Sadness in a Joyful Season

posted in: Books | 0

It is just 9 days before Christmas, everyone is hurrying around, crossing items off their lists, getting dressed up to attend Christmas parties, and drinking eggnog.  Maybe blaring Christmas music from the ipods and car radios.  Making peppermint bark and addressing those family Christmas cards.

It is definitely meant to be a joyful season – the reason being is that Jesus came to earth as a baby and we celebrate that at Christmas time.

But, what do you if your holidays are mixed with sadness?  This world is full of sadness, and maybe, as you look back over 2016, you realize that your life is more sad than happy, not going quite like you wanted or hoped it would.

Sadness is not a sin.  We see throughout the Psalms (especially) that the writers were sad: they were saddened by the events going on around them.  They were sad because of things happening to them.  They were just sad.  And that was ok.  We need to dwell on what is going to happen with our sadness?  Do we have to immediately dismiss it and never deal with it – no.  We need to think about it, think about why we are sad, maybe get someone to help think through our sadness, and let God have it.  Let Him take away your sadness.

You may be sad because of relationships that are broken.  You may be sad because you’ve lost loved ones over the past year.  Maybe you are sad because you were hoping to share Christmas with a new baby but that baby was lost to a miscarriage.  There is so much sadness.  We need to be mindful of other’s sadness and have compassion on them.

Tanika Fitzgerald, in her book Miscarried Joy, helps point women to the gospel who have suffered a miscarriage, but the truths that she encourages women with would be applicable to anyone who who has been dealing with hurt and needs some help helping your heart.  You need to hear these gospel truths that God is for you, delights in you, and is working in you even through pain.  This season of Advent and Christmas can help you realize that there will come a time when Jesus makes everything sad become untrue (thanks Sally Lloyd-Jones for that one).

You can win a copy of Miscarried Joy and other goodies before Christmas!


Choosing Joy

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Choose Joy

In light of all the hate around us, we can choose joy.  Choosing joy is within us, because the Holy Spirit lives within us.

In the hate-filled world we live in, in which we are raising children, in which we encounter all sorts of situations that are just waiting to dump rain on our parade, we can choose joy.

Joy is not the same as happiness.  Happiness is based upon our circumstances.  Joy is based on something deeper, more abiding, and longer lasting – it is based on the character of God and the joy that He gives because we know that He is supremely in charge.

How can we cultivate choosing joy when so much around us is joy-less?:

  1.  Surround ourselves with pretty things.  Yes I know this is superficial, but if I include fresh flowers, yummy treats that are pretty to look at,my happy smiling boys, together time with my mister, sunsets, and good books – if I include them in my day – those things help fuel a joyful attitude.
  2. Memorize Scripture.  There are so many Scriptures that will help us fuel the joy that is within us.  Romans 15:13 and Isaiah 12:6 are great ones and easy to memorize.  Write them down and keep them in visible places.  (If you want a joy verse handlettered, just hit me up for a custom handlettering job).
  3. Be grateful.  Keeping a gratitude journal or reading books on gratitude will help you as well.  I’ve just started 1000 Gifts and I love Choosing Gratitude.  Such a great help in keeping our minds on the little blessings God has given us.  And these would make great activities any time of the year.
  4. Write snail mail.  Sitting down to write mail to others, and even send little gifts, help me remember why I love people.  I love seeing the best in them, encouraging them, and adding some beauty to their days. If you need some new stationery these are perfect for any occasion (or no occasion at all).

What are some ways that you choose joy in your life?  How you do encourage your friends and family to cultivate and choose joy?

Struggles of Life’s Calling Part 2

posted in: mothering | 0

So, last week I wrote a post that got the most hits ever on this blog about struggling with being a mom.

I wanted to do a follow-up to it, so I wouldn’t leave you hanging.  The last of that blog says to fight for joy.  How do  you fight for joy when you are not liking where God has you in life?

Here are some of things I do – I hope you find them encouraging.  And please, let me know how you fight for joy!

1.  Pray.  And I’m not going to be super spiritual and say that I do that first – but sometimes I do – even if it is a plea to be patient!  Or to be gentle!  God is faithful to hear our prayers!  Pray!

2.  Talk to your husband.  Especially if you are a mom, you need to have an open communication with your spouse.  Was is an easy conversation with my Sweet Mister when I read him that blog I wrote – no.  It wasn’t easy for him to hear.  But, it was so good for him to know.  He is a great listener.  We talked through some things – and believer, this pregnant mamma was crying – but it was good.

3.  Have friends you can be real with and won’t just give you Bible verses and tell you to get over it.  Friends and Christian community is vital to being a mom.  Friends who will listen to you and share their struggles as well and pray with you and tell you that you aren’t losing your mind is something you need.  Be transparent.  And I hope you have a church body or friends that won’t judge you for being transparent.  Some friends in churches around the country have said they don’t have that.  A former pastor has a chart that talks about counseling church members.  He says when they are going through a hard time – the church’s response is to comfort and console – not admonish.  Now, there is a time for admonishment – but most of the time people get that timing wrong.

4.  Get in the Word.  If you are struggling – a great place to go is Psalms.  The Psalms is a real, gentle, transparent book.  And the Word will admonish – but the Word will also encourage and teach.

5.  Choose Joy.  I love the Nancy Leigh DeMoss titles Choosing Gratitude.  It is an amazing find – especially if you are going through a difficult time.  The afternoon I wrote the previous blog post was a good time for me to mentally count my blessings: Elijah, Eric, being a SAHM, having a cute little boy with watery-blue eyes and his daddy’s fine hair.  Whatever you are struggling with – count your blessings in that area.  It will change your mind about the situation!

6.  Take some time off!  I’m blessed to be around folks and my husband who will take Eli and give me a morning off.  I love it.  But, also, having that morning off makes me realize that I love my son and I love being around him.  Call a friend, your mother, a pastor’s wife, somebody!  A mental break is great for any mom!

7.  Do something that takes your mind off of your struggles.  For me, it is writing.  If I want something mindless to do – then I want to play a game on the iPad.  But, I usually like to sit and journal, write a blog, or write something!

8.  Sometimes, even after all that, you may still struggle with the calling that has been placed on your life for being a mom.  But, by the fact that you have children – you are a Mom.  That is your calling!  But, hope in your gospel that you’ve been given through the Cross of Christ.

What do you do that helps you when you are struggling!