Thursday, December 8, 2011

To Choose Joy

It seems like "having joy" should be easy this time of year. Ya know--"Joy To The World" and stuff like that. But the longer I'm home from Africa, (it's been almost 3 weeks!) the more I'm realizing that joy isn't "abounding" for many people around here--myself included. 

We're one of the richest countries in the world, and yet I'm finding that I sensed more joy in the small, smelly, mosquito-and-disease-infested corners of Kenyan slums than I'm finding at Starbucks and Target as I watch people wield all sorts of worldly goods in their carts that most of our friends in Kenya wouldn't even understand the use for, let alone have the resources to purchase. That was a run-on sentence. 

Where's the joy?  Well for me, the joy has been a little hard to come by as well. And then tonight, as I was contemplating our situation--my husband and 2 of my children sick, no insurance, an E.R. bill, our CA trip postponed to have $600 worth of work done on our van today, tough family situations, etc, etc, I remembered something that I wish I would quit forgetting. 

Joy has to be chosen. 

It has already been offered in the form of a Baby, born to give us Life. I choose it. 

If people in the far corners of the world's most poverty-stricken countries can chose joy (and I've met some of them), then I can too. If my Kenyan friend Gladys, with HIV, no food in her (mud-hut) home, and no one to take care of her can chose joy, then I will. 

In sickness, financial stress, car trouble, holiday traffic, dysfunctional families and botched Starbucks drinks . . . I chose joy. It's mine for the taking. Pure, unaltered Joy To The World. 

"May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him . . ." Romans 15:13


  1. Amen Sister! God led me straight to your blog this first I wasn't sure why....after reading...I know just want He wants from me. Thank you! Praying for you guys and your readjustments. I am so sad we were not able to reconnect in AZ during was a crazy trip...for many reasons.

  2. Hi Schmame... I'm steadily getting through Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" which I know you've read.... Recently I read the chapters, Go Lower & Empty to Fill.

    Hope these droplets of wisdom bring some much-needed JOY (Living Water) in your life today!....

    ~ Awe.... awe ignites JOY because it makes us bend the knee.
    ~ To receive God's gifts, to live exalted and JOY-filled, isn't a function of straining higher, harder, doing, more, carrying long the burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra-saints. Receiving God's gifts is gentle, simple movement of stooping lower.
    ~ I can bless, pour out, be broken... and never fear that there won't be enough to give. Eucharisteo has taught me to trust that there is ALWAYS enough God.

    Love you Most, Loop