As caregiver for my mom, I’ve learned to count it all joy in spite of the challenges that arose when my mom took ill in 2014. I shared in a previous blog post that she had a stroke which impaired her memory and language skills, followed by two incidences of congestive heart failure where the doctor had to shock her irregular heart beat into its right rhythm (cardioversion). The hospitalizations, various therapies and adjustments took its toll on the both of us and created times, then and now when the stress feels like it is consuming my head, rippling through my body and oozing out my ears, causing my attitude to be short and my tone sharp. But God … God encourages me through it all, helps me to keep a proper perspective, and increases my joy through the process.
When I experienced a low spirit, tear-jerking moment on May 30, 2015, I was asked to write a “Joy” themed poem to share the next day at the Women’s Choir Program. But God led me to share in a different way and this is my testimony…
God gave me James 1:2-4 during my preparation for the assignment. In the King James Version (KJV) the scripture reads, “2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
The Message (MSG) version gives a slightly new perspective that touched me and reads, “2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
I hadn’t heard this song since my first church days in 1995. Yet, God put this song in my heart and made my spirit smile.
The Windows of Heaven Are Open
The windows of heaven are open
The blessings are falling tonight
There’s joy, joy, joy in my heart
For Jesus made everything right
I gave Him my old tattered garment
He gave me a robe of pure white
I’m feasting on manna from heaven
And that’s why I’m happy tonight.
Some insights I’ve learned through my process, tests and trials are:
So I count it all joy and I encourage you to do so too!
Jo Anne Meekins is the founder of Inspired 4 U Ministries and Inspired 4 U Publications; and an author, publisher, coach and speaker.