In Your Presence There is Fullness of Joy
by Sherry Kendrick, Guest Writer
Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16: 9-11
How can my heart be glad though? How can my whole being rejoice? How can I find joy now that my husband is gone? Sometimes it all feels like too much. Too much suffering. Too much sadness. But then I come back to this deep truth: God’s presence is with me and in that presence is fullness of joy. The joy of this truth – HE IS WITH ME. I am His child and HE IS WITH ME. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. Yes, I can rejoice in that! He is not absent even in the midst of suffering, death and grief. I watched Him faithfully keep the promise to be WITH Mike. Now Mike is safe and whole and well WITH Him. Yes, I can rejoice in that.
As I’ve approached the year anniversary of Mike’s death, I can see how God has kept His promises to me. He is indeed making known to me the path of my life. In my life I have had many roles - -daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver, children’s director, friend, pastor’s wife. Three of these roles technically changed when Mike died – wife, caregiver and pastor’s wife. Instead, I added a new role – widow. This one is a struggle. The Lord is teaching me that the path of life is not found in my roles. My identity and purpose are found in Him. I recently listened to a podcast at enCourage on Life-Giving Leadership by Susan Hunt and Karen Hodge. Here is a quote from that podcast.
“A life-giving leader sees how all parts of life and ministry fit together and is increasingly passionate about the small moments and tasks because she has a vision of the whole. The Westminster Confession tells us that `the Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God.’ When we see every moment of life as one part of the whole of life and that the purpose of our lives is to glorify God, then it helps us see Scripture, to see life and to see ministry not as segments not as individual components but as consenting parts which all together will somehow tell the gospel story. When we get that clarity of Scripture, life and ministry the wonderful thing that happens is that the mundane become majestic.”
I’ve listened to this multiple times because it is helping me understand how gladness, rejoicing and joy exist in this season of my life. Scripture teaches us that all of its parts make up the whole to give Him glory. My life and ministry can do the same thing. All the parts of my life – the seasons (with and without Mike) and the roles (wife and widow) – can make up a beautiful whole to give Him glory and through it tell His gospel story. As a widowed pastor’s wife, my identity is found in my Lord, my chosen portion. It is found in my Good Shepherd who cares for me and it is found in my Savior who died for me. I am His child and His presence is WITH ME. He is making known to me that my path of life - my purpose - is to continue to give Him glory in this new role and in this new calling. He will take what seems to be mundane, and hard, and somehow make it majestic for the sake of the Gospel. So I can rejoice, be glad even, as the tears roll down my face with the truth that only in His presence there will be fullness of joy.
Pray through Psalm 16 and personalize it for your life and circumstances.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole beingrejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Tomorrow I introduce Jan Dravecky as our next Guest Writer. Jan and her husband, Dave, started Endurance.com, a ministry designed to offer help and hope to people struggling with cancer, grief and depression. For the next two weeks, we have the privilege of starting our days with posts from Jan’s blog.
Sherry Kendrick has a degree in elementary education from East Tennessee State University and over 30 years experience in Christian education, children’s ministry and public school elementary education. She loves children’s curriculums and tends to collect them. Sherry has lived in Naples, Florida for 32 years and currently serves as the Children’s Director of Covenant Church of Naples. Sherry was married to Mike Kendrick, a PCA pastor for 36 years. She has been a widow since February 2018. She is blessed with 3 grown children and one grandchild.
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