How to Experience Lasting Joy

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I remember the first time I heard the lyrics of the song, You are For Me.  The chorus went, "I know that you are for me. I know that you are for me. I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness."  I was pregnant for the ninth time and I had lived the last 14 weeks in total fear of what could happen. I had been blessed with four healthy children, but had also experienced four miscarriages. No "number of weeks" was safe for me because I had gone as far as five months before miscarrying. I was living like a shaking leaf and I couldn't get a hold of myself. This wasn't like my positive optimistic self at all. The losses had wrecked me.  The night I heard this song for the first time I literally sat on the ground against the wall in my kitchen and wept. The Lord was speaking to me. "Ruth, I am for you. I know you are so weak right now, but I won't leave you. I am fighting for you." I can't even explain the peace that washed over me as this truth became clear...and I listened again and again.

In those moments I was holding on to the truth that in my weakness He wouldn't leave me. I was taking that to mean that He would surely protect my baby and all would go well, but He was teaching me to trust Him no matter what happened. You see that pregnancy didn't end how I had hoped either and at four months pregnant the baby's heart just stopped beating. I don't know why that happened again, but I do know that God was, and is still, for me. My true joy and peace comes from the deep understanding in my heart, that no matter what circumstances I face, no matter how it turns out,  God is for me and He doesn't leave me.

Joy is established in the secret places of our heart, where we receive the love of our King and love him back. It is our heart that determines our joy. ~Sally Clarkson, Dancing with My Father

This my friends is what it means to live dancing with joy.  We dance no matter what the tune is. We dance no matter what is going on around us. We dance because we know that God is with us and for us.

I love how Sally Clarkson sums up joy in Dancing with My Father. She has just finished telling the story of a beautiful English garden she came upon when visiting there that was surrounded by a thick hedge, but full of beauty on the inside.

I have realized that everything about joy is related to the condition of my heart: truly, if I am going to walk in a life of joy, my heart needs to be planted in the soil of God's word, watered and fertilized with the continual reading, praying, and exercising of faith; protected and weeded from all doubt, despair, and lies; and guarded against the onslaught of the Enemy. ~Sally Clarkson, Dancing with My Father

Though joy is both the condition of our heart, but it also requires a choice.

Each of us must make a choice from our heart, before God. "No matter what my life holds, I will choose, with the eyes of my heart, to see your goodness, to trust you in all seasons of life, to seek to dance with you in the joy you have provided. I will choose, with the eyes of my heart, to see your goodness, to trust you in all seasons of life, to seek to dance with you in the joy you have provided. ~Sally Clarkson, Dancing with My Father