Friday Blogging with JoJo

1672 1672_ () 1672 1672 Today we hear from my sister Joanna (she’s the bride in the picture below). Jo is spirited and full of life and also wild and crazy. I love her so. Joanna and Jordan celebrated their first anniversary this January, and she teaches at a local Catholic school. Thanks for sharing, Jo. This is beautiful.

Joy in the Journey

There is a joy in the journey There’s a light we can love on the way There is a wonder and wildness to life And freedom for those who obey – Michael Card

I still have vivid memories of growing up, riding in our 15-passenger van, listening to those lyrics blasting through the cassette player as we drove around town in the car with Mom. I remember when we downsized to a minivan after all of my older siblings (had moved out) were gone, and my mom replacing the Michael Card cassette tapes with CDs. Good ole’ Michael…he was always mom’s favorite!

And even now, as I drive around in my own SUV, I often find myself sneaking a listen from that same CD – clinging to the words of this one particular song that seems to always offer the encouragement that I need (no Mom, I did not steal your Michael Card CD).

There is something so beautiful about finding joy in the journeys that God sets in front of us – journeys, struggles, triumphs…call it what you will.

My name is Joanna and I am Rachel’s younger sister. I do have some of Rach’s tendencies — a similar voice and a need for order — and I even get to share in some of her blessings – our parents, our siblings, and our faith. But I cannot say that I have been given the blessing of children.

I was married in January 2008 to an amazing man, Jordan. We have been trying for about a year to conceive, but are playing the waiting game. My doctor assures me that all is fine, but for those who have been in this place you know the heartache that comes with that waiting. For the last year, this is the cross that I have been given – the journey on which God has sent Jordan and me. While I can honestly tell you that I have not always found joy in this journey, I am finding recently that there is, indeed, a light we can love on the way.

I often find myself saying out loud (yes…I talk to myself!), that this cross is going to be SO worth it. That without Jesus’ crucifixion, the Resurrection wouldn’t have been as glorious. That yes, the Blessed Mother did get to carry a child in her womb, but she also had to hand that Son over to die for our sins.

And as God continuously draws me into this cross, I am slowly finding the joy that was meant for me. I find that God continuously asks me to offer up my sufferings for the crosses that others are carrying, and I have found that others are doing the same for me.

This is the beauty within the Body of Christ.

I used to find myself so hurt by the people who complained about how bad their children were behaving, or that they were pregnant again. I would give anything to be pregnant. I was crushed when people would talk about wanting a baby, and what do you know – pregnant! Crazy how that works!

I began to reflect on why it was so painful for me. I realized that, yes, this was their journey. Though there are many of us who would give anything to travel that path, it may not be the journey that God has for us – right now. God allows us to travel our own paths, and in turn, our journeys enrich others along the way. For example, a sister in the midst of raising five boys – something I can only dream about – enriches my life through her everyday experiences, both happy and sad.

Motherhood may not be what God has planned for me right now, but it might just be the next journey that brings me joy! God gives us the light to love on the way: Himself.

It was when I started to recognize the gifts in my life, that I began to feel joy. I have always been told that love is not a feeling; it is at times a choice. Focusing on the gifts God has given us may sometimes seem easy, but there are instances when you have to make it a deliberate action. Blessings are all around us.

I still wait with great anticipation for the day that I will become a mother. I am sure that there will still be days that my heart is discouraged and sad, but I refuse to let those days be my focus. I will choose to recognize the blessings. I am practicing praise by heeding the words of Isaiah 54: “Sing, O barren woman. Break forth into singing!” I hope to land a gig with the Balducci boys band.

There is joy in the journey. 1672″

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    JoJO, you are such a woman of Faith. You inspire me to want to do better with the crosses that are mine to carry. You know I’m praying for you. You know I’m proud of you. And, Glorious Day, you know I love you more than my next breath!

    You Rock my world, Baby Red!
    Mom+

  2. JoJo – Beautiful witness to your faith. Know that you are in my prayers that God will grant you the desire of your heart. Infertility is such a rocky road, but a road that has born great fruit in my life…I couldn’t always say that when I was knee deep in it. Thanks for being willing to share your story.

  3. Amanda M. says:

    Wow, that was so beautiful. And amazing. You are so brave to share your story and a real inspiration in faith.
    Thank you.

  4. sksherwin says:

    What a beautiful post. Thank you!

  5. Joy in the moment…it’s so true. My husband and I were married for quite a while before our little one, and there was heartache. But, I have also learned to appreciate what you have when you have it. In our B.K. years, we had time to work on our marriage and our own personal holiness in ways that are very different from married folk with kids. We also had time to travel and be available to family and friends in a big way. There are so many blessings to be had, no matter the season of life.
    I also found comfort in the story of Hannah in I Samuel. A beautiful story with a beautiful prayer. May God bless you!

  6. kerisullivan says:

    I am a soon to be married 27-year-old with both a joy and an apprehension for what this next year will bring. I have had multiple gynecological problems and am preparing myself for the possibility that pregnancy will not come easy to me. My fiance and I have been praying for an ease to some of this anxiety and your thoughts just helped tremendously.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and know that it has touched mine!

    Also- I have been reading your sister’s blog for awhile, not knowing that she is very close. I am in Atlanta and my good friend Fr. Tim McKeown, raised in the Alleluia community is marrying us in Savannah. What a small world!

  7. Ruth Anne Adams says:
  8. la-la-la-Laura says:

    I love you, Joj. I’m so glad that you were a guest blogger…I miss the heck out of ya 😉

  9. Michelle says:

    Beautiful thoughts Joanna. Your cross is very real and I am sure heavier some days than others. But please never forget that all those school children you teach science and religion to, they receive so much of your motherly love and care in the dedication you pour out to them. My son has shared some great heartwarming stories!

  10. Jojo, I know this pain is very real and very strong. I will keep you in my prayers.

  11. Michelle says:

    So beautifully written! And a wonderful reminder for me to always look for the joy, and be so grateful for my journey.

  12. Beautiful Post, Joanna.

    It’s been almost 13 years of marriage for us, and sometimes the journey just seems so gosh-darned long.

    Thank you for the courageous and gentle reminder to focus on the love and many joys currently in my life.

  13. Ecce Quam Bonam says:

    JoJo,
    It is a tough walk and a tough wait, and as you say, it is so easy to miss the ‘joy in the journey’.

    I loved reading these words from you heart, and can only imagine the solid nest the Lord is building within you and in your marriage during this season! I know for us, he needed some time to get us ready for the tiny child who entered our lives 19 years ago.

    Knowing both yours and Jordan’s families, I surmise you may be in for some really live wires with the kind of smarts that will have you on your toes every second they are awake. You might want to rest up.

    Meanwhile, save as much money as you can now because there’s never as much of it as you want once you have a kid around with NEEDS!

    God bless you both,
    Kit

  14. Ecce Quam Bonam says:

    We did novenas and made pilgrimages and got prayers from people known to have healing gifts (ie, Fr. McDonough), only to be told by a reproductive specialist here in town that there was no real point in our trying to conceive, and to get on everybody’s adoption list.

    After that downer, I asked every child I knew to pray every day that we would have a baby. Six months later to the day, I had a positive pregnancy test. I found out later that some of them, as young as six years old, gave up things like candy and gum until my little girl came home from the hospital.

    I don’t think the Almighty can resist the prayers of children, and their sacrifices… well, I can’t even imagine what they are to him.

  15. Jo Jo-
    I love you 🙂 and will pray for you and Jordan – when do you want to come to the Twin Cities?? (you could see Jen and Meaghan too)
    Prayers
    Sarah Heim 🙂

  16. What a wonderful testimony of faith. Thanks so much for sharing the reality of your life and the hope you have in God's love for you and Jordan.
    You're one amazing lady.
    Anna