Carry On

Carry On

2016 has had a rough terrible start!  In contrast, 2015 was a year full of amazing travel and family time in beautiful, scenic places like Montana, Connecticut, Mexico, New Hampshire, and Australia –along with our more frequent trips to see  family living nearby in Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.  But this year …

By the time this blog post is published, I will have gone to 3 funerals with several more represented that I wasn’t able to attend.   Losses like this are never easy.  Stories spill with tears following right behind them.  Aches too deep to fully express.  Lives woven together now feeling the fraying edges and needing a hand to hold on to  when the hand we long to hold is suddenly still.  Joy and Sorrow mingle together …peace and anxiety oddly sharing space.  Normals  are replaced with new normals …for which manuals haven’t even been written.  There’s comfort in knowing they are in the arms of Jesus but it’s our arms that are hanging uncomfortably empty without their tender hugs.

And if I went on a little further, I’d tell you about the gray, dreary, cold winter days and how depression seems to settle in a little too comfortably and motivation dives to an all-time low  below the surface of already murky waters.  I could tell you about the ache of living far from  children and grandchildren or the longing to be with parents in their more vulnerable years.  I could tell you about the grip of anxiety that paralyzes –sucking the life right out  … leaving shame in its wake.

But I could also tell you about the closeness  and intimacy of the Father who faithfully gives new mercies every day and more than enough grace for the ugly parts as well.  I could also tell you of family and friends who care enough to love you anyway and  pray like a warrior over you …and continue to bring you coffee and chocolate when they don’t know what else to do.

It’s at times like this we have a “thing” we do in our family–you know,  when life gets a little wobbly… we sing a random song that seems to lift us up and out  just a bit.  One particularly rough season, we sang the phrase,  “strange things are happening to me” , from the movie, Toy Story.*  Another steady beat and  cure-all from my husband in any season is  “Fa la la la la, la la la laahhhh” , from “Deck the Halls”  but this year  I keep hearing  the chorus from the song, “Carry On” (by  FUN) …”If you’re lost and alone —Or you’re sinking like a stone —Carry on—May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground and —Carry on!”*

And it’s funny how God speaks through songs across all genres to give just the word you need for the day.  And I imagine as the  Creator of  music, His playlist must be pretty extensive and his reach  never tethered to any traditions of this earth. So be it.  “Carry on” it is !

And ironically, the words from Pastor Tom Castor at the first funeral of the New Year ring in a little louder … those words about Ezekiel …and how he got up the next morning after gut-wrenching tragedy struck  and he continued to do what the Lord told him to do.  (See Ezekiel 24)   And I find myself listening to the voices throughout time saying, “Carry on”  or as the Southern preachers from my childhood used to say, “Just keep on keepin’ on!” 
And as if right on cue …hope arrived on our drab, lifeless winter branches to remind us all to simply carry on!
 “Flowering Quince” – which by some is considered to signal the end of winter (a fact I just learned today) !
*Song Credit: “Strange Things” (Toy Story) Artist: Randy Newman
*Song Credit:  “Deck the Halls”  is a traditional Christmas, yuletide, and New Years’ carol. The melody is Welsh dating back to the sixteenth century, and belongs to a winter carol, “Nos Galan”, while the English lyrics date to 1862.
*Song Credit:  “Carry On”:  (Written by the band members of Fun, Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff, alongside the album’s producer, Jeff Bhasker and Published by Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.)

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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  1. Dianne Pace Hunt

    Joy what a word for me tonight.I live with chronic pain in my back and the past couple weeks it has been so bad that I have been in bed.Today was one of those days where I said ,” I can’t handle this anymore”! Then I read your post and the words CARRY ON just became life in my spirit.Thank you my friend!

    1. Oh Dianne… this makes me want to cry with you! The Holy Spirit knew … listen to the song when you can. God knows just what we need. I love you, friend and I’m so sorry for your pain. Please know I’ll be praying for you.

  2. Suellen

    I love your posts! I’ve missed them! I’m so glad your writing again!

    1. Awww thanks Suellen! God has me on another interesting journey …following on 🙂

  3. Kimberly

    So well written Joy! You are able to bring the emotions of the moment to the surface so well with you writing! Love you!

    1. Kim …to the surface for sure where they can be carried and healed by the Father ;’) … thanks friend!

  4. Michele

    How these words resonate so well right now…
    Put one foot in front of the other holding God’s hand.


    1. I feel your heart, Michele! Carrying on with you, my friend xoxo!

  5. mariegriffith

    Thanks Joy for the encouragement. Sometimes it is just that…..carrying on in each moment…..getting through the day, moment by moment. Thankfully, He is with us always.

    1. So true, Marie! It’s usually the simple truths that I need constant reminders 🙂
      “Trust Him” is another one I need to work on as well 😉 —

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