Finding Joy in the Midst of Pain

For many of us, the changing season ushers in a renewed sense of thanksgiving. But what happens when your season of change is marked by pain? When you don’t feel very grateful?

As we approached Thanksgiving, I felt anything but thankful. A serious illness had darkened my door, filling me with disappointment and heartache over what was being lost: hopes, dreams, expectations on how life would be. Yet it was in this difficult season I learned two important lessons about gratitude, discovering that hardship, not happiness, is the forerunner of joy.

Is your season of thanksgiving overshadowed by pain? Are you looking for a way to harvest more joy in your life? Join me on (in)courage to read more and discover how you can find joy in the midst of your hardship!

 

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Why You Must Uproot Your Weeds

why you must uproot your weeds for successful life changeI love gardening. Creating our own patio retreat has provided a personal oasis of beauty and sunshine while the birds gather above in magical chorus.

This week I sank into the cushions, iced coffee in hand. As I breathed in nature, my eye caught a glimpse of a disturbing sight.

Weeds.

My ultimate arch enemy.

The one thing I hate even more than dirty dishes.

Sticking out like a sore thumb, those gnarly little rascals were ruining my view. Gleefully basking in the sunlight, they made themselves right at home as if to spite me. I’m pretty sure they were smirking as they burrowed their roots even deeper. Continue reading

67 Reminders When You Feel Like God Doesn’t Care

67 reminders when you feel like God doesn't careI’ve been a Jesus-follower long enough to know that the Christian life ain’t all rainbows and sunshine. It’s a journey with mountain top experiences and their valleys below. And in those valleys, the struggle is real. Sometimes in long seasons of suffering, it can feel like God is silent and far away. And you find yourself wondering, Does He see? Does He even care?

I wrote this for a dear one of mine who has been suffering in the sea of adversity; drowning in wave upon insufferable wave. At times it seems unfair. Unjust. Undeserved. Left with a broken heart and a million unanswered questions.

In our darkest moments, it can feel like God has abandoned us. Or that He has turned a deaf ear to our prayers. Or that He isn’t moved by our tears. But just because we feel that way, does not mean it’s true.

Because He is there. He does see. And He deeply cares. Continue reading

4 Ways to Hijack Your Stress Response

4 ways to hijack your stress responseOur current season of life can be summed up in one word. Stressful. We barely meet ourselves coming and going. Come to think of it, this season has been on repeat a lot lately. As in the past four years.

When words like “exhaustion” and “burnout” become part of your normal vocabulary, there’s a problem. “When we are overwhelmed with excessive stress, our life becomes a series of short-term emergencies.” We live from one crisis to the next. We lose our ability to be present and enjoy the moment. Go at full speed for too long and the crazy train is sure to derail.

The good news? You don’t have to live this way.

Stress is a choice. It’s optional.

Sound crazy? I thought so too. Until I did a little research and was shocked by what I discovered. Continue reading

3 Secrets to Finding Meaning in the Mundane

find meaning in the mundaneI’ve been a little frazzled these last 2 weeks. The culprit? Those perpetual little tasks I finally check off the to-do list only to find them on my list again…an hour later. You know the ones. Dishes. Laundry. Incessant cleaning. Why are there still clothes on the floor??

And what is that monstrosity of clutter doing on my counter again? For the love of all things organized, can the mailman please stop drowning me in a mountain of papers to sort?! Can things just stay frozen in time (preferably after I’ve deep cleaned) so a girl can get some peace around here?? The futility of the mundane is about to make me go crazy.

At times I wonder, Am I just wasting my life? Continue reading

Grateful for Dirty Dishes: yes, you read that right

grateful for dirty dishesI have a love-hate relationship with dishes. I love discovering a unique piece for my cupboards. I love crackle glass and how it makes everything look so fancy. When I pour coffee into my favorite teal mug and hold it between my palms, all seems right with the world.

But I hate washing them. Nothing annoys or stresses me out more than to come home and see a mountain of dirty dishes encroaching on my counter space. On more than one occasion I have been known to stockpile them to one side, thinking that if I just build a tower in the corner it will delay my fate for another couple hours…or days. How can our tasty dinner so easily turn into a bacteria nightmare?! When my workout for the day consists of scrubbing who knows what out of my pan, it just makes me crabby. I would rather do an entire day of laundry. I would rather scrub toilets. I would rather iron my husband’s dress shirts….no wait. That might be worse. Don’t get me started on those stubborn, antagonizing folds. And those taunting collars.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes.

So you can imagine my distress when I started our dishwasher the other week and was met with silence. I think my heart might have skipped a beat. I tried again. Nothing. Our faithful friend had finally breathed its last. And the reality of my future began to set in. I was now the dishwasher. Truth be told, I may have panicked a little. Continue reading