here & now: J O Y. 

My heart is more-than-full of thanks, overflowing in gratitude. And I am learning that this is joy. 

Joy.

Actual tears of joy right now. What?

JOY. 

What I’ve prayed and prayed for, with fists and tears. What I imagined as a pretty-future picture in my head, too far away. What I’ve been surprised to truly know… now.

This is not a frilly, magical thing. My current status is not one that the world – nor I, usually – boast in. I am a single 23-year-old graduate from a great university, living in my old childhood bedroom in my hometown, nannying my cousins’ children to make a little living, and I’m still figuring out what my goals even are. This is my reality, and one might crumble in shame or scramble to get your ish together. (I’ve done both). 

I recently wrote a blog on my 2016 prayer, steadfastness, as well as a blog about gratitude

I am learning

God gives us seeds

little grace-seeds

tiny little gifts. 

{Dainty, plain, just-seeds.}

Gifts. 

Grace-seeds grow with nurturing

thank you thank you thank you

in all circumstances

truly, thank you, for here and now. 

Steady stem grows

deep

strong

tall

growing pains but growing

stretching to notice and embrace here and now

Firmly rooted. Here and now. 

Day by day by day

thank you for here and now

until truly thank you!!!

Bud. 

thank you. 

Blossom. 

thank you. 

Bloom. 

Thank you. 

Joy. 

I have joy in my here and now. 

Genuine joy as I hold the tiny warm hand of a mischievous, smiley boy. Genuine joy as I rock the teething, droopy-eyed babe with his head rested heavy in my palm. Boys that aren’t mine but that I genuinely enjoy spending now with. A home that I could either choose to hate or love, with a heart of ingratitude or gratitude. I want to physically embrace here and now – this gift! – with all its pros and cons. A time when I’m directionless, unsure, and don’t have social-media-bio-worthy titles to share. All of it. It is good. It really is! This is where I am now, and it is so good. Purposed. 

I’m a fighting-to-be-joyful single 23-year-old, choosing daily to embrace the good gift of here and now, this season of unknowing and not-sure. Not longing for the past, not looking to the future. Looking here and now and seeing the beauty of God where I am. True joy is knowing him in the present. No resentment. No hoping-in other future what-if’s. God and me, present tense.

God and me, here & now. The God who came that we may have life and have it abundantly. Abundant life: life abounding in the fullness of joy. Life redeemed: past- mercy on me, judgement on Christ; future- promised eternity with my Creator; here and now: being saved from a heart of ingratitude, to a heart that worships God and knows his real goodness. 

Grace gives root to gratitude and brings joy to life. God gives joy. And the truth to nourish it to life.

Thank you, God, for a beautiful process of an answered prayer for steadfastness.

ungrateful/grateful

thank you.

giving thanks. Offering a heart that is thankful. Thank-full. Full of thanks. Offering a heart that contains thanks and is full to the brim with gratitude, bursting with thank you’s.

it is an action. To give thanks. An action chosen. An action chosen with furrowed brow relaxing, fists opening. An action chosen when stomach jumps, knees bend to jump, grimace turns wide grin, focus lifts from below to above. 

it is an action that leads to joy. It is an action that is chosen that leads to joy. A chosen action leading to joy.

Furrowed brow relaxing

Fists opening

Bent knees jumping

Grimace upward turning

Focus lifting

relaxing. opening. jumping. turning. lifting. 

The chosen action of giving thanks leads to joy. 

Furrowed brow

Fists

Bent knees

Grimace

Lowered focus

To choose to give thanks in all things is to choose to see the grace in all things. To believe there is grace in all things. The gift of grace. To voice a thank you. Whisper it in all circumstances til your voice hoarse and dry can voice it, shout it, sing it. Rejoice

Rejoice

Rejoice

Joy.