Friday, November 2, 2012

Finding Joy in This Season of Thanksgiving

Joy is prayer.
Joy is strength.
Joy is love.
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
God loves a cheerful giver.
One gives most who gives with joy.
The best way to show our gratitude to God and people is to accept everything with joy.
A joyful heart is the NORMAL RESULT of a heart burning with love.
Never let anything so fill you with SORROW as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen.
This I tell my sisters. 
This I tell to you.

~Mother Theresa of Calcutta



In this beautiful season that is approaching, all I can think about is joy.
How do we find that inexplicable, lasting foundation, residual kind of joy that isn't taken from our hearts in suffering, hard times, and struggling?
God just keeps imprinting this joy word over and over on my heart.
Joy... light, amiable joy.
Burden lifting joy.
The kind of joy that brings grace.

My sweet, loving Dad has Lou Gehrig's disease.
We found out about 5 weeks ago....and each day his body weakens.

His whole life has centered around his children.
He worked with us, he played with us, I don't think he even had a hobby that didn't include his kids.

My Mom and Dad live two miles away and my kids see them everyday.
My Dad is a retired mechanic and my boys have helped him almost daily with projects.
His calloused hands showing them and guiding them through every mechanical problem to fix.
They are so close and the love that he has for all of his grand kids just makes his sky blue eyes shine.

I hesitated to write, but I know there are so many in tough circumstances right now.
There is joy in suffering.
I can attest to it even though the circumstances are devastating for all of us.
It comes through thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving.
It's an upcoming holiday that we celebrate, but maybe we should celebrate that daily.
Thanking God that He has the strength and knowledge of the future...even though we don't.
Thanking God that he gives us the grace to sustain...even if it is just today.
Thanking Him for provisions and the joy that we have one more day.




Is it ironic that after the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate new birth and JOY?
I don't think so. 

Thanksgiving, gratitude, contentment...you have to hard press for these.
Use them as a blanket to stamp out the ugly feelings of anger and frustration.
Because when you do...and allow your heart to grieve, yet lift it up at the same time as an offering... in a way that thanks God for the wonderful life, the blessings that are to come, the hope that is still very present...then you are open to joy which brings GRACE.
Kind of like a wound that is open to healing.
That is how I feel about suffering.
We are sore and tired and hurt.
Our minds and hearts are wide open to some kind of reprieve.
It comes from being thankful.
Thankful in the midst of pain.
 {Catching snowflakes...first snow.}

Grace means: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification, a virtue coming from God.
Isn't that beautiful? 
A regeneration, a renewal of your heart.
A life that encompasses joy in the good and the bad.
Thanksgiving is approaching and it will be a sweet day for all of us.
Through thanksgiving and gratitude for all that is happening, all that is given, we look forward to that regeneration and finding JOY.
The kind of joy that brings grace...a virtue coming from God.

And grace will flow abundant.


{First snow!}

Praying that we all find that the best way to show our gratitude to God and people is to accept everything with joy.

~Julia


5 comments:

~ko said...

Oh sweet Julia....my heart is so sad to hear that news. Yet it seems that God is moving through it and through you to remind so many of that wonderful lasting joy we can have. I'll be praying for you, your family and especially your father. You display His grace so admirably my dear. Thank you for always being a source of encouragement even through your own heartache.

Mindy Whipple said...

Great post on thanksgiving and grace - even amidst trying circumstances.

Michelle said...

I just want to say thank you. We are going thru some hard times of our own and your post was much appreciated and needed right now.

Barbara said...

Just found your beautiful blog. Sorry about your dad. Life is too short. Glad you can see the gifts in today. There are blessings abundant. Bless you.

Lunsford Family said...

Oh Jules...How many times have you spoken directly to my aching heart. As teens...as young woman...and now as children just praying for a bit more time. Thanks for this...it's exactly what I needed to read tonight. My heart is mending through your reminders. Love you!

Blogging tips