Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Joy is...

Wow - mid-February already! I am past due for another Joyfulness post!

"[Joy] can take different forms at different times. Joy can be contentment. Joy can be delight. Joy can be elation. Joy can be mirth. Joy can be celebration. But joy is always infections, and joy always begins with a thankful heart...why not strive for an attitude of gratitude?" ~ Cindy Sigler Dagnan, Who Got Peanut Butter on My Daily Planner?: Organizing and Loving Your Days as a Mom (p. 205)

It is amazing to me how such a simple 3-letter word can carry such power! I am finding more and more often that when I choose Joy, it can flip my day entirely upside down! So, in an attitude of gratitude...

Joy is a sleepy morning smile from the baby that kept me up all night.
Joy is the gift of chocolate-covered strawberries for me to enjoy all by myself on a quiet Valentine's evening while my husband is away at an important meeting.
Joy is clean dishes when I get up in the morning.
Joy is a husband who consistently takes out the trash!
Joy is the delight on Kaidyn's face when he sees snow falling on our need-to-be-shoveled driveway (and especially as he tries to catch it with his fingers as we venture out for groceries).
Joy is the warm camaraderie of moms sitting around the living room, together enjoying the chaos of the babies/toddlers life-phase.
Joy is Kaidyn repeating flashcard words as he develops his growing vocabulary.
Joy is watching Kaidyn scribble on his paper, saying "A, little a."
Joy is a snuggling baby when Selah doesn't quite make it to "nap time."
Joy is a good-night kiss, particularly after a late-night conversation.
Joy is the silliness of a 2-year-old as he catapults himself off the couch and into my back.
Joy is a text/photo from my sister and niece, when distance can seem especially difficult!
Joy is finishing a meal, but remaining at the table to enjoy the companionship of the one who is meant only for me.
Joy is bedtime prayers with my 2-year-old.
Joy is a little voice singing along with "This Little Light of Mine" and "Jesus Loves Me," no matter how many times they are repeated!
Joy is finding a new treasure in the Word of God, particularly within a well-read section!
Joy is an impromptu lunch-date, despite the foreboding pre-nap meltdowns :)
Joy is noticing the differences between Chris and I, and appreciating how we have been created unique. 
Joy is the irony of plans made, and plans thwarted!
Joy is the contentment of a peaceful afternoon after a long-suffering morning.
Joy is capturing silly faces on camera
Joy is the anticipation of new life, and a visit with family :)
Joy is witnessing life-change.
And one from a well-loved, dearly departed soul:
"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls." ~ Mother Teresa (Thanks, Kristin, for the inspiration!)

I am finding it increasingly more incredible how God can use something as simple as the word "joy" to speak to my heart, over and over and over again. Have you ever noticed how often a word pops up around you when you choose to focus your attention around a word? Even in the most unsuspecting places...

For example:
Our Senior Pastor spoke a few weeks ago on the parable of the talents (found in Matthew 25). This particular parable has been covered in numerous ways, by numerous pastors, throughout numerous centuries...But! Guess which word is hidden right there in the middle of the parable? Joy!
"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the Joy of your master.'" ~ Matt. 25:21 (ESV, emphasis added)
Ya - never would have noticed that before. I tended to focus on the "well done" section. But the "well done" doesn't just end there. Since we have done well, we are given more responsibility and given more work. And what is our response to this additional responsibility? To enter into the Joy of our Master! We are welcomed into Joy for our faithfulness and Joy to continue in our faithfulness! And the application takes on a whole new light when you see the parable through the perspective of Joy. It is an application for stewardship (my finances, as pertaining specifically to the parable) and responsibility in all areas of my life. I have been especially convicted of showing this faithfulness in my attitudes (Joy) and relationships!
"For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." ~ Matt. 25:29
The master is coming, and I will be held accountable! How am I investing my "talents" (joy, relationships, resources, etc.) RIGHT NOW?

Come, be thankful, be faithful, and enter into the Joy of the Master; begin to infect the world around you! It will change your life - it will change your perspective! You'll be amazed by what you see!

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