It’s just amazing to me how anymore people will throw away everything they have in the name of happiness. Promises are broken, families are split apart, dreams and hearts are crushed. I stand in a broken world looking around knowing that the key to happiness is not any one person or item that I can buy at the store. Someone once told me, “I can’t make you happy, you have to find that within yourself.” Very good advice, which I took to heart. He was right, he is not and should not be the source of my happiness, and it does have to come from within myself. Circumstances, people, places, things do not define who I am or if I am happy. If I am miserable within myself it won’t matter if I take a cruise to Hawaii and lay on the beach all week I will still be miserable because it is something inside of me, something I am lacking.
I know from experience that unhappiness comes from a very selfish unthankful spirit. Life becomes all about me and my problems and I don’t look around to see just how blessed I am. I was unhappy and miserable for years, even though I truly was blessed and I couldn’t even see it. I’d have people tell me how blessed I was, almost like the old lady that comes up to you in the store and tells you to enjoy every moment with your kids. I had those kind of people, people who I guess had been there or either wished that they had had a life as good as I had. But sometimes when you are that blessed you become unthankful. I think I had so much of what I wanted and I became like a spoiled child. I started having kids when I was 20 and by the time I was 25 I had a total of 3. I felt completely unprepared and unskilled in every way. Any dreams I had of a career path by the time number 3 came along had sank right along with my perky boobs. I was very blessed to have a husband who could take care of our family while I stayed home with the children, but I felt unfulfilled with my life. As a young stay-at-home mom I never felt useful or valued so I got in a deep rut I could never seem to escape. One morning I woke up and life as I knew it was gone. Everything I had build my happiness on was a complete lie and I was drowning in a sea of despair. Some days I really felt as if I were under the water suffocating looking for a way of escape from my new reality. I had to find something to hang onto and to become happy within myself.
People always throw stuff like “Jesus loves you” out there when things are bad and quotes and cliches abound when things go wrong. Well meaning people give advice that they themselves would not even use. The truth is Jesus does love me but I had to find that out for myself. Though I was hopelessly selfish and unthankful, he woke me up into a new reality of how fragile and precious life is and how he really has always been there with me and is still holding onto me. That in Him I can find true happiness and the world stops revolving around me and becomes about Him and His glory, the only reason for living. I’m trying hard to step out of my comfort zone and small little world, and it is amazing just how much is out there and how wonderful life is when it stops being miserable and all about me and my problems. Happiness is just a myth anyway. This is life and you have to make the most of what you have with it no matter what happens or the hand you are dealt. Jesus never said that life would be easy or that problems wouldn’t come, the promise He made is that He would be there, in spirit, holding me up and guiding me no matter what comes my way.
I wrote a song in March 2008, and at the time though I thought I had seen problems did not know just how comforting this song would be years down the road.
Just Hold On
When I didn’t have the strength to make it through.
When my burdens seemed more then I could bear.
When all of my hope seemed to turn into despair, I held on, onto the Lord.
So just hold on, just hold on
The way is rough the path is steep, but just hold on.
He’ll make a way, He’ll see you through
He’ll be your peace in the storm, and He’ll carry you through.
There were times when I felt so all alone.
There were times when I didn’t know where to turn.
But all through those times He was standing by my side.
So I held on, onto the Lord.
(Words and music by Jennifer Yarbro March 28, 2008)