Oil of Joy

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor….to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. ~Isaiah 61: 1, 3

It felt like a kick in the stomach. A word whispered across a table.

Pregnant.

In a moment life as we knew it scudded to a halt. I saw my daughter’s world shrinking. Doors of opportunity slamming closed. My heart hurt for her. For us all. It seemed tragic. Hopeless.

More than two years have passed since that night, and there have been moments of great anguish. But there has been so much more. And the world I thought I saw closing around my daughter has opened whole new places in her. I have watched her grow in wisdom and patience, in gentleness and generosity. I have watched her make difficult sacrifices for the good of another. This little one she loves so fiercely. There is softness in her. Grace.

And yes, life is not the same. Not for any of us. But we reap our daily bounty of new mercies. And our lives drip with the oil of joy.

This week, the wee one is a year and a half old. She had trouble sleeping yesterday because of some painful teeth coming in, so I held her for most of her nap. Something I have not done in a long time. As I watched the rise and fall of her breathing and felt the soft warmth of her against me, I whispered a doxology over this unsolicited blessing.  A deep gratitude. She provided an amen of sleep drunk smiles and sighs.

If you are sitting in the ashes of a broken dream just now…if yours is the season of despair…I invite you to consider what God might have in store for you. Here’s a little taste of what He has done for us…

*The first photo, as well as the last two were taken by my daughter, the mommy. The mostly unseen participant in the video is uncle Josh whom Kenzie adores. 🙂