How to Laugh at the Days to Come
When was the last time you had a good guffaw when you thought about the future to come? How about a giggle of excitement? Or a smile? Or are you gripped with fear, praying that the Lord Jesus would return soon?
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
I made this piece because this verse means a lot to me.
You see, I use to cry a lot more when I thought about the days to come. Like deep painful cries, the ones where your heart is moaning and mourning the presence of hope. But I laugh a lot more these days. Let me share my story with you.
The light was barely starting to show through the white blinds of our bedroom that fall morning. I knew that meant my husband had already left for work, and I could hear the children beginning to get up. I was on my own. I pulled myself up, sat on the edge of my bed, and wanted to cry. It was only 6 in the morning.
If you are a mom, you know that mornings are an interesting time. A situational slot machine- pull the handle and only God knows what is going to happen between then and bedtime. We all love when the mornings are calm and calculated, the children behaving and being kind to one another. But you also may wake up to a toddler kicking you in the face because she had a bad dream so she climbed into your bed for the 4th time this week. Or perhaps your kids thought they would save you the trouble of waking you to solve a civil dispute by having it out with fisticuffs because they wanted the same blanket. So many surprises. But back to this particular morning...
I was smack dab in the middle of the most difficult season of my life, but I didn’t really fully know it. With 3 kids, and 1 on the way, it felt like i was trudging through the valley of death most days. I won’t get into details in this post, but I felt utterly trapped. Being a homeschooling mom to 3.5 kids was hard enough. To top it off, we had been in a very diffcult situation for 5 years, and it was finally coming to a climax, and the stress was taking it’s toll on me.
So mornings were usually the most anxious time of my day. Groggy from only 5 hours of sleep if I was lucky, and well aware of the list of needs that waited to be filled in the early morning, it seemed too much to bear. And of course there were routine arguments and discussions with my husband regarding the terrible situation. It felt like my soul was cracking, and blood and tears were seeping out. But I remember this morning becoming suddenly aware that every morning was like this for me, and there was no certain end in sight. A heavy millstone waiting to be worn the moment I woke up. And as the day’s challenges presented themselves, my thought life spiraled into despair. I was so tired of living like this.
Even though I was trudging through the days and weeks, I still knew it was important to stay in God’s word through all of it. And there it was:
She laughs at the days to come…
Has any other women had the mixture of inspiration, awe and guilt when reading about the woman of Proverbs 31? I know what I thought when I read that. Ha, not me. No, not insecure, incompetent, broken down me. No, I cry in the mornings, wondering how the hell I’m going to make it through this day, let alone the days to come! Laugh! Ha! I’m supposed to be more than a conqueror, but I feel like such a child…and so unqualified for this job.
But even in my dark moments, I still clung to the belief that God’s word is true, and that He reveals what His heart is for us through the words in the bible. I knew that while it felt a million miles away, God wouldn't have presented laughter as a possibility if it wasn't. I knew that somehow, some way, I could laugh in the mornings. Complete deliverance from my situation, complete healing in my heart and complete renewing of my mind was available to me. I just needed God’s truth to make me free.
I don't know when it hit me, but I noticed the semi-colon in the statement. The semi-colon in that verse means a lot. Don't worry, this isn't just a dorky writer's observation that only applies to English majors- a semi-colon attaches a thought to another thought. She can laugh at the days to come because she is clothed with strength and dignity.
And then it went a little something like this: dignity. Dignity. Oh, my goodness, DIGNITY! Dignity means self-respect and self-control! It was one of those Aha-DUH moments. By that I mean it has been right in front of your face and it is so simple, but you couldn't quite make the connection. I had long struggled with feeling powerless and learning that I could do hard things. Think about what comes to mind when you think of dignity.
"dying with dignity"
"have some dignity, man!"
It means pulling yourself together to do the necessary, not flailing about, surrendering all self-respect. Dignity involves having a clear definition of who you are and what makes you you. "I will do this, but I will not stoop to that." It involves choosing. And I was not good at choosing. When a decision came my way, my emotions spilt on the floor like sand out of a bucket. I was too scared to choose.
The Proverbs 31 woman says, "I CAN do this." This woman knows her core values. She knows what to keep in, and what to keep out. She knows what to say yes to say no to. She has understands the importance of boundaries, so she respects herself and respects others. And above all else, she chooses to walk with God daily.
She has strength because she calls on the Almighty God, and he gives her the grace to walk through trials and tribulations. She has dignity because she is walking in his spirit, abiding in Him, so he is abiding in her, giving her the self-control that makes her a powerful and decisive woman. She not only has access to life, she knows how to use it. Now that’s the kind of woman we should be seeing on the cover of magazines!
So, I started praying.
God, help me laugh at the days to come. Help me laugh and smile with excitement as I think of the years to come, watching my children grow, and seeing the ways you are in our lives. Help me overcome the fears that drag me down during the day, and seize me in the night. Help me see when the devil is scheming against me, and teach me how to stand firm when he pushes on me, so I can laugh and not cry. Help me draw on your strength. Help me set boundaries with myself and others so I can have dignity.
And friend, He’s doing it! Oh, I have had my days of crying in between now and then, but I can see how he is transforming me! And even just knowing that He is changing me gives me courage on the hard days. I know that what is hard on that day won’t be as difficult in the future. Much of the weight around my neck was indeed from the terrible ordeal we were in, but I also knew that my mind needed renewing also. And he is doing it. I am seeing myself change before my eyes.
I only share my story because I believe my freedom is for you also.
Do you want to laugh when you think about the future? Then believe that God knows your struggle intimately, and ask him to help you. And also ask for him to help you see when he is helping. The devil loves nothing more than to convince us that God isn’t there or doesn’t care. God on the other hand, desires for you to be excited about the future.
Where are you in your journey of laughing at the days to come?
What has helped you get through difficult seasons?
Please comment below and share with a friend who might need this!