Category Archives: Choose Joy

Discovering Who I Am

It is my 43rd birthday today. A few years ago that age may have freaked me out. When I turned 40 my dearest friends surprised me with a getaway weekend and the transition into what felt like would be a tough life change was made beautiful. Yes I am aging but I am finally coming to that place that I am ok with who I am.

The last several years have been ones of extreme changes. 2015 into 2016 were, admittedly some of the most difficult days emotionally that I had walked through. I was a woman that really struggled with being perfect. Some days it can still rear its ugly head, don’t get me wrong….but in those days it was BAD.

I spent all my time worrying about what people thought and trying desperately to keep up appearances so that I looked like I had it all together. I would go to church on Sunday all prettied up and smile at people and talk about how great God was and then come home and be a monster to my husband and my kids. I was angry and bitter and broken inside and I basically wanted to run away from my life.

I believed in God, I believed that He could redeem and restore my broken pieces but I was also so stuck in myself, so full of pride that I was unwilling to admit that my attitudes were a huge part of the problems we were having. I fought seeing a counselor, but when I did things started to change.

It was a sacrifice I had to make. Weekly I drove almost an hour and 1/2 to meet with the Christian counselor that had been recommended to me. We talked about a lot of different things and I did a bunch of recommended reading. I had to deal with some things that were really painful and let go of other things that could not be “fixed” at that time.

I found a freedom during those 12+ months. As I began to be more honest about what was going on, things inside of me started to change. My circumstances had not necessarily changed, but I was able to see them with a fresh perspective. I share this because we all have things that we may feel ashamed of. Things that threaten to hold us down, tell us that we are not good enough.

But one thing that I have learned deep in my soul is that I don’t need to be “good enough.” God has always been there for me, standing in the gap when I am too weak, lifting me up when I am not strong. He gives me strength to keep going and a passion to encourage others who may be feeling the same.

A few weeks ago a couple of my girlfriends and I went to see The Greatest Showman at the local movie theatre. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet – go today. Make it my birthday present to you. Seriously it is a must see! We left the show and I immediately bought the soundtrack to have on my phone. Like so many, one song, in particular, has spoken volumes to me.

The words to This is Me go like this…

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

 

Who can’t relate to those words? How often do we feel like we can’t present our broken, bruised selves to the world. Because if we do we will be judged. People may talk about us or cast us aside. How often as an adult have I felt like I was right back in middle school? Worried about what I said, or analyzing what someone else said…trying to put on appearances because gosh darnit I just want people to like me.

But as This is Me suggests, we don’t have to be afraid anymore. We are warriors. Yes we are broken and bruised but we are strong and we don’t have to apologize for not being perfect. This is a truth that I have learned slowly over the past few years. It is one that I have grown into but it feels good.

To finally be in that place where I feel happy with who I am. I am 43, I am aging. I am a wife and a mother. I make mistakes all the time but I am loved. I am a child of God and I am forgiven. I am learning what makes me laugh and discovering deep friendships that are the true gifts during this time in my life. I will probably always take a shower and put on makeup before I go outside. I am vain yep, absolutely. I work hard at our business and care about the clients we help, I have a heart of mercy and would probably donate to every tear-jerking cause I come across if I was able. I can be passionate and outspoken and also quite shy. I will share my heart with those I trust and have difficulty trusting again those who have betrayed me. I am a sinner saved by grace, sometimes that grace is needed minute by minute. I trust God with my life and believe He has given me freedom in areas where I suffered extreme bondage. I am ever grateful to be His daughter. This is me.

The You Tube video below was shared on FB by a friend of mine with the backstory that when Keala Settle showed up to perform this when they were trying to get the show funded, she believed that she would not get the part…that it would be cast by someone more famous than she. But after she sang her heart out below, after she got out from behind that stand and stepped into the center and sang her heart out…the producer came over and hired her on the spot. I love that don’t you? Step out, start discovering who you are…stop being afraid of being judged and just be you!

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Photo Credit: via

Waiting in Anticipation for What God Will Do

Last night I tried to capture the beauty of the sunset. What I saw on my drive home and what I was able to capture with my phone just minutes later was not what I was hoping for. I shared the image on FB with the following caption…

“I had to trudge through melted dirty snow and dog poop in my backyard to try and take this picture. In the end it didn’t turn out like I was hoping. You can’t quite see the beauty of the cotton candy pink skies that I was trying to capture.The big, barren trees are blocking my view. It’s there, I saw it on my drive home but it eluded me. Isn’t that a lot like life? Those times when we struggle to see the beauty because of all the Brokenness in front of us…. when we trudge through the crap of life. Those times when it’s difficult to see the light because the darkness is so overwhelming.

Today I am certain of two things. 1. The enemy has come to seek, kill and destroy and he wants to see people hurt and families crushed, he wants shame to rule and Truth to be buried. 2. My God has already won! It doesn’t matter how dark it seems, His light will always shine in the darkness. He is never more present than in those moments when it seems He is far away. He will never leave us or forsake us.

The sky reminded me tonight that His light has overcome any darkness the enemy may try to put on my path or on the path of those I love. No it will not always be easy, sometimes it is downright hard. But I have more hope in this momemt than I have in a long time. God is good. All the time, He is good.”

I have commented before that I am a negative person by nature. It is much easier for me to see what is wrong with a situation well before I can see what is right. I have a tendency to get bogged down in worry and what-ifs. Fear has long kept me in bondage.

But it isn’t a place I can afford to live right now and quite frankly I am tired of it and I am saying no more!

A few days ago I saw a post shared around FB about a young woman, I think from Australia, who was dying of cancer. She wrote a challenging piece about how we all need to stop complaining, stop getting upset over the little things and start enjoying life. As a woman who was facing her last days she knew full well all she was going to miss out on, all the things she wished she had not done and the things she would do differently.

It challenged me. How often do I find myself complaining about little annoyances? My kids do it too. Yesterday morning one of my kids had a boot that kept slipping off their foot. I get why it was bothering them but it was threatening to ruin their whole morning and it was ridiculous!

So I shared a little with that about what this woman had to say. How we have SO MUCH to be grateful for. We have a warm home filled with so much stuff, they have their every want met. They do not go hungry, we are warm and full and happy. But it is a choice! Life isn’t fair. There will always be someone who has it better, easier. There will be times that things happen that are cruel and not right. Sometimes we don’t have a choice in what happens to us, but we do have a choice on how we respond!

Trust me, it is easy to say these things when life is going along perfectly. It isn’t so easy to walk that walk when the road is hard. I know because we are walking it. There are some things that are really hard for us right now, not fair things, discouraging, worrisome things. I could start comparing our situation to other families’ and saying how unfair it is. Or I can start counting my blessings.

I can’t afford to do anything but count my blessings. I have no idea what will happen in the coming months but for once in my life, I am not filled with fear. Instead, I am waiting in anticipation of what God will do.

God has done some pretty amazing things in our past. He has restored and redeemed some incredibly broken places in our lives and made them whole. Some may say that our lives and our marriage are a miracle….I would agree with that. God is in the business of redeeming our broken places. I believe that for me, and for my family….and I believe it for you too.

I don’t know what you might be facing today, what hurt or fear or worry that is weighing you down. It is easy to run away, easy to believe in lies, to be consumed with shame instead of His Truth. Sometimes fighting to see Truth is the hardest thing we can do. But it is there. And so in those moments where I am uncertain about what is next, I will trust my God and wait in anticipation for what He will do. I have seen what He is capable of and it is pretty incredible. Don’t miss out on the miracle friends!!

#Choose

Choose One Word 2016

I wasn’t sure I wanted a One Word for this year. The past several years I have picked a word and then at the end of the year I found myself frustrated at my lack of growth in that area….I am one who can be easily discouraged so I thought that maybe I would skip out this year.

If you read my post about the word Depend for 2015, you will know that last year pushed me to limits I didn’t like and in many ways I felt initially like I had failed once again. But I couldn’t put the idea of not having a word for the year to rest so I have been thinking about it for the last few days.

And then this morning I sat down to read a book I was sent as part of another book launch team. Choose Joy – Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts was written by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. It is available for purchase on Tuesday January 5th and I guarantee this is a book that you want to read to start off the new year.

Choose Joy Cover

I read it in 3 hours, straight through, and have underlined so many sections so that I could read and re-read the truths within the pages.

It is so simple really and yet something that I struggle with in a deep way. How do we choose joy when life hurts?

And then I read these words from Sara….“I made a decision a long time ago that I was going to choose joy. I even painted a big rectangle on my wall and printed it in big letters so I wouldn’t forget to make that choice every day. The major word in that rectangle isn’t joy; it’s CHOOSE. It’s looking around me when life is difficult and trading every complaint I have for something beautiful in my life that far outweighs it. I know, it’s that Pollyanna thing again, but living joyful beats being cynical any day of the week” – Choose Joy

I had been thinking up until then that maybe my One Word should be truth or freedom…things I really want for myself in this coming year. But at that moment I knew that #CHOOSE was the word I wanted to start my 2016.

It is something that I can apply to any area of my life really. And it is so simple, I just have to Choose.

Choose to seek joy even when I feel unhappy.

Choose to find truth, my truth, and live in a more honest and transparent way.

Choose to see others for all of the good things that they embody, instead of focusing on any negatives.

Choose to be grateful for the growth in my life even if it is painstakingly slow at times.

Choose to trust God with the big and the small.

Choose to make time for a relationship with God.

Choose to be more patient and kind to those closest to me.

Yes it seems so simple, but for this human girl with her need for control as well as pride and anger issues….if I am being honest, at times it seems like I don’t have a choice.

But that isn’t true.

Sometimes I have to fight for it….but I always have a choice at how I am going to respond to the life I am living. For a long time I have played the victim. Poor me and how I have been hurt by someone, or life didn’t turn out the way I thought it might…boo hoo. If only things would have gone this way, then my life would be perfect. I have had unrealistic expectations for myself and others and when they aren’t met (because they can’t be) I find myself unhappy and discontent.

And then these words again from Sara – “He used the circumstance of my life to help me grow. He used those circumstances to change my heart. We are here to be changed, to be made more like God in order to prepare us for a lifetime with Him. And more often than not, being changed hurts. I’ve come to understand that the only thing I can control is whether or not I open my heart. Open it to embrace circumstances. Open it to be who He needs me to be in the here and now rather than assume happiness can come from the “If only…” and “When I get…” Open it enough to let Him in to change me here so I can be with Him there.”

Talk about a a smack in the face moment…such truth there!

I know that when I place my feet firm in the ground on a truth like this I am bound to find myself in situations in the coming weeks and months that will challenge my desires to choose well.

Maybe that’s one reason why I didn’t want to pick a word…because I have seen it happen to myself and others and I am so weary from this past year I don’t know if I have the fight in me to walk forward well.

But I realized that in this too I had a choice. I can choose faith or I can choose fear.

So today I choose to trust that God will be walking with me in 2016, guiding me, refining me and helping me to shed some of my old baggage so that I can better be used by Him.

I can’t say it any better than Sara did herself…“But what I have is a mission. A purpose. I am here to live the best life I can with what I have been given. I am here to live out this human existence as a spiritual being – a servant to God and His people – before I head back home to Him. I’m not worried about starting over in a new year. I’m not worried about what this year might bring. I am simply keeping in mind that this life isn’t about me and my goals and my wants and my worries. I am here to fulfill His purpose for me, and my job is to keep my eyes open so I don’t miss it.”

Yes it is simple if we let it be. What will you choose for this new year friends? It is my prayer that we choose to seek God and try and be the best we can be for His glory.

Did you choose a One Word for 2016? I’d love to hear it!!

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Linking up with Bonnie and #OneWordCoffee

 

Stopping to See

Sunrise

“Mom come and see, come and see!” Elijah yelled as he threw open the front curtains to show me the display that was right outside.

“What a beautiful sunset”….well technically it was a sunrise, but he understood what was happening and knew it was something to be enjoyed and shared.

He and his older brother had gone outside to do a few chores but when Elijah saw the sky he stopped what he was doing to run and get me. Gabriel was a bit upset with him but I told him that I always want them to stop and see the beauty around them.

So often we are in a rush. To-do lists and chores, things that HAVE to get done before xyz. Mornings can be particularly hectic around our home trying to get everyone ready and out the door. And Dominic has been gone for work since Wednesday so we all have to stay on task or we would be late late!

But this was one of those moments that needed to be enjoyed.

Elijah wanted me to take a couple of pictures for him and while our view is mostly blocked by trees and other houses, I was able to capture a glimpse of this magnificent display that God had painted across the sky for us.

I want my kids to learn to seek out God’s beauty.

I want them to be focused and taking care of their responsibilities, but I also want them to recognize when a time to pause and see the world around them is good and necessary.

This morning was one where we all needed to stop and see. To thank God that He created this earth, that He gave us one more day to enjoy. There is beauty among the hectic routine of our mornings and we need to stop and take it all in.

A “watch for God” moment if I have ever seen one.

In VBS we teach the kids to be watching for God. They get these bracelets to remind them that God is with them and all around them. We ask them to share their God sightings. We hope that they start to see that God is everywhere. In the people we meet, the earth we get to enjoy and yes the sunrise.

I hope you were able to take a moment to pause this morning and just seek out God’s hand in your surroundings…and if you didn’t, I encourage to watch for God and come back here and share your God sighting with me won’t you?!

Have a blessed Friday friends!

Getting Our Paint On – #TheFringeHours

FringeFridayLogo

In honor of her upcoming book, I am joining Jessica Turner today for Fringe Friday. Sharing fun ways that we spend our fringe hours.

I had seen the idea on Instagram. My friend Logan had created a fun abstract art project for her kids to work on and I was inspired. I showed a picture of it to Elijah and he said that he wanted to do it too.

So one evening I ran over to our local Wal-mart and grabbed some new paints and some 11×17 blank canvases. A 2-pack for $6.97 seemed like a steal, so I grabbed 2 packs, a couple of rolls of painters tape and some new brushes and started dreaming up ideas of what we would do.

I will be honest the supplies sat untouched for several weeks. It is hard for me to take time for things like this. My kids love it and are asking me to let them paint all the time. I tend to get too stressed out about the potential messes and the fun quickly loses its appeal.

But I am learning that I need to take time for myself (and my kids) for fun projects. And I love painting, although I don’t have a lot of natural talent. So after dinner one evening I asked the kids if they wanted to paint.

Excited to get started, we pulled everything out. The idea was to use painters tape and tape off patterns on the canvas and paint around the tape. When it is dry you pull the tape off and the colors pop!

I did the taping, but let the kids tell me where and how to position it. I wanted these to be their projects – not mine! And then I let them choose their colors and set them to painting!

Painting Collage 1

It really was a lot of fun watching them explore their creative side. Continually praising their work, they beamed with pride over their creations. We were all anxious for the next morning when we could take the tape off the dried canvases!

The first thing we did in the morning was remove the tape and wow, what beautiful pieces of art we had!

Painting Collage 2

They are now all proudly displayed in their rooms.

Sometimes my fringe hours are spent encouraging the creative side of my littles. (<====Click to TweetAnd while there was commotion and mess and a little bit of crazy going on during that time, I have memories of fun and laughter and pride over their work.

It was worth every minute.

I forget this all too often. That I need to be willing to make a mess, and to show my kids that I am not going to be stressed over it so that I can enjoy some quality time with them!

And the look on Elijah’s face the following morning as he held his art, perfection.

Painting 7

And after they were all off in bed, I took some time and did some quiet painting of my own and came up with this….

Painting 10

My heart has been focused on community lately, and dreaming of that turquoise table this spring…I thought this painting captured that well.

I don’t always do a good job of enjoying and utilizing my fringe hours, but when I do…what a blessing it is.

What do you like to do in your fringe hours?

More than anything, I want them to see You

merry go roundI am less than a week from turning 40. The BIG 4-0. And I am surprisingly ok with it all.

I wasn’t really dreading 40, I feel better about who I am and where I am, than I probably ever have. 40 isn’t something to fear or dread. It is just another year right?! And I am surrounded by some of the best family and friends a girl can have, so I am really just overwhelmed with blessings.

I have spent more years than I can count, and really that I would like to admit, worrying about trying to be the perfect person.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted what I didn’t have. I wanted the Strawberry Shortcake dolls that the girl down the street had, or the cute red Esprit jeans with the white hearts on them. (Oh how I coveted those pants and don’t even get me started on the matching heart sweater!!) Maybe it was the name brand jeans or a place on the cheerleading squad…there was always something missing.

I found myself wanting, lacking, and it wasn’t a place that I wanted to be.

So I studied hard so I would be the smart one and do something amazing with my life. Then I went off to college and couldn’t hack the career that I was certain was for me. And once again I knew that when someone looked at me, they just saw someone who was lacking.

For a perfectionist like myself, this is a terrible place to be. Because when you looked at me I wanted you to see beauty and grace and maybe the least bit of fashion sense.

But I was certain that what you saw was the opposite.

Have you ever found yourself there, on the merry-go-round of striving to be something, someone better than you feel you are? (<====Click To Tweet)

And yet it seems that no matter how hard you try, you come up short.

The past few years have been growing ones for me.

Yes I may have added a few pounds towards my waistline, ahem 😉 that comes with the aging I am told but I am not talking about that today. No, even more than that I am discovering who I am. What I love and where my passions are. I have reconnected with my love of writing and that alone has brought me so many gifts.

This refinement process hasn’t always been easy either. Dominic and I are learning how to work well with one another in our business, as we also try to manage a reasonable balance between work and home life. We have big kids, and middle kids and little kids…and raising them isn’t always a cake walk.

I yell too much, and get frustrated about little messes. I often forget to take time to count my blessings.

But despite all of that, all of my shortcomings, I am filled with the overwhelming peace that God will use it all for His glory. (<====Click to Tweet)

I have seen Him do it in my life already. How He took all the messy and the ugly parts of me and healed them and then gave me a story to share. He gave me a heart for others, for loving them and sharing the hope that is found in Him.

I don’t head into the Big 4-0 wanting you to see me and how put together I am or what a wonderful wife and mother I am.

More than anything, I hope that when you look at me you see Him.

You see a woman who loves Jesus. A woman who is admittedly a hot mess most days, but even on the worst of them can see the potential for God to use it for good.

Yes Lord, it is my prayer for year 40 and beyond…as long as you have planned for me here, that when people see me, they see You in me. Fashion or no, good hair days and bad, muffin tops and veiny legs….none of it perfect Lord, but through You I have the faith that I will be perfected for Your glory.

And that is all that matters.

Photo Credit: Great Beyond

Not What I Wanted For Today…But…

Choose Joy

I shouldn’t be surprised really, it seems it always happens this way. Life hits, harder at times, and it can feel like things are spinning out of control.

Tomorrow afternoon I am going in for a fairly simple, “routine” laproscopic procedure. It is same day, I should be home around the dinner hour…I am not worried at all. But there is a TON of things I wanted to do to prepare for a few days of me being tied to the couch as I recover.

And so, on a day when we have client deliveries and need witnesses, a day when Dominic won’t be able to answer the phone, or prepare for the things coming up while I’m out…our youngest boy is sick and I am at home.

It is moments like this that I can get so frustrated. Why does this have to be happening now?

But what good does that type of attitude do me?

Yes it is inconvenient, yes it is frustrating…but it isn’t the end of the world.

While my natural response may be one of anger and pity, I can choose to have a different response.

This morning I spent a few brief moments circling my family in prayer. Praying over our meetings for the day, for the health of our family, my upcoming surgery and the big choices that face Isaac in regards to college etc.

What an honor it is to pray for my family.

While I do bring my requests to God, I also bring my thanks even when life isn’t perfect.

I am thankful for each member of my family.

I am thankful for all of the blessings that God lavishes on us.

We don’t worry about food, or heat, or how we will get to and from where we need to go.

We are spoiled really, and while a day like I hadn’t intended isn’t my plan, I can still be grateful.

But gratitude is a choice.

Each and every day I must make the choice to choose joy, in ALL things. (<==== Click to Tweet)

Yes it may be work, it may go against the grain of what my natural response might be. But my hope is that when I make that choice over and over again, it might become the natural response I have to any kind of situation.

My prayer for you today friends is that regardless of what you are facing, that you might make the choice to choose joy. Choosing right along with you this morning!

Choosing NOT to Choose Joy

Choose Joy

Wow it feels like I haven’t settled in this space in quite awhile. I wrote my vacation posts, but I haven’t shared a heart post in way too long.

I specifically didn’t write while on vacation so that I could be more present with my family and once we got back it was all I could so to document everything we had done so that I didn’t forget. While I have notes of ideas for several posts, I just haven’t taken the time to write…and to be honest when I am stressed, well I start to get a little crazy-like, and that is where I found myself at the end of this week.

There are a number of things that “helped” get me to this place, some of which were a really pressured work week, VBS, where I got to help lead the actions and singing and it was the highlight of my days…but left me exhausted. (Seriously if I could JUST lead worship at VBS everyday for the rest of my life I would be a happy woman!) Tensions between Dominic and I. And our new puppy Sydney, who has been waking up at 4:30am the past 2 mornings so I have not been getting the sleep I need.

Did I mention we got a puppy? 🙂 She is the most loving, adorable puppy and I will have to do a post just to introduce her! The perfect addition to our family!!

Anyways, I woke with a pounding headache this morning and found myself in a “mood.”

It was not pretty and I wasn’t doing anything to fight against it.

I had missed  not made my Bible study a priority this week, sleeping in (when pup allowed) instead of doing my study of Acts. I was pretty light on my morning prayer time too so I wasn’t seeking or staying connected to God.

What a hypocrite that I would lead children in knowing more about God at night, and then not apply those same principals to my own life during the day. Sheesh!

I knew that I wasn’t in a good place but for some reason I decided to stew in that place today.

I voxed a couple of dear friends, heart sisters, that pray for me and can take snarky, sassy Kristin and still love me. I shared that I realized I was choosing NOT to choose joy.

My attitude was awful and I didn’t care. I have so many things to be thankful for and yet I refused to acknowledge them.

Whenever I get in these ruts I recognize it (well most of the time). Sometimes faster than others…and today I knew it pretty early on, and yet I let my irritations, anger and frustrations fester and boil.

How old am I?

I am pathetic I know, but haven’t we all been there? (Oh please tell me that I am not the only one!?!)

We find ourselves in that dark place, unable or unwilling to seek out the positive. To find those reasons to be grateful. To Choose Joy. 

And it IS a choice.

I do not have to stay in that place of negativity.

But at times I can’t see the positive on my own. I have to reach out to others for prayer and encouragement. I am so grateful that I have some women who are so faithful in praying with me and for me. Women that listen to my whining, speak truth to me and remind me not to remain in that place too long.

Yes I almost let the enemy have my day today. Almost, but not completely. Thank God for that!

So tonight, even though my circumstances haven’t changed much, I am going to choose joy. (<====Click to Tweet)

I am still tired, feeling a little frustrated, and anxious about my week ahead. But I can focus on all the negative or I can remember all of the things that I have to be grateful for. And the abundance of blessings that God has poured on to us is unreal.

How can I not choose joy?!

These aren’t easy lessons for me to learn. Quite frankly there are days that I wish it were easier…that God didn’t want to refine me because I stink at going through the fires. But somehow he takes my bad attitude and failures and makes something good from them.

Tonight I am holding out hope that this area of my life will be made beautiful as well.

And I am praying that for you as well. Stay strong friends, the enemy is out there seeking to destroy our happiness…fight to keep your joy, seeking God in all of it and giving Him the glory when the battle is won!

Kristin

Photo Credit: Virginia L 

Choosing Joy – How One Man Holding a Sign Can Make a Difference

Sale Sign

A local furniture store has been advertising a HUGE, EVERYTHING MUST GO, SALE OF THE CENTURY, kind of sale since before Memorial Day weekend. They have big banners in the window and a fleet of 3 cars with big signs attached to the tops of them, that people drive in a caravan around town all day long.

And then there is Paul.

Paul is a young man, I would guess in his 20’s, who stands in front of the store with another sign that advertises the sale.

Every day on our way to and from work, we see Paul. And he is dancing and shaking his hips, and waving as people drive by.

He is a young man, holding a sign for his job. All day long, six days a week, he is out on the sidewalk holding his sign.

And Paul exudes JOY.

It has been HOT and then wet and rainy, stormy and windy all wrapped in one.

And yet, Paul is there waving and dancing and reminding me that we can find joy if we choose to in ANY circumstance.

I think of how often I come to my nice comfortable work space, a job that provides financially for our family, and I am unappreciative of the work I “have” to do and I forget that I “get” to work in the comfort of air conditioning, with chocolates and nice people.

I stop choosing joy and allow the stress to overwhelm me.

Yesterday I was driving by and saw him there again and felt very strongly that God was telling me I needed to stop.

But that is ridiculous, and creepy right?

And I stopped to get gas and asked God to tell me out loud if He really wanted me to stop and meet this man with the sign. (Let me just say that God doesn’t give into my demands…He lets the Holy Spirit do some heart work on me instead)

My heart was pounding and so I drove back to where he was. Except there were 2 cars blocking the driveway entrances…so I had no place to stop. (Excuses I know!)

But I felt like this was something I was supposed to do. So I voxed my closest prayer partners and told them this crazy story…so that I would be held accountable.

And then today at lunch Dominic mentioned the man with the sign and I told him that I felt like we needed to go and stop.

And after lunch we did just that.

We brought him a cold soda, a baggie of chocolates (which maybe wasn’t the smartest idea because it was super hot out) and a Choose Joy card with a $20 “tip”.

I asked him his name – it’s Paul if you hadn’t caught that before.

And I told him that we see him every day, dancing and waving and holding his sign, and that what he does matters. 

He is bringing joy to people on the streets of Marshall. He is getting paid to hold a sign but he is doing that job in such a way that it makes a difference.

Maybe God wanted someone to tell him that he was doing just that.

I am so glad we stopped…that moment brought me such joy and a a renewed perspective that we ALL can make a difference – we just have to make the choice to choose joy. (<====Click to Tweet)

Is there someone in your life, someone you see on a regular basis that maybe needs to hear that what they do matters? Take the time today and tell them. Ask them their name and thank them for what they do.

Words can be life changing…what if what you say to encourage someone is JUST what they needed at that moment?

My hope is that Paul will know how much God loves him. It is just an honor to be a small part of sharing that love!

Photo Credit: jakerome

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