“I wasn’t sure how to tell you” she said.

“I know this must be hard for you.”

My heart stung for a second… Was my pain hindering her joy?

“Oh love… I so appreciate you caring.” I said, “But my pain does not lessen your joy. This is a good time.”

Her soon-to-be-mama-heart felt my not-able-to-yet sting.

“I even googled how to say this to you…”

…She knows every pregnancy test I’ve ever taken has been negative.

While wanting to protect my heart from feeling left out, the light of her joy was dimmed. And I thought to myself - how do I genuinely enter into the joy of others when I am feeling pain?

Just because I’m not experiencing joy in that way, doesn’t mean I want to miss rejoicing over hers.

But when the landscape of life doesn’t look exactly how we planned, how do we avoid a hard heart in order to experience authentic joy?

I have continued to watch friends get houses and dogs and second houses and second dogs, and incredible jobs– and now children. One by one, their seasons of life are outgrowing mine. And it’s easy to fall victim into believing that my life is lesser, and their seasons are greater.

I was not born to be a victim. But isn’t it so easy to let that be our battle cry? Certainly, I have done it.

I have thrown my 2-year-old temper tantrum, shaking my fist at God saying - It’s not fair. I deserve those things too.

But my heart knows, it’s not about being deserving.

Why does a father tell his protesting 5 year old she can’t stay up late? Because she’s not ready for that yet. Our Father knows better - he sees the bigger picture. And his plans for us are not designed for instant gratification but eternal sanctification.

We tend to want to fast forward through the growing seasons, the stretching ones. Anything we don’t particularly love or anything that hurts - we try to hurry it along, and God beckons slow down. You aren’t ready for the next thing yet.

How do we live joy-filled lives, right here and now? We count everything as a gift, not as a given.

The purpose of my life is not to experience things but to make his name known in all things. In hard things, joyful and painful things, lost things and not-yet things.

Because the thing of it is, he doesn’t owe me a single thing. He already did everything.

And contrary to what the enemy might have us believe, our lives are not lesser if our bodies are barren, and our ring fingers bare. No. We can still have joy-filled lives no matter what our lives are full of.

We can enter into the joy of others, knowing our God is not a God of scarcity. There’s plenty to go around.

We just have to see it all as joy, in order to fully receive it.