This is the ring my husband bought me for our sixth wedding anniversary. It has been lost for about two years now. I've looked through every suitcase and purse and pocket I could think of, searching for it.
When we moved last November, I thought for sure we would find it. When we didn't, I gave up all hope. I figured it had been given away with one of the old purses I donated to Goodwill, and just prayed it would be a blessing to whoever ended up with it.
So imagine my surprise this weekend when I felt inside the left front pocket of a work shirt I was wearing to camp in! I was looking for a ponytail holder and instead, felt a circular hard thing about the size of a ring.
"It can't be!" I thought as I scrambled to unbutton the pocket.
Of course, it was!
I ran over to my husband and showed him the ring and we both celebrated its return.
It's amazing how much joy can come from finding something you thought was lost forever.
Of course, it was never really lost. It had been in my possession the whole time. I'd worn the shirt several times between putting the ring in that pocket and discovering it again. I just couldn't use it because I didn't realize I had it.
I lost another thing when we moved last November. I didn't realize it for several weeks after we moved, because of all the hubbub and busyness that surrounds moving. But a few weeks later I went to draw upon it, and I simply couldn't find it.
It was my joy.
I could give you all kinds of reasons why. But the simple truth is, I was looking for it in the wrong place.
I had found happiness in time with friends, in my house that had become a home filled with 15 years of memories, in raising my kids surrounded by other families who looked just like mine and shared similar values. I even found it in a state where I knew most every nook and cranny and had people I called friends in most of them.
All of a sudden that was all gone, and with it, I thought, went my joy.
Unlike the ring, I didn't give up hope of finding it. No, the one thing I've learned in my years as a Christian, is to run, don't walk, to God and His Word when you are in need. So that's what I did.
I began reading each chapter in the Bible where the word joy occurred to try and find mine again. I cried and read and took notes. I'm happy to say I'm not done yet. (There are THAT many occurrences of the word joy!)
Over time, it started creeping back in. The more time I spent with God, learning to trust Him all over again, soaking in His love for me, and His control over all things, the more joy seemed possible to me.
The day I found my ring, I realized that not only was the ring back, but so was my joy. It wasn't the same sudden discovery, but a slow steady progression.
It too, had been with me all the time.
"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Psalm 126:5
"But the fruit of the Spirt is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22