Choose Joy

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”- Henri J.M. Nouwen

Joy, a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Joy, a state of happiness or felicity: bliss. Joy, a source or cause of delight. Joy, what I feel every time I walk into a church service. Joy, seeing the children worship God with all of their heart. Joy, the peace I have in my heart. Joy, knowing that I am in God’s will. Joy, knowing I’m fulfilling the calling He has placed on my life.

There is joy all around us. Sometimes you may have to look really hard for it, but it is there. Someone once said, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be filled with joy.” And it doesn’t. Sometimes, it’s all those little “imperfect” moments that make it “perfect” and joyful. If you look hard, you can find a ray of sunshine, even in your darkest hour.

Joy is being able to talk to your family through FaceTime:

If you know my nephew Levi, you know he’s always good for a laugh. We were FaceTiming the other night, and I was telling him all about the stuff that they sell on the streets here, and he wanted to know if they sold “drugs”. What he really meant was “rugs” but me and my sister laughed so hard about that.

Joy is teaching the word of God:

I was blessed to be able to teach in the Bible School in Ghana last week. I taught on the importance of training and education at every level of leadership, from the bottom to the top. Lakeisha Williams said, “A true leader never stops being a student.” I am honored that I was asked to teach this lesson. And I pray that the students were able to get something out of it.

Joy is trying new food for the first time:

I got to try a traditional Ghanaian dish called Fufu. Fufu is basically like a dough made from boiled casava(kind of like a potato, that’s the closest thing we have to compare it to) and boiled plantains, and they beat them together until the form a dough-like consistency. Then you serve it with a stew and you use your thumb and first two fingers on you RIGHT hand and pinch off a piece of the dough, dip it in the stew, and swallow it. The stew we had was ground nut(peanut butter) stew, and it was amazing!

Joy is finding out Sonic is going to have Pickle Juice Slushies:

Okay, so this one is not about Africa, but this post is about “joy” and this brings me joy! I love dill pickles and I love to freeze the juice and make pickle pops so this is awesome! I already put my request in for one when I come back to the states in May!

Joy is being able to come to Benin:

I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit Benin for a few weeks and see two of my favorite people, Momma and Poppa B(The Bensons). It is really awesome to be able to experience French West Africa. It’s been great to be able to FINALLY get to spend some time with these two. They are two of the sweetest people you will ever meet. I’m so happy to be with them.

Side note: They taught me how to play Catan, and I think Poppa B is still trying to figure out how I won.

Joy is a baby being dedicated to the Lord:

Yesterday was my first service here in Benin, and I was able to see the dedication of this little cutie! His name is “God is Good-John”. He was so tiny! And adorable. In addition to it being my first service in Benin, it was also my first service in French, which I can’t speak, and can only understand a few words, so shout out to Momma B for being a great interpreter!

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” All morning I’ve had the song stuck in my head that says, “It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, full of glory, full of glory. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory. Oh the half has never yet been told.”

So today I challenge you, if you haven’t already, stop and think about something that brings joy into your life. And once you’ve done that, thank God for it. Russel Nelson said, “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives, and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” So today, focus on the good, find the joy, and just be happy!

Have a joyful day!