Friday, March 8, 2013

The Return of Joy

My hair is falling out. It clogs the drains, fills the vacuum, sticks to the fleece sheet. I pull strand after strand from my cleavage and my food and Baby Chip's slobbery cheeks. So much hair. I'd be alarmed, but it's happened after every baby.

The pregnancy hormones are leaving my body, and glory hallelujah, I'm overcome with joy. Singing in the choir, Sunday, the hairs of my arms lifted. The Spirit, and how long had it been since I'd felt It that way?

I no longer startle at the sound of my own laughter. I can pray easily for others, and I want to, and I do. I asked Jim, last night, how long it's been since he's seen me crying: a few weeks, he said.

People say and write things that annoy me, and I don't even consider taking them on. I whisper-bless their pea-pickin' hearts, and I shut my ears and eyes to their words. I smile. I remind myself: the Lord hath not called me into service as the facebook police.

I saw, recently: "Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate." I'm trying. (I considered writing those words up my arm in Sharpie.)

I haven't felt this happy since, oh, about September 2011.

And I'm praying the same, old prayer regarding the same, old unresolved issue, but one week from today, we'll put our trust in the hands of the top neurosurgeon this country has to offer, and we'll keep our faith in God, same as always. And by the stripes of His Son Jesus may we be healed, amen.

In the meantime, I'm trying to smooch Baby Chip's cheeks clean off. I'm leaning in close and smiling  because, generally, he smiles right back. I'm admiring the delicate bones of Charleigh's face even as she narrows her eyes and works her jaw back and forth at me, as a threat. I'm enjoying the way she uses "mines," not in reference to diamonds or coal, but to say things like: "Mama change mines shirt."

I'm praising Clementine's artwork and the way she draws sunglasses for herself and curly hair and sparkly shoes for her sister. I'm up-close-and-personal watching Cade learn experimental design and parenthetical citations, and I'm loving my man's (suddenly much smaller) body.

And I can't tell you why joy suddenly sat up straight as a poker in my soul, stretched and blinked against the light that's always been in my life. "Joy cometh in the morning," the psalmist writes, but the night can last a long, long time.

What I can tell you for sure (and I've written about this before) is that, if I could have felt joyful, I would have. Also that no one could pressure or even sweet-talk me back into joy. It was in there sure as the Holy Spirit's in there, but it was sleeping. I'm guessing the Holy Spirit in me was too busy fighting off that lion to shake the joy awake and offer it to you, as fruit on a platter. I'm sorry.

I want to tell you my joy has returned because my hormones are righting themselves. Or because I've moved fourteen months past miscarriage and seven past Jim's gastric bypass. I want to tell you I'm full to the brim with joy because I got my heart's desire in Baby Chip, because someone is going to try and help my brother. But it's more complicated than any one of those things, or all of them mixed and rolled together; it really is. 

If you know the Lord but feel the absence of joy, right now, I don't have an easy answer for you. I have only a promise that joy will return. In its own time, it will. I promise.

And look: I have a smile for you, today. A smile...and a prayer, too.


  1. This post does my heart good, Brandee. I'm so happy that the morning is dawning for you.

    I have a similar story. All the particulars are different, but the essence is the same: I've faced quite a few hard months filled with an undercurrent of disappointment and hurt. I haven't blogged about the details (some things are just for the Lord and close relationships), but recently I've felt joy bubbling up again.

    This is not my own doing; it's a healing from God, and I'm so grateful. And I'm equally grateful that you're doing well, too. :)

  2. Yes. Right on, loud and powerful and at the same time humble and gentle as the sun into a long, long night. Brandee, you speak of deep things and I love the way you see, the song you sing. It's my song, too, friend.

    oh, and " the Lord hath not called me into service as the facebook police." i get that. taking it with me. will need it before the day is done, i'm sure. ;)

    Here's a quote I read yesterday that reminded me of those words you wanna write up your arm:
    “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ― G.K. Chesterton

  3. Oh, Brandee... yes, the mysterious return to joy is just sheer gift, isn't it? And I feel joy just joining you here, reading your words and smiling with you at the way Jesus rights what can feel so wrong. And I'm praising Him for those beautiful ones in your home and for their beautiful mama. Love the way your little one uses "mine"--- brings back a memory of when my thirdborn was that age and she'd always say, "You're all mine need, mama!" Precious.

  4. I'm so glad you are feeling the joy again. Hormones are powerful chemicals, my friend. You know, reading this reminded me why I started my blog in the first place. I started my blog to monitor my level of depression, because being on Tamoxifen can cause depression. Yesterday my post alarmed me. Thanks for writing. Loved the line about not being called into the Lord's service as the facebook police. :)

  5. Rejoicing in your joy with you.

  6. The way you described joy - in you but sleeping - yes. That makes sense. In my seasons of depression I want to want joy, but it is like that teenager who refuses to get out of bed no matter what.

  7. This made me all teary-eyed, dear Brandee. I am rejoicing with you in the return of slumbering joy, so glad for you. And relieved, too. It's a tough place to be, down there without the bubbles once in a while. Praying for whatever it is they are offering your brother, that maybe -- this time -- it will be effective. Lots of love to you and ALL of your beautiful family.

  8. girl? I can feel you AGAIN in this! The hormone issue, sometimes it's easier to have less hair than to have the emotions with having alot because of hormones!

    Yes, facebook is off limits when I am in overload hormone levels!

  9. YaY for joy! I know what it is to live in grayness, to lose your laugh, but I also know what it is to have my joy back! Hurray!

  10. "I no longer startle at the sound of my own laughter." Oh I know this feeling. I'm in that moment of feeling joy return but it's still mingled up with sorrow, and I wonder if it always will be, but maybe that's just the way of the world until it's all set to rights? Either way, I'm grateful for laughter.
    Thanks for commenting on my blog, I was glad to find you x

  11. Praise the Lord! Your words were jumping off the screen! I'm so happy and thankful with you!

  12. Blessed. Oh so blessed to read your heart here. Back atcha from Em's IP!

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  14. Brandee, thank you for visiting our blog and I'm glad we crossed paths through IP. Even though this is the first time I'm stopping by, I'm glad that joy's bubbling up in your life again. I can definitely relate to the feeling and I know exactly what you mean about that real joy in us that comes from the Holy Spirit and not the kind we can talk ourselves into. (Sorry it took me so long to stop by... I'm blocked from blogspot at work and was traveling this weekend!) :)
    (Sorry about the deleted comment above.... it linked to the wrong Google account!)

  15. there is such joy and freedom in this post brandee! yay!