JOY: Two weeks of awful, followed by a week of after-thought

So as a disclaimer, this post is going to get super deep and emotional for me.  Lots of sadness followed by a joyful ending.  I just want you to know that before I (and maybe you) proceed.

First and foremost, I have always wanted to write.  I express my feelings best when I write and express them more clearly, especially when I am trying to tell someone how I feel.  Actually, I remember doing this with my cousin back in my elementary days.  This is the first time I have shared publicly.

Anywho.  Let me write out a timeline for you.  The first week of June.. a pretty intense time for me.  I went through a really hard time, personally.  I am not really prepared to share that piece of me, but it was important to note, because it was a very sad thing that happened.  The second week of June, I reached out to my friend, Jamie, of JME Potraits, and that’s the last time (of course, unbeknownst to me) I would talk to her.  She helped me to sort out my feelings and helped me to understand the situation I was facing.  I didn’t tell her that day that I talked to her how much she helped me… but I wish I had.  The third week of June, I find out my dear friend has passed away due to a massive aneurysm of the brain.  She met Jesus after 32 short years on this earth, and left behind 5 beautiful babies and a phenomenal husband.  Sadness, like I said, in the beginning of this post, but if you’re still reading, I am grateful for you.  And I am excited to share the joy (maybe I have been desperate for joy in these times, so I am more aware of it?).

Finding JOY in God’s presence.  It’s indescribable.  Trust.  Obedience.  Love.  Hope.  Love… oh sweet love.  Jesus gifted us the gift to love and the fiercest of our love pales in comparison to His love for us.  How joyful it is to fall so short of the glory of God but yet still be so loved.  Crazy good.  That’s how that feels.  As a side note- Jamie listened to a lot of contemporary Christian music and it inspired me to listen to it also, and man, that’s some serious JOY in a long car ride.

Finding JOY in my husband and in his absence.  He is so missed by us.  He works so hard for us.  He is goofy and I am one of the only ones to see that side of him.  He gave me a piece of him.  How joyful that is to have a piece of someone you treasure so much.  His goals are motivating.  He is ambitious and I am so over joyed to be able to sit back and watch him reach his goals.  Joy.

Finding JOY in my kids. My daughter… oh man, does she make me laugh.  She’s a sass through and through.  There’s never been a single person who doesn’t smile upon meeting her.  How incredibly inspiring it is to watch her touch so many people’s lives in her 1 short year of this life.  She will be powerful and influential.  I pray she recognizes this and uses it for good.  And kindness.  Kindness.  Oh how joyful kindness is.  And my son, be still my heart.  My little mini me is one of the most brilliant children I have ever known.  His dependence on me is fleeting, yet so touching.  He will move mountains.  He will be something.  He will be something AMAZING.  How joyful to already see that in him.  Fleeting… these moments will be over in a blink of an eye.  Finding joy (even in the most trying times) is a reward.  One I won’t ever take for granted ever again.

Finding JOY in those who love me, most specifically my family and close friends.  I am worthy for people to love.  My family and friends choose to give me a piece of their heart and make a home for me in it.  That is priceless.  Irreplaceable.  Safe.  Happy.  Joyful.  THE BEST part of my earthly life.

Finding JOY in the most quiet and unannounced places.  Quiet.  Yes quiet.  Though I love my children so incredibly much, quiet is a very joyful place for me. It’s where I feel God’s presence the most and I bask in all that beautiful.

Finding JOY in your job.  Man, I have found some serious happy in my job(s).  I used to be so frustrated about waking up and working.. and I felt the need to be selfish with my time… and fretting over going to work.  How fortunate I am to be working.  How fortunate am I to create, hear, and see the love of so many families!!  I DOCUMENT LOVE FOR A LIVING.  I mean, how much better could it get?  And in my other job, my boss believes in ME.  Speaks highly of my motivation, drive, attention to detail, tenacity, and undaunted work ethic.  Those are words someone (who  I love dearly- he’s my step-dad) has said about ME.  How encouraging.  How joyful someone feels that way about me.

Finding JOY in the everyday things… and those who, maybe, I took for granted before sadness hit me like a ton of bricks.  Gym time.  Oh gym time.  My sanity.  My saving grace.  Meeting new people, welcoming so much good in my life.  Building my confidence to levels I didn’t know possible.  Being extremely insecure as it is, this is life changing.  I won’t take this treasure for granted again, or the people that made it possible.

Finding JOY in the kindness I see everyday.  Finding JOY in helping others…even if it means to just help an elderly man to put groceries in his car.  I felt so overwhelmed with joy when he told me my husband should give me an extra kiss tonight for helping him.  And then my heart ached for my husband… but then I was excited that I had another chance to talk to him.  Some people don’t have those chances again, and I find JOY in the hope that I will be able to tell those that I love how much they mean to me.  If I get annoying with my texts… I am sorry.  I just need to tell you how much you mean to me.

Finding JOY in someone telling me how pretty I am.  Man, do you know how good that feels?  I have never thought of myself as “pretty.”  And to hear someone say it to you on more than one occasion is very joyful.  As a woman, I feel like we all want to feel and be pretty, so when we do feel pretty, how joyful.

Finding JOY in making up with friends, making new ones, seeing the good in people.. turning bad into good.  Building relationships with people, love.  Oh to love.  Having the ability to love and to give love.  How joyful.  How incredibly lucky I am.

To everyone… who is kind to me.  Who reaches out.  Who expresses their need for me… their love for me.  To my mother, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brother, my parents in LOVE, sister and brother in law, my sweet niece who made me an aunt for the first time, my friends, co-workers, past co-workers, clients, I am grateful for you.  My sister’s pretty-much-husband, my sister’s boyfriend.. you have been kind to me.  You have touched my life.  You love my kids.  You support me, you love me.  You bring so much JOY in my life. <3  Thank you.

If you’re at the end of this, I hope you find joy in everyday.  I have been overwhelmed with joy in the last few weeks.  What a gift it is to stop and search for it.  And then to find it.  It’s amazing.  I encourage you to seek joy.  It’s there.

****Photo Credit**** http://myfourhensphotography.com/