Five Minute Friday – Happy

Five-Minute-Friday-4-600x600Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted… and that is wrong and sad. Fittingly, today’s Five Minute Friday word is Happy… and that’s just how I feel about posting again!

First of all… I’m excited about the release of a new book that many of my favorite writers are raving about. AND, Jennifer Dukes Lee has an awesome website… where you can take a Happiness Assessment (to see what kinds of things make you happy). Fun and free and well marketed šŸ˜€ I bought the book. And, I learned that I’m an Experiencer. Which, according to the description, is spot on.

Alright, on to FMF!

I think Happiness is something Jesus-followers often skim over. I mean, it’s all aboutĀ joy, right? Happiness is the superficial, shallow, lesser-emotion to be pursued only by those who don’t truly understand the gift of joy. I mean, surely, why would one pursue the carnal realities of happiness when you can haveĀ joy?Ā 

I don’t mean to downplay the beauty of joy. The deep-seated grace that comes and holds your hand regardless of life’s ups and downs. The gift that stays just as strong and available in heartache as well as celebration. The mercy that doesn’t rely on our circumstances, but rather on an inner peace and trust. Joy is precious.

But I’m beginning to wonder if happiness is as frivolous and un-holy as we’ve made it. Yes, we’ve watched many people sacrifice much, including their families, their jobs, their future… in the name of the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness has sometimes been devastating to everyone else.

The U.S. constitution even includes the right to the pursuit of justice alongside life and liberty! And that these unalienable rights are given to us by our Creator.

What? Our forefathers and foremothers believed that God gave us a human right to pursue happiness.

But wait… what aboutĀ our Biblical call to sacrifice? To take up our crosses and suffer? To die to ourselves? To not be conformed to the patters of this world (which often idolize personal happiness?) I imagine the Happiness Dare will address many of these questions and I’ll leave it to her book to unfold.

But it does make me realize the ways we’ve lost our way to happiness… in a healthy, God-gifted, humble way. I believe God delights in our delight, just as I am excited when my children enjoy life- the gifts I give them, the moments we spend together, etc. I’m afraid we’ve flushed happiness down the toilet in fear that we will want it, find it lacking, or find it addicting and lose our way. Instead, let’s face our fears, delight in the delightful, and experience the riches of joy and happiness as our Creator designed.

A Year of Hope – 2016

hope3

Abide. Rest. Comfort.

All beautiful words that have spoken truth to my heart and soul over the last few years. Words that don’t end on December 31st, but which follow me into forever.
Continue reading “A Year of Hope – 2016”

Thank You

Thanksgiving is over but the gratitude doesn’t end.

Yet, where does one start? I could list all 1000 gifts right here and now… but not in five minutes.

There’s the usual (but not less important in the “normalness” of the thanks for which I feel for them)

Corban Tobias… “A Gift Devoted to God” “Pleasing to God” … and truly, he is a gift. Firstborn, we tackle all the challenges of life for the first time together. Every stage is new and he graciously walks me through. He is myĀ comradeĀ in the trenches… we’ve survived a lot together.

Hannah Moriah… “Favored” and “God is my teacher”… a delight of my life. My baby… she is a lover of all, knowing no boundaries on kindness or distinction among people. She laughs and loves easily. She is a ray of sunshine on any rainy day.

Elisabetta Marcela… “Pledged to God” and “Warlike”… these names came to her later in life… after her adoption. This part of our story and hers is one that continues to shape us today, as she comes to realize the reality of who her Savior is. Her intellect and insight make her a great challenge for any strategy game and a wonderful conversationalist. She brought balance to our family.

Matthew Angel… “Gift of God” and “Messenger of God”… also names given later through his adoption into our family… our oldest son. He has taught us much about our need for Jesus! Both in his unconditional generosity and forgiveness. He is easily the most resilient person I know. He stretches me to give more, love more, forgive quickly.

Then there’s my husband, Jeremy… “Appointed by God” and indeed, he is. He has moved his family across the world, and not without great prayer, deliberation, and wise instruction. He has stepped into the scary unknown, showing us his family what a man of faith looks like… he’s more than a fan of his Savior… he’s a follower.

I’m grateful for tears shed… which have become sources of comfort for those who tears now fall.

For inconveniences turned blessings in disguise.

For times of waiting that grew me up, trained me, stabilized me, prepared me for when the waiting ended.

Times of joy… of celebration andĀ remembranceĀ of all things beautiful and worthy of our memory and honor.

For friends who love desperately and radically… who love enough to send us away, to see God’s work fulfilled in us, in themselves.

For transparency and integrity.

For so much more than I can ever list here… for every experience, every grace, every mercy… every divine intervention.

For words and the ability to communicate them. For Lisa-Jo and her heart for supporting and loving other writers, other mommies, other women.

Blessed.