Choose Joy

My mom sent me a text a couple of days ago reminding me of the time when I was about 3-4 years old, we would ride the bus downtown, go to my mom’s favorite store, go to their cafeteria and eat a hotdog at end before going back home. I used to sing hymns on the bus, and I used to pray for someone to get up and give my mom the seat, and it worked every time!


My mom loves to go back to that time of our lives, and she always said I had such joy in my heart. Fast forward 40 years, and I’m reading my devotional and it’s about choosing joy. My mom and I were talking a couple of years ago about everything that has happened in my life and how God has delivered us every time. I remember telling my mom, ‘you should be happy I’m not on drugs, or smoking, or drinking, or popping pills, or crying all depressed in every corner!’.


Why? Because I chose to believe in God and trust Him despite the years of infertility and in-vitro treatments, ruptured complete placenta previa, dealing with my husband’s alcoholism and then him passing away at home, really bad car accidents, a piece of metal breaking my whole windshield, a tire blowing up, 4-inch hail severe damage to my car and house, a flood, a fire, a hacker, a garage door breaking in half and then a tree also splitting in half in the backyard, being a single parent without a mariachi or a village to help around.


You see, I don’t need vodka, I need God. I’m not blind to the fact that a lot of stuff has happened to us, but I still choose to have joy in my heart. Like a good parent who lets their kid go and learn by herself, God lovingly allowed me to get all the bumps and bruises I could get so I could finally understand that I don’t have to do it all by myself. All I had to do was to surrender myself and surrender it all to God, and my heart was joyful.


I have gone through loads of stress, I have been hurt, I have cried, sometimes I can’t find the door, but not once have I asked the Lord why? Why did you do this to me, why is this happening to me? In my heart and in my mind, I knew there was a lesson for me to learn, a chance for me to look up to God and tell my Father I needed His help. Every time, when I felt I was drowning, God extended His hand, showed me His mercy and His grace, and my heart was joyful.


The time came for me to raise a baby boy God gave me as a gift. He’s been with me through deaths and accidents and a lot of the stuff that has happened to us in the last 6 years. He has seen it and he has heard about it, and I make sure he understands that we thank the Lord and ask for His help through every single thing we are going through, while our hearts remain joyful.


Good or bad, we thank the Lord because we are alive, we have health and we are together. We have a roof over our heads, we have a car to take us places, and we have food to eat. We are choosing joy every day, even if we go through the valley of shadow and death, God is with us every step, and our hearts are joyful.


God gave us many feelings and emotions, and we are entitled to choose one over the other. My heart chose joy a long time ago, and I keep choosing joy every single day. God saved me, God has been so good to me and my kid. I’ve gotten scars and bumps and bruises but then again, I had to learn that it’s God who is in charge and in control and He knew what was coming up the road way before I opened my eyes.


So despite my circumstances, I choose joy.


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