These 100 days of JOY, focusing on the Light that came to us some 2000 years ago and the joy He brings into our lives in so many different ways, have come to a close. A sunset seemed appropriate for this post as I experience incredible joy when I see a beautiful sunset and because they represent closure.
I started this 💯 day focus because I was battling much inner darkness with winter and feeling overwhelmed with life. Christmas, New Year and Epiphany are filled with so much light and revelations of Christ’s presence. I wanted to hang on to that and grab more of it so that I could fight against that darkness in my spirit. I also wanted to share my journey with you, whomever might read this, in case it might help you as well.
I was a bit floored when this idea came to me and I counted the days to Easter and realized that it was almost exactly 💯 days. How cool to spend 💯 days chasing after joy and leading up to Easter! I have often followed the Lenten season of preparing my heart for Easter , but this 💯 day challenge excited and inspired me.
True confessions would lead me to say that there were some days I didn’t know what to write, other days I didn’t feel like it, and as you must have noticed, some days time got away from me and I forgot to write. However, I would also confess that this commitment to write this publicly forced me to be more cognizant of finding joy, light, the good and positive in my day-to-dayness. This has changed me. I have grown more positive through this, but I have also experienced growth I didn’t anticipate.
My trust in God has grown as well as my ability to find rest and calm in the midst of anxious times. I have learned to turn to God more automatically, to find Him in my center and see Him in the midst of uncertainty. I’ve begun to take time to breathe and seek to let the Spirit bring me peace of heart and mind in ways I had never known before.
I plan to keep writing because I’m on a roll and don’t want to let it dissipate. I may take a day off here and there, and I will probably just write without having a specific focus, but I will write, and I will keep chasing JOY and Light and sharing whatever the Spirit lays on my heart to share with you.
Jesus is the Light that I’ve been focusing on these last 99 days since Epiphany. We live in that Light on this side of the resurrection, if we choose to follow Him. I Corinthians 1:18 reminds us “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
Jesus endured the suffering and shame of the cross because of the “joy set before Him” and is now at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:1-2). I believe that part of His joy was in His love for all of us and knowing He was making a way fior us to be in relationship with Him, the Father , and the Spirit. He gave us new life and He delighted in being able to do this even though He had to suffer.
Spring blooms and buds remind me of this new life and bring great joy and gladness to my heart.
The eggs have been cracked; the tomb has been opened….the Light of the World has burst forth once again as He did when He was first born….the JOY of Easter Day needs no further explanation for those who believe…
I can only begin to imagine what it must have been like for the disciples and close family/friends of Jesus the days after He died and was buried. They didn’t know what was going to happen on the third day, not really. Yes, He had hinted at it in seemingly mysterious sayings, but they hadn’t really understood it, and really, how could they…?
They didn’t know what we know on this side of the resurrection …. so, even though they might have a vague hope that something was going to happen, overall, they were filled with sorrow. Yet, here we are on the day before Easter, and we know….We know He rose again; we also know He told us that He will come again.
Do we live like we know? Do we live in the hope and joy of what we know was reality, is reality, and will be reality? How do we live while we are waiting…..?
The sun will rise tomorrow and we will sing praises that Jesus is risen. May we let that reality impact our hope, our joy, our trust that He will come again….He kept His promise to rise again … He will keep His promise to return.
Coloring Easter eggs brings me great joy. I think I will continue to do this tradition the rest of my life , regardless of whether there are children around or not.
This tradition dates back hundreds of years and most likely was first practiced as a right of passage for celebrating spring. At some point, it became a part of Christian celebrations of Easter. The shell is supposed to represent the tomb being sealed after Jesus was placed there. When it is cracked open in Easter Day, it represents the new life of Christ bursting forth from the tomb.
Rituals and traditions exist to point us back towards important events in our lives and to remind us of why they are important. Coloring eggs at Easter is just one example of how rituals can be filled with joy and impact our lives significantly, bringing together the family and serving as a means of passing along our beliefs to our children and others.
People can surprise me still at times, for the good and sometimes the bad. Someone can write one sentence, share a song, or actually do/say nothing and change my perspective on a day, friendship, or even my self-confidence. Yes, others’ actions and words can impact me like that. They can inspire joy or elicit sorrow.
I would venture to say that people in your life can affect you likewise. We are made for relationship and connection. God created us this way. Therefore, how we live, what we say and do, will always impact others in some way, and they, in turn, will affect our lives.
However, I have been learning more and more to rest in who I am in Christ, to trust in His opinions and His love first and foremost. This week above all others is a deep reminder of this love for all of us, for the love that took Christ to the cross.
The joy of resting in that love is for all of us. I hope for that for you as well.
I love seeing the buds coming on the trees this time of year, then the trees bursting forth with leaves seemingly overnight. As much as I love winter and appreciate snow , I am filled with joy as spring blooms all around us. I’m reminded of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection making all things new.
A friend emailed me today with a simple, yet profound, question. They merely asked , “why do I deserve the life that I have? I am a sinner.” My answer was just as simple…God loves you and wants to transform you, to make you all He meant you to be from the start. Making all things new is why Jesus came to do all that He did, so that our Father’s love could be fulfilled. What incredible joy there is in knowing this and watching nature remind us of the story all over again every spring.
Here we are at the beginning of Holy Week, but there have been tragedies in the last several days that the enemy of our souls wants to use to steal any joy we might have. We cannot give in to the discouragement and hopelessness that could take us over if we let it, no matter what terrible times we may be facing, personally or as a part of our world.
Hopefully, you know that when I mention the enemy of our souls I am talking about the Evil One, the Deceiver, the Tempter….Satan. I actually don’t even like to capitalize his name, but I felt I needed to be clear that I’m not speaking of any human person that we might believe is our enemy. Ultimately , the Enemy of our souls is the one behind any terrible action of any human. The Enemy of our souls, the Thief, “has come to steal, kill and destroy.” Whereas Jesus has come to give life to the fullest, abundant life. (John 10:10)
Therefore, even though there has been great sadness in our world, there is still joy, hope, and peace to be found. Look around you. See all the beauty in the creation, in people; look for the good, true, and right in all people and created things, in every situation.
You can find JOY this Holy Week, even in the midst of sorrow.
I substitute taught today. The teacher had this posted on her board:
It made me ponder how I still desire to impart this into my young adult children’s lives. They each bring me so much joy, and my heart is filled with desires for each of them. This quote from the classroom today is only a part of what I long for them to know.
I have been utterly aware of living life in all of its fullness, high highs and low lows , this week. I have experienced being fully present in the now several times this week and there is a sweet joy in this that I can only contribute to Christ in me , the hope of glory.