Choosing Joy

I’ve been trying to write about last Tuesday evening. Jason invited all the girls to come over. Kara had only been gone for 2 days, yet somehow it both felt like forever and didn’t feel real. But sitting at their huge table that Jason made from reclaimed wood that would have sat twice as many as were there, Kara’s absence was so obvious. I kept glancing over to the loveseat in the adjoining room where Kara spent so much time. Even at Christmas when everyone was bustling around, she was quietly sitting, enjoying the activity but unable to participate. I had grown accustomed to her presence, which had grown quiet over the months. Once boisterous and loud and lively, her presence became muted, quiet, meek. But still Kara.

I knew why Jason had asked us over—Kara told me all about it months ago. She always wore a beautiful necklace that Jason gave her on their tenth anniversary. She had matching pendants made for us, and Jason said he explained to the children that any woman wearing that necklace was someone who loved them, was a safe place, would be a caretaker of their broken hearts.

Jason sat on a high stool at the head of the table. He commanded the room with his strength. He told us of Kara’s last night and the day leading up to her last moments. It was powerful to hear details of when Heaven opened up and Kara was taken Home. Jason was overcome by emotion several times, and my heart felt grateful to be able to continue to witness the unique, dedicated, passionate love between Jason and Kara.

Mickey was at the other end of the table. She interjected here and there, always with an attitude of awe and peace. And when they told us about the children, this is what she said: Joy is their emotion of choice.

I was blown away. With Kara for their mother, how could their emotion of choice be anything else? They were taught well by their mama that her death would be sad, but it would also be happy and a sign of the joy to come when we are all in Heaven—healed, restored, redeemed, and in perfect relationship with one another.

I know many of you are concerned for the children. Please believe me when I say that Mickey is right—joy is their emotion of choice. While they are sad, they are living out of joy; that has been clear to be this last week.

So as I face life without Kara and wonder what my new normal will be, I pray that Jesus will help me take my cue from Kara’s littles and allow joy to crowd out sorrow, living in hope of what’s to come.

Are you able to see the joy in Kara’s death or in another difficult situation in your life? Do you believe that God can help you choose joy rather than despair? What are some scriptures that can encourage you in your endeavor to trust in the Lord in the midst of heartbreak?