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Joy thief……

February 18, 2011

i came to a disturbing conclusion this morning during my devotions…..I am a joy thief.  I am the one responsible for my joy being stolen when things get tough.

i was reading One Thousand Gifts this morning, and Ann pointed out that we can choose joy.  this wasn’t an enitrely new concept to me, because i’ve heard many times that joy is a choice. 

Ann says,

“While i may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.”

i can think back to many situations even this past week when i have given into complaning rather than thanksgiving.  when i have allowed my pride, my desire for EASE, to cause me to spew out ugliness rather than words of thanksgiving.

i wonder…. how would my parenting look if i replaced the complaining with prayers of thanks for these kids? 

if, when i hear those same two kids going at it AGAIN, i were to whisper a prayer of thanks for the opportunity to point them to Jesus, rather than complain that i’m dealing with this AGAIN…..what would that look like?

what if, when one child comes to me sharing about a disagreement with another sibling, i gather those two children together and we pray and ask God for wisdom rather than mommy trying to find the right words to work it out?  what would that look like?

wouldn’t that be choosing joy? 

wouldn’t pointing them to God, to the cross, be pointing them to the Source where true Joy comes from?

this is what i want.  i want my parenting to be completely changed by joy.  by me, the mommy, showing my kids that true joy comes from dying to self and loving others the way He first loved us…..

i’m ashamed to admit that too often, i fail to bring God into my parenting.  when i’m working out a conflict with my kids, i can tend to remind them of the “right” way to work it out, but i fail to bring them to Jesus.

when i think of how hard it is for me to remember to pray without ceasing, to come to God throughout my day and allow Him to guide my steps, how amazing it would be if i could teach my kids that right now, while they are young.

this is what i want…this is what God has been up to in my heart. 

He has been showing me, changing me, little by little that all of life is about Him… marriage, my parenting, my friendships.  it’s ALL about Him.

so, as i walk through this day, when i am tempted to grumble, i want to choose joy.

“Only self can kill joy.”  that’s what i read this morning in Ann’s book.  but after that, she gives this sweet and true reminder:

Joy is a flame that glimmers only in the palm of the open and humble hand.  in an open and humble palm. released and surrendered to receive, light dances, flickers happy.

The moment the hand is clenched ight, fingers all pointing toward self and rights and demands, joy is snuffed out.  Anger is the lid that suffocates joy until she lies limp and lifeless……

The demanding of my own will is the singular force that smothers out joy—nothing else.

God is using this book, One Thousand Gifts to teach me so much about myself…about the condition of my heart….and i am so thankful for what He is doing.


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