(Image courtesy of http://wikipedia.org.)

Beginning in early January and ending this Friday night, I have volunteered a few hours each week to coach an elementary-aged basketball team at a local church.  Now, in mid-February, we are in the final week of this very short, yet very draining, season.

Have you ever tried coaching little kids before?  The first night I told them to line up on the line, and they immediately
ran the other way and starting rolling on the floor.  Or when I told them to hold the balls, they all started dribbling.  Needless to say, it was very frustrating most nights.

Yet even though some nights, practice felt like chaos - like I was pounding a square peg into a round hole - the joy that came from being around children and seeing them smile was worth it.

The chaos of teaching, coaching, and parenting - anything involving other people - is very real.  Sometimes our work or our careers seem like they can't get any worse or more frustrating.  But, oh the joy is always there to be found if only we look for it.

Even though life can be full of chaos and you feel like you are barely holding on, take hope in the truth that there is perfect joy to be found in all circumstances.  Whether you are a young mother at home with the kids all day, cleaning up, making meals, folding laundry, holding the sobbing baby or a worker in a factory belittled by coworkers, looked over by bosses, barely able to pay your bills - know that there is Someone who offers you joy for the journey known as life.  His name is Jesus.

When we know Him and truly have a growing relationship with Him, nothing can steal away our joy that is found in His perfect love.  Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39:
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers; neither heighth nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord."
Nothing... NOTHING! can or ever will separate your or me from God's love.  Joy that stems from the Father's unconditional love above does not change in times of chaos; it is always there, independent of the chaos around us.  His perfect, unconditional love is what gives us joy and hope to keep living - and striving - even in the midst of the chaos of life.

May the hope of the Father fill you this week as you find joy even amidst the chaos of life!

"In this world you have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world!" (the words of Jesus, John 16:33).