Gratitude and joy hold hands.
"At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, 'O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.' " - Luke 10:21 (NLT) [emphasis added]
Has God ever filled you with joy? I hope you know this: even in the midst of everything awful, God is still loving you by pouring joyful goodness (as HE defines good, remember?) into your life through the funnel of the Holy Spirit. It's there if you open your eyes to His grace. In the sunrise, and in the baby's dimples, and in the Word, and in the nuggets of hope. If you look... it's there. I promise. So how does one hold on to this pouring joy?
The same way Jesus did. In acknowledging that God had revealed His power through the ministry of the seventy-two, Jesus received the gift God gave. In His gratitude, He praised God, sealing the deal. Declaration of it removed the question of whether or not God was at work and could be trusted as FAITHFUL. His thankfulness was His grip on the joy. Satan could not steal it once He said it that way.
Is my life composed of this kind of thanks-declaration-holding-joy too? May it be so. Is your life full of thanks, like Jesus's life? It's not too late to start ... count your gifts and hold on to the joy.
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Once again, here are some of my declarations of thanks, recorded in my journal ... these mere etchings on paper might as well be billboards of His praise!
- doodling with R at Panera
- Don't Cry for Me by Lillian Sparks, and the perspective about the way each life is precious, and eternity is all that really matters
- ibuprofen from the nurse for my cramps
- the privilege of loving my Guy with time
- a quick hug and honest moment with T after school
- courage for a friend to walk away from a toxic relationship, and the way you bring her back into my life after so many months
-for all of this favor and all of these blessings, none of which I deserve. It could be me in a brothel and my child in a "creshe" [more on this next week, dear Ones... stay tuned]
- amazing sea creatures on an episode on the APL channel, and Your gorgeous creation
- sweet good-night kisses from my kids, and their arms around my neck long past what I planned, but I don't want to break away either
- the way my Guy leaves love notes in my car - You gave me a loving husband, and I'm so thankful
Lord, sometimes the joy is like a flood, and sometimes life feels like an unending desert , devoid of anything happy. But, regardless of appearances, You've taught me that joy from Your Spirit comes faithfully, if I'll see it, and that if I want to hold onto this pouring - make the liquid a graspable, solidified entity - I must say thanks. And so I do again today. I pray for the joy also to be poured out through me to others, and I ask for more gifts, committing back to You my vow of gratitude. Thank you for GOOD gifts of grace. Jesus I love you so much.