how remembering helps make room for joy



Life passes in a blur and we can become too caught up in busyness to stop and savour the present moment. We forget that Now is all we really have to experience to the full. Except, that is, for those conscious acts of remembrance which stir our hearts with sweet ache of memory, turn thoughts back to gratitude.

I’ve been thinking about my grandson approaching the grand old age of three, reflecting on the enormous privilege of being his grandma, how I get to watch him grow, have a part to play in his future.

This little fellow has truly captured my heart and been teaching me more about joy than any text-book could, because he lives with a confident expectation of life being full of good things. Joy is his default mode most days.

Although I require a lot of support myself due to chronic health problems, I happily, willingly (and probably unwisely?)  go way beyond my normal capacities to offer him love and care, knowing our times together are precious and rare.



When I think about those special times I have shared with him, it awakens me anew to the realisation of holy ground being anywhere heaven touches earth – in the banal and breathtaking, and in the prosaic and playful as well.

Once we look and listen with intent, we sense moments of marvel midst the mundane, observe joy springing up like bulbs eager to greet sunlight. I’m tending to see more in the autumn of my life, remembering anew all that God can do.

Joy given is joy multiplied. We bring our lives as a daily offering to God and watch with wonder as He blesses them beyond measure, to the full and overflowing out to others.

Making space for God is no hardship when He enlarges our capacity for sensing joy in daily life, as well as in His presence. He delights to bring us joy and delight.

Our prayers rise as breath, each one ascending as incense to God’s throne. I inhale and still remember the sweet infant scent of my sons and grandson. It’s a reminder of the fragrance of grace filling everywhere we offer it space.

Dear Father,

As we reflect, remember and relive joy-filled moments, may we prepare our hearts to receive again, ready them for holy whispers and reassurance in the here and now.

Help us to enlarge our happiness with fond remembrance of your goodness and grace in the past, so we can have renewed hope for the future.

May we be aware of the fleeting nature of our days, how every breath and moment is a gift to us, and each day offers fresh opportunity to enjoy the grace gifts already set before us.

Help us to be appreciative receivers and gracious givers of your bounty as we pour ourselves out in the service of others.

Show us how to listen well to your Word, to Holy Spirit and to our lives, heeding all they have to say to us. And to look with deliberate intent as we seek to develop hearts more in tune with yours by surrendering each day into your hands.



Welcome to #day24 of #write31days of journeying into joy

What helps you to actively remember the goodness of the Lord?

I’d love you to share in the comments below.


searching out the joy bringers



I don’t have to search much to find the joy bringers in my life. For instance, I love (in no particular order) – curling up with a good book, spending time with family, drinking coffee, eating dark chocolate, reading and writing poetry, scenting sea air, watching day seeping into dusk and sunset, being outside,  laughter, company, connecting, silence and solitude.

Some of these are easily achievable now; others must wait for the right timing, opportunity, sufficient health, strength and energy to coincide. You’ll note some of them seem contradictory. That’s because I’m a reflective, contemplative introvert at heart and also a woman who savours being in touch with others!

While I relish having a writing outlet, and derive great satisfaction and pleasure from many things, it is relationships most of all that provide me with the greatest joy and pleasure.

I delight most in family and friends, knowing and being known, loving and being loved. God’s purpose is primarily for us to be in relationship with Him and with one another, to be life enhancers and joy bringers as we shine His light in our daily lives.

What does being a joy bringer look like? Does it mean having a perfect, joy filled life? Far from it. It’s more about joy in knowing God and sensing His hand at work.

“Joy is not gush. Joy is not mere jolliness. Joy is perfect aquiescence – acceptance, rest – in God’s will, whatever comes. And that is so, only for the soul that delights in God” ~ Amy Carmichael

Because God-shaped joy transcends circumstances – it is mysterious, wondrous and liberating. When our lives are less than joyful, we can discover it afresh in recognising how we are held, strengthened, kept and comforted in our hour of need.

God’s constant presence is what stabilises our see-saw emotions and gives grace to cope for one more day, then the next, and so on, providing the means to endure or overcome.

The joy we have is in being able to cast our cares and burdens on the Lord, release our worry and anxiety. We can rest in knowing God is dealing with our problems, granting us grace to wait, offering His perfect peace while we pause before receiving answers to come.

And you know what brings us magnified joy? it’s the ability to care, to hold one another in prayer, encourage each other on the journey and share the blessings we receive.

“When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because it adds fuel to the other’s flame” ~ St Augustine

Today I invite you to search out your own joy bringers and reflect on ways in which you are able to offer joy to others, because what we focus on most tends to define our days.


Welcome to #day23 of #write31days of journeying into joy

It’s a joy to have you travelling with me, especially as we begin to wind up this series.

Each day has been an adventure of faith with God providing abundantly! 


joy in developing happiness habits



An open cup greets me from this proteus flower. It’s a reminder to be just as open and aware, as receptive to God’s light, love mercy and grace in life’s daily spaces. I long to be alert and open to joy in my daily grind, to awaken to wonder, look for the soul sustenance it provides while I seek to offer hope and encouragement to others.

It’s not always easy, is it? Joy may be like a fragrant bouquet blooming in our hearts and homes but we need eyes to see it and a disposition of openness to receive it. Clenched fists, sour thoughts and ungrateful hearts are not well placed to receive such a  gift.

The poem below grew out of a hunger to live with open hands, mind and heart…


Good morning, new day

I want to welcome you

with arms wide open

I long to make room

in every receptive way

for your ordinary wonder

and let hope bloom strong

within by gift of grace


It takes grace to even begin to see the gift of joy seeping into our days. We remain blind to these things without a holy opening.

But there are ways to help ourselves, to train eye and soul in the pursuit of joy. It takes a deliberate desire, a willing spirit and an ability to be patient while we nurture the seed of joy within.

“You prepare for the journey to a happier life by nourishing your heart with truth, beauty and love, by filling your soul with forgiveness and letting go, by changing to become the authentic person you were created to be” ~ Daniel O’Leary  ‘The Happiness Habit’

Maybe it also includes these 4 ‘A’s to finding deeper joy:

  • Acceptance instead of resistance – to God’s will and work in us
  • Adaptation rather than consternation – when life hits hard
  • Awareness more than ignorant bliss – by searching the Scriptures for God’s take on this
  • Appreciation over resignation – having an attitude of gratitude in all things

“I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart” ~ Psalms 40:8 NLT

The longer we linger in God’s presence, the more joy filled and joyful we will become.

“Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:27 NIV

We can rejoice in God’s daily help, strength and protection.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” ~ Psalm 28:7 NIV

Praise and worship lend themselves to another blog post for another day, such is their effect on maintaining joy. But I hope and pray you will be blessed by today’s reflection.


Welcome to #day22 of #write31days of journeying into joy! Thank you for keeping me company here.

Please feel free to share your own happiness habits in the comments below. 


enjoying a feast of grace gifts



While we are being encouraged to ‘Go Sober for October’, slide ever closer toward ‘Movember’ and anticipate ‘Dry January’, this month is fast becoming ‘Wet-tober’ for us. As a family we have extra cause for raising our glasses in celebration, because our daughters-in-law have birthdays this month. One of them is celebrating a particularly significant year, and the other also has a new job to rejoice over – cheers all round!

And as we think about the passing of time, our days are being framed by a continual downpour of rain. In learning to enjoy the journey I am on, I’m also finding ways to love the life I have. Part of that includes appreciation for seemingly small things, life’s little moments and everyday marvels which are so easily missed or go unmarked.

This summer we had an enforced stay-cation where housebound took on a whole new level of feeling like we’re missing out. So each short journey currently undertaken in the car feels like a triumph of sorts, a cause for celebration – yes, even when it pours with rain! The poem below emerged after such an outing  when visiting our elder son and his wife.

It reminds me that in every life a little rain will fall, heavy clouds will temporarily obliterate the sun, days may feel dark and cool, but light and warmth and love and joy are close by, just waiting to be found by receptive heart and eye

A veritable feast



Day’s brightness reluctantly gave way

to leaden grey, as skies poured forth

water from heaven’s hoses; sprayed

liberally now on car windscreen,

washing road, gleaming drops sit

on leaves with pearlescent glow



And I watched in wonder while clouds

parted to reveal vivid rainbow

curve of colour; God’s reminder

to Noah of flood. Then his everlasting

covenant with Abraham – made manifest

to us in Jesus Christ’s sacrificed blood



Joy has already embraced me

in hugs with family, shared news,

coffee and chocolates, exchange

of views and provisions from their

abundant garden. A veritable

feast for us to journey homeward with



We can soon become replete when

considering God’s daily grace gifts

seen in sky, its ever changing scenery

altering by the hour. Or found in

goodness closer to  ground, in our home,

friends and family – in every living thing


PS: Just in case you are curious to know more, here’s some info on Go Sober for October, how to become  involved in Movember, and a little bit about Dry January in the UK. Wet-tober is a phrase I’ve coined today, though it may well be in use for all I know!


Welcome to #day21 of #write31days of journeying into joy.

What are you seeing, appreciating or celebrating this month? I’d love to hear in the comments below.


thoughts on being a joyful giver


It is said that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. I always derive more pleasure from picking out gifts for others rather than opening my own, though they are greatly appreciated, of course. I guess I dislike being the centre of attention, or getting another year older!

When it comes to gift giving it truly is the thought that counts. We regularly receive a card through the post – proper snail mail no less – from a dear friend of ours who not only supports us in prayer but also remembers that we once used to be church members. Our faces remain largely forgotten, even our names cause puzzled faces, so long has our absence been. But to this kind lady we are still friends she treasures and fondly remembers.

I think the gift is more the encouragement of being prayed for and thought about than the card itself and small token she sometimes sends. To be held in prayer and thought of in love is no small thing. It has seen us through some very painful times.

Sometimes it is humbling to receive, especially when we’re in straightened circumstances. But we negate the potential blessing if we fail to give or receive out of embarrassment or indifference. A tender heart and listening ear will help us to be sensitive to the best timing as well as the most appropriate gift we can offer someone.

Maybe God is calling you to consider different ways of being a giver? It’s less about splashing the cash and more about expending time, thought and prayer. Our attitude matters most. God loves a cheerful giver who reveals the way He loves to give to us – freely, liberally, lavishly, generously – and radiates His loving-kindness.

God wants us to give out of a heart of love and compassion, shaped by Holy Spirit inspiration and direction. He will show us the best way to offer help and support to others as we learn to be joyful givers and grateful recipients.

Dear Father,

May we always remember to be kind, act lovingly, show mercy

As we give to others let us do so from a heart of gratitude,

not out of guilt. Show us just how much has been given to us,

so we do not become mean gleaners but gracious givers


Remind us how everyone we meet has deep secret needs

There is pain and strife, wounds are present in every life

There is an ache inside, a void only you can fill

Sadness invades us, as does grief. Every life sits in shade

sometimes. Every person is in pursuit of peace and ease


May we be given eyes to see, hearts full of compassion,

a willingness to be your hands and feet in a needy

world. Teach us how to be transformed as we feel

our way around this place. Reveal how grace shapes

our days and how best to offer it to others.


“Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 CEB

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badgeWelcome to #day20 of #write31days of journeying into joy, where we are examining various ways in which we can lead a more joy filled life.  

Your presence here is gift and grace to me. Thank you for allowing me access to your inbox.  :)


joy in becoming wounded healers



Our wounds cry out for attention. Pain screams for relief. We ache to be better, long for our brokenness to be fixed, and often try everything else at our disposal before asking God to assist us.

Yet what the world offers so often feels like a sticking plaster approach. The hurt goes on festering within, covered over and concealed as it may be. And more than that, without the right attention wounds worsen, grow septic, cause greater danger to our health.

Soul wounds are no different in this respect. They require the Healer’s touch, often deep excision to cut away all that is not fitting for us as children of God. It hurts. It really hurts, but in a good way. Becoming whole is more than a slow piecing together again, sealed with a hug and kiss; it’s complete renewal, total transformation that is needed.

The world may help us with many things but our greatest soul solace is to go to our Saviour, rest in  the comfort of His presence, learn wisdom from His loving heart. We seek the solution only God can offer – complete cleansing and mending. And when we do we just might hear Him speak,  like He whispered these words to me…

Prayer Whisper: Wounds and Joy

prayer whisper image


“I, too, bear wounds. Mine are in My hands, feet, heart and head for eternity. I bear the wounds of sin and pain for all humanity. And I will pour the oil of joy into your wounds, bind up the hurt and soothe your pain with My peace.

You will walk as a wounded healer through this world as your wounds enable you to bring My love, compassion and care into the lives of others. You may not be fully healed of them in this lifetime, but you will be able to live with them

Joy waits on the other side of grief and sits with sadness. It is more than a feeling. It’s a chasing after grace, a deliberate turning in My direction when you feel low and wretched.

Joy is a conscious choice you make as you decide what direction your thoughts will take. A mind redeemed and renewed by My Word is a mind set on peace and joy.

Open the windows of your soul and see its presence. Open the door of your heart and let it in. Joy is yours for the taking.”

Our wounds and problems make us feel less than useful or able, so it seems surprising to think we are well placed to help others while we remain wounded ourselves. I believe we can be wounded healers because we know what it is to be broken, dependent on God for the healing we need.

Most of all, we know the Healer himself, sit under the protective cover of His wings, experience His help in all things, witness Him changing us or our circumstances, and are grateful recipients of His grace, mercy and peace.  We can joyfully point the way to our Saviour and be the means of refreshing others.That has to count for something, yes?

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badgeWelcome to #day19 of #write31days of journeying into joy.

Do you see your broken, wounded state as a potential means of grace? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


discovering joy by embracing freedom



How free do you feel? It’s not always a straightforward thing to answer. We can become bound by what seems safe and familiar, little realising how much such things can choke the joy within, suffocate with their similarity.

What we fear could actually be a pathway to freedom, a way toward expansive living we have yet to experience. It’s not always easy to discern what has drawn parameters around our days, hedged us in by happenstance. Those of us with chronic illness are aware of its limitations, ones we often chafe against.

The life we once knew gets swallowed up in a painful new familiar, a pattern not of our choosing, as it does for all who are captive to sickness, to various addictions, trapped by a painful past, or stuck in a stultifying situation in the present. And the prison we are in can feel safer than the prospect of freedom, even as we ache for release.

We’ve considered how joy sits companionably with sorrow and grief; it also accompanies us like a gentle spur inspiring challenge and change. Sometimes all it takes is a holy nudge of remembrance, an opening of eyes to the truth that already exists.

We think of Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, shame and pain. What was the joy that kept Him captive to the cross? It was the knowledge of bringing us back to the Father as blood-bought, adopted sons and daughters.

It wasn’t intended only as a hope for heaven but as a lifelong, eternal relationship transforming and greatly impacting our time on earth, a way to live freely despite difficulties, because God walks with, strengthens and equips us for everything.

Jesus broke out of the confines of the tomb, slipped off restrictive bandage-bindings and walked free, gloriously raised to newness of life. It was a statement of intent to the world and a visual reminder of the way renewed life springs from what was dead.

He offers us the same invitation to joy and freedom. We get a foretaste of joy here and a feast in heaven to come. Freedom can seem scary, or an impossible dream, but with God initiating and holding us as we take brave faith steps it becomes a liberating reality.

Because freedom and release are not necessarily gained by losing our chains. What frees and gives joy is a change of attitude, a renewed mindset that sets us free to live differently.

Our days may look the same to outside eyes but we are living with a fresh heavenly perspective rather than a worldly, earthbound mindset. Joy is not only possible in the midst of challenge and pain, it’s freely available, always.

Once we become aware how much our heart attitude shapes our thoughts, we can begin to embrace joy and discover freedom in less than joyful circumstances.

You don’t have to wait for a new year to arrive before your flight to freedom begins. You can make a fresh start Now, Today, This Moment. God’s mercy and forgiveness are available 24/7. Spread your wings and ride in God’s continual current of grace, His loving, freeing embrace.


Welcome to #day18 of #write31days of journeying into joy. My hope and prayer is that you are being helped and encouraged as we undertake this journey together. Bless you for being here.