I think this first draft was completed by mid November last year. It just needed a few more edits. Then there were holidays and a few weeks of no internet and then we travelled
Finally, it's post-able!
I remember the guy who exhorted my high school-age crowd to stoke the fire of our hearts in worship. He shared about his wife and how he chose to keep his vows even if he wasn't feeling a flame all burning hot for her. Sometimes because he wasn't feeling that spark, that was his best indicator that it was time to bring home some flowers or new music as a gift specifically to bless her and equally, to reignite passion in him for what he is vowed and committed to: to reignite joy for what he truly does cherish and wants to delight in more.
There are countless, important ways to apply this in life. Out of all the messages I heard growing up in church, for some reason that one little loaf has been a lunch the Lord has fed me with over and over again. It's pretty plain, but He's multiplied it in my life like only He can do.
And I've found myself surprised this fall to find it going farther than I knew, yet again. In worship and in marriage, my vows need to be guarded and guided with intentionality, proactivity. I'm finally seeing that the same blessing is there to be had in motherhood too: a holy and blessed commitment to choose joy and serve up joy for our kids as their Mom.
Grandma and Vivi at the merry-go-round in the park
|Just after the music ended and she had to be pulled off her pony... Exactly the moment when she heard me say, "Vivi, the merry-go-round guy said you can get back on for another spin."|
As I reflected on our time with Grandma and the ever-steady blessing that Grandpa is in our lives too, the blur of memories, fun, gifts, candy, and laundry they left after their visit finally settled into seeing for me a few weeks after they headed back to the states.
Joy is a choice. (Yea, I knew that before... but I see it better now.)
And I want it like a solid ring on my finger, binding my heart and soul to a vow of holy, chosen joy. I want this beautiful thing as the backbone of our home. I want the miracle of joy in the midst of our crazy kid, messy mess. I want it for us and for our kids and for the world around us to see the lighthearted freedom, the laugh at the days to come and laugh at this spilled-milk world, kind of joy living right here, with us.
Tickle tackle in the living room...
|...that ended with a stinky stink bomb out that little, red velvet back-side!|
This isn't just a canned happy feeling, "ignorance is bliss" blindness, and it's not a matter of random acts of kindness or loving yourself enough. I won't have the strength or energy for this most days. But I'm not the Source. Joy is a gift of the Saving God, purchased for us with his own blood. It's why He's commanded us to serve one another above ourselves ( Romans 12:10) so that He can bring it about. Joy is the stuff of His heart and His kingdom.
And joy isn't the first of His fruits... it's listed second to love as the fruit of His Spirit. I'm just thinking that where there is joy, where we're actually living out the Sunday School lesson- Jesus, Others, Yourself- that's going to be when we're living filled by and fueled with His love. Joy shows us that Love is Here.
For us this fall, there's been a heap of joy to be had and even the help of simply aiming for JOY as I've been learning to better pursue my kids individually. This is what Grandma modeled so well. I've had a slim vision for years that my job is to be the party planner and to plan for their joy. Yes. Plural joy is a celebration and I hope we're always ready for that. Generally speaking, I think we've done ok on this part. But to bring it home, bring it deep and singular, for just two of us at a time, personal, that's the joy I'm finding now.
There's a small tribe of these treasures (only four) and yet even in their little plurality they can feel like an overwhelming majority to me. But oh what joy to pursue my kids individually. Hugs and greetings in the morning, snuggles in the kitchen, hand holds and "thanks you-s" and listening long and "hows it going?" I don't want to take for granted that these precious people live in my home! I want to point them toward the joy of giving thanks to the Lord for our moments together, for the blessings and even the skinned knees and the hard lessons too. I so want to treasure these moments here and now with these fast-growing, fast-changing, eternally exquisite lives.