2013: The Year of Joy

'The Joy of Life' by Diane Leonard

‘The Joy of Life’ by Diane Leonard

As I take the summer holiday period to reflect on the last year, and also look into 2013, I’m prayerfully taking stock and considering what things I would like to do different this year.  I’m in this life thing for the long haul and would like to live beyond mere survival and know deep joy and contentment, connection with the Father, as well as having time to cherish the moments I have with my loved ones.

This last year has been incredibly full in many ways, and relationships with many close to me have grown in wonderful ways.  We’ve adjusted to life with three and all the fun and challenges that comes with children.  I quietly began my blogging journey, in an attempt to bring what I have to offer to others outside my home and immediate circle, and stepped up the blogging adventure a few months ago.  Thank you for joining me here and all the encouraging comments and e-mails I’ve received.

In the second half of the year, partly due to Christmas approaching and external pressures, I found that my capacity to carry my load decrease substantially, and as a result I lost the joy of doing life in the way we have chosen to.   I found the simplest things difficult to accomplish and was unable to keep up with my somewhat unreasonable list of priorities.  My family suffered through my neglect to tend to the things that were important.  I don’t want to make that mistake again this year!

My word for this year: JOY.

I was deeply encouraged by a message I heard about a year ago from John Dawson, in which he talked about (amongst other things) mothers setting the atmosphere in their homes, or words to that effect.  It wasn’t his main point, but it was what resonated in my heart and has since made me increasingly aware just how much we as mothers determine the environment in our homes.  It is, in my opinion, the very core of what ‘homemaking’ is and has become my primary goal before vacuuming, tidying, preparing food and schooling.

I cannot control many of the things in my life: my children’s behaviour and choices, the unstable economy, other people’s reactions and misconceptions, etc.  I can control my own attitude towards those things and live out of a place where I’m not swayed or moved so easily by circumstances; where heaven is moved by my faith and with my cooperation with the atmosphere of heaven: joy.

What is the atmosphere I want to have in my home?

Great grace.  Peace.  Joy.  Rest.  Warmth.  Purpose.  Hope.  Above all, love.  I can only know these things in purity and wholeness if I’m firstly connected to the Father and have His goodness flow in and through my heart and actions.  Otherwise I am merely ‘rearranging the furniture’, modifying behaviours without heart change, and at worst, having all my own messy motives attached to my actions (such as requiring something from my children before they earn my approval or love).  Please don’t let me be a clanging gong.

So my area of growth this year is JOY.  And to cultivate an unquenchable hunger to know Him.  Please Lord, let these things become part of me in such a way that they become contagious.

And then there’s all the other stuff that I hope to do better in 2013: being thankful in all things, having a greater sense of contentment, and teaching my children to value the simple things that they already have access to – the joy gifts all around us.  This is what we take to others, as we minister to the broken and hurting:  our own satisfied hearts, lacking in nothing, as we also press into the riches He gives freely for us to share with others.

A message I have enjoyed many times (found on i-tunes):

Living a Joyful Lifestyle (The Mission Vacaville weekly podcast) Graham Cooke 20 Sept 2010.  A taste:

Joy is who God is.  Joy is the abiding atmosphere of heaven.  Joy is the expression of the kingdom here on earth. And therefore joy is an environment that we should be creating as a community and inhabiting on a personal level – in our homes, in our places of work, we can make those places like heaven.

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