That little shiny hot pink bag arrived in the mail today. It's been coming middle of the month for almost a year now. It's simply a little $10 monthly splurge treat I give myself. It usually contains a cute little bag and a few samples of fun make-up, beauty tools, or pampering items. No big deal. Just a "little" bit of something fun.
But today it arrived and looked a little different.
It was flat as a pancake.
Light as a feather.
It was empty.
I anticipated its arrival. I even KNEW it was coming today because of shipping notifications.
But it was empty.
It wasn't supposed to be.
A definite mistake was made. (Yes, it will be corrected. I just have to patiently what another couple of weeks. That's not my strongest personality trait....but that's another story for another day!)
Deflated and disappointed.
I almost had a meltdown over that simple mistake. Almost.
You see, I have been feeling just as empty as that shiny pink packaging. (Bubble wrap I might add! I do have an obsession with popping bubble wrap. Again, I digress).
Physically I've been in a daily struggle phase since December. I've seldom had good or "normal" back to back days. I just can't seem to get over the hump this time. Pain and physical drain have been hanging around like static cling. Nothing seems to shake it. It's like living in a perpetual state of trying to recover from the flu. Many days pain has been intense and nothing "fixes" it. On the outside, I might have the facade of looking put together, a smiling face. My house may still look clean and organized. School is still on track. Life is "functioning". But don't let it fool you....
I'm often feeling as empty as that little pink bag that arrived today.
Lonely. Struggling with the most basic things but ACHING to be thriving, not just managing and surviving by threads. Swimming through peanut butter. Wanting life to be OUR normal again. Easily agitated when people don't realize that it takes A LOT of effort and it many times comes with great cost physically or emotionally to keep up. Just so off balance.
The pity party train isn't going to park here. IT may stop for a bit. (I'm human. I don't have a real super hero cape hanging around, though a few pretend ones probably can be found.) I may wish the train pulled into the station and a new conductor hopped on and treated me with the red carpet treatment. But only temporarily.
Because life ISN'T meant to be easy. We all have our struggles. We all have battles. We all have scars. We all have to manage hard times.
Something else was empty.
Something was empty that changed everything.
You see, life just aint' always peachy. But JOY abounds.
Happiness is wishy washy. It relies on emotion. It relies on circumstances.
Joy bubbles up even when circumstances are hard.
Joy comes from knowing that the tomb was empty so we don't have to be.
I can feel empty. I can feel drained. I can even feel angry.
Looking to the tomb and cross changes everything.
It doesn't have to be well with our circumstances to be well with our souls. I've said that often, but it is worth repeating. Again and again.
We can be swamped and bogged down in the harshness of life, situations we don't want to be in, or facing battles we just don't understand. We may be in the middle of the hardest seasons of our lives, feel broken beyond repair, and overwhelmed with heartache. That IS the reality of life at times.
However, JOY can remain. Joy says there is hope in our darkest moments. Joy says that we can shine from the inside out in confidence because of the cross and tomb.
We don't have to be empty.
We can be so filled up with Him that even though we may be struggling and hard times may surround, we can shine.
Shine on, Sisters. Shine on.