Too often, when you love a prodigal, the pain of the ongoing loss over shadows the joy of your life.
Yes, I said joy; for it is there! An important book that I cannot recommend highly enough, is Carol Kent's Between a Rock and a Grace Place. For those who have not read Carol's books, When I Lay My Isaac Down and A New Kind of Normal, Carol writes with raw vulnerability as she shares the story of her only son Jason. I will not review Jason's story here other than to tell you that Jason is currently spending life in prison without benefit of parole in a Florida prison. In Between a Rock and a Grace Place, Carol reminds us that even in spite of life's greatest disappointments and tragedies, there are still pockets of joy surrounding us. (To hear my Blog Talk Interview with Carol Kent, one of my POCKETS OF JOY this year, listen here).
As we come to close of 2010, let's shift our focus from what didn't bring us joy to what did bring us great joy. Thank you for letting me share the many moments of joy that occurred in 2010 and please share your pockets of joy with me as well!
2010 was a very big year in the heart of this Mom!
My baby had a baby! I was present for Lenora Marie's birth in August; it was a power packed 4 hours of JOY! OK.. .THAT is from Grandma's perspective, after all, I wasn't having the contractions. But can you say EPIDERAL~! What a difference labor is today from delivery back in the day when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and I gave birth...naturally! In my humble opinion, it was much more natural WITH that epideral! ;)
Watching my daughter be a mommy has brought endless joy to my heart! And I am pinch-me-blessed that she shares Lenora so generously with this Grandma! While Katie and family now live in Dallas, Hallmark provided a FABULOUS and JOYFUL way for Grandma to read to Lenora every day! How I wish I could show y'all the video on Facebook; if you're on Facebook you can see this brief 45 seconds of JOY here
We had a fabulous Christmas, as you can imagine! There's nothing quite a new baby to brighten up the senses of gratitude for the REASON for the SEASON!
Our youngest is now a Freshman in College! With his first semester successfully under his belt, he visited his long-term, long-distance girlfriend in Dallas (yup, that'd be the SAME city our daughter now lives in!)
He is home during J-Term and this momma hen feels right again! He will do a little more traveling to Texas and then his girlfriend will spend a week in the snowy tundra mid January before he returns to his dorm room and mates on February 1. Can I have a redo on MY college experience please??? ;) What joy!
We spent many moments of joy together as a family this year! Our son, Curt has been working as a Med-care driver...it is a perfect job for this young man who loves nothing more than driving! Even on Minnesota winter roads! We were hoping he could join us as we helped Katie and Eric (and Lenora) move to Dallas just before Thanksgiving, but HE decided that his job took precedence! JOY!
Pockets of abundant joy in my personal life! There were abundant blessings professionally as I met online with other parents in pain each week and was inspired as they courageously changed their lives. Weekly pockets of joy as I had the opportunity to interview many, many amazing authors, speakers, singers, advocates, and a host of hope-makers! This mid-life, midwestern, menopausal momma could not have imagined the joy that is possible when passion meets purpose!
Lest you are led to believe that 2010 was that rare year of perfection, I must tell the truth. There were moments (shoot, days, weeks and months) of struggle. And yet, I found joy, even in the midst of those trials. Pockets of abundant joy in my spiritual life. If I could paraphrase a secret I've gained in 2010 regarding trials and tribulations, it would be in one word: Praise! I don't know how I've missed this for such a long time--perhaps I once knew (and implemented) this secret, but in 2010 it was revealed as a stunning AHA moment (like a brick on my forehead!)
When you feel abandoned, isolated, and hopelessly alone in the pain of your struggle--You! Are! Not! God has promised, He is always with us. Oh--THAT's not the secret discovery of 2010! The real discovery was Psalm 22:3, God inhabits the praise of His children! This was the year that I tested this Truth! It works! OH THE JOY! It is with joyful enthusiasm that I ask you to consider testing this Truth when you feel the despair of the struggle of loving your prodigal. No long process....simply praise! Recite memory verses, listen to Christian Worship songs, recite Bible passages if you don't have the energy (or even desire) to praise on your own! God inhabits the praise of His children! WHAT JOY!
What are some of your joy pockets of 2010? I'd love to share in your joy; but more importantly, I'd love to have you experience the joy that happens when you only grab those pockets of joy--they are there--waiting for each of us to engage and experience them. Don't let one more moment of joy pass you by...let's make 2011 the year of JOY!