Choose Joy is my mantra. Everyday, the first thing I see is a sign on my book shelf across from my bed reminding me to Choose Joy. When I decided to start a ministry page, it was clear to me, I am created to inspire joy. It is my life’s calling. I am not equipped for this. My genetic makeup leads me foresee all the negative outcomes, the worst case scenarios play out before my mind day and night. I hesitate to embrace good news, waiting for the other shoe to fall. And I have had more then a few shoes fall on my head. I am tested, constantly, in my ability to find the joy. I am not an overcomer yet, this is still not easy, or second nature. But, praise God, I am being refined and renewed.
This Christmas has been difficult for me to find joy in the normal places. I don’t find much comfort and delight in holiday traditions like I normally do. This year, things are different. I cry almost every single day because of the injustice of this world. I cry because the blind still can’t see, the deaf still can’t hear, these people live in darkness and don’t know the True Light. I cry especially hard for my children, living in this broken world, in a society that doesn’t know good from evil.
Christmas is truly my favorite time of year. I love the music, the cookies, the lights, the gathering of friends and family. I love wrapping gifts and giving good and precious gifts to my children. I love our advent traditions of lighting candles, reading about how Christ has always been coming and always will come back. We are expectant, just as Mary was, just as they all were, waiting for the Messiah to come and redeem… I too, am waiting for the return of Christ. Expectant. He is coming. Christ is coming.
I can find delight in the laughter of my children, I can rest in the peace that passes understanding, I have hope that this is not how my story ends, and I pray without ceasing for the salvation of the lost, and the freedom for the captives. I count and recount all the many blessings in my life, how grateful I am.Thankfulness. Gratitude… These are fundamental in changing my perspective. I am thankful for a home to raise my children, I am thankful for clean water, I am thankful for my husband and all he does to bless our family, I am thankful for my many friends that have stepped in to replace family. I am thankful that my dream of completing my degree is coming true in the most unexpected way. I am thankful that when everything around me is crumbling and is trying to take me down, I am thriving. It doesn’t make sense, it shouldn’t be happening, but in every aspect of my life I have peace. Financially, we have peace. Spiritually, I have peace. In parenting, we have peace. In marriage, we have peace and so much love. And finally, after years of counseling, I have peace with my past and the grace to move on. I am thankful that I am forgiven by a loving Father, and thus I am able to forgive others just as freely. It is never easy, but its always worth it and you will be given the grace you need. Day by day, moment by moment. His grace is sufficient for me.
So today, and everyday, I choose Joy. Despite my feelings, my emotions, even my thoughts… I will myself to lean into the Holy Spirit and find the fruit of joy. Will you?