Finding Joy—a Book that was a Blessing

A year ago, I got a plaque that says “Today I Choose Joy” in cute decorative letters on a pale background.

It’s something that I’ve done… well… incredibly badly at.

For the first month or two I did a tolerable job of remembering.

Then we moved. The plaque no longer rested in my sightline. And then Covid hit.

The next nine months I mostly ignored the plaque when I saw it. Then I started to try to refocus and choose joy when I would see the plaque—especially when I didn’t feel like it!

Christmas and new books are almost inseparable for me.

It just wouldn’t feel like Christmas if you couldn’t retreat into some fictional world—with their hosts of problems—and their almost guaranteed answers.

One of the books that I got this year was Finding Joy by Rebekah A. Morris.

It seemed like it would be the perfect story to spark the flame of choosing joy that had faltered and fizzled out so many times in this past year.

I was so excited to start reading—and I was not disappointed!

“Give it to Jesus, Hon. He knows the pain.”

“I did,” it was almost a wail and tears began to soak his shirt.

Zach tightened his arms around her and said quietly, “But you took it back.”

For a moment the sobs ceased. “Wh-what do you mean?”

​“You gave it to Him and He gave you joy, but now you have taken the pain back and returned the joy.

Wow.

I do that. Again and again and again I give God my problems—I lay them at His feet and find peace and joy—and then I wonder where my joy has gone—and totally miss that I’ve taken the problems back on my own shoulders—shoulders that God never intended to carry them!

During a time when it is uncertain what the next day will hold. When we’re separated from loved-ones and trapped by things we never would have chosen—we’re called to find joy. To choose joy.

I would class this book as the perfect Covid read!

Encouraging—challenging—and pleasantly distracting from everything that is going on in our world.

It’s message is SO good!!

This book covers the topic of miscarriages—but it is dealt with discreetly. I would probably say 16+ as the age range—although someone who is not sensitive could probably read it younger.

Definitely a book that I would recommend if you’re on a quest to find joy even in the hard times!

So… I set out again to choose joy.

Even if the world looks dark.

Even if this isn’t the winter I’d scripted.

It’s worth it. I know it is.

If you’d like to take a look at more of Rebekah Morris’ books, you can visit her site www.readanotherpage.com

How are you finding joy right now? What helps you to choose joy on a hard day? Have you ever found your day turn around when you start praising and praying instead of letting the discouragement settle in?

“What if Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops?”

Several months ago I stumbled across a quote that I really liked. It spoke straight into my heart. Then a few days ago a friend passed a song on to my sister―I had never realized that the quote I loved, came from a song!

The first time I heard this cover of Blessings―I fell in love with it! What a beautiful picture of blessings coming through raindrops!!

This week, I’ve been trying to refocus on the blessings―I have been blessed in so many ways… It’s been good to dive into the blessings again. To refocus.

Here are a handful of the blessings that jumped out at me from this past week:

  • A walk through the snow with friends
  • A lovely email packed with good advice from one of my besties.
  • Receiving wedding photos in that email!
  • A friend telling me that she was happy to hear me dump. (Thanks girl!)
  • An incredible writers group who’s quick to jump on prayer requests.

And I better stop before the list gets too long😉

What about you? What blessings were obvious in this past week? What about the blessings that came to you through raindrops?

Choosing Life

Yesterday, the children’s story at church was about fear and faith.

It really inspired me.

It spoke into my life―and into what I needed to hear.

I want to choose faith―to choose life―to trust God, even when following Him is terrifying.

I thought I’d share this picture… it brings hope and peace to me.

Yes, I believe that even the terrifying things can be beautiful when the path we walk is the path that God has chosen!

2020—A Year of Blessings?

2020 was a hard year.

It wasn’t the year that I had all planned out.

I think probably we could all say that. So many things were cancelled. There was so much isolation. So much loneliness. So much fear.

Fear of more cancelations. Fear of more loneliness. Fears that materialized and fears that also proved the root of blessings.

There were so many blessings.

Buried beneath a thick layer of shattered plans—sometimes buried very deep—but they were there. There WERE blessings in the hard times—and I’d like to dive a little deeper into some of the blessings that walked hand in hand with the fears.

Friends

One of the channels that God used to pull me through the rough waves of 2020 was the friends that He placed in my life.

Friends that I jokingly and affectionately started to call my “support group”.

Friends who walked with me through things that were harder then I’ve ever gone through before.

If you recognize yourself in some of the things that I’m going to say—then thank you for all that you’ve done for me.

You were there for me when I needed to cry—and you asked me if I was okay when you could hear me stifling the tears on the other end of the phone. You pushed me when you knew that I was shrinking from what God was leading me to. You told me the truth with honesty and love. You showed God’s unconditional love to me. You just held on tight when I was trying not to burst into tears in the church parking-lot. You cried for me—and in a strange way that helped to ease my pain.

You rubbed my back when I just couldn’t face what I was facing and let me sob the tears out—and then you took me by the hand and prayed with me. You started me on the journey of diving into trusting God.

You walked with me when we couldn’t get together any other way—then you opened your home and let me teach your children. You put in hours talking to me, letting me vent, counseling me, praying with me, and answering my panic emails. I knew that you were always only one message away when I needed you.

You all were there for me in so many other ways… and I don’t even have room here to specifically mention all of you! I wish I did!

I can never thank the group of you enough—you were one of the biggest blessings that God gave me in 2020!

Forgiveness

I have always known that receiving forgiveness was one of the most beautiful things.

I only realized this year that extending forgiveness is equally beautiful.

It is so freeing to extend forgiveness that you haven’t even been asked for—and it is so heartbreakingly beautiful to later be asked for it.

Whatever you may be facing that you need to forgive—I promise you, it’s worth all the work and struggle to get there!

Faithfulness

I can’t even begin to describe God’s faithfulness to me in the past year.

He has held me through so much pain.

When I just longed to feel a friend’s arms around me—and wasn’t allowed to see them because of Covid.

Then God held me—and He held me TIGHT.

He walked through the dark valleys with me. He never left me alone. He was faithful every step of the way—He was there when I felt like I could no longer trust anyone. He heard my cries. He knew my pain. He was EVERYTHING.

Knowing Him makes me almost glad for all the heartache. Because He became real to me in new ways.

He became my FATHER.

The One who I can ALWAYS trust.

Even though I still struggle to put that into practice….

Future

Jeremiah 29:11 has long been a favourite verse for me.

“Plans of hope and a future.”

So often I longed for that.

I prayed for that.

God is giving me a future—I don’t know what it will hold. I don’t know what the struggles and trials will be that will define it.

But recently, God gave me a harbinger of the future that He is writing for me. And that meant so much.

I’m scared to face 2021.

The last few years have held so much pain.

But I’m excited too.

Excited to follow God.

Faithfully Following—That’s going to be a hard motto to hold.

It’s not gonna be easy—but it’s gonna be incredibly beautiful!

When I look back at where I was a year ago—I am stunned by where God has brought me from and what He has brought me through.

Yes, 2020 was a year of blessings—hidden pearls of promise and hope.

I’d like to share a song that has been a treasure of mine on the journey—a symbol of God’s faithfulness!

Choosing to Sing

I have a feeling that this winter is going to be emotionally rainy.

There’s going to be hard points and low points.

There’s going to be days where I just can’t face it much longer.

But there’s going to be Sunlight flooding through the rain.

Sparkling off the raindrops.

Illuminating my world.

I want to capture those Sun-beams—those blessings that God sends.

To capture them and hold them close.

To come back to them on the days when the skies are covered with clouds.

To search for the Light among the raindrops.

To find my Saviour in the broken—and let him bring a song to my lips in the middle of the storms.

Singing in the rain?

I’m guessing I probably won’t feel like singing every day. Maybe I’ll wish that I had never even tried.

But I’m excited to start singing—to let the music of God’s faithfulness fill my soul—and to soar far above the clouds to the World where there is no rain.