Some of you may remember HCO’s single mothers and widows project a few years ago called Furaha! Furaha! means “joy” in Kiswahili and the ministry was aptly named for hearts of the women who chose to live in complete joy, even in the midst of their struggles and trials.
This season, I am remembering those women and seeing the practice of their faith and choice in a different way, through my mom. Having joy is a choice. Being happy in all circumstances may not be such a simple choice – life happens and, honestly, it is not all happy. But joy ~ it’s not just a feeling; it’s something you have. Joy is not triggered by external circumstances like happiness is, and it is not shaken when circumstances shift your life.
Right now, the phrase “choose joy” is somewhat trendy. You see it everywhere, like home decor and t-shirts. But whether we chose joy or not, it our gift! God gives us reason upon reason to find joy. Joy is the state of knowing the abundant grace, the intense peace, the eternal hope that is given to us through the gift of Jesus Christ.
My mom is the most amazing example of a woman who chooses joy. It’s not always easy to be happy when you are entering the first holiday season without the love of your life, but you can have joy in the midst of that. Though it may sound strange at first, when someone you love so deeply is in the presence of Jesus, celebrating eternal peace, you can almost feel the closeness to them and to Jesus when you realize that you are all in the same place, sharing in the same presence of God’s glory. This year, though we are deeply sad and missing my dad immensely, we have a new perspective of the true gift of Life that we were given in this season. Without this precious gift of Jesus Christ, we would not be able to share in the joy of eternity in the glory of our God.
So whether you are facing struggles now or not, I pray that you are able to make the choice to receive the joy that God has for you – the deep peace in knowing His eternal Hope, the life everlasting! It’s not easy. Life is not always happy. Bad things happen. Evil is still all around us. But you know what? So is good. And so is God! And in that, we can choose joy – we can shift our focus onto the eternal, the good, the peace everlasting.
This season, let’s choose joy – chagua furaha! Let’s follow the beautiful example of women who are living it and honor our loved ones by making the choice for joy.