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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Be joyful!

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
Psalms 5:11 (NKJV)

Yesterday was our 19th wedding anniversary.  We’d spent a delightful, nothing special, everything wonderful Memorial weekend together as a family; running errands, chilling out, spending time doing some things and no things, and then there was that party… I had neither plans nor expectations when my husband called to invite me out to dinner.  I’d already seasoned and seared chicken breasts stuffed with cornbread crab dressing roasted in marsala and my completed my first ever (and successful, too!) pea and scallion risotto. He told me to let the children enjoy the meal together along with the chilled sparkling cider, they who are always arguing that they’re old enough to fend for themselves, and pick a restaurant. I said yes to joy. 

When he walked in from a long day and a tiring commute, I greeted him at the door.  I’d freshened up and changed, choosing an airy white sundress (like a summer bride) and simple flat sandals.  We dined in town.  The sky was threatening, but our spirits were light.  It reminded me of our wedding night (it stormed then too…we couldn’t have cared less).

Qur lives are cluttered with useless noise; things that will not matter in the long run, petty misunderstandings, mistakes, missteps, things that stifle our peace and siphon away our happiness.  He asked me out.  Instead of arguing logic and practicality against the simple offering of time alone with my husband, I said yes to being joyful.  It was a remarkable evening; delightful, nothing special, everything wonderful. I said yes to joy.

Do you give yourself permission to be happy? Why not? Joy is a gift of grace.  Why do we make excuses to act against our own best interests? According to author and teacher Mike Ratliff, “God commands His people to be full of joy.” In the midst of it all, wouldn’t t be easier, better, to be joyful?

Once I stopped resisting (compliments, offers of assistance, invitations to have fun), I found joy, like unrecognized treasure.  It was always there.  I was always busy looking in the wrong places.  It is easy to get frustrated.  It is just as easy not to…instead of whatever you’ve been looking for, stop seeking and embrace the peace that surrounds you right now.  Stop resisting, and open your arms and your heart to joy.  It only requires that you say yes.

I said yes, to his proposal.  I said yes to his vow of matrimony and fidelity.  I said yes to our family.  I said yes to a life filled with joy.  When I stop resisting, the Universe blesses me with the joy I am commanded to be filled with…say yes.

And since yesterday’s celebration was the anniversary of the day we wed, the next few weeks will henceforth be known as our honeymoon victory lap.  Or something equally wonderful. 

Joy. As a command.  A happy long marriage.  All things on my list of reasons why God is good.

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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