Welcome to our “Living for Joy” challenge!
The whole purpose of this challenge is for us to check our own attitudes, and to start being the joy that we want to see in others. That means two things:
- Choosing to be positive and patient, regardless of the circumstances surrounding us (as best we can!)
- Intentionally seeking to bring joy to others
This might take the form of taking a deep breath before speaking, praying for others, complimenting someone, blessing them in some particular way, etc.
Why I’m Doing This
I have to tell you my story, why I am doing this to begin with.
About 18 months ago I decided what I wanted to happen: I wanted to have another baby. Only, I wasn’t getting pregnant. It was frustrating, especially when all my friends were getting pregnant (seriously, about 20 of us had babies this year). Then I got pregnant and somehow lost sight of God in my life. I felt like I had gotten pregnant outside of God’s will because of my own impatience.
After that it was just a bleak time. I couldn’t find God anywhere and I was angry that He had allowed me to subvert His will — or so I thought. One thing happened after another. There was a lot of illness, Ben’s arsenic poisoning, various other stresses on us. I wasn’t sure why it just kept piling on. I took out my frustration on my family and mostly ignored my friends. I yelled at the kids a lot. I held darkness and anger in my heart because I felt things were so unfair to me. I thought if I pushed people around me that they would magically be happy and do what I wished they would, to make me happy.
Then in the spring, there was a lot of chaos (which I’d rather not rehash) and suddenly some friends showed up and provided me a lot of comfort, much of it coming from the Bible. I knew that God had placed them in my lives to show me that He was still there and bring me back to Him.
Things continued to be hard for several more months and I was still angry at times, but I knew God was there and that He had a purpose for all of this. I slowly became convicted that I needed to be a gentler, better parent. How could I justify sitting there and yelling at my children because they were driving me crazy…when I’m sure I was driving them crazy? How could I tell them to stop getting angry when I was always angry?
This conviction to be a gentler parent led to the realization that I couldn’t force change on anyone, nor bully them into joy and service. Instead I needed to be the change I wanted to see in others. I needed to check my own attitude and strive to be patient and joyful. I need to serve them. And then, perhaps, they would do the same — be patient and joyful and serve others.
Somehow this led to me feeling convicted to specifically spread joy and to tell others about what lay on my heart, which is how this challenge was born. I hardly feel qualified to do this because I still fail to be patient and joyful everyday…I always have bad moments. But it’s on my heart to constantly try to do better and I’m hoping that can inspire others to do the same. Imagine what the world would be like if we all had love and service in our hearts?!
What I’ve Done This Week And Why I’m Happy
Here are all the reasons I have to be happy this week:
- My parents came to visit us…and even watched the children so we could go out for a couple hours!
- Ben bought me new shoes and some new clothes…first I’ve had in a few years 🙂
- I read my Bible twice this week — I am trying to get into the habit!
- I got to go to an Amish store to stock up on pantry goods with a friend…and it was fun!
- Daniel started saying “Jesus killed. Jesus back. YAY! Pay sins.” And he claps when he says yay. It’s adorable.
- Daniel also likes it when I tickle him, and says “Boy butt! Do again.” He talks more and more and it is all just so adorable.
- Bekah earned her vest in AWANA this week, which meant catching up on 3 verses. She did it, even though memorizing and repeating anything is not her favorite activity. We are so proud!
- Jacob continues to be simply adorable and coo and smile at me all the time. And he snuggles with me a lot at night. I treasure everyday, watching him grow.
- Jacob went through a growth spurt and is a big boy…really long. (Easily in his 3 – 6 months clothes, and 6 – 9 isn’t that big…we had to pull it out when it got cold for a few days since the smaller stuff isn’t seasonally appropriate.) Oh, he’s 2 months old.
- Bekah is a good helper around the house, helping me do a lot of chores. We talk a lot while we work, and she is surprisingly insightful sometimes! Like when she said “It doesn’t make sense for you to yell at me” when I got really mad that she and Daniel were fighting. She was pretty much right.
- I get lots of kisses everyday, especially from Daniel. And Bekah calls “longer kisses” (ahem) “married kisses.” I’m good with that idea. 🙂
- I got to have an excellent conversation with a friend…the details of which I’ll keep private 🙂
- Ben scheduled a massage for me last night…which was awesome!
- There were so many more moments that I thought I needed to remember and write down that, of course, I didn’t! But I had lots of thoughts about how blessed I was!
Here are all the things I’ve done to love and serve others:
- Twice I made Ben his new favorite food ( recipe to come in another cookbook), once as a “snack” late at night, just because
- I let the kids eat homemade pumpkin ice cream for breakfast (they got their bacon and eggs later)
- I talked to a friend who needed reassurance (I’ll keep this private too)
I think I need to get better at loving on others! I am trying. 🙂
Now, won’t you join me? Link up your own posts (if you have a blog) about why you’re happy and what you’ve done to love and serve others. Please remember to link back to this post, so that others can read and share in all our joy! If you don’t have a blog, share with us in the comments section!
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