Monday, November 26, 2012

Faith, Hope & Love Series {Joy}

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and Christmas right behind it… I’ve been really thinking on this: what is the right perspective on JOY through all the holidays? We hear that word a lot this time of year—we’re told to have joy and be joyful… but, about now in my life, everything becomes whirlwind. There is so much fun stuff packed into November and December that I often kind of find myself reeling and not really able to enjoy the moments. All my family traditions around Thanksgiving and Christmas are so special to me, and give me much happiness—I love them all. But I don’t want it to be just happiness… I don’t want it to be days whizzing by that are just good. I think it can mean so much more.

John 1:16 says “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” And I am thinking that that’s it—that’s the way to have true joy that’s not just a happy feeling. My traditions, these fun things, these happy days—they are blessings— one after another, just like the verse says… and they are from HIS hand, and because of HIS grace.
I think that’s the joy—taking into account WHO joy comes from. And really, I think for me, it’s got to be the key to slowing down the whirlwind and walking purposefully through these busy days. Really, if I don’t fight to remember the Author of joy—the joy found in all this stuff BECAUSE it is from God to me—my kids suffer, my family suffers, the people around me suffer because I’m only looking at finding happiness, not seeing things as gifts from a God who loves me. What do I want to be remembered for— my joy in decorating a tree or making peanut butter cup cookies? These are really good things and I am excited to do them this year again… but I think they can bring so much more joy to my life when I see that their meaning comes because they are given to me from the Giver of all good things—our God. And I would so much rather be remembered for my joy found in Him than in anything else.

Ann Voskamp says this:
"You will be most remembered by what brought you most joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength, and the person of Christ is your unassailable joy. And the battle for joy is nothing less than fighting the good fight of faith. As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible."

Because of God. Because of His gift of His Son who gives us forgiveness, and hope, and love… and joy.

And so, as I jump into the holidays, I am praying for joy. I am praying that the fun things and the special traditions we celebrate will bring joy—not because they’re fun but because they are gifts from the hand of my God who gives me one blessing after another… and because in recognizing the JOY given by Him, I can honor Him. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Andrea lives in Washington state with her husband and their three amazing kids.  She is a full-time mom, a part-time tutor, and serves as a mentor to young women at her church.  In her spare time, Andrea enjoys reading a good book and hanging out with her family. Andrea is also my bible study leader and wife to my youth pastor :)
PS I was planing on posting this last week before thanksgiving but i got busy, so thats why it says thanksgiving is right around the corner. :) 
PSS Im still looking for more writers so if any of you want to that would be wonderful! Just email me at 

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