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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lessons on Joy

Along the path to the cottage, traveled every day is a seasonal bed of lupines and oriental poppies in the spring, shastas and lemon balm in the summer and in the fall anemone blanda. We clear a space of all but the anemones and soon, always seemingly by surprise the autumn crocus pushes through the ground for its glorious display.

In the blank spaces of life, joy appears, hardly noticeable at first, pushing it's way through the bare soil.  It waits underground often in my life until this time in autumn to make its display.

I have been praying for over a year for joy. "O Lord, open my eyes to see your path of life, the sovereign sight that in your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasures forever more." taken from Psalm 16:12.  Joy began to appear when a friend asked us if we could house Kitty from Shepherd's House last week for 5 days. I was invited to attend one of her talks and when she started to talk about joy, I took notice. I asked it she could see me, so she showed me ways to increase joy through specific cooperative practice.

  • Meet left eye to left eye with people who are glad to see you, (brain research discovered this goes to a joy center).

  • Look at circumstances in a different way - not "positive thinking" nor "Polyanna" but looking back or beyond the present with the help of Jesus.

  • Forming deep relationships with other believers.

  • Being grateful every day, speaking out loud.
I was skeptical because I have always wanted to be myself, neither having a facade or pretending to be someone else,  nor drumming up joy from my own strength, bucking up. When the prayed-for-joy didn't come, I prayed for wisdom regarding joy  and this week  when Kitty came, the Lord said, "Here are my answers to your prayer for joy."

"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full." John 15:11  (ESV)
Now I have a way to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.." James 1:2 (ESV)
Thank you LORD for your unfailing love.