Choosing Joy

I love my silly girl.

She has such a funny side to her, and never shies away from trying to make me laugh.

And sometimes, I really, really need to laugh.

Like today. Today was the kind of day I experience every so often, especially right before a surgery or development evaluation. The kind of day when I look at my sweet daughter, and just want to weep.

Weep for what is ahead, because she has no idea how hard it will be. Weep for what has been lost, though she’ll never know what exactly it was. Weep for all the hard work she has done, only to experience gut-wrenching regression. Weep for what will never be.

Will she wear that white wedding gown, or hold suckling babies to her chest? Will she ever walk, or talk, or drink? Will she ever be able to forgive me for putting her through surgery after surgery and therapies upon therapies? When I tell her she can’t play with the other kids or participate the way she wants, will she hate me for it?

But oh, she loves. I don’t think she can hate. Even the things that are hard or frustrate her... she comes through smiling - through tears, but still smiling. And I have to remind myself of this very wonderful fact about Elyse: she comes through with joy. One moment she could be beside herself, in pain or just unhappy with what she is being made to do.... but give her time, and she forgets, moves on, and can be seen and heard gloriously laughing! That cheesy grin always appears after tears. Always.

I have to believe this for her as she grows up and becomes more aware of her reality. When distraction isn’t so easy, and smiles are more of a choice than a feeling. I wish it could stay as simple as it is now.

But for tonight, I choose joy. I choose to believe God has a greater purpose in all of this. I choose to see the good. I choose to be happy. I choose to let every trial and every setback bring me closer to His heart. And when I consciously make this choice, the smile surely follows. Not because my situation has changed (sometimes, it actually grows worse) but because I have His presence, His comfort and His peace that passes all understanding. God alone makes sense of the senseless.

This is my prayer for Elyse Joy. Baby girl, if you read this one day, I want you to know that happiness isn’t to be found in being anyone other than who God wants you to be. And more than anything else, God wants you to be HIS. If you are God’s, sweet girl, known and loved by Him, that’s all that matters! May His love and ownership always bring a smile to your dear, sweet face.

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” John 16:22

Keep smiling, friends!


Originally written and posted on Facebook by Katie Millen, mama of three beautiful children, one with special needs.