided to go to school to be a teacher.  The idea actually terrified me and Satan used that fear to try and destroy my desire to become a teacher. 

 Even in the fear and uncertainty, I trusted God and pressed in.  I switched community colleges, and continued working at the school. However, once again, not wanting to be in school at all and wishing it away already. Two years come and went very quickly and I was the proud recipient of an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education. But God wasn’t done yet! I felt I needed to further my education and get a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education to have more teaching options available to me. Again, I was miserable and could not wait for this to be over so I could get started on my career!

 I would just like to say that I must be a slow learner because it wasn’t until after I finished my last degree that I had my “light bulb moment”. I looked back and realized that all too often I was so consumed with the negative aspects of the stage of life I was in , that I couldn’t find any joy in my life. 

 When I was in elementary school I should have found joy in getting to play outside and getting to have classroom parties. In high school I should have cherished the time I had with my friends every day because after graduation we would all go our separate ways. In college I should have found joy in the people God had placed in my life for a reason. I wasn’t driving an hour away to school just for the fun of it.  There was a reason.  I was seeking Jesus and I know that there was someone there I needed in my life, or someone that needed me.   I just pray which ever it was, that it happened. 

 Looking back at all these lost moments of joy you may conclude that I’m sad.  But I’m not.  The Bible says we cannot dwell on things of the past. Life is about your perspective.  I’ve actually found joy in the realization of all the things I missed, so I can help others! I am thankful God gave me this “lightbulb moment” so I can start finding joy in the little things I am going through now! 

Wishing My Relationship Away..

Ever since I was a little girl I could not wait to get married to the perfect husband and start a family. As soon as I was in middle school boys started catching my eye.  And as soon as I liked someone, I just knew that was the person I would marry and have kids with. Most of my relationships started as really good friendships. But I couldn’t just leave them as friendships because I was on a mission to find my husband.  I was only in high school, and I know this sounds crazy, but when I get something in my mind I can’t forget about it.  I am able to realize now that If I would have found joy in those friendships, I would have had less heartbreak and would have been much happier in high school. 

 I was a recent high school graduate, and believe it or not I was single. Even though I had several relationships during high school, I was very proud that I never gave in to doing something I did not feel was right just so the boy would stick around. I had learned that if you are true to yourself, the right guy will Love you for who you are and respect your values! I finally decided to give this part of my life fully over to God. I remember lying in bed saying my nightly prayers asking God to put the person in my life that He wanted me to be with. Boy did God ever show up!!

God showed me the man of my dreams when I least expected it! I had stopped looking for my husband and was focusing on college and the next big journey in my life. You may be thinking “Wow she’s doing great” but don’t forget I was still wishing for the next stage in my life to hurry up and get there. 

 I started working at HCA and the guy volleyball coach asked me to help him coach. Little did I know when I agreed to help him coach that this guy would turn into my best friend and eventually my husband.  It wasn’t until I quit searching for a husband that God sent me the perfect one. We dated four years and all four of those years we would say “I can’t wait until we are married, our relationship will be so much better.” I couldn’t wait for it to feel like a fairytale every day and have slumber parties every night. (These were not real expectations of what a marriage is).  I got so caught up in how better I thought things would be, that I missed out on so many joyful moments of our dating relationship. One thing I took for granted was every night we would text each other a sweet goodnight text. Now that we live together we hardly ever text each other. Sometimes I miss those really sweet goodnight texts but I am so thankful for our prayer time every night! I also did not realize how much I enjoyed living at home. My parents were, and still are, my best friends.  I loved hanging out with them! Don’t get me wrong I am so thankful my husband and I have a house to live in but now we have grown up house problems to take care of. I did not realize how easy I had it at home (mom and dad I am sorry). I also miss how much time we got to spend together in our dating relationship. We spent so much time together getting to go fun places without having to worry about the real world. Now we both have great jobs we are thankful for, but it makes it harder for us to make time for each other to have those long date nights.

I am forever grateful Tyler and I got married and we are starting our journey together.  The one God has for us! I am just hoping that by sharing, I can help others to find joy in whatever stage you are at in your life. I am also hoping to start finding joy in my marriage as well.  I want to enjoy this short life God has given us. I am not claiming to be a pro at this by any means! I fail God daily, but the Joy of the Lord is my strength. My sweet friend Elissa shared this verse with me when I had lost my joy, and for that I am grateful. 

Growing up I can recall hearing people say things like “It’s the little things in life that matter.”…. It wasn’t until now that I had a full understanding of that saying. Finding joy in something as simple as a sunflower has made me a much happier person.

God nudged Kristy to share this with me and I was so thankful for her obedience.  It wasn’t until recently that I stopped saying “Someday When…” someday when I have everything organized, someday when all my bills are paid, someday when things settle down… then life will be easier, better, less stressful… I am thankful for a husband who has taught me to not live in “someday when” and instead, work towards that day – but don’t miss out on the beauty and joy that surrounds me in the simplest of things on my journey.  Now I stop an extra couple of seconds to admire the beauty of the flowers in my garden, of a child playing outside as I drive by, the peace that comes when I throw a fishing pole in our pond for just a few minutes at the end of a long day, and a million other blessings that surround us daily if we take the time to stop and look. What about you? Are you taking time to enjoy each day and the blessings it holds – or are you waiting on that elusive day that never arrives?

For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. – Philippians 4:11

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