Before I left for Alt, I arranged for my friend Kirsten to share her one word for 2014. Kirsten and I work right beside each other at GT, so we know each other pretty well! Kirsten is an incredible women of God and it's so cool how we've been able to see each other grow in so many different ways over the past seven years of working beside each other! She's a fabulous writer too!!
In past years, usually around January, I’ve felt God place on my heart a single word meant as a theme or a goal for my year ahead. They usually came as strong, impressive words like “Brave” or “Opportunity”. This year, however, a much more subtle word for the months ahead didn’t find it’s way to me until mid-February.
Late one Friday night in February I wrote a blog post on my own blog (which currently needs much TLC!). It was a smattering of thoughts, really, centred on my maternal grandparents. Those thoughts tumbled out of me and I ended up with my word for the year…JOY.
I later used that blog post as a tribute to Grandmother and this word has continued to be my daily inspiration. I’d like to share that post & tribute with you.
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This year on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, I was thinking of more than just candy hearts, or flowers, or chocolates.
I was thinking of a love story from my own ancestry.
I was thinking of a young soldier with red hair stationed in northern BC over 60 years ago and a feisty small-town girl, eight years his junior.
I was thinking of how he must have smiled at her, gazing through those beautiful hazel eyes and how her cheeks must have blushed.
I wondered how they spent their first Valentine's Day.
Perhaps a card or note was exchanged, or flowers or another gift.
Maybe a walk together, holding hands, talking of nothing or maybe planning their future together.
I don't know all of their stories, but I do know of a great love that began a legacy that continues in my own life.
A legacy of cherishing family.
A great love for God and others.
A fieriness and a spirit that is stubborn and strives to live and not let tragedy or difficult circumstances rule.
My grandparents showed me how to love.
They also showed me how to treat others.
They oozed God's love and proved that trusting God may not be easy, but it's worth letting go of the little things and letting God work through your life.
They showed me that no matter what background you came from or what hardships you face, you can surround yourself with sorrow or you can live another day and find joy. It is a choice.
They also taught me that we do not have to make this choice alone.
If we choose joy, God will bring it.
Maybe not in the exact way we asked, but He will reward us and lead us toward the joy He knows will enrich our lives and show others the way towards Him.
I was thinking of my Grandmother last Valentine’s Day, as she was surrounded by a few close family members and nurses and doctors in a hospital bed in the north.
And I thanked God, though I feel a stab of grief at the thought of her fading away.
She is loved.
She will be forever loved by those who knew her.
She was always a thought ahead and always had a witty, cheeky word to say.
She was and is a woman like no other.
I am thinking of how I would like to live.
Like my grandparents lived.
The day after Valentine’s Day my mom called me to tell me that my Grandma had passed away.
Now I know she is living in joy.
She is in her Heavenly Garden Paradise, smiling in the warm glow of God’s eternal love.
We may miss her, her spirit, her vivacity and her love. But we can let her live on…in us and through us in they way we live.
Like my Grandmother before me, though the future is unknown and the way is fraught with obstacles, today I choose joy.
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My wonderful Grandmother had been through so much in her life; many deaths of close loved ones, heartaches, hardships, and struggles. Yet at her funeral service a theme emerged from all who spoke about her and her life and what she meant to them. She chose to lift her head, trust God and see the good in what lay before her.
We never heard her complain, even when she had a house full of almost 30 children and grandchildren ever summer. She put hours and hours into making us wonderful feasts and treats and had enough energy to stay up late to play cards or games with everyone. Many times, as life tossed her and her family on the tumultuous sea of loss she never gave up or gave in to despair.
I’m sure she worried often and I’m sure she felt stress but we never saw it. She was a strong Christian woman, always giving her cares to the Lord and leaning on the hope we have for tomorrow. She has been an inspiration to my entire family.
Even now, writing this, I can still see her sparkling eyes and sweet smile. She made that choice over and over, to choose joy over sadness, joy over pain, joy over depression, joy over anything else that would drag her down and keep her from experiencing life to the fullest.
Every day I am thinking about this choice. I am trying to see the good God has for me, to appreciate what I have and what He has given me and to choose joy over sorrow.
Daily making this choice has been difficult at times, as I’m sure my Grandma would attest to, but every day that I choose joy it seems to become a mite more easy.
I’m making an effort to change the way I live and my first step has been choosing JOY!