Mull It Over:  Meditate on God’s Word

Mull It Over: Meditate on God’s Word

Yesterday on the blog I laid out a simple, 15-minute challenge to sprout our spiritual growth:

 

Read 5 Psalms and 1 Proverb each day.

 

The simple practice helps turn our hearts to God and keep Him at the forefront of our minds. The Psalms are filled with encouragement and hope while the Proverbs teach wisdom and point us toward a character-filled life. Reviewing them often—reading God’s Word as an ongoing process—draws us into a deeper, abiding connection with the Lord of Hosts.

 

That’s the entire goal for sprouting our spiritual growth. It’s the process of transformation that draws us into a closer relationship with Jesus. It prepares us to allow the Holy Spirit, making us more like Christ so that we may participate in the divine (see 2 Peter 1:3-8).

 

As we begin to adopt new practices, it’s not merely for the sake of doing, it’s for the sake of displaying more of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and less of our worldly nature.

 

Today’s challenge is also simple:

 

Mull it over.

 

Meditate on God’s Word

 

The thought of meditation has taken on some negative connotations. Eastern religions and new age thinking often twist the Biblical practice. Throughout God’s Word, however, we’re instructed to mediate (mull over) on God and on His precepts and ways. When we meditate according to God’s instruction, we ponder His truths.

 

Biblical meditation is not a practice of emptying our minds to let “the universe fill the voids.” Rather, it is focusing intently on God’s Word.

 

As you read Scripture, take time to pause when a verse stirs your heart. For example, when I read Psalm 5:12 yesterday, it captured my attention and felt like a spiritual hug from God. So I paused to meditate.

 

A Meditation Example

 

In The Passion Translation Psalm 5:12 says:

 

“Lord, how wonderfully you bless the righteous. Your favor wraps around each one and covers them under your canopy of kindness and joy.”

 

I began to mull over the verse, considering the wonderful blessings that God gives His children.  My mind traveled back a few days and I recalled God’s goodness in both large and very small ways. I thanked the Lord and spent time recognizing each gift as coming from my Heavenly Father.

 

Next, I pondered the idea of His favor wrapping around me. It isn’t in front of me or behind me, but wraps all around me, shielding me from every direction. When I considered being covered by a canopy of His kindness and joy, I couldn’t help but smile.

 

Mulling over this passage brought a new thought to my mind:  How can I live differently today knowing that God’s favor wraps around me, He has blessings in store for me, and that I am covered in His kindness and joy? As I face things like an uncomfortable conversation, or a new business venture, or deal with a challenging personality, how can I think and act differently knowing the promises of Psalm 5:12?

 

Embrace God’s Promises

 

The Psalms and Proverbs are books of poetry. They’re beautifully written AND they are God’s truth. They’re thick with promises that the Lord will fulfill, and gifts that He wishes to lavish upon us as His own.

 

By mulling over Scripture, by taking the time to recognize that the Words are intended for me, personally, and by receiving them as my own, my outlook changes. My mood improves. And my hope and joy grow. I recognize that the Lord doesn’t intend for me to say stuck in a life of hum-drum, but longs to bless me as a child of the King.

 

As we move toward sprouting our spiritual growth, I encourage you to take a few minutes after reading God’s Word and mull it over. Let it penetrate your mind and sink into your heart. Receive God’s promises and grab hold of them with all your might.

 

Additional Help

 

My friend, Manyesha Batist helped me greatly. I’m thrilled to share her short video that helps me meditate on God’s Word.

 

If you’re joining me on this journey of spiritual growth, I’d love to know! Please reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram. And share this post with others if you feel they’ll be blessed!

 

May God’s Word strengthen you today,

Cathy McIntosh

 

 

 

Meditate on God's Word

 

Meditate on God's Word
15 Inspirational Gift Ideas (plus a few bonus ideas)

15 Inspirational Gift Ideas (plus a few bonus ideas)

My dad was a giver. I loved watching how he’d pour his energy and efforts into making the perfect gift for those he adored. From home-cooked meals (yes, my dad prepared the meals in our family) to a one of a kind, handcrafted step stool in a child’s favorite colors, from ornate, handmade Christmas decorations, to sacrificially purchased items, each gift originated deep in his heart. It was carefully considered, often met a need, and portrayed his incredible generosity.

Most of the gifts my dad gave to me are still displayed somewhere in our home. They were treasures intended to become heirlooms. Indeed, they have.

Gift-giving has since become an important and significant tradition in our family. I adore pouring deep thought and consideration of individual personalities into the gifts I give. When I choose a gift, my aim is that it will fulfill certain criteria:

  • It surprises its recipient, often because it’s something she hadn’t considered for herself.
  • It’s something that can be enjoyed for a lengthy period. I may not always aim for heirloom like my dad, but I do hope a gift will bless its new owner for several months, if not longer.
  • Its a gift he’ll love.
  • It doesn’t put me into debt. I like to pay cash, thank you.

That’s a pretty tall order, wouldn’t you say?

Inspirational Gift Ideas

As Christmas approaches and numerous gifts are needed all at the same time, it can be difficult to put as much energy as I’d like into my selections. Maybe you feel the same way.  So I’ve done some of the work for all of us.

Below, you’ll find a list of more than 15 inspirational gift ideas that the adults in your family are sure to cherish for months and years to come.

** This post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. This is at no additional cost to you. This helps cover the costs of operating this blog and ministry and help provide for our family needs. Thank you!

The Joyful Life Magazine

give the gift of joy all year long

A magazine, you ask? Yes! I received the premier edition in the mail a few days ago and The Joyful Life is unlike any magazine you’ve ever seen. It’s beautiful and robust (huge, actually) and comes out quarterly. If ever there were an heirloom-quality print publication, this is it. Over the last few days, I’ve savored one article each day as a part of my devotion time. This is a gift that will bless and bless. Click here to learn more!

 

Inspirational Jewelry

Nearly all women love jewelry, and with a touch of added inspiration, who can resist these beauties? Meaningful words, especially when they point to Christ, can encourage us all. Click here to shop jewelry!

 

 

 

 

Mug Me!

A little reminder for the morning to stay focused on God’s strength.

 

I’m a coffee mug junkie. With a cupboard (nearly) full of fun mugs, I can tell you where each came from. Morning after morning are filled with jokes, sentiments, photos, and memories from those I love. Click here to shop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Flip Flops

Unique Gift IdeasWhat’s so great about the Sanuk flips? They’re ultra-comfortable, even when spending long hours on your feet. This brand is a favorite in our family—we’ve spent hours and hours in them at Disney theme parks and they are foot savers to be sure. PLUS they’re cute and far more reasonably priced at this time of year than in summer. Click here to purchase!

 

 

Portable Bluetooth Speaker

This is another family favorite – a water-resistant Bluetooth speaker that we sometimes argue over. It’s perfect for yard work or relaxing outdoors, it’s small and easy to pack when traveling, and it’s a device we use every single day. Shop here!

 

 

God’s Word

I know, you might be slowly switching to the Bible apps on your phone. I am too. But we interact differently with a paper Bible. I love knowing that the verse I’m looking for is on the top right side of the page, highlighted in orange with a star next to it.  The She Reads Truth Bible and the Study Bible for Women are two of my favorites.

 

 

Kindle Paperwhite

This is a tried and true e-Reader in my life. In fact, I left mine behind on a trip a few months ago, so this is on my personal wish list. I can read at night with low light so as not to disturb my sweetie. I also appreciate the non-glare screen that makes reading outdoors comfortable and easy. The newest version is even waterproof! Click here to shop!

 

 

Instant Pot

Another item on my wish list. I can’t provide a personal testimony about this one, but the time savings and delicious meal options look too intriguing to pass up. This is certainly a more practical than a sentimental gift, but the gift of time savings can sometimes change lives. Inspire those you love to re-establish the tradition of family meals at home. Click here to shop!

 

Essential Oil Diffuser

Inspirational Gift IdeasI’ll be honest. This investment was a game-changer in our family, especially during allergy, cold & flu, and “I-just-can’t-sleep” seasons of life. This is an amazing gift for newlyweds, new moms, or anyone looking for healthier lifestyle options. This one is available through my friend Jess Davis and her Young Living business. The link is for the retail option but there are wholesale/membership deals available too! (Be sure to check out their Black Friday specials!)

 

Picture Frames

One of my favorite gifts to give. There is a nearly unlimited assortment of frames available from simple to ornate. Decorating our homes with smiling faces and happy memories is a great way to help us prioritize what’s most important throughout the year. Click here to shop! Remember, Hobby Lobby always offers frames at 50% off!

 

Journals

A beautiful journal can make quiet times even more enjoyable and there are a plethora of beautiful options from which to choose! I have adopted the habit of keeping a nice journal with me always, to take notes at meetings, on the go, and even at church. It’s nice to have all my chicken scratches collected in one easy-to-find location. Click here to shop journals.

 

Quality Pens

It seems the older I get the more I enjoy a good-quality pen. Waterman has been a favorite for years and is a lovely gift for recent graduates, career-minded loved ones, or anyone who loves to write. It’s a great gift companion to a journal too. Click here to shop!

 

 

CodeNames

We adore family games and this is certainly in our top 5. It feels a little complicated to learn but is rather easy to grasp. And it’s easy to play with a small OR a large group. Click here to shop!

 

 

Willow Tree Figurines

I’ve only given a Willow Tree figurine gift once, but have received several over the years and I LOVE them! Their beauty and sentiment stir my heart and makes these figurines a classic and timeless gift. Click here to purchase.

 

 

 

What Christmas gifts have you already selected this year? And which are on the wish-list you prepared for yourself? I hope this list will help you with a few of the hard-to-buy-for loved ones on your list!

Many blessings,

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement to Overcome Isolation

Encouragement to Overcome Isolation

“That’s where they getcha.”

My daughter used the phrase while trying to use a coupon at a store then realizing she needed to buy multiples of an item before the discount became valid.

My husband said it last week when he realized the satellite TV package he purchased didn’t include his favorite sports channels.

The expression came to mind this morning as I considered isolation.

When I have a terrible day (or week, or even longer), I’m tempted to stay home and talk to as few people as possible. I think of some of my Christian friends who seem disposed to criticizing others with words and attitudes. Those, especially, can be the personalities I wish to avoid.

God created us for community, but the enemy often schemes to isolate us from others. He convinces us no one will understand our struggles, or that they will mock or judge us, or misinterpret our motives. Believe me, I’ve fallen for his lies far too often to count.

And that’s where he gets us.

Encouragement to overcome isolation

The Bible is plump with encouragement to connect with others, to operate as the body of Christ where each member has a specific, valuable role and function, and to keep meeting together. Consider these passages, for example:

God's encouragement to overcome isolation“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV).

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV).

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, ESV).

 

Connection can help us embrace today’s joy

Based on the verses listed above, we see several blessings of connecting with others. When we “do life” with other people, both inside and outside the wall of our church building, great things begin to happen:

Not only do we receive encouragement, but we’re given the opportunity to encourage others, and that feels even better.

We gain support from others who will help us up when we struggle with temptation or fear or confusion or loneliness or anxiety, or shame. We realize we’re not alone. God’s people walk alongside us, helping us along the way. They can offer wisdom from their own experiences or sound advice that’s not clouded by an emotional connection to the problem.

We fulfill the law of Christ. We begin to live life as He intends—connected with others—and can reap the countless blessings of obedience.

Yes, the gifts and benefits to connection are many, yet even as Christians, we’re prone to withdrawal. We fall victim to the enemy’s whispers that say, “It would be so much easier to stay home today.”

I’ve been there. Many, many times.

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Battling Temptation

Even when I battle the temptation to isolate, push myself out the door and attend a gathering, I sometimes predetermine our own actions. I think, “I’ll go, but I’m not going to talk to anyone.”

Or worse yet, my intentional efforts to connect come to an abrupt halt when we enter the room to find …

  • A chatty sister talks too much and I can’t get a word in edgewise.
  • My friend’s problem seems so much weightier than my own so I fall silent.
  • Emotions threaten to overtake me and I know if I start talking the tears will come. Who needs that?
  • The well-dressed woman across the room starts talking about her perfect family again. As I compare myself to her, I feel she may judge me or my issues. I should just pull myself together too.

 

I miss the opportunity to share my struggles. Trapped in isolation, I often misjudge the depth of my loneliness and the way it shrouds my joy. I believe I’m being independent but the ache in my heart is heavy.

I’m deceived into thinking I can navigate this life on my own, that I don’t need the fellowship of others.

But that’s a lie.  The truth is Jesus prayed that you and I could experience unity with other believers just as He and the Father were unified. Then, the world could see Jesus and the love of the Father. (See John 17:23).

It’s worth the effort to overcome isolation. It not only blesses us individually but also is mutually beneficial for those with whom we engage in Christian fellowship. Without question, connection within the Body of Christ can help us embrace the joy the Lord has for us today.

4 Practical Hints to Overcome Isolation

Here are a few practical (but not always easy) ways to overcome Isolation and embrace today’s joy.

Show up

Get online as soon as possible and check out your church calendar. Find an event or two that sounds interesting. Register if you must. Just make plans to attend and then go!       Remember that friendships and connections don’t happen instantaneously. They take time, so exercise patience. When new relationships begin to bud and bloom, you’ll soon understand the benefits of connecting, repeatedly and regularly, with other followers of Christ.

Reach out

I can’t estimate the amount of time I’ve wasted waiting for someone to reach out to me. My heartfelt recommendation: don’t wait for others to initiate a conversation. Start one on your own. Ask questions about the other person. Show genuine interest in who she is. As you wait for a friendship to take root, maintain the attitude that “it’s not about me.” Take initiative and pour yourself into others first.

Take part

I find one of the fastest ways to make friends, connect with others and overcome isolation is to serve. Volunteer for a cause, work a booth at an event or sign up to help with a project. There’s something about being a part of a team, rolling up your sleeves alongside one another, and getting to work that quickens familiarity and bonding.

Move beyond your comfort zone

Do that thing you’re afraid to do. Sign up for the women’s retreat even if none of your friends are attending.  Share your testimony with your small group. Learn to exercise vulnerability and let others into your life. If you’re afraid that someone will judge you or that if you let people get too close, you’re bound to experience hurt… well, you’re right. At some point, all of us feel the sting of relationships. But let’s not let the fear of heartache keep us from the joy of connectedness. The benefits far outweigh the risks.

 

Our enemy wants us in isolation because then he can wreak havoc into our lives. God wants us living in connection and unity so that we can bond with other believers, bless one another, and glorify Him. When we work to overcome isolation, it is a sure way to deepen your level of daily joy.

May God’s Word strengthen you today!

Cathy McIntosh

 

 

 

 

We all need encouragement to overcome isolation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Joyful as a Stay-At-Home Mom of Littles

Staying Joyful as a Stay-At-Home Mom of Littles

A Guest Post by Sophie Elise

You had the perfect hour planned. The kids would go down for their naps and quiet times and you would sit on the deck with your cup of tea and Bible for a little quiet time of your own to refuel for the rest of the day.

All that stood between you and that hour of bliss was your children’s cooperation.

You started with your toddler. Next, you gave him his milk, read him a story, patted his back much longer than you would have liked to. Finally, he fell asleep. You tiptoed stealthily out of his room, silently screaming at the squeaky door as you inched it shut behind you.

Next up is your preschooler. You read to her, cuddle her, sing her favorite song. Take her to the bathroom. Twice. Finally, she too settles.

You put the kettle on for tea and gather your journal, pen, and Bible.

Then the unthinkable happens–just as you’re pouring the tea into your oversized mug, you hear him cry. He’s awake and upset, and you know by the ferocity of that scream that your desperately needed quiet time just disappeared.

What do you do now? How do you reconnect with Jesus–the source of all joy–in the middle of a chaotic day with your littles?

Is it possible to refill our cups with joy so that we have enough to pour out on these precious ones who depend on us so dearly?

The Source of All Joy

First, let’s consider where our joy comes from and in what circumstances we are intended to feel joy. Then we will look at how we can reconnect with our source of joy when we can’t even hear ourselves think.

The greatest joy we can know comes from Jesus: Peter says, Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8). When we believe in Jesus–simply believe–we are filled with joy.

Joy also comes from the inworking of the Holy Spirit in us: Paul reminds us, the fruit of the Spirit is … joy (Galatians 5:22). When we accept and walk by the Holy Spirit, we produce this fruit.

Further, it comes from trusting in God: again, Paul writes, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him (Romans 15:13).

So, if our joy comes from believing in Jesus, walking by the Holy Spirit, and trusting in God, our job, then, is to set our minds on these things daily (or as often as needed) so that we can stay joyful.

Real Struggles

The territory of a stay-at-home mom with little children is often challenging. The demands on your body, mind, and energy are heavy, and there are too few breaks throughout the day to refresh. I’m a homeschooling mama of four kids ranging in age from one to ten, and I struggle with this regularly. I get so tired out from being “on” as a mother all day–answering all the questions; cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning; settling sibling disputes; trying to get exhausted toddlers with the willpower of mules to take naps.

Where, in the midst of all that, does one find the time to stay joyful?

Called to Rejoice Always

The answer, at first glance, may not be totally reassuring. James 1:2-3 tells us, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Easy peasy, right?

Staying home with our children is a privilege, to be sure. I feel deep mom guilt every time I complain–even inwardly–about how hard it can be. I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to witness every miraculous moment of my children’s development. But some days, it so doesn’t feel that way. My faith is seriously tested. I’m tired, I’m worn down, I’m weak. The enemy uses that opportunity to whisper lies: you’re not good enough. You can’t do this. It’s too much for you.

But my God whispers back truths: I delight in you. (Isaiah 62:4). You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13). Come to me. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. (Matthew 11:28).

Even as We’re Tested

Is my faith tested daily as a stay-at-home-mom? Absolutely. Is it producing perseverance, as I learn to trust in Him and walk by His Spirit? Indeed. And not only are we called to rejoice when we face trials, but in all of our afflictions, suffering, and, oh yeah, always.

Always. In all things.

In our living rooms this morning as we soothe our children after one more tantrum, and in situations far more difficult. In the words of Saint Paul, “Again, I say, rejoice!”

Putting it into Practice

That’s not to say this is easy. Focusing on our faith in Christ, our trust in God, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us in the midst of chaos is hard.

Here are some ideas on how you can draw your attention back to these greater truths when you’re feeling completely worn down in your role as a mom.

1. Worship

There are countless references in the Bible to ‘songs of joy’ and ‘shouts of joy.’ The Israelites danced and sang joyful songs with timbrels and lyres. David told the Levites to make joyful sounds. Psalm 28:7 says, My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise Him. We are created to praise and worship the Lord with a joyful noise!

Worship is something you can do–together with your kids–at any time of day. When you’re feeling especially drained, play a few of your favourite worship videos through your computer or TV. Let the kids sit or dance as the screen captures their attention, while you meditate on the lyrics, or better yet, sing along in your loudest, most joyful voice. It only takes a few songs to renew a spirit.

2. Give Thanks

When we give thanks to God, we reflect on all He has done in our lives and throughout history, and we cannot help but increase our faith and trust in Him, which we know leads directly to joy.

Make a list with your children of all the things you are grateful for. Let them decorate the list with colored markers and glitter. Praise God together for His goodness and His faithfulness.

A little reminder for the morning to stay focused on God’s strength.

3. Serve Together

Let’s head back to Galatians 5 for a moment. How does Paul define walking by the Spirit? Using our freedom…to serve one another humbly in love. (vs. 13). This is what will produce the fruits of the Spirit (including joy) in us.

Bake cookies and bring them to your next door neighbour. Draw pictures together and ask your children who they would like to give them to. Offer to watch the children of another tired mama for an afternoon so she can get some rest. Make a nice dinner together and set the table fancily as a surprise for the rest of the family when they get home.

Look for ways to bring joy to others and see how God, in turn, fills you with his Spirit of joy.

Staying joyful as a stay-at-home mom of littles can be a challenge, even on the best of days, but as we recall His promises and engage in the activities that help us remember how good our God is, we too will experience His inexpressible and glorious joy.

 

Sophie Elise is a writer, entrepreneur, and homeschool mom of four, passionately pursuing God’s rest. She writes to encourage women to persevere in faith and deepen their trust in God. She’d love to connect with you through her website, My Cup Runs Over or on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Joy in Daily Frustrations by Meredith Curtis

How Getting Back to Basics can Help You Embrace Joy by Cathy McIntosh

The Joy-Worship Connection by Jennifer King

 

Joyful as a stay-at-home mom of littles

4 Strategies to Help Find Joy After Loss

4 Strategies to Help Find Joy After Loss

Our family is in the midst of a challenging year. While the Lord has poured out blessings to the point of overflow, we’ve also experienced significant loss in a variety of forms. Through it all, we have worked hard to cling to our joy. We understand the importance of finding joy during times of both celebration and difficulty since it helps us rest in the sovereignty of God.

Joy doesn’t always present itself in constant happiness, cheer, or delight. God gives us an abiding level of joy as we watch for and experience His presence, care, and involvement in our lives. So, to say that we are joyful during loss has little to do with our smiles or mood. Since joy is a characteristic of the fruit of the Holy Spirit—evidence that God’s Spirit and His power dwell within us—it’s not an emotion based on circumstances.

As we experience periods of sorrow, the focus we place on Christ helps determine the level of our joy. Through our relationship and reliance on Him, we can maintain a spirit of joy even when grief feels overwhelming.

I like to think of it this way: I know to whom I belong and know that His Holy Spirit dwells in me. I abide in Christ, His power fills me, and even when I think my tears shall never cease, the joy in my heart still makes me glad. Yes. This is a mystery but is evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

Through the highs and lows of this tumultuous year, we’ve adopted several strategies that help us find joy come what may. Here are 4 strategic practices that I pray will bless you:

Find Joy After Loss by Soaking in the Scriptures.

God’s Word has power and it offers steadfast truth that comforts our hearts.  Psalm 119:28 is one of the verses on which this ministry was founded. It reminds me, daily, of the strength that God offers to us through the Bible.  It says, “I am weary from grief; strengthen me through Your word” (HCSB). God stands at the ready to strengthen, encourage, and help us discover His abiding joy, even through grief. His strength comes to us through the truth of His Word.

If you’re new to the Bible and or don’t know where to turn for comfort, here are a few starting points:

Psalm 16:8

Psalm 34:18

Psalm 147:3

Isaiah 43:1-5

Matthew 5:1-4

Matthew 11:28-30

1 Peter 5:6-7

Our God cares for us at a level that is beyond our understanding. He has made Himself available to hold us up when we feel we don’t have the strength to take another step. When we soak in His Word, His truths become our own and we can supernaturally rely on Him as a source of sustaining help.

Find Joy After Loss by Seeking the Lord’s Comfort.

I prepared a short (3 min) video on Facebook to discuss this a little further. You can find that uplifting video here.

By allowing ourselves to feel and express our sorrow instead of trying to suppress our feelings, we can turn to the Lord for help. Burying our feelings and trying to push them away only delay our healing and joy. But expressions of grief and showing our vulnerability helps us receive the comfort only He can provide. We walk in the presence of the Lord, Himself. That, the Bible says, is where we find the fullness of joy.

Find Joy After Loss by Remembering the Good.

When we are separated from something we’re fond of, the process of loss seems more painful. Enjoy the process of reminiscing and thank the Lord for the good that you received.  When memories come at surprising (and often inopportune) times, don’t push them away to avoid tears. Instead, take a few moments to smile through the sadness as your recall happy moments.

Find Joy After Loss by Embracing Your Own Personality.

If you have an extroverted temperament, you’ll find consolation through gathering with friends and commiserating.  One way to completely neglect your own needs is to withdraw into isolation or disengage and move toward solitude. But spending time with others will fuel your comfort.

Conversely, if you’re more of an introvert, crowds are apt to make you feel as if you’re living in a fishbowl with everyone watching to see how you’ll process your grief. Acknowledge your temperament and take the space and time you need in your own comfortable environment. Then, as healing starts to take hold, slowly engage with others who are eager to express their condolences.

Finding Joy in the Journey

Purchase Finding Joy in the Journey here.

 

Remember, we don’t have to forsake our abiding level of joy in the Lord when we encounter loss and sorrow. Jesus is ready to offer comfort, hope, and encouragement. His glory surrounds us. He lifts our heads and relieves our distress. Joy after loss comes when we access it through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Jesus takes joy seriously. It’s a gift that we should not forsake. In fact, Jesus prayed that joy in the Father would be fulfilled in us to the point of overflowing (see John 17:13). Even as we suffer and grieve.

May you find great joy in your journey,

Cathy McIntosh

 

 

 

Find Joy After Loss

Finding Joy in Marriage Through Prayer

Finding Joy in Marriage Through Prayer

“It’s difficult to find joy in marriage.”

“Marriage is hard work.”

What profound understatements. I remember in the giddiness of our young engagement thinking, “We love each other so much, marriage will be easy for us.”

Boy, were we wrong.

We entered marriage with visions of everlasting adoration. That is, until work schedules, distractions, and ambitions got in the way. We forgot who “we” were, each thinking only of “me.”

Cutting remarks began. Distrust followed and soon we stopped walking in adoration. In fact, I’m not sure how much we even liked each other.

The Separation

Then one day, I asked my husband to leave our home. He obliged.

The pain of marital separation was colossal: a hollow sort of emptiness where despair reverberated. We believed separate lives would bring relief. Instead, it brought a measure of hopeless anguish neither of us expected.

Finding Joy in Marriage Through Prayer

Alone in separate beds and in separate homes, unbeknownst to the other, we individually turned to prayer. My husband admittedly hadn’t prayed in years and my novice efforts felt awkward and uncomfortable. But in the desolate silence, we each cried out to the Lord, seeking help. We began interceding for our marriage, own hearts and reluctantly for one another.

That’s where the healing started. At first, the healing was nearly unnoticeable. There was no immediate reconciliation; no lightning bolt of realization or admission of wrongs. There was something greater. Deep inside each of us, there was the beginning of hope. Read more here…

 

Today I’m excited to share a guest post with blogger, Tiffany Montgomery on her blog Hope and Joy in Christ. To read the full post and follow her great series, 31 Ways to Reclaim Joy in a Christian Marriage, please be sure to visit her blog.

Tiffany is also providing a giveaway for my new prayer devotional and dozens of other products as well. You won’t want to miss out!

Visit the Hope and Joy in Christ blog here!

joy in marriage through prayer

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