I've been reflecting on this thought lately. I have a friend who was told she had a year to live because her cancer had progressed so much. Her and her daughter have taken that year and done countless things to "Choose Joy" including dressing up for Chemo treatments; it's been a very inspirational story to watch unfold. But yesterday I realized I have had a front row seat watching an inspirational life unfold, a life titled Choose Joy; her name is Noel. Noel had an appointment yesterday for her scoliosis, sadly her back is still really bad. The surgery she got 2 years ago where they put two titanium rods on either side of her spine has been life changing. She for the most part is and has been doing amazing because of it. Her back was very "straight" for a long time. But now over time her Muscular Dystrophy has progressed… it's made it so that she's not even strong enough to hold her head up, thus she sits hunched over just to try keep her eyesight level. Yesterday was a follow up x-ray. The doctor confirmed what we already knew; her scoliosis has progressed and there's nothing they can do about it. As I sat yesterday and looked at before and after x-rays of Noel's back I was sad. Sad that her little body is so deformed, sad that this is her reality, sad that it's getting worse. Then part of me felt a little silly why am I so sad for a little girl who doesn't let her limitations define her? Why does a picture of a crooked back bring me to tears? When the story of her attitude is so much bigger?
I truly believe that God did not give Noel Muscular Dystrophy; Noel has Muscular Dystrophy because when the fall of man happened sin and sickness entered into this world. I don't believe that God brought this into her life to teach her or us a lesson. God is a good God; He loves us. He is the reason that Noel lives a life of victory. He brings the Joy. This is a truth about God I've only come to know within the last two years, before that there was a part of me that thought maybe God gave Noel this disease to strengthen us, to make us the people we are today. Thankfully I had a revelation of the Love of my Father. He gives us what we need to overcome. He has a perfect will for our lives but because of sin and sickness it doesn't usually play out in His perfection. I don't believe He brings disease or even failure to teach us lessons. Even the Israelites; God wasn't leading them to the desert, He was leading them to The Promise Land; but because of sin and unbelief they found themselves in the desert. They missed everyday when Heaven rained down in the form on Mana, when God brought them everything they needed, when God made a way for them to Choose Joy. So really it's up to us. God has provided each of us a way to Choose Joy; to be overcomes. Why is it that sometimes those with the most to bear, the ones who could give up, get discouraged, be bitter with life and we'd all understand it; why are they the ones who don't, their the ones who inspire us with lives of overcoming? How can we allow these examples of overcoming lives help us to Choose Joy in our own lives? In our week? In our day? How can you in honor of Noel Choose Joy today?
I just had to share this video of Noel singing "I've Got the Joy" she was about four years old and just got out of the hospital after she was the sickest I've ever seen her; She Choose that day to sing of Joy; she's really quite so it may be hard to hear her but she's belting it out as loud as she can!
Noel's Got the JOY