There are many joy-bringers in my life. For instance, I love…curling up with a good book, drinking coffee with friends, reading and writing poetry, watching the sun set, sniffing sea air, laughter, company, solitude, connecting, meals with friends and family.
Some of these are easily achievable now, others must wait for the right timing. What it comes down to is that while I derive great satisfaction and pleasure from many little things, and enjoy tremendously having a creative writing outlet, it is relationships that provide me with the greatest joy and pleasure.
I delight most in family and friends, knowing and being known, loving and being loved. God’s purpose is for us to be in relationship with one another and primarily with Him.
In thinking about Holley’s question this week:”What brings you joy, especially when it comes to your God-sized dream?” I have been considering an aspect of joy that doesn’t easily come to mind. Like this verse:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” ~ James 1:2 – 4
Really? in trials? How is that possible? We can be so downcast by our concerns that despair takes over instead. The natural reaction is to be upset, discouraged, angry even. God may be in control but we feel anything but. Too much pain to even think straight. This is joy – but not as we know it. It is evidence of Holy Spirit’s presence in our hearts:
“Joy is not gush. Joy is not mere jolly-ness. Joy is perfect acquiescence – acceptance, rest – in God’s will, whatever comes. And that is so, only for the soul that delights in God” ~ Amy Carmichael
God-shaped joy transcends circumstances – it is mysterious, wonderful and liberating.
When our circumstances are far from joyful, we can discover it afresh in recognising how we are held, kept, strengthened and comforted in our hour of need.
His presence is what stabilises our see-saw emotions and gives grace to cope just one more day, then the next, and so on, and provides the means to endure or overcome.
“Some of God’s best gifts must be unwrapped in the darkness. Think of your last major trial. What “good thing” did the Lord slip into your hands in those difficult days?” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada ‘Daily Devotionals’
The joy we have is in casting our cares and burdens on the Lord, safe in the knowledge He is dealing with them and granting us grace to rest easy.
The prayer below is written to celebrate what brings me joy on my God-sized Dream journey and life in general.
Joy Is..walking with Him
It seems strange to think that our afflictions can be joy-bringers.
Yet I know, that without mine I would lead a selfish, disconnected life and be all the poorer for losing such deep, need-driven, daily dependence on your grace and mercy.
For, in love, You have given us joy in knowing You, joy in living with Your constant presence, and joy in the persevering, enduring and overcoming of our pain and sorrow.
We are made to dream big dreams, to believe for the impossible,
to see Your hand at work bringing life from what seems dead.
This year, a dream was laid on my heart. I have dared to hope for a life beyond the everyday and ordinary.
A seed of hope has been sown, liberally watered by the encouragement of those who accompany me on this journey. Their interest and support have helped the fragile seed to grow.
You knew I lacked the courage to walk this path alone.
You knew I would give up without a word to cheer me on.
You knew my fears and failings would make me falter.
My weakness would make me wilt.
My pain would bring a halt to participating.
And You gave…as You always do… liberally, freely, graciously.
You gave me sisters in solidarity,
hope in hearing their own hearts beat to a tune of Your choosing,
peace in pursuing purpose,
strength in sharing,
courage in creativity,
all helping me to be here now –
still walking in faith, still writing,
still living and believing for great things to come.
For You are a Rewarder of those who diligently seek You.
And that’s my goal, day after day, week after week, month after month;
for the Giver of all good gifts does not disappoint us.
You created this journey, set us on the path, walk with us every step of the way,
and hold out hands to guide toward the finishing line where a great crowd of witnesses will greet and cheer. For all these things and Your many mercies we thank you.
“When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because it adds fuel to the other’s flame” ~ St Augustine
My fellow God-sized dreamers have brought me joy in the sharing, caring, encouraging and supporting. With Holley setting us a weekly task I have been able to get into a rhythm of regular blogging on a specific subject and that’s been a great discipline and challenge.
We would love you to join us and share your own journey with God this year.
What brings you the most joy in your life?
Are there positive steps you could take to increase your joy levels?
Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog and hopping over from Holley's! I was like you tempted to buy that book after reading excerpts and positive review! I am a avid reader also. Your post was super…I had a very frustrating and stressful morning after my blog entry…so to read yours was a lift. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" ~ James 1:2 – 4 Perfect.
Thank you, Jennifer. I really appreciate your kind comment. You were the nearest blog to mine over at Holley's so I wanted to hop over and encourage you. In the process you have been encouraged too! Isn't it wonderful how God arranges these tiny details to bless us? Stay blessed and encouraged in Him as you continue the journey:)
Dear Friend, you did it again. You must have spent days writing. There are so many people that need to hear what you have to say about our Lord, and how He makes our lives better in all circumstances. I am honored to be your friend. And I am truly in awe of your talent and how God is using your gifts, and your kind and gentle spirit.Love,Debby xxoo
Well I am grateful for having a week to do things in stages! My mind doesn't always co-operate swiftly. Thank you for the lovely encouragement, Debby. I am honoured to be your friend too. Your support means a lot to me. Bless you, dear one 🙂 xx
As your post says Joy is… walking with Him! I am so blessed to know such a positive, uplifting sister in faith as I seek to stay on the right path, single minded for Christ.
And I am blessed greatly by your encouragement and friendship, Mandy. We seek to lift and support one another on the journey. Love and peace to you :)xx
Joy you are a poet at heart. Your words are soothing and inspiring…your prayer in magnificent. "Some of God's best gifts must be unwrapped in the darkness. Think of your last major trial. What "good thing" did the Lord slip into your hands in those difficult days?" ~ Joni Eareckson Tada 'Daily Devotionals'I love this quote and I see it written all over through out your post. You know what this means because you live it. After the storm, comes the rainbow. The wonderful thing is that even in the eye of the storm, you are crowned with rainbows. God bless you and your writing! You have a wornderful story to share!Love and Light,Katina
Oh, thank you so much, Katina. My life has been greatly inspired by Joni Eareckson's walk of faith, personal journey with painful circumstances and her wonderful books. She is an author I turn to time and again. I do indeed inhabit those dark places more often than I want to. Yet they are the very spots where God's light shines the brightest. The rainbow colours our lives as it invades the grey. I really appreciate your kindness and encouragement. Bless you! :)xx
'You knew I lacked the courage to walk this path alone.You knew I would give up without a word to cheer me on.You knew my fears and failings would make me falter.My weakness would make me wilt…..'Oh yes. Wonderful, inspiring post, Joy, at exactly the right time, once again. I'm walking right with you.
Dear Helen, we share another of those glorious God-incidences again! I marvel afresh at His perfect timing. Thank you so much for the encouragement. Walking beside you too, sister. Blessings ❤ xx