Christmas is less than two weeks away! Are you feeling joyous? I’m honored to welcome two amazing friends today as part of the #JoyIsRising series. May their stories inspire thoughts that bring great joy to each of you.
The last two years have been full of some hard things in my life. It is nothing compared to the hurt that is too common in this world, but it’s been hard to me all the same. Ours is a story of unemployment, being underwater in our house, being too far from family, and having a baby (now toddler) that never sleeps. Over those same two years, never have I been so certain that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
In the soul-trembling exhaustion that early parenthood can be, I haven’t found much energy for intentional practices. Peace and Joy are not things I do. They are the way I survive from day-to-day. Thankfully, breastfeeding has afforded me beau coups of quiet prayer time, especially in the middle of the night, that has opened my heart to see the Joy right before me.
All of the things in my life that bring me the most Joy are the ones that I decidedly did not have in my plan. This little life of mine is nothing that I planned or dreamed. It is SO much better! I am chin-on-the-floor in awe of the way God has quietly been working out His plan in my life. Everyday is so full of Joy that I get to live this life. It is impossible to look into the smiling face of my little boy without being reminded of all that is good.
All day long I’m free to be in awe of this gift of life because of the Peace in knowing I can fully entrust my present and my future to my Creator. Silently He orchestrated a life for me that He knew would bring me the most Joy. In this way He built our relationship, and oh so slowly I learned to have Peace that I can trust His plan more than I can trust my own. If instead I were doing my own planning and stressing, I wouldn’t be able to experience Joy.
When the hard stuff of life comes up for a day or a season, I can see past the circumstance into the Joy that is still there everyday thanks to the my relationship with my savior. This time of year where Joy is a focus of the season, it can call glaring attention when it is actually missing from our lives. I pray that you will find your Joy this holiday season too!
Finding Your Joy
Joy is nothing that I have earned or mastered. If I am able to offer any advice for finding your Joy, it would be to prayerfully open your life to God’s plan. Don’t bother making your own plan. Don’t try to solve the problems of life alone. You might be surprised where it takes you, but I am certain that it will lead you to receive the gifts of Peace and Joy this Christmas season and all year around.
For me I have found that Joy is not a carefully cultivated intention, but rather a gift freely given everyday. Jesus is the Joy in this holiday season!
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great Joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke [2:10]-11
Shannon writes about simple living, attachment parenting, and natural birth at GrowingSlower. She is wife to the man created perfectly just for her and is the proud mama to the wild BabyE. She would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+.
Thank you, Shannon! Come back this afternoon to hear Anne Bogel’s story of finding joy in the hard places.