Five year old Katlyn walked beside her mother in the church hallway. She tried to see past the many sets of legs walking in front of her.
"Mommy, pick me up."
"Oh Katlyn, we are almost there. I have too many things in my hand, can you walk please?"
She shrugged her shoulders and kept walking with swishing pant legs as the moving curtain in front of her. She saw a little boy holding his daddy's hand and wished she could hold his big hand too. Looking down, she decided to watch the different types of shoes again. It helped her think about other things.
"Mrs. Jenkins, come this way," Pastor Rob motioned for her mother to go to the front when they finally arrived at the sanctuary door. Katlyn looked up at him and waved. He winked and then handed her a paper.
"What does it say mommy?" Katlyn asked.
"It says, 'Rejoicing' honey. Today is about rejoicing. Come on, lets sit down up front"
Pondering the big word, she wanted to ask her mother what it meant. She heard it one day in church but didn't ask anyone what it meant.
"Please be seated," Pastor Rob announced. "We will begin the service with the hymn 'Rejoice' and then we have a special testimony."
The choir stood and the music began. Katlyn wondered what the word "testimony" meant. She decided not to ask and then looked at the tiles on the ceiling. She believed that her daddy was watching her from the ceiling and if she looked hard enough, she would see his face in the tiles. She wanted to see a face that moved instead of the framed photo in her room.
The singing stopped and the announcement was made for the special testimony. To Katlyn's surprise, her mother went forward and pulled her hand to follow. Embarrased, she lowered her blond curls in front of her face and hugged her mother's leg.
"Thank you for allowing me to share my testimony. My name is Tina Jenkins and this is my daughter, Katlyn. I wanted to tell you my story in order to show you what 'rejoicing' really is. I met my husband eight years ago and we were very much in love. We were married a year later and wanted to have a child right away. To our disappointment, I was not able to conceive. Two years later, and after many doctors, it was determined that I would never be able to have children due to a medical problem. Devastated, I became angry with God and felt less than a woman. I cried for months. One day I came home and my husband was on the floor in our bedroom. He had a severe heart attack and died before the ambulance could get there. It happened six weeks before Christmas.
"I became ill a few days before Christmas and decided to go to the doctor. To tell the truth, I wanted him to give me news that I was going to die that same day so I could escape my pain. Instead, he came in after my tests to share the results. He smiled and said, 'you are pregnant'. I was shocked, and cried with joy. I realized that God was giving me a miracle by giving me a part of my husband, and fulfilling my desire to have a child. I look at Katlyn every year and rejoice.
"The true meaning of 'rejoicing' is to celebrate what God has done for us. Satan tempted Eve by showing her the only thing she could not have in the Garden of Eden. Because of sin, we tend to focus on what we don't have. Rejoicing occurs when we stop letting our flesh run our lives and are thankful for what we have. I have been truly blessed by God to have this beautiful child.
"She doesn't know it, but I have a video of her daddy that I am going to give her this year. She will see him carving the turkey for Thanksgiving. I grabbed the video camera because he looked so handsome. He was smiling at the camera when he said, 'honey, always be thankful for what you have and rejoice in God's grace.'
"He was right. Today I am rejoicing."