A Lasting Season of Joy

This past month, in my fourth and fifth grade Sunday school class, I’ve been working through a lesson on the topic of joy with the kids. They’ve shared about circumstances that seem unfair and yet they can pinpoint how joy can be found in that situation nevertheless.

For example when a friend breaks a promise, doesn’t keep their word, and let’s us down we can choose to find joy in the fact that God always keeps His promises. He’s the author of the Living Word. And He will never let us down; Psalm 54:4 reminds us that ‘God is our helper and the upholder of our lives.’ People are imperfect and fallible, but when we consider our relationships we can find joy in the truth that God is always trustworthy and capable with us.

Joy, simply put, is finding a way to be happy even when things don’t go your way. As a Christian that type of joy is found through our faith and relationship in Christ.

*Lindsey Van Stelton photography*

This time of year we see the word joy displayed on ornaments and Christmas decor, we hear it belting from department store speakers as we shop, or we sing it out during worship time in our churches. If Christmas were labeled with an emotion, joy would be of the top choices. It’s a word people often times associate with, or even accentuate on, during the Christmas season; however our soul can feel disconnected from the feeling of joy if our lives aren’t instep with God’s will — and honestly, the bottom line is that joy should surround our lives year-round.

Worldly desires and material possessions such as Christmas gifts provide us with temporary pleasure and can cause us to feel happy for a short amount of time. But maintaining a healthy relationship with Jesus each day brings about a lasting rush of inner calmness that settles over us with a blessing of pure certainty and peace and is ultimately defined as true JOY.

Months after the tree is down, joy is the only gift that shouldn’t have lost its luster; it’s the one gift that keeps on giving. The best part is we can take it anywhere and everywhere and when people question us about the joy we wear, not only across our faces, but the joy they notice within our hearts, we get the opportunity to open up and share the Christmas story and the gospel.

Beautiful right?

If joy feels absent, foreign, or far from your feelings dig into God’s word, study scripture on the topic of joy, and humbly ask God for a fresh start at a life filled with unending joy.

…and take it from my wise fourth and fifth grade Sunday school class, ‘just because you may be going through a hard time doesn’t mean joy has to elude you, God can use that trial to produce perseverance and maturity in Him and that is definitely something to celebrate joyfully about.’

Applicable verses:

Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful. -Philippians 4:4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4

Furry Pinball and Faith

My girls spent the past week at church camp with my mom…in return I watched my (special needs) brother for her…and her crazy, wiry, ball-of-fire dog.

**don’t let his cute looks deceive you**

My brother was the easy part, but the dog (Beardsley) exhausted his stay after the first five minutes when he marched into my home like he owned the place and wanted to mark his territory. That was Friday evening.

Saturday he barked most of the day.

Sunday, before church, my husband and son went on a high speed chase after him on foot for 45 minutes; he’d slipped out the door and thinks this kind of thing is a game. In reality the only one enjoying their self is the dog.

Early Monday morning we put Beardsley out to potty and within minutes the neighbor pounded on our door like the police to dramatically inform us the dog was obnoxiously barking…thank you Captain Obvious. Continue reading “Furry Pinball and Faith”

I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 1)

Warning: Sensitive material for some

It’s been eighteen years (today) since my dad died. It’s hard to even put those words together. He’s someone who hasn’t made it easy to ‘just get over.’

When you love someone so much and then lose them, it changes everything.

I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts the story of my dad, but for new blog followers and my own thought process (and anyone else) here we go…. Continue reading “I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 1)”

Summer Update

A little update on our Summer so far:

Nate and I had a great time in Germany visiting our old foreign exchange student. She spoiled us and showed us all over. We were in the north western area (mostly) because that’s where they live, but we did visit Holland aka the Netherlands, Berlin, Norderney Island which is located at the North Sea, and Hamburg. Continue reading “Summer Update”

To My Email Readers

That last post today, about my gray hair, wasn’t actually supposed to post until tomorrow. I’m not really sure what happened but apparently it sent to all my email address subscribers, but never posted to the actual blog. It’s scheduled for tomorrow so you may end up with a repeat (edited) version…good old technology. Continue reading “To My Email Readers”

Eleven-Years of Maternity Leave…and a Giveaway Item

A little early Mother’s Day celebration post…

My husband isn’t really too far off from the truth when he tells people I’ve been on an eleven-year maternity leave.

In 2008, when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter I was working at a small bank and training to be a loan officer. It was a sweet opportunity and I was looking forward to coming back after maternity leave and beginning this new career venture.

But then that tiny little bundle of joy came and five weeks later I carried my new baby girl into the bank to proudly show her off to my fellow bankers, while my bubbly toddler pranced about merrily at my side. I was one week away from maternity leave being up and when they asked if I was ready to come back, I gave them the game changer—I had decided I’d rather handle dirty diapers full-time over dirty money.

Fast forward several years… Continue reading “Eleven-Years of Maternity Leave…and a Giveaway Item”

Even If it’s ‘Silly Yak’ (part 1)

Last week I posted with the celebration of my daughter’s second blood test coming back “normal” after previously learning that the first test was abnormal, with iron-deficiency anemia and weight loss as the key concerns. I blogged about how worried I’d felt over my girl during that time of waiting before we could see the pediatrician to find out what was going on. I struggled in trusting God yet I remained in His word and in prayer. And then after we met with the pediatrician and later received a call saying the blood work came back normal with the second testing I felt like I could finally breathe again.

Here’s what I didn’t mention in that blog post though, because it was never a possibility in my mind, I’d already mentally crossed it off..the pediatrician we saw last week suggested we run an additional test for celiac disease which would take a few extra days to get results back. Meanwhile during that waiting period I had blogged celebrating God’s work of healing with the thought of a clean health status for my girl because the blood results were now good.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the celiac disease term, if not, here’s a quick run down: celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barely) leads to damage in the small intestine and difficulty digesting food. If left untreated it can also lead to other autoimmune disorders and complications…and in the state of California someone probably thinks it causes cancer—that’s my own thought though. (I was born in California so I’m justifying that comment.)

So last Friday the pediatrician called with a spoiler alert—McKenzie’s celiac test results had come back and they were positive…sidenote: Did you know that when you use talk-to-text on your phone to say celiac it’s more than likely going to translate as ‘silly yak’ or ‘silly act’? Just a little random, useless knowledge for you!! Continue reading “Even If it’s ‘Silly Yak’ (part 1)”