Thursday, October 08, 2015

Courageous Joy

When does choosing joy become courageous joy? When the lesson has been so written into one's heart there can be no choice other than joy in the face of  life's challenges.

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him....." James 1:2 -

Biblical joy is not a happy feeling. This joy is a deep trust and satisfaction in Jesus, in where He leads and in what He provides. It is a soul-level awareness of the nearness of God in my life.  Christians are not exempt from trials. James warns us we will encounter them - there's no need to search for them. There will be a variety of tests in each of our lives and from these we have the opportunity to surrender to Jesus, experience His presence in the valley,  feel endurance build and faith mature.
God said, "Choose joy"  and we haltingly began to apply what we read through life's challenges: illnesses, miscarriages, dire doctor's predictions, earthquakes,  tragic losses  and ministry changes, we chose joy...

A few years ago God began to speak to us about courage. We faced fears which were long held and deeply rooted.  We began to discover choosing joy is a command and also a weapon. It's a courageous choice. It takes courage to choose joy in the midst of devastation, battles with food addiction, career and ministry transitions, children leaving home, fill in YOUR blank. Courageous joy has just a touch of defiance in it. The trial/temptation/hardship will not win.  We will follow God - even here.  "So take that!," our spirits shout at the obstacle.  As quickly as the choice is made, a spark of courageous joy - yes JOY - flickers to life, we endure and our faith matures. We meet our God in the valley.
Months ago, when we were thinking about prayer cards and missionary newsletters, we realized we wanted a domain so our "title" would match our URL. We wanted consistent branding. "Choosing Joy," our blog title of ten years,  was taken. We had fun brainstorming as a family, and on Facebook - and we kept thinking courage needed to be married with joy. God uses all sorts of means to subtly nudge us into new seasons. As the threat of Parkinson's began to enter our lives, we knew we had to respond swiftly and decisively with courageous joy.

 We determined years ago to be a family which would love courageously, follow God courageously, serve courageously.  We are in a new season which is calling forth new areas of courage from each of us. As we face this ongoing challenge of Michael's medical diagnosis and the questions as to how it will impact our future ministry and lifestyle, we've decided to respond with courageous joy. We've chosen, with both courage and joy, not to fret about the future, or wish away the present. We'll choose courageous joy as we live our lives fully present.
"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NLT

Yes, it's a new blog name and URL....but more than that, it's  a new season.  We will choose courageous joy as we move into retirement, deal with Michael's medical issues, full-time RV, or move into missions......regardless the name will "work," it's the work God is working in us.
Your bookmarks will still work; the old URL will bring you here. You can still subscribe  and receive blog posts in your inbox, or follow from the sidebar. If you wish to utilize Facebook for tracking blogs, our new Courageous Joy Facebook page will host a link to every blog post.

*Note: we haven't linked each blog post on our personal Facebook pages - if you WANT all the blog links, you can have them by liking and following the page on Facebook or subscribing in one of these other ways... or you can simply go on as before and we'll each post what we think may be of interest to our personal friends on our personal pages.

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