Journey of Joy

Ornaments gently wrapped. Nativities lovingly stored. Lights carefully packed. My heart tightens as Christmas becomes a memory. Winter sets in and harsh winds blow. The New Year is always difficult for me to bear. Depression seems to loom during the cold months of January and February.

Whether we suffer from life-long clinical depression or something more short-lived, I firmly believe most woman battle the darkness at some point in their lives. We must battle for joy. We must fight for it, clawing at the tiniest fragments. In the depths of blackness, joy seems elusive and unattainable.

Discovering joy in life sometimes requires a choice—a decision to seek it out. Tiny children understand this in ways adults forget. The other afternoon, my two and a half year-old son begged me to build his train track.

After trying to ignore the request for too long, I finally gave into his pleas. The moment I pulled out the box, his joy emanated throughout the house. Dancing and jumping around, he exclaimed, “Yay! Yay! Yay! I so happy! I so happy!” His smile contagious, I put the train track together, grabbed my camera, and laughed.

The simple joys of childhood warm my heart.

The simple joys of childhood warm my heart.

 

Little did I know by giving into his wish, I would be giving into joy. My smile continued even though it didn’t take long for fights to ensue between the conductor and his older sister. As I became the referee, my mind clung to the sweet excitement on my son’s face.

That’s the thing about joy. Sometimes it lifts us up over the dark spaces—gives us enough hope to take the next step. Finding joy doesn’t eliminate pain. It carries us through.

If joy must be sought, where do we find it? Psalm 16:11 says, “You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; in your right hand eternal pleasures.” Joy is found in the presence of our Creator. But how do we actually experience this abundance of delight? How do we access it?

While it is discovered at His feet in worship, I believe God also hand-delivers us moments of joy every day. We must be willing to see it. If our eyes aren’t open, we will miss the pure enjoyment God has to give us. He smiles at us daily, but we must be ready.

Where do you find joy? Everywhere—waiting to be experienced, seen, felt. God’s abundance of joy is in…

the sun peeking over the horizon,
toothless grins of a small child,
the aroma of freshly baked bread,
cold nights under warm blankets,
wrinkled fingers of a grandmother,
chubby arms wrapped around a neck,
smiling friends who understand,
sun-kissed fields of flowers,
butterflies floating across fragrant grass,
a son’s excitement over train tracks,
the places you look for it…

As we enter this new year, challenge yourself to look for the joy waiting to be found. Then do more than make a mental note. Make it a memory. Journal your joy. Take a picture. Post on social media. Make a scrapbook. Write on scraps of paper and fill a jar.

The act of capturing your joy in a permanent form forces a recognition of the gift God is giving you. Gratitude and joy are intertwined, connected. If you will start looking for the moments of joy, you will find yourself searching like never before. And be ready. I promise–you will find those moments.

I will be posting my Journey of Joy on Petals of Joy’s new Facebook page. It would bring me pure delight this year to hear about your own journey. Please share those moments with Petals of Joy. Let’s find Joy together!

 

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5 Responses to Journey of Joy

  1. Leslie broome says:

    Awesome! I will be passing this along for sure!! Happy new year!!

  2. Liz says:

    Love this idea. It will be like the reason I love my kids:)

  3. Polly Pounders says:

    What perfect timing it was to post this and for me to read this! I was feeling down about being alone on New Years, my best friend in Tennessee just told me last night her husband wants a divorce and she’s struggling, so I struggle…But what a wonderful message for me to read and share. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Happy New Year!

    • Polly, thank you for your transparency. I am thrilled you were able to share your friend’s burden and help carry her. I believe that is one reason why God gave us friendships. Happy New Year to you too, my friend!

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