Welcome back, friend! I (Jennifer) am thrilled to introduce our guest this month, my good friend Jenna Meister. She continues our topic this month: How has God brought joy or humor into your life?
I have the honor of knowing Jenna’s heart and her beautiful family. I love her and all the Meisters—and so does everyone who gets to know them. Jenna shares in her authentic style, so get ready. Her story is real and reflects the “mommy of littles life” that she lives every day. I hope you love meeting my friend.
Hello! I am Jenna, wife of my hero husband and mother of four young children. I serve alongside my husband, Tim, in ministry where we collide head-on into amazing, crazy, fun teenagers. I also have the privilege to serve our young women’s ministry. These are just a few of my roles. I giggle at the crazy my life has become. I don’t mean the “busy” kind of crazy (yes, we’re busy) but rather, the constant moving parts of our family, ministry, marriage, friends, opportunities, and disappointments that make every day a beautiful story.
In our busyness, it is easy to lose sight of today. The beauty of laughter and joy can get lost in the middle of it all…
Laughter and joy.
We must first understand that they are very different. I laugh. A lot. I also feel pain deeply. However, in pain or peace, joy sustains you. Let me share examples.
2 We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” 3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Psalms 126:2-3
Last Thanksgiving, I was driving to my in-laws’ house. Tim and my oldest daughter led the way in one car while we followed. We went a different different route, cutting through back roads that were not familiar to me. About half way there, one offspring shouted, “I have to pee!” (all the mamas nod and smile). We were between small towns, and I had no idea when we would arrive at the next usable restroom (by usable, I mean clean—and all the mamas nod and smile). So I did what any dignified mother would do. I pulled off onto the next quiet road and parked. I proceeded to assist said offspring to pee in the grass. Then the next one shouts “Me, too!” (repeat steps until all children are happy, pee free, and buckled in). Then it was my turn. Yes, folks, I said it. I needed to go, too.
I should mention that it was raining, and the grass was slippery… In mid-stream I slipped. Pee everywhere. Now what? Well, I couldn’t very well put my jeans back on! I took my pants off, tossed them on the floor, and jumped into the driver’s seat. No big deal, right? I would call Tim when we arrived, and he would bring me pants. I started to drive, and a still, small voice whispered, “If you get pulled over, how will you explain why you have no pants?” I pulled off the road again, took a deep breath, and got out of the van. Butt naked. I found pants in my luggage and started driving again. Twenty minutes later I was pulled over for speeding. (I got a warning. Praise God, I had pants on!) When the Holy Spirit tells you to put your pants on, put your pants on! I tell you this story because I am still laughing!
Laughing every day is important! When a child pounces on you at 5:30am… When you put the cereal in the fridge and milk in the cabinet… When you have awkward encounters… When you find yourself in bizarre situations… Laugh. And laugh again. Enjoy this gift that brings healing.
A cheerful heart is good medicine… Proverbs 17:22
Joy doesn’t equate laughter. Joy brings hope that your story is still being written. When all is right in your world, joy cannot be mistaken. However, joy is also present in pain.
Last year, I had an unexpected pregnancy. We giggled at God’s desire to bless us in spite of our planning. God had overcome the impossible! We couldn’t stop laughing! We had to see a doctor to remove the birth control option we had prayerfully chosen two years earlier. He said baby was perfect, and all would be well. We started making plans. We stayed up late dreaming of what our family would become after the little one arrived. A few days later, the miscarriage began. Nothing could be done. No one could fix it. And God didn’t change it. “The tears did not come from my eyes or throat but from somewhere much deeper,” I heard someone say once. There is no other way to describe it. Tim and I were both devastated.
Joy was always there. It is not happiness or an emotional high. Rather, joy is the gift found at the very roots of our faith. In our grief, we knew that this child was in the hands of the Creator. We cannot understand the whys and what ifs, but we can confidently say that our current reality is not our finality. We grab hold of joy and hang on with every fiber of our being.
Yes, joy is found when you’re at peace with the world. But we cannot forget that it is present when disappointment is real. Joy is not determined by outside circumstances but what is found within. It is a worthy pursuit—because where joy meets the roots of your faith, Jesus is there. And He is enough…
No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. C. S. Lewis