Friday, November 20, 2009

I Choose Joy

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:1-3

I love the word "joy." As a matter of fact, if Patrick were to say we could adopt again (after I picked myself up off the floor and had him repeat himself then write it in blood), I would heavily consider the name "Joy." If not for a first name, most definitely the middle.
 Do you know when you appreciate joy the most? During a trial or after a trial or difficult time in your life. The depth of joy can be directly related to how deep the trial or difficult time through which God has delivered you.

My family loves to laugh. We laugh at each other. We look for things to laugh at. Storytelling that makes others laugh is a gift of my daddy's. We find humor in the things our children do like when Pearce got a "C" in conduct for making "gassy" noises on his arm. But there was a time that we struggled with finding humor.

2007 was a dark year for us, but in January of 2008 we had a celebration party rejoicing that God had allowed us to survive, and He worked it all out for our good. In 2007, we had to search for joy, search for something to laugh about, search for humor. Some of the best pictures of 2007 were when Honey (my mom) brought out her "cranial prostheses" (that's fancy talk for "wigs"), and we let the kids try them on. Pearce looked like a blond, Hispanic Starsky or Hutch, and Madeleine and Erin had a ball. In turn, we found ourselves smiling and then laughing.

Something I've discovered about joy is that people are drawn to it. When I walk around with a smile on my face--a genuine smile--for some reason I get asked, "What are you up to?" They want to know how I got that smile on my face. They want to know why I have a smile on my face.

Smiles are infectious. You can't help yourself. If someone smiles at you, you smile back (Your momma raised you with good manners, didn't she?).

 Since starting this women's ministry, more and more women are opening their hearts and sharing their burdens. We are connecting these women to other women to encourage and pray for them. But the bottom line is that joy is a choice. Sometimes it is down-right hard, if not difficult, to get out of the bed in the morning because of all the weight on your shoulders. Sometimes it is difficult to leave that relationship at the feet of Jesus. Sometimes it is difficult to get up and do the same thing day after day feeling unappreciated, unvalued, uncherished. It is then that we have to CHOOSE JOY.

 In 2007, my sister and I surprised my mom with something or someone at every chemo treatment she received. I don't tell you that to pat myself on the back. I tell you that because that was a way we CHOSE JOY. The last chemo session I wanted to find a quartet to go and sing, "Victory in Jesus," but my budget was $0. You know what God provided? A small choir of about 15 people singing praise and worship songs while she received her last round of chemo. Truth be known, before it was all said and done, several nurses had joined in, family members of other patients had joined in, and some of the patients on that ward had joined in. They were making a choice--choice to exercise JOY.

 Whatever your excuse is as to why you don't have joy, throw it out the window. Throw it out! Daddy says, "Excuses are like bellybuttons; everyone has one." Get rid of your excuse and choose joy.

 Joyfully His Daughter,


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