My Journey to Joy

May 25, 2013

Ambrose Redmoon on Courage

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“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the
decision that something else is more important than fear.”  ~Ambrose Redmoon:

March 2, 2013

Francis Chan on Joy

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“Joy is something that we have to choose and then work for…It needs cultivation.

When life gets painful or doesn’t go as we hoped, it’s okay if a little of our joy seeps away.  The Bible teaches that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficult seasons of life…

…true joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God.”

~Francis Chan

February 7, 2013

1 Year

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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This Saturday my baby turns one year old!  I really can’t believe it.  I look through pictures and wonder “where did that chubby, cuddly baby go?!”  Little man has decided to start walking this week.  I’m caught somewhere between being crazy-proud of him, and nostalgic that it’s going by so quickly.

I’ve been reading his birthmom’s bio today.  Wondering how long she spent answering all of those questions!  And being thankful that she did.  We haven’t met yet, but those sheets of paper give me a little window into seeing who she is.  I want to protect her privacy, but I really wish I could share with you what an amazing person she is!  I wish I could tell you what little I know of what she’s like.  I guess “pretty awesome” will have to do.  (That’s my description of her, anyway!)  I think it’s so cool to see what we have in common in personality, preferences, and even physical characteristics.  I hope someday we can become friends.

I’ve been reading the files from the hospital, too.  Thanking God again for how He had his hand on my baby, before I knew he even existed.  Soaking up little details that I only know from those records.  So thankful to have this piece of my boy’s history to share with him as he grows.

I have a party planned for Saturday.  I’ve been planning it for months.  I’ve scoured Pinterest, bought supplies, borrowed cake pans and stuffed animals, purchased gifts, ordered a custom t-shirt, planned a fun menu, and generally had a blast.  Saturday we’ll celebrate our precious gift from God. 

But my heart is breaking, too.  Will you pray with me for our birthmom?  I can only imagine what Saturday will feel like for her.  I’m praying that she will feel an absolute certainty that she made the right choice for her son.  I’m praying that God will comfort her heart, and surround her with friends and family.  I’m praying that she knows, really knows, how much we love her boy, and how grateful we are that she chose adoption.  I’m praying that she knows we love her, and that she is so special to us.  Most of all, I’m praying that she knows how much God loves her.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!   I John 3:1a

October 20, 2012

Chris Clark on Joy

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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God created us with the capacity to choose the joy our circumstances don’t merit.  ~Chris Clark

August 29, 2012

Sheila on Choosing to Walk toward Joy

Filed under: Shared Findings,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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…Perhaps one of the reasons that so many of us feel perennially dissatisfied and out of sorts is that we have failed to learn the lesson that this woman embraced: we need to make choices to fill our lives with good things, rather than bad things. And why don’t we do that? Because we’re essentially lazy. I feel so much better when I cook a good meal than when we order take out. We eat better. We sit around the table. And I get to cook—which I actually enjoy doing. But when I’m busy, and I don’t have time to grocery shop, I take the lazy way out. And I never feel good about it.

When I knit everyday for at least half an hour, and have a creative outlet, I feel better. When I veg in front of movies because I’m tired and don’t have time to hunt around for needles, I don’t.

The things that bring us a sense of accomplishment, purpose and joy tend not the easy things in life. They’re not the flashy things, or the trendy things, or the default things. They’re things that require effort and planning. And that’s why we often avoid them.

Everyday we make little choices of what we will do and how we will spend our time. Those choices define who we are and what our priorities are. That once spurned woman chose joy, and it changed her perspective on everything. I wonder if we, as a culture, will ever turn our backs on the things that rob us of purpose and even humanity, and again choose the things that feed our souls. Perhaps then we’d stop feeling so melancholy, and start feeling alive again.

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/08/choosing-joy/

August 2, 2012

Easy

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I can’t remember when I’ve been so happy.  I laugh, many times each day, at my son’s adorable antics.  I smile when I see people succumbing to his charm.  My heart ( and my eyes!) well up with thankfulness just looking at him.  It’s easy to be joyful.

Our family has a creed: Trust Completely, Live Joyfully, Serve Authentically.  Right now those first two are easier to follow than ever before.  We wrote it when they weren’t.  I remember the hard joy.  Years of reminding myself that I had my God and my salvation, and that was reason enough to be joyful. 

 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  Habakkuk 3:17-18

Nathan’s birthmom will not hear him giggle today.  She won’t hear him snore while he naps, or feel his velvety cheek as he snuggles in for cuddles.  She won’t smell his delicious baby smell or see his dimple when he smiles.  I pray she finds Jesus, and the hard joy.

I pray the hard joy for my friend Mandy today.  She’s burying a child this week for the fourth time.  Her precious daughter only had half the time she needed in the womb.  So wanted, so loved, and gone so soon.  I pray she remembers her joy, even while she grieves. 

 Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. — Henri Nouwen

I am so thankful for this happy time in our lives.  I have felt so much relief as prayers have been answered and dreams have come true.  My emotions feel great, but I realize part of what makes this all so special is what we came through to get  here.  It won’t always feel this way.  I plan to enjoy it to the max, but I won’t give up my joy when things get tough.  As Jon Piper says, I will fight for joy!  Be it easy or hard, I choose joy!

I choose joy… I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.  ~Max Lucado

May 3, 2012

Glimpse

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I like to plan ahead. It makes me feel “in control,” I feel that I can do a better job, unexpected problems can be solved…  I don’t always do it, but I like it.  🙂 

When we decided to adopt, we told people in a certain order.  We painted and set up a nursery (with items I’d been collecting for over ten years!).  I made a file box with colorful folders for our adoption paperwork.  I read and thought and shopped and put together a gift for our birthmother.  I made a list of last-minute items to purchase, people to call, and stuff to take to the hospital (if necessary).  I read books about adoption and parenting.  Still, I feel so unprepared…

We’ve put a lot of prayer, thought, time, and resources into preparing for our child/children.  But we also want to prepare for the future.  We’ve talked about college funds and weddings.  We’ve spent a lot of time talking and praying about whom we should put in our will as guardians, if something should happen to both of us. 

Today, I was again mentally going through a list of our friends and family, who happen to be some of the finest people on earth.  And none of them were what I wanted!  “They’re so loving, but a little lenient… They raised wonderful children, but they’re all little older now… They love Jesus so much, but could they financially handle another child?… Would they love my child as much as theirs?… Would they ensure my child gets the education and special services he/she might need?” 

Out of all of these exceptional people, I don’t want to entrust my child to any of them!  And it hit me…how must a birthmother feel?  I know these people, I’ve seen their lives, I have faith and confidence in them.  I’ve been around them for years.  I know their quirks, how they react, and their strengths.  Birthmoms get a few pictures and some words in a little book.  (If that!)  Sometimes they get a photo and a letter.  To choose forever.  I’ve had a glimpse, but I really can’t imagine…

April 18, 2012

Crisis Point Decisions

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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To me there is a great similarity between physical growth and spiritual growth. At least there has been in my case. Physically we arrive as little babies and have to be nurtured and taught, but then comes adolescence where we can accept and trust what we’ve been taught, test it out and see if it’s true, accept it into our heart and live by it; or we can reject advice and the way of truth and go our own way, do our own thing. If we choose the path of trust during adolescence and correct and change any faulty behavior and thinking that we may have had, then comes developing maturity where we build on our choices and upon what we’ve learned.

Spiritual maturity seems a lot the same. After conversion, we are babes in Christ and have to be taught. At some point though, we go through adolescence–some sort of crisis where we can choose God’s way or we choose to trust and follow our own emotions and feelings! During that time, if we choose God’s ways, we realize that He IS trustworthy. He does always speak truth!! After that crisis, we turn the corner toward being a genuine mature trusting Christian.

Are we satisfied being a superficial Christian or do we really want to know God–beyond our feelings!!  ~Cathy Parker

http://ajournalofthejourney.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/similarities-between-physical-and-spiritual-maturity/

February 1, 2012

Because She Chose Life…

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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http://www.focusonlinecommunities.com/blogs/Finding_Home/2012/01/23/because-she-chose-life

November 3, 2011

Practice

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 12:16 PM
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I few weeks ago, I asked my small group a question: “Does it get easier?”  It seems like so often I’ve fallen into a pattern.  God does something/asks something of me, then I “react.”  I’ve promised to always submit to Him, and obey His will, but so often I struggle with His plan.  I worry, argue, and try to understand for several days before just saying “okay.”  This is exhausting!  I know there is something better, because I’ve seen it lived out!  Those people who say “whatever God wants” and mean it…that’s who I want to emulate.  But how?

Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Mark 9:24

Practice.  I’m so far from where I want to be, but I can see a difference.  Every time I choose to say “yes,” I’m practicing.  Forming a habit of agreeing with whatever God has for me.  Intentionally.  Through tears, gritted teeth, whatever it takes.  I will bend to His will.  Over and over.  Again and again.

 Mt 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done…

I was talking to a friend the other day, and he mentioned how the best athletes don’t think about each move.  They’ve done each step so many times that it becomes instinctive.  It clicked.  It’s not a matter of being some sensational Christian with an unhuman lack of self-preservation.  It’s choosing to believe that God does know what’s best.  And then choosing to believe that God does know what’s best.  And then choosing…  Over and over.  Again and again.  Practice.

James 1:3 …because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

I may not be destined for the saintly major leagues.  But if I keep practicing…doing the next right thing…and working out my faith muscles, I know He’ll take care of the results.

Romans 5:3-4 …we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

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