I don’t have any beautiful or painful memories flooding my thoughts today. Nor do I have any pieces of wisdom that I’ve gleaned from thoughtful tears or much needed laughter. But as I open my eyes each morning, I do realize that there is a choice I have to make for the day: I must choose joy. It was something my mom always, always said. It was particularly frustrating in my teenage years when I was having a hormonal day but it has stuck with me as I’ve grown into adulthood. It was my mantra through the early newborn days with Audrey Nole… she was a frustrating and difficult baby. I would hold her tight while rocking her and repeat to myself, “choose joy, Jillian. choose joy.”

Today, its raining. Its raining in the desert, something that very rarely happens, and its gloomy. It makes me want to find a reason to be sad because that’s the tone of mood the weather is setting. But for some reason, today I’m not particularly sad and I’m thankful for that. As I sit here though, in the gray light of this yucky day, I can hear the rain drops in my chimney and I’m reminded to choose joy. Its been a theme, when I look over my journal from the last 6 months, to find the things in my day that I can be grateful for and find joy in. Often they are small and seemingly inconsequential. Things like Audrey not pushing her friends, or being able to enjoy some alone time with Adam, or just not having to do the dishes. Those are the things that I’ve had to desperately search for as bringing joy into my day.  But as I really think about it, ultimately the source of my joy despite this deeply sorrowful place I’m currently living in, has to be and has always been, Christ. 

I don’t have a frustrated newborn to rock. I don’t have numerous poopy diapers to change and cross my fingers stay contained. I don’t have the precious baby coos and giggles of those early months that make the sleepless nights fade into the background because you’re just so in love. I don’t have an outward and tangible reason to be joyful, what I have is so much more complicated {and equally not at all complicated} but also really wonderful.

I AM just so in love. I truly, genuinely, love my son. I am captivated by his beauty. I am enamored by his strength. I am honored to be his mama. I adore the sweet innocence of Audrey’s love for him. I am just SO in love. I also don’t have him here to snuggle and that’s when I’m reminded that I must choose joy to get through each day. So today, even though its gloomy and gray, my heart isn’t as sad as it could be and I’m going to be thankful for that. I’m also going to give God all the credit. And today, even though the world that I’m living in is broken and painful, I’m choosing joy by clinging to Jesus. I’m thankful for the scriptures that show me God’s character. I’m thankful for the people who study those scriptures so deeply and point me to the places where I can find the most comfort on days like today and seasons like this one. I know that I can’t and won’t always find tangible things in my day that bring me joy but I have a wonderful God who is joy itself and HE is my joy. So especially on the worst days, but even on the better days, I don’t have to choose joy over sorrow because my God is the ultimate source of all of my joy and He is unfailing, holy, and gives life abundantly. 

“…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” - John 10:10
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” - 2 Thessalonians 3:3