Tuesday, November 12, 2013
LIVING WELL: JOY IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE
- Ann Voskamp // 1000 Gifts
This year, the girls in my Bible Study group read 1000 Gifts together. For whatever reason we were kind of expecting something a little light and fluffy, but to our surprise we found it to be incredibly uplifting, insightful, honest, and deep. One of the biggest phrases that caught me in the book and stuck with me throughout the entire read and even now, was "joy is always possible". I love, love, love the quote above from the author. It's just a little snippet of her poetic writing style, powerful words, and beautiful imagery.
Reading this book came at an extremely perfect time in my life. It hadn't been long since Jon and I found out we were pregnant, we decided to pack up and move into a home of our own, many friends were going through serious trials in their lives, and my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Happy things, sad things. It was a challenging time for us, it was also extremely emotional. I've usually been one to maintain a level head and express my emotions in a healthy way. When I'm happy I laugh, when I'm sad I cry, when I'm upset I vent and communicate. For some reason, and I'm thinking it definitely had a lot to do with the increased hormones from the pregnancy, I took that season of life extremely hard. I had a hard time wading through my emotions, feeling relief from the crying, and feeling completely overwhelmed. I knew there was purpose, I knew their was joy to be had and I knew that God could use any and all circumstances for good and for his glory. It was just difficult to see that through the fog of my human nature.
Reading through the book was such an amazing reminder that happiness and joy are two different things. It made me want to see life more fully, appreciating even the smallest things. It reminded me to seek joy and seek it through thankfulness. It also intensely motivated me to see God's grace through pain and still find joy. I honestly can't do the book much justice. It would take too many fancy words and that's not really my gift, but I definitely recommend picking it up for some quiet time with a cup of coffee, cocoa, or cider. :)
All that to say, the exercise of continually trying to be thankful and seek joy has really been a beautiful practice over these past couple of months. It's helped me to especially treasure this time as my mom goes through treatments. Instead of feeling the burden and sadness from her diagnoses, I feel joyful for the opportunities I'm having to care for her the ways she cared for me as a child. I feel thankful for our growing relationship, for our conversations, for our cuddles, for bubbling with joy over the soon arrival of Soren. I'm seeing the beauty within the circumstance, I'm finding strength in it and above all, finding strength in the Lord. No matter what happens, I will wholeheartedly treasure this special time.
If you're in a reading mood, I would also suggest taking a look at Ann's blog. It's fabulous and has so many insightful posts, I especially loved this one about staying sane. Love you, friends! I hope all of you are having a wonderful week.
Photo via A Holy Experience.