Mykea Atkinson is the proud mama of an amazing 15 year-old, Reagan, who attends Marion High School in Marion, S.C. She is the assistant principal at Easterling Primary School in the same district.
At the age of forty-four, she feels more blessed and energetic than ever working with students, both at her school and Marion Baptist Church. Her favorite past time is hanging out with her adopted “fam” that is made up of some amazing guys and gals from her youth group, past and present.
A year and almost four months ago, I lost my beloved.
I say my beloved because the titles husband, friend, father of my child are too weak. The definition of beloved is “dear to your heart,” and when you have been with someone more than half the life you’ve lived, they are your beloved.
Every day is hard.
The town I work and live in is a constant rush of memories because we grew up here, dated here, spent so many wonderful and hard times here. There is not a corner of this town that doesn’t flood me with heart-warming and heart-wrenching memories. Even the church I attend, we grew up in, got married in, and attended as adults. From songs on the radio to certain foods, every day is a struggle to embrace the joy this life has to give.
When my husband, whom I had been with since I was a senior in high school, took his life last December, I felt as if my life was destroyed. It made no sense……..but this is when I fully began to understand God’s purpose for my life.
It is sad to say that although I have a strong faith, I had wavered with my dedication. Some years were better than others. But God had been preparing me and I didn’t even know it. After years of encouragement in my church, I was reading my Bible daily and being discipled….so why wasn’t my life perfect?
And then it happened…….the whole “rug pulled out from under your feet” moment.
It was when I had no choice but to fall to my knees and say, “God, you’ve got to have me because I certainly can’t do this,” and that’s when I knew my mission. Yes, I say mission because it is clearer now than ever before, and it came through hurt and pain. It came through tears and heartbreak. It came from hopelessness and confusion.
You see, through the loss of my beloved in such a heartbreaking and shocking way, I was made to do what I should have been doing all the time.
I just gave it to God! I was diligently in my Word; I was talking to Christian mentors; I was praying, but – most importantly – I was saying, “God, please direct me.”
It was not until I was at rock bottom that I was humble enough to realize that ONLY through Him are all things possible, and I am screaming to the world – THERE IS JOY THROUGH SORROW!
It is easy daily or during holidays to miss a loved one and focus on hurt, but what God wants us to do is reverse that and be thankful and focus on joy and blessings. I am thankful for my life and my time with my Heath because it gave me beautiful gifts such as my daughter, my in-laws (who are parents to me), many friends, and such joyful memories. I am thankful for the pain because it has awakened me to the fact that my mission here is to love on people. Yes. I didn’t list my job or academic goals. I know now it is simply to love on people. It is to love on my many youth I spend time with, my teachers, my students, my friends, and as many people as I can. It sounds hokey, but I have never been clearer in my direction and purpose. I am here to give joy and show joy, ESPECIALLY to be an example to others who are struggling.
There IS JOY THROUGH SORROW!
We only have to embrace it and open ourselves to what our Lord blesses us with every day! People come to me and say, “You’re so positive…….so happy,” but I’m here to tell you I am nothing without God. Nothing. Today I see the beauty and joy in every little and big thing, and it is because through my sorrow, I have realized my blessings.
Should I have done this more before? YES! I was thankful, but not enough. Do I wish a tragedy had not pushed me to this realization? Most definitely! Am I thankful that at forty-three I had the epiphany? You bet!
I am not the only one hurting. Most people are hurting in some way. But do not let sorrow still your joy! Instead let it be a foil from which your blessings shine that much brighter. I am a beyond imperfect sinner who daily struggles, but I have a wonderful God who also blesses me daily and through Him I see the joy in my life. My favorite verse that I keep on a sticky note in my Bible is Jeremiah 29:11 and it has gotten me through some very hard days.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
WOW! My daughter, Reagan, and I have lives forever altered, but I have no fear because God has plans for us. We will use our sorrow to show joy and blessings. No matter what you have or are going through, DO NOT LET SORROW STEAL YOUR JOY! God is good and he can use us in any situation. I am still a work in progress, but I know my God has great things in store for my life! I plan to be joyful in all circumstances. Some days are harder than others, but God is so good!
Don’t let sorrow steal your joy.
Turn your hurt into a mission.
You have so much to be thankful for because God Is Good!
Mykea Atkinson, Guest Blogger