Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ABCs of Me: Joy, Joy Joy

        My focus for 2013 has been finding joy. Joy in the journey.  Joy in all things, both good and bad.  I have felt so passionate about it that I led a devotional for my home school board and that became the theme for our school year as an association: Finding Joy in the Journey, Romans 15:13.
        Joy is easy to find when times are easy.  The kids are doing well in school.  All the bills are paid.  Your husband loves you.   Your family isn't crazy.   You are never sad or lonely or depressed or stressed.  Joy is so easy! 
        What about the times that aren't so easy?  What about these situations?
             Depression, job loss, divorce, abandonment, unplanned pregnancy, whiny kids, crazy family, stress, loneliness, or death?  
         How do you find joy in those situations?  How can you possibly feel happy when all that is going down?  First off, joy and happiness are not the same things!  Happiness is a feeling, a reaction to something.   Joy is a state of mind, a state of being, a choice!   You can control that!
         So, what are some practical ways that you can find joy?  When the kids are whiny, praise God that you have them and can hold them and dissolve the whininess.  I know parents who cannot see or hold their children or even have them.  Joblessness is difficult!  I have been there.  My husband has been under or unemployed for over 5 years.  We have had a tough time but I am thankful for the struggle because it made me appreciate the good times!  I have experienced so many hard things in my life.  Things that would make your toes curl and heart ache.  I have spent many years being a slave to those things.  I decided that I would take my dark thoughts and turn them into joy. 
        I had an abortion.  Where is the joy in that?  God chooses to use my story to help others.  Crazy family! Yep!  It makes me appreciate what normal looks like. 
        Where can you find the joy? Dirty dishes? You had food to eat!  Long day at work with a tough boss or rude customers? You have a job in an economy when so many do not.  
        Joy! I challenge you to find it this week or even just today!  Like a muscle, it needs exercising!

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