Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Tag: joy (page 1 of 5)

Unexpected Joy

untitled-3We’re wrapping up the weekend of thanks (or dare I say the day or hours of thanks before singing the songs of praise over finding good deals?). And while I had plenty to be thankful for on turkey day, my grateful-barometer runs over even more today.

Yes, today. A non-scheduled gratitude day.

A non-everything day, as in nowhere to be other than church (and even then, we had multiple service times to pick from). Non as in the mental list of things to was simply that: mental. Any and all things that I suddenly chose to erase could slip away without anyone knowing. And non as in nothing fancy planned. No outings or big events.

And yet, in the midst of the non, the peace bubbled over, a warm tea type of feeling that penetrated beyond the simple “I’m grateful for a house (which I so very much am!)” or “I love my kids” or any of the other cliche gratitude standbys. Nope, this was the deep kind of gratitude that swells up from the unexpected.

It was unexpected because the challenges I faced yesterday still exist today. So are the uncertainties and the dreams I hope become a reality, yet find myself apprehensive to let my heart hope for them.

In the midst of the routine of life, joy jumped out in full force. Perhaps it was because I got to spend more time with my Girlie today, something I’ve missed as I’ve spent too much time the last few weeks recovering from a minor surgery. Or maybe it was because I finally gave myself permission to non, to unplug in a way that had no deadline or schedules.  Or maybe it’s because that thing called gratitude that I once held so dearly onto but somehow let slip away ounce by ounce came thundering back in and these once-strong muscles of gratefulness are finding their way yet again.

Whatever it is, I wish it for you, too. I know we’re entering the season of hurry, but don’t pack the gratitude away like I accidentally did. Instead, give yourself permission to stop, savor and be filled–filled with joy and peace!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

Stacy Voss

When the Bad Becomes Good

“I’m sorry happy for you.”

It’s a weird statement, and perhaps even weirder that I’m the one who said it.

A friend told me about her marriage, that thing that had been in shambles for many, many years. She shared about learning of the ways her husband propositioned younger women–many of whom were related to my friend.

My heart won’t ever forget the moment it shattered as I learned of the “thems” in my marriage, a long list of women he’d crossed boundaries with. Its an anguish you never forget, and its also one that instantly binds my heart to any other woman who has been faced with the same sorrow. But as my friend told me about the very thing that should have destroyed, a slight smile kept spanning her face, unable to be kept at bay.

“Once the family started talking openly about it, it was all out there,” she said as hope oozed forth. “There wasn’t any more pretending. And you know what? For the first time in longer than I can remember, he’s trying. He doesn’t want to be that anymore. It’s too early to say for sure, but it seems like he’s really working at this. Can you imagine? We might actually have a marriage again someday!”

That’s about the point at which I told her I wasn’t quite sure what to say, but that I was sorry. Happy.

Sorry, happy.

I’ve been taking a class and the teacher has mentioned countless times how we take events and add a narrative to it, trying to bring meaning to something. For example, I heard someone say on the radio that they’d been passed over for a promotion.

“Well, what does that mean?” the deejay asked.

“It means that I should probably change fields,” the man replied.

Perhaps he’s right, or perhaps it simply means there was someone else in the company who was better qualified for the promotion, although this particular individual was in the path he should be on, just not as far down the road as the other guy.

In our desperate attempts to label things as good or bad or give them meanings that aren’t there, we might miss out on the bigger picture. Worse yet, we might miss out on God. See, as we paint the labels, placing some memories in the “good” file while others get tossed in the flames of “awful,” we neglect one truth that honestly surpasses anything I can comprehend:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

As you know, I’m a writer. I color my world with words. I’m a smith, taking words that have no meaning separately, but challenge and compel when placed together. So the challenge of foregoing the fill-in-the-blanks, the ceasing of writing a narrative that may or may not exist in an attempt to understand if something is good or bad is only slighter harder than saying I’ll never eat a bite of chocolate again. But if God’s word is true, then I can believe He can take anything I might deem bad and somehow in his unfathomable ways turn it into something good. That’s something I can sink my teeth into (well, that and a piece of chocolate!).

Stacy Voss

How about you? Have you ever had something happened that at the time it seemed awful and horrific, yet with time you watched God turn it into something good?

The Thanksgiving of Christmas

My mom filled me in on how she spent the few hours between the time all of us left Thanksgiving night and when she left to board the plane to visit my uncle.

In between packing clothes and trying to remove the stain from where I dropped the cranberry sauce on her white tablecloth, she  packed away the harvest decorations, and set out the rest of the Christmas decor.”

Just like that, Thanksgiving was over.

Take a nap after the feast, then hit the stores.

Put up the tree and start baking.

I heard on the radio this morning that there is something about Christmas that stresses out 90% of us, ranging from traveling, to long lines, or gaining weight. In other words, 90% take a day (or part of one if we spent the evening hitting the deals early) to say thanks, only to wake up to a different emotion: frenzy and concern.

It’s makes me wonder if there’s a connection: gratitude out, anxiety in. I can’t say my theory is right, but it’s definitely worth trying out.

Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.”

Psalm 66:1-2

Will you shout it out, sing of it, or breathe it in? It somehow defies what we’re supposed to do this time of year, and yet is somehow also fully embodies the very thing we should do every time of year, especially now.

Oh God, thank you for being my eternal God, the One who never changes, the lover of my soul, the One who hears, heals, loves. May I never stop singing your praises. Be glorified in everything I do (including the number of cookies I eat or the amount of money I spend this month). I love you. Amen.

What about you? What will you sing out in joy?

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