Find the Joy

It was 5am and my two year old started crying. She had a fever and was miserable and we went on to have quite a long day. By 3pm I was ready to crash. But my little people needed me, and my two year old would pull open my eyelids anytime I tried to shut them for a little catnap. I was exhausted. And then I remembered something from a couple weeks before.

Gene R. Cook of the seventy gave a BYU Devotional called “Seek Eternal Happiness.” In it he quotes a first presidency letter that was sent out in which was written: “there is great joy and rejoicing in your posterity, giving one of the great purposes of life.”

I was pondering this in the temple and I realized I needed to find the joy—always.

We will find what we’re looking for in life.

And in that afternoon moment of exhaustion when my body felt like it couldn’t stay awake, and the constant demands of two toddlers was enough to make my head spin, I looked for the joy. I saw it in my kid’s laugh during one of their favorite shows, Paw Patrol. I saw it in their little bodies that have been blessed to be generally healthy. I saw it in our home and all that we’ve been blessed with. I felt it as I said a silent prayer for help—I know how to pray! What a blessing. I saw it as I reflected on how grateful I am for my blessings. And suddenly things didn’t seem as hard. Finding the joy is invigorating.

The dictionary states joy as: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. When I feel joy, I want to do better at saying a prayer of gratitude in my heart at that moment for that moment, or jotting it down in a journal. Rejoicing is defined by showing or expressing great joy and delight. I want to show more rejoicing in my life, perhaps by telling my kids what I love about them, giving more hugs, and being more present. 

Elder Nelson, in the October 2016 General Conference session, said: “when the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy.”

When the center of our lives is on Jesus Christ, finding the joy becomes easier, we have clarity and purpose. I have found that reading my scriptures in the morning helps me to have a clearer perspective throughout the day, and invites the Spirit to be with me from the beginning. This opens my eyes to more joy.

Growing up my mom would always say, “you can do that happy or sad.” I remember this specifically when we all had to clean the church and would start complaining. Like it or not, we got to choose how we felt about it, but we still had to endure through it no matter what. But when we choose joy in all we do, it will change the experience we have, and change us.
Elder Nelson goes on to say: “Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God’s power into our lives. As in all things, Jesus Christ is our ultimate exemplar, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” Think of that! In order for Him to endure the most excruciating experience ever endured on earth, our Savior focused on joy! And what was the joy that was set before Him? Surely it included the joy of cleansing, healing, and strengthening us; the joy of paying for the sins of all who would repent; the joy of making it possible for you and me to return home—clean and worthy—to live with our Heavenly Parents and families. If we focus on the joy that will come to us, or to those we love, what can we endure that presently seems overwhelming, painful, scary, unfair, or simply impossible?”

The Savior focused on joy during his hardest moment.

Through so many ways and different circumstances, our posterity has the potential to bring us heartache. That is a part of experiencing both the bitter and the sweet. However, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalms 30:5).” Sometimes it takes patience and persistence, but the joy is always there if we look for it. We get to love, teach, and protect these children of God, and I think that is worth rejoicing in, no matter how bumpy the road may be.

Find the joy—find it in the long, sleepless nights, in the messy house, in the happy times, in every moment—always look for the joy. It will always be there because it’s the reason for our creation— that we might have joy.

Jessica Dyer currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where her husband is pursuing a PhD in Accounting at UNC and is loving all of the great sunshine and basketball that Chapel Hill has to offer. She is a mom to two cute little kids and to one angel baby. She graduated from BYU in English Language and Editing but has had the opportunity right now to be at home with the kids and is loving all the crazy and fun that comes with that.

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