Joyful celebrations were hard to come by for many during the pandemic. Though increasing health challenges and isolation affected Sandy Ramsey-Trayvick’s son, he not only found joy but also found ways to express it.
My son has a new favorite song that he’s been singing a lot lately. It’s called Joyful. When he hears it, he lights up. He laughs and dances and grabs my hand to join him as he sings,
This is the day that the Lord has made
And I ain’t gonna let it slip away
I’m gonna be joyful
I’m gonna be joyful today today.
He laughs, dances and sings even though the past several months have been hard for him. His time at home during the pandemic has been marked with increasingly challenging health issues that have resulted in greater pain and more discomfort.
Early in the pandemic, I wrote about how the Lord had reminded me to not forget His faithfulness. I shared that His prompting turned out to be preparation for an unforeseen health event for my son. At the time, I’d realized that the Lord wanted me to respond to this event by remembering that He was faithful – to not allow the circumstances to tempt me to question Him.
What I didn’t realize at the time was how many more opportunities I’d have during COVID to remember His faithfulness in the face of worsening health challenges for my son. Throughout this season, I’ve watched my son endure more suffering and distress than he’s had to endure for years. However, despite the increased health difficulties, my son’s joy has not wavered or diminished. He continues to laugh and smile – singing and dancing and happy. He’s still joyful.
For my son, joy seems to come easily. It has been a source of great strength for him throughout his life. It continues to be one of God’s most precious gifts to him. The unstoppable joy that he has received from the Lord has helped him to persevere through the many challenges that disability and special needs have thrown his way (James 1:2-3). Even when he’s having a bad day, or enough has gone wrong that might make him feel like giving up, he instead proclaims – in his own way – how great his God is by choosing to “rejoice in the Lord.” By remaining joyful, he makes God bigger than his problems.
I have to work a little harder for my joy. I know we’re called to choose joy, but during tough seasons, that’s hard to do on some days. I’m tempted at times to let difficult circumstances bring me down, rather than relying on my joy to help me persevere. I’m so thankful that God’s faithfulness during this season has included reminders – through my son – to be joyful always, in every circumstance.
So, as my son laughs and sings and grabs my hand to dance and sing along, I join him every time. I pat my heart alongside him and declare for myself,
I got the joy joy down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I got the J-O-Y down in my heart today today.
And we experience that joy together.
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Sandy is wife to Terry, mom to 3 young adult children, a Bible study teacher, an encourager to those who are weary, a fitness enthusiast, a lover of books, and a certified professional coach. She and her husband are also marriage mentors. Twenty years ago, after her son was diagnosed with multiple disabilities, Sandy became his full time caregiver and advocate. She knows that living in the world of special needs or disabilities can lead to a “disabled life” mindset that focuses on limitations and settles for less life, less joy, less fulfillment. She coaches parents of children with special needs to help them see their circumstances from a perspective of hope, purpose, and opportunity. She helps them choose actions that create a life for themselves and their families that is joyful, fulfilling and fruitful. You can learn more about Sandy, her work, and her blog at www.UNDisabledLIVES.org.
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