Friday, October 22, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Deep Joy

Joy Deep Down
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”– Psalm 8:2 (NIV)

I love the notion that most of us first heard and sang the song, “I've Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy (Down in My Heart)” by Heritage Kids, at a very early age.

While I don’t personally remember when I first learned it or sang it, I have witnessed it being sung by the youngest and smallest children. Many of them were singing it before they were actually able to talk, speak clearly, or hold conversations that were understood by others. Nonetheless, many of us witness children sing this song with so much enthusiasm and exuberance despite the fact that many of them may not actually know what it is they are singing about.

In their few years of living, they have not actually had a chance to experience a life that has allowed them to understand the depths of what joy is. But it is their innocence coupled with their limited scope and worldview that attributes to their ability to sing with so much passion and reverence.

And then comes life, maturity, and adulthood. This is when we know what we are taught, but ‘joy’ is harder to put into words. There is so much that you face from day-to-day. The interesting thing about life is that these are opportunities to groom the gift of joy that was given to us as small children. When the world around you seems to be crumbling and nothing makes sense, it can seem like the appropriate response in those moments is to feel defeated. Be it work, finances, family, friends, or physical or mental health, at some point these things can become difficult. It can appear as though so many things are stacked against you that it would make sense to feel oppressed or broken.

However, when you find yourself in those challenging moments and what you see and experience in the natural can be daunting, you have an unexplainable feeling to describe how great you feel. Despite how disconnected things appear to be, you still go through every encounter feeling empowered, protected, and thrilled at the thought that is often expressed as “I’ve got this!” That is joy. The wonderful thing about this level of joy is that it is not the encouragement that you say to get yourself through a particularly difficult season. It is a genuine feeling as you are going through that difficult season.

Psalm 8:2 (NIV) tells us, “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Because of the joy you sung about as a child, you learn about joy as a Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Life teaches you to praise your way through. The praise is what activates the joy.

Singing the song in our youth plants the seed. Difficult storms of life provide the water. His continuous provisions, protection, and comfort provide rays of sunshine. It’s not until you have endured the storms and the conflicting heat which both test the depths of your roots and the strength of your leaves that you are truly able to see, understand, and experience joy at its full capacity in your life. The harvest that comes from that initial seed is what proves that you truly understand what joy is.

Let’s Pray: Lord, thank you for life and for showing us all that it has to offer: the good, bad, ups and the downs. Thank you for entrusting us to your servants who planted the seeds of joy so we were able to experience the growth that produces this Fruit of the Spirit (joy). Experiencing your joy teaches us how to gravitate to you in everything we do. So, thank you. Our desire is to spread that joy to others and plant the seeds. We can only hope that we are able to see the harvest that started with the seeds you called us to plant. Thank you for giving us joy and helping us understand its value in our lives. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Author Bio:
With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts. 

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about Biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry.

When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education.

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed commentation on Joy. Something we MUST have in times like these.


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