Sometimes the things that bring me the most joy are so miniscule, so completely unexpected that it takes my breath away.
And then there are things that one would think WOULD NOT steal my joy in the least and it sends me into tailspins.
I’m not waxing poetic much this week because I’m spending much of my energies on preparing to leave my family for three days while I attend the Relevant Conference.
Which, of course, is a joy within itself – not that I’m leaving my family (well…) but to have the privilege of attending such a solid, Christian women’s writing/blogging conference. I’m blessed, blessed, blessed and I know it – this girl is quite grateful.
But the thing I’m learning about joy is that it’s absolutely a state of the heart. You can have joy even in the midst of chaos – when life is out-of-sorts and it seems like nothing is in your control (which I have to keep learning is never), you can still have joy.
A changing leaf.
A young baby’s smile.
A beautiful day.
Chardonnay. Chocolate. Cheese. In that order.
This past weekend was a simple, joyful one for our crew. The days weren’t necessarily filled with plans and the weather was astonishingly beautiful and warm.
We hosted our beloved small group at our home Friday night and celebrated a birthday.
We took family pictures amongst the beautiful leaves and rocks of a local park.
We played with friends, ate a yummy meal, and just stayed home already.
The end of our weekend was spent enjoying an unseasonably warm day at the local pumpkin patch that is chock full of stuff to do – so much stuff that it could overwhelm us all, let alone two young boys who weren’t getting naps that day.
But we still had a day of joy.
And I was reminded again of the miracle of all that God provides for us.
Sometimes I think He just delights in watching us have a ball with the things He made for us to simply just enjoy – in other words, God likes to watch us having healthy, righteous fun.
Or being buried in a pile of hay with a pal…
Or just taking a moment to rest on Daddy…
Or walking with Mommy who carries so many of these kiddie water bottles around that I have one permanently affixed to my hand.
As for mommy, sometimes I just like to get out of the house and spend time with my kids, where I am not tempted to fold a load of laundry, or unload the dishwasher, or make a grocery list. To just be given the gift of focused attention and time. To hear their laughs without any other distractions. To remember, really remember, what it was like to be five years old. (Do you see the water bottle in my hand? Told you it was permanent…)
The autumn is the most joyous season to me for so many reasons – the beauty of it all has the ability to slow me down, to make me see the beauty of His splendor.
I was recently reminded of a Biology 101 fact that I had forgotten and I find so riveting – the autumnal colors of the changing leaves are their REAL colors. It’s the presence of chlorophyll in the spring and summer that gives them their green color. In the fall, the chlorophyll is blown off and thus reveals the true color of the leaf.
I’m constantly checking myself to be sure that the chlorophyll isn’t masking my true colors – am I being authentic? True to what I believe in even when it means saying “no” sometimes? Are the things I say glorifying to Him? Do I exhibit compassion to others and do I mean it? Do I really see myself on the same level as the lowest servant?
Today, my gratitude walk of 1,000 things continues…I’m beyond grateful for:
131. Feeling comfortably identified by who I am in Christ and not anything else – and though I won’t lie and say this never rears it’s ugly head, the times are few and I have some good tools in my arsenal to chase it away.
132. Candy corn and peanuts…I must stop but it hurts so good…
133. New pumpkins selected by each child of our family and all three as unique as they are.
134. Listening to my rough-and-tough young boys giggle and squeal in delight as they played with their Daddy on a sunny Saturday…
135. The following dialogue:
Susannah: Mom, I have a question for you.
Me: OK. What do you want to ask me?
Susannah: Mom, it’s serious.
Me: (Gulp.) OK.
Susannah: (Big sigh.) Have you ever been on a secret mission?
Me: (Taken aback and weary since it was indeed 8:30 p.m.) No, I can’t say that I have. Have you?
Susannah: No, but I’m pretty sure we have a secret door in our house. I’m going to go around and push on the walls tomorrow and see if I can find it.
I couldn’t make that one up even if I tried.
136. The wild, wild imagination of my eldest child who only lives in reality for about 10% of the day and I love it.
137. A friend who made dinner for us after the day of pumpkin-patching and my weary bones didn’t have to become wearier.
138. Jumping with my boys in the same friend’s trampoline and giggling as we all fall and bounce back up.
139. Letting others serve me – something I’m not very good at doing but am trying to improve upon.
140. This verse: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.” – Proverbs 14:4
At one time, I was forced to have the strength of an ox.
My abundant harvest is now. What a merciful and graceful God we serve.
And if you are having to pull hard like the ox? Keep pulling. Let your chlorophyll be blown away and allow your true colors to show. Find joy in the here and now, moment by moment. Your harvest is coming.