image credit mandie joy photography
“Let’s put it in the joy jar, mom!”
My daughter wrapped her arms around me and rested her head on my shoulder. It was one of those rough days that came uninvited, but my ray of sunshine became a beacon of hope reminding me of this jar filled with written prayers and notes I thought collected dust on a forgotten shelf.
It’s a jar that holds the challenges of today, waiting for joy to someday burst forth. A jar that holds defeats of today, waiting for victories to come.
That colorful container symbolizes waiting, transition and hope. Similar to embarking on a long journey of twists and turns, knowing that around the bend something good is coming. We just have to wait and rest on the promises of God who’s Word declares:
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” I Peter 1:6
As days sunset on the horizon of a new season, I can’t help but think of what lies ahead. We’ve prepared to usher in fall with sharpened pencils, a few fashion choices added to the closet and shiny new notebooks but I’m also bringing out that joy jar.
This school year will be a year of transition as my older daughter joins my younger one and me for homeschool. The ache of missing friends, not having the structure of school, not being in the sixth grade play and more will be written on slips of paper and tossed into a jar that ultimately declares God is sovereign and joy will come. As hard as today is, it will get better.
I’ve been apprehensive about the school year because I know my daughter, who thrives on structured routines and doesn’t like change, will need time to adjust. Just as creation embarks on seasons of transition, so must we. Summer turns into fall, caterpillars morph into butterflies, stems break through the ground from a tiny seed to become an oak tree.
Life is ever evolving and transforming. Joy is coming even when the waiting is hard and daily rhythms are off balance. Yet, the season of transition and waiting is an opportunity to build trust in God. It reminds us of His faithfulness no matter how little or big our troubles are.
Months into our school year, we’ll reach into our joy jar and turn over the slips of paper to write about how the trials we’ve endured became opportunities for growth as James reminds us:
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds…knowing the testing of your faith produces perseverance…that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
I look forward to seeing how God has strengthened us and what things we learned that weren’t written on any of my school lesson plans.