Once again a new year begins. For those that know me well, they've heard me don this year my "Golden Jubilee." I won't elaborate on why. You can figure it out. As I've done each year, I've chosen a word for the upcoming year. For 2014, I chose a phrase, "Be Intentional" but for 2015, I've boiled it down to one word: Joy.
There are a couple of reasons why, after much prayer and thought, this word bubbled to the top as my word for the year. First, and the most obvious, is the fact that I'm speaking on Joy at our annual women's conference in March. To prepare for the session, I've been spending a lot of time immersing myself into studying Scripture to learn more about what the Bible says about Joy. The acronym I've heard all my life - Jesus - Others - Yourself - might be good in a pinch, but I want to go deeper, really grasping what Joy is, where do we find it when we're struggling, how do we retain it?
The other reason goes much deeper in my life. Over the past 2-3 years, I've suffered a lot of loss. I've lost close friends, my Dad, my Stepmom. Literally my immediate family is no more. Lest you begin a pity party for me, please do not. I'm blessed far beyond what I deserve and God reminds me of that every day. Even during this holiday season, I was so loved and embraced by my "friendily" (friends that are family) that I don't even realize I have no biological immediate family.
I feel like I've done a mediocre job of retaining my joy in all of these circumstances. I could write pages of how God sustained me through all of these losses and provided for me (and still is providing.) But, as resilient as I am, I feel as though I've been grasping on to joy like a person on the edge of a cliff, one fingernail from falling into the ravine. I've kept the smiles and brave face and wept to God many times in my private moments crying out for grace. He's always provided. This grasping has caused me to be more "adult" than I want to be. I've not experienced that loopy-ness that would come upon me before I saw those I love suffer and die. Dealing with life as an adult can suck the joy out of a person.
So 2015, I want to bring joy back. I want to truly be joyful in all circumstances. I want to roll around in joy like a dog rolls around in the spring grass after being holed up inside all winter. I want laughter to come from the deepest part of me because of true joy and that laughing and celebrating doesn't diminish the fact that I miss those I love. I want Joy to be more than a simple acronym in my life.
Every year I start off with a word and never know what God will do. But He does. I'm excited to see how He restores my Joy.