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Finding Joy in times of trouble

January 20, 2018

Good Morning.  Or shall I say, afternoon.  How are you?  I hope fantastic, but chances are, you, like me, have stress in your day. 


The government shutdown. 

Getting four kids to cheerleading and basketball games at 8am-ish.

Maybe it's work stress. Maybe it's marriage stress.  Or friend stress.  Or kid stress.  Or money stress.  

Maybe it's all of the above.  


And God says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God." Philippians 4:6


If you are living and breathing, stress almost feels inevitable.  It comes at us in every form, somedays it feels like it's being shot at us with machine gun speed.  Rapid-fire.  Things that we have created for ourselves and things that we have no control over.  


So how to do you find "Joy in the chaos?"


Today I'm going to focus on the "thanksgiving" part and put my faith in God.  For all of the things I cannot control, I must  say, "God - this is for you.  You take this.  Take it and "YOUR  WILL BE DONE" as stated in the Lord's Prayer.  


And in the meantime, I am going to focus more on "thanksgiving."  


For me it looks like this.....


When I came down the steps this morning and opened the living room windows, the sunrise was pink and purple.  Gorgeous!  My two favorite colors just above the white snow.  I took a minute to pause and thank God for the beauty, even pointing it out to my girls. 


I could  have easily missed it. 


Then at the game, watching the way Lukey loved on his baby sister.  Putting his arm around her.  Holding her hand.  Looking up from my phone to notice the mega-watt smile on Carly's face as she was cheerleading with all of the confidence in the world.  God is slowly replacing her super shy side with a more outgoing side and filling her up with confidence.   


For the extra-kind friend who was there at the game to say something as simple as, "You look so nice.  I love your top and pants and shoes."


For the husband who showed up to see Carly cheer, even when he'd worked an off-shift.  


I had to leave Carly in charge of the two youngest kiddos while I dropped Lilly off for her pictures. (Don't worry, there was a grown-up in the house.)  When I came home she said, "Mommy, I read them a book, The Little Blue Truck Leads the Way. And when it was over, I asked them 5 questions and Lukey got them all right!  He knew what a limousine was and a double-decker bus.  Mommy, he's so smart!  Don't you love the way he listens and answers all of the questions?!?!"


"Yes! Yes! Yes! I do! I love the way he listens and remembers and I love the way you are a little momma-bear!"


Had I been distracted, I could have missed that.  I could have taken it for granted.  Instead I paused, I loved on her and him, and I sent up a huge thank you to God for these babies in my life. 


I don't write any of this to brag, or to say, Hey! Look at this awesome family I have, because you know they drive me bonkers in a million other ways, but to say, there is JOY all around.  Right in the present.  Right in front of our faces if we look up.  Put the phone down.  Make a conscious decision to be a joy-catcher.  To pause when it happens and send up a quick, "THANK YOU GOD for this moment in time." 


If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, breath in your lungs, people in your life, a roof over your head, food in your tummy, you have plenty of reasons to have JOY.  If you have little children in your home, oh my goodness, they can be fussy and messy and loud, annoying even, but the JOY OPPORTUNITIES are endless! 


You don't need constant Joy.  That's not possible because you know- life just happens.  But you can have increased JOY just by being more present. In the moment.  Choosing to Thank God for the big and little moments that you have.


I've missed a lot of Joy in my own life.  I was too busy focused on regretting things from the past and worrying about the future. I believe that spending more time living right exactly in the moment that you are in is the only way that you can experience true Joy in the Chaos. 


Now put down your phone, close up your computer,  and GO! Be present!  Ask God to reveal to you all the JOY that he has in store for you today!  Do Not Miss it!  It's everywhere! 

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