Into His Image

This day, at A Holy Experience, we are writing on: The Practice of Joy…. What does it mean to choose Crazy Joy? How do we authentically walk through hard times? How do we practice the “gigantic secret” of Christians?

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Present

How do we choose joy?  Is true joy a choice, something we make for ourselves? Or does it just happen to us? A whim? A destiny? How can we choose to be joyful on a daily basis? And can real joy change our lives?  I’m not talking about happiness which is circumstance driven. Happiness is a fleeting emotion…it can’t be depended on. I’m talking about a joy that comes from knowing.

I was startled when I first read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Her written words so closely echoed my own thoughts. I could relate, when she said, “When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become a gift? For He might not have.” (p.94)

Doesn’t it all become a gift? It isn’t difficult to find joy. It is there in the every day. Often times I am too rushed, too busy, too self absorbed, too afraid, and much too cavalier to see the joy.

There is something that happens when thanksgiving is being lifted up. Being thankful to the Giver of all Gifts, changes the heart. Each good thing becomes even more precious. Each hard and difficult time shapes me. As a follower of Christ, both of these things conform me into the image of Christ. As a follower of Christ I know that the greatest gift I’ve ever received is the gift of salvation. If I never was given another gift, He alone would be enough.

Jesus is the gift. He is joy…and it is through Him that all the other things make sense.

The Notebook

The notebook is worn. The pages wrinkled and stained.

A permanent ink marker featuring a chisel tip....

Eucharisteo is written in black permanent marker across the front of the book.

A book of thanks…for all the moments. All the moments, that truly are gifts.

Little things. Simple things. Big things. Life changing moments.

The first words written…

1. healing 2. family bonds 3. hugs 4. a much needed massage 5. Lonnie 6. warm cookies 7. funny jokes 8. warm blankets 9. quiet evenings 10. walking the dogs 11. reading a good book 12. love 13. my friends 14. a hot drink of coffee 15. crazy quotes 16. laughter 17. cozy socks 18. soft light 19. a warm shower 20. inspiration

The list continued throughout the year…trying to capture the beauty in each day. The climb to one thousand things. The gifts that God gave me. The gifts He continues to give. The more I wrote, the more I saw.

The thanksgiving never ends, because the Giver always gives.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 NIV

The roar of the wind, the snow globe world, the whistle of a train, phone calls from friends. Early morning sunrises of purple and pink, bright sunshine, and blog comments. Scripture that assures me, having a purpose, clean kitchen counters, and a casserole in the oven that smells so good.

Each moment captured with the pen…so I remember.

I want to be reminded, so on days that are gray and unclear…I will know that the Giver still gives. He has not forgotten me. When times are hard (and those times always come!) I will be reminded of His love for me and it will be (is) with my thanksgiving, that I show Him my love.

That my legacy will stand firm. That future generations will read and know, that God is good. Always good.

And, always the Giver… of life.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17  NIV

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The list continues today:

* having a good hair day

* leftovers in the fridge

* dandelions that color the front yard

* a chicken coop almost done

* being able to touch student’s lives

* a favorite, well worn pair of sweat pants

* beautiful, goofy pictures

* Easter morning

* The Resurrection