I'm a firm believer that joy is a choice. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit that we have access to when we remain in Christ but if we choose a sour attitude then we can miss out on that joy! Change can be a big instigator to a grumpy attitude because we want things to stay the same! When life brings change we can either cling to the past or we can focus on joy and look to the future.
It's a time of change in our family. We spent our final days at the "family farm" last week. Micah's parents bought the property back in the spring of 2003 and for the last fourteen years it has provided the family the perfect place for gatherings and millions of memories. His parents cared for around a dozen teen foster boys in that home. They remodeled the attached garage into an apartment for Micah's grandmother. They hosted holidays, birthdays, and countless other events, including our wedding and reception.
To say that this property is ingrained in all our hearts is an understatement!
But caring for seven acres and having a house filled with empty bedrooms wasn't working anymore and they made the decision to sell. Its a decision that was not easy for them and took years to finally pull the trigger on. But next week they sign the papers and they move on.
We all have lots of mixed emotions about this move. As we said goodbye to Micah's mom last week the three of us were in tears knowing it was the last time we would see the farm as "the farm". Never again will we drive the perimeter on the 4-wheeler. No more sitting on the patio while we watch the fireflies dance around the yard. And gone are the days of setting off fireworks without worries of disturbing the neighbors.
We could dwell on the "no longers" and the "no mores" and feel defeated over this loss. Or we can focus on the joy this place has brought us and the gift it has been to the family for a decade and a half and look to the future at what joy is yet to come.
We can celebrate all the boys that found the love of family in this home when they were taken in. Whether they knew it at the time or even know it now, the family they experienced at the farm left a mark on their hearts that shaped their future.
We can rejoice that we had a place to hold our wedding and reception that allowed us a magical wedding experience at no extra cost for a venue.
We can thank God for the provision of a home that could fit the growing extended family over the years so each time we gathered we never had to wonder where everyone would sit or sleep.
We can look forward to a new home for them that is only a few blocks from Micah's brother and his family which will allow for more time with the cousins.
We can get excited about all the new memories and experiences that are waiting to happen.
What changes are you facing? Is there a move in your future? A job change? What about adding a new baby? Perhaps your last child has left home or your first is beginning school.
No matter what changes are on the horizon you can rest in the promises of God. After all, our joy does not come from circumstances! Our joy comes from knowing Jesus as our savior. It is because of following Christ that we can find joy in even the hardest of times and the most drastic of changes. Here are a few verses to help you focus on the joy of the Lord when changes come your way.
And finally, one of my favorite verses.
We need to choose joy, pray constantly, and say thank you to Christ, no matter what we are experience! So whatever changes are coming your way I urge you to take your eyes off the circumstances and focus on Christ so you He can help you find the joy that is to come.
What changes are you facing? What could you use prayer for right now? If you don't feel comfortable leaving prayer requests in the comments I would feel honored if you messaged me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can pray for you!