Anyone else having a hard time looking for Joy these days?

Every week, I am reminding us all (including me) that there is Joy to be found in the Everyday.  How?  By asking God to open your eyes to it.

I am part of an online Bible Study this summer called #100DaysToBrave by Annie F. Downs.  This weekend, I posted this (in part, believe it or not, I had a LOT of words and this is just a few of them….)

If ever there was a time to be a light on social media, I feel like this is it.
Like : for such a time as this.
I have tried to bring as much joy as I can to the internet lately. And God seems intent on making sure I have some good stuff to share – like the fishing story this week and the bike adventure.
I love social media much more than I despise it, honestly. But even I have found it to be hard these days.
I struggle often about being so “look for the joy! See the good!” that I forget to mention that it isn’t all roses and rainbows. No one wants to mention the thorns and the storms that bring the beauty in the roses and rainbows, but let me tell you that the reason I search for that joy from God is because of thorns and thunderstorms.
I was reading in Romans this morning because that is where our sermon series at church is coming from this month (you can listen to our sermons here) and thanks to my (in)courage Bible, I ran across this devotional that read:
“…God is for us.  And nothing – no bad day, no rough week, no hard season – can stop that.  Nothing!  No Debbie Downer reaction, no loss of hope, no belief that blessings are fleeting while problems are forever will make God’s love any less real or any less true.  He loves us.  Not even my attitude or outlook can change that.  I pray that today your rest in this thought.  Nothing can separate you from God’s love.” (written by Mary Carver, Devotional from Daily Grace in (in)courage study guide called In All These Things on page 1588 based on Romans 8:37-39
Today, I needed that encouragement.  I think maybe I might not be the only one.
Now God, in all His infinite wisdom, has put some pretty funny made me laugh so hard and/or moments of having my heart explode with love things happen this week.  And I am trusting He is going to do the same thing this week.  I am on the search for Joy, I am asking constantly for God to fill me up with His Spirit so I can pour out to others.  My verse for the year is Romans 15:13 – could there be a a better verse for me this year?  Nope!
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, here are some highlights of the week and at the end there is a video if you didn’t want to read all this…
First of all, my community.  Yes, the community I live in is awesome.  Our little town is just the best.  BUT, this week I was reminded about how great my friends are.  I put a word out this week that I needed help with something and my friends came through so huge that someone stopped my son to say “How on earth are you connected to so and so?”  My son shrugged and said, “My mom has her friends on it.”  They show up when I don’t even know that I needed them to show up and goodness gracious, they made my heart burst with joy and love and all the things this week.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.
Now, the next thing is actually sad but really good too.  I am in an all out attempt to get my two youngest to read more.  I happened to see I could download the Ol Yeller book on my library app as an audio book so on our way to a work party for my husband on Saturday, we listened to it all the way there and all the way home and my two youngest and I finished it off last night sitting on the back porch.  Did we cry?  Why, yes we did.  But did we laugh?  Oh yes, we did.  And they informed me that the book was much better than they expected.
My husband has been doing some over the road truck driving due to Covid.  I am forever grateful to a company that doesn’t throw their arms up and say ‘I give up!’ but instead “Let’s see how we can thrive in this” and they have been doing some serious finagling but that does keep the drivers away from home some of the week.  Eli (S3), Abe (S4) and I just find ways to make the week full of things we don’t normally do then.  So this week when Jake is gone we plan to watch the original Ol Yeller movie. (Isn’t there only one Ol Yeller movie?)
To balance out the sadness of Ol Yeller, here is a podcast with Sophie and Melanie that I have listened to parts of three or more times this week.  I just kept laughing at it.

This past week with Jake gone, Eli, Abe and I did some serious fishing.

 

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Straight up confession, this morning was ROUGH. So rough. We had some major anger and hurt feelings and over tiredness and I was yelling “GET IN THE SUBURBAN. NOW!!!!!!” All before 7am. Silence most of the way to the lake. Then we started talking about what could have made the morning go smoother. Then we got in nature and calmed down, all in our own spaces. I had to text Isaac at work and apologize for the rough start to the day. My phone hardly got reception so we didn’t use it (except to take pictures). And wouldn’t you know it? The day turned around. One, or all of us 😉, may in fact say the day turned out great. (Mostly Eli will say this 😉, obvious when you see the pics) Yay for second chances. And for having lakes to ourselves.

A post shared by Denise Dykstra (@life4boys) on

 

We also did some pretty major bike riding…

 

 

And we were THRILLED to have the heat break for a few days so we could get some good sleeping in done, some cookies baked again (PLUS my Dad has figured out what is wrong with my Kitchen Aid – because my Dad can fix anything), some blueberries picked, some blueberry lemon crepes made, and today we plan to do more baking.  By we I mean mostly me but still.  Baked goods again!
On the mention of blueberries picked, Jake woke up on Saturday morning like he always does – wide awake and talking – and immediately said “Let’s go pick blueberries!”  So without a full cup of coffee in me, we were out picking blueberries before the farm was even open and it’s a good thing the blueberry farm is one of my most happiest places.
We had a work party, a beach birthday party, random friends drop by, garden is all in, weeds have been pulled and rain has fallen.
Even in the midst of hard, there is so much joy.
Now, I would normally have my video and blog post just about the same but this week, I think you might have to check out the video too.  I have a bike story that you just may not want to miss.
So here it is, a new week.  Seven days of being on the search for the Joy in the every day moments of your life.  What has been your joy this past week?  Tell me!  Can’t remember….be on the look out for JOY this week and when you find it, post it.  Let’s share the joy.

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