Choosing Joy During Chaos.

I sit in my dimly lit living room with the sliding glass door open and the sound of the rain hitting the pavement calming my exhausted soul and weary mind. Plus the second glass of pinot grigio (my drink of choice) is helping. I am what they call a pluviophile. A lover of rain. My heart skips a little beat when the scheduled forecast has rain and thunderstorms within them. For some reason the rain calms me and gives my mind a break from the chaos.

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland 2017

Unfortuneatley there seems to be more uncertainty in the world with each new day than there are answers. And although I have no idea what tomorrow holds for me, and my family, for my siblings who work in the medical field and police officers, the front line, my siblings with extensive medical needs and a father who is high risk, with a daughter who is high risk. I am forcing myself every single day to choose joy when I could refuse to face the day. To choose joy when I miss my family. To choose joy when traditions are altered for the safety of others. To choose joy when my house looks like a shaken up snow globe, but instead of snow it is dirty toddler close, a sink full of dirty dishes and toys that trail behind my toddler who kept herself busy while I worked. I choose joy.

Note the messy living room, clean laundry she was “helping me” with, and the chaos.

The phrase is not new, but what does that look like? What does that mean to choose joy? Oh, for me it looks like an unmade bed, a messy bathroom, a somewhat put together mama with the anxiety level matched only by a chicken with their head cut off. But I assure you I am still smiling! I am healthy, my husband is healthy, and despite an asthmatic child who is apparently allergic to springtime nature like her mother, she is healthy. So I smile.

Today is a day that many across the globe celebrate with family and friends. A day where some honor traditions of pretty dresses and Sunday morning church services followed by way too much chocolate. For me Easter is an amazing day where I get to celebrate my Lord’s victory over sin. Victory over death itself, and salvation. Traditions for my husband and I are spending time with family, eating way too much food, and his ornery spirit stealing his younger siblings Easter eggs while they run frustrated over the yard looking for them while he giggles. Today we still got dressed up even though it was just to humor mommy for a couple pictures, we did it! Don’t be fooled though. We were all changed into comfortable clothes about 20 minutes after we shot this.

We didn’t have the day we had planned. We haven’t had the days we planned for the last several weeks now. Michael and I have learned more so now than ever to roll with the chaos that is our lives right now. We do our best to keep Zoe on a schedule that is normal for her. But nothing about this is normal. Michael and I both work from home and the three of us being under one roof 24/7 is not normal. But we are figuring it out.

This isn’t our plan, this isn’t in anyone’s plans, but we choose joy anyways. We give each other breaks as we need them. Taking turns keeping an eye on Zoe while the other has a work call or deadline to meet. We laugh a little bit more watching Zoe’s brain expand as she discovers the world and new abilities. We are showing each other grace. We are showing our daughter grace. We are giving ourselves grace.

We have started saying what we are thankful for daily, to each other and to our daughter. Verbalizing the things we are grateful for and the blessing we have that others would give anything to have. We are together.

We choose joy. It’s a choice. It does not come naturally. It is a conscious decision to think positively instead of being swallowed by fear and anxiety. That is something I want my daughter to see in me. That when life gets hard, we keep going. We keep getting up. We keep moving forward. Together.

Easter, 2020