Yesterday was a day of chaos. Both of my kids woke up an hour and a half before their normal time. Exhausted hardly describes how I felt as I rolled out of bed, went to their room, made a makeshift bed for myself on the floor so they could get their energy out (why did they have so much energy?!) and I could try to steal a few more moments of sleep.
The morning progressed on in much the same fashion: two girls full of energy and a mom grasping for some semblance of peace and sanity. About four hours after their early morning wake up, I found myself defeated and short on patience. I had no idea how I was going to manage the rest of the day with their limitless energy (seriously, where does their energy come from!?) and my running on fumes. Normally I wait until their naptime to have a moment of prayer and read the daily readings. However, in desperation for some nugget of hope, I opened one of my favorite Catholic apps and hit the magic button. I say magic because normally I just read the readings, but when my phone makes noise, my kids tend to quiet down, so in that moment, it was magic. The readings began and I quite literally laughed out loud.
“Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
Oh, well, okay then, God. There I was facing trials, my endurance being tested and I was certainly not considering it joy. At all. Not even close. But at least I could laugh at the reading, right?
So the day went on, that verse in my mind and I tried to ‘restart’ the day so to speak. Each time some little snag or whine came up, I tried to remind myself, “consider it all joy…”. I was doing okay, to be honest. Maybe not joyful, but certainly better than I had started the day.
Despite the way the day started, I did find some little joys as the day went on – potty training successes, smiles from my children, and a quiet patience that could only have come from the Holy Spirit, or Mama Mary. At long last, naptime rolled around. I had been writing a blog in my head all day, ever since reading that verse. I went to log in and…my site was down. And there went my joy.
Come on, God, I’ve been trying so hard. The day was headed for the dumps but it got better. Why are You sending this my way too? I’m not even tech savvy enough to figure this out. And trying to figure it out will suck up all of the girls’ naptime. Give me a break.
Or, you know, consider it joy. The various trials that James is talking about in his letter are all around us, and not always in the way we expect them or think we are ready to handle them. Consider it a joy that God loves you so much to send you a trial, a gift to offer back to Him when things don’t go your way, when your expectations aren’t met, when you find life frustrating or unjust.
St. James continues, “And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.” God gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, even when we’ve made a rotten mess of things. The day yesterday looked like a mountain range, full of highs and lows, but at the end of the day God was still in charge. The site (as you can tell!) is back up, the kids smiled, and we are all alive to praise God for another day.
Consider it joy that Lent is just around the corner. Oddly enough I think I’ll be focusing on joy despite the penance and sacrifice of the season. Joy that Christ suffered far more than I ever will. Joy that there is beauty and love all around me. Joy that there is literally nothing I can do that will stop God from loving me. Consider it joy indeed.