Divine Exchange: Joy for Discouragement
By Natalie Beall
I don't know about you, but there are days
when the discouragement bug bites me hard. I'm
sure we all feel down in the dumps at some
point, but sometimes, I'm prone to strap on
a pair of waders and really bog down deeply
into some serious muck and mire!
Just recently, I was warring with my emotions,
feeling discouraged and defeated. The white
flag of surrender was already waving. I was
wearing my "I'm a bad mom" t-shirt,
and self-pity was covering me like thick green
slime. There I was, home from a hard day's
work, struggling to be patient with my two
young sons, knowing I had numerous things
to do, and feeling exhausted! I was digging
through growing loads of dirty laundry, agonizing
over what to cook for supper, and eye-balling
the clock so I wouldn't be late for an appointment.
By now, I was somewhat frantic, to say the
least. Suddenly, I felt the black clouds approaching.
Yes, the "working mom dilemma" thunderstorm
was on its way again, ready to pack a killer
punch. After a few minutes of heavy rain,
But, for some foolish reason, I decided to
stomp around in the
muddy puddles of guilt that remained. The
"If only.." saga began to play over
and over in my mind. "If only I had done
this, if only I had done that. If only I could
be a better wife, if only I could be a better
mother. If only I could be more successful,
if only..." Oh, please don't rewind!
Fast forward...no, just STOP!
My brain felt like it was ready to explode
and my heart was heavy with discouragement
and guilt. Finally, I finally cried out for
help. "Lord, please help me. What can
I do to make this better? How can I better
manage all this stuff? What do You want me
In an instant, the answer came; it was clear
and simple. No, I didn't hear an audible voice,
but the self-pity and guilt were washed away.
I sensed the words, "Just enjoy it. Enjoy
this season of your life." And a Bible
verse came to mind: "The joy of the Lord
is your strength" (Neh. 8:10).
Needless to say, this revelation of truth
became a defining moment in my life - the
kind of moment when you stop and say, "I
don't ever want to forget this." Those
simple, yet liberating words, "enjoy
it," have changed my life.
I realized that my time of living should
not be consumed with the stresses of each
day and the high expectations I put upon myself.
Instead, I must enjoy daily the gifts my Father
has given to me. These gifts come in all shapes
and sizes, whether it's a busy day at work,
growing mounds of dirty laundry, a ticking
clock, a pantry full of mixed-matched ingredients,
or the vivaciousness of two growing boys who
have filled my heart with much joy. God will
always provide the strength that I need. I
have reason to rejoice !
Days of sadness will still come, but my heavenly
Father has promised that His abundant joy
will give me the strength to prevail in every
situation. After all, He has promised in scripture
that His children "can do all things
through Christ" (Phil. 4:13).
Natalie Beall is a free-lance writer,
and the Secretary and Music Director of First
Baptist Church in Soperton, Georgia. She and
her husband, Jeremy, enjoy small-town living
with their two sons, Griffin, 5 and Collin,