Joy in the Ordinary Part One
Carol says that we all need a little joy in our life. She relates a story of how God granted the wishes of a young bride to have a dress of satin and lace.
We Need Joy
We all need a little joy in our life, a little glimpse of the fun, happy moments as well as the lasting joy that comes from deep within and is not tied to the circumstances. These puzzle pieces of life that make us smile and help us remember that there is more to life than negative might seem to be buried under many others at times. Stress, grief, health issues, situations beyond our control, and even trying to figure out what the next step needs to be, happen to each one of us. In the middle of the dark times, it is hard to see the tiny pieces that offer a glimmer of hope and a glimpse of joy.
It might be the antics of a child, pets and their distinct personalities, or the beauty of nature that attract our attention away from the negative, the hurts, or the discouragement. At other times it is the kind words and encouragement when you least expect it. Many times those sneaky little pieces pop out of their hiding places for a brief time and then disappear as if someone has put them in their pocket so we can’t add them to our picture of life.
Bits of Joy
I have a habit of jotting myself notes when these bits of joy in the ordinary pop in. I might snap a photo if it is something that can be captured in order to be reminded in a visual way that there are pieces marked joy, hope, and smiles in my puzzle of life. Sometimes these little anecdotes, photos, and thoughts get pulled together as I write a devotional, an article, a story for my kids and grandkids, or to include in one of these programs. Stories help me remember to take a moment to enjoy the simple things like a child’s laughter, a flower blooming in the rocks, or a crazy moment in time. They then remind me of a Bible passage or sometimes more than one.
Organizing and Finding Joy
In 2019, I began to organize my computer files and paper ones too. I knew I had a number of these little stories and devotionals about finding joy in the ordinary written and saved but they hid on my computer, bringing no joy or encouragement to anyone else. My friends told me to start sending them a devotional story each day. They received over seventy of them.
Now I am cleaning up my paper files. I have found treasures on slips of paper—ideas for other devotionals, family stories, thoughts, and quotes to use in my writing. Some I vaguely remembered jotting down and others were like little hidden gems. Now I am typing the devotional ones in, adding the Bible passages in more detail, and sending more to my friends.
Today I want to share one with you, the listeners to encourage you in whatever is happening in your life.
The Desires of Our Hearts
Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I read these words about granting the desires of our hearts when we delight in the Lord and how we can have an abundant or full life and I desperately want to hang on to those promises. But there are times when the needs of life and the basics for survival take a lot of time and energy which can cause me to lose sight of the possibility of dreams, desires and special things.
Sometimes I have questioned if the income could be stretched enough to last to the end of the month. At those times I knew there would be no dollars for anything extra unless something happened to add to the expected income that month.
During one of these times of financial tightness we were planning our second oldest daughter’s wedding. Marles had dreamed of having a satin and lace wedding dress for as long as I could remember. Now, with no extra money or room to add more debt load and her wedding only a few months away, I lost sleep trying to adjust, scrimp, save, cut corners, and do whatever it might take to make her dream dress a reality. No matter how often I stared at the bank balance and budget, the only thing that happened was shedding tears because I thought I would have to crush her dream of the perfect dress.
Desires of Our Hearts
Yet God’s word promised the desires of our hearts—could this really be a matter to pray about? Did God care about satin and lace bridal gowns? Deep down I believed he cared about every aspect of our lives. I also realized that sometimes our dreams are not what is best for us and he wants us to trust him for everything, even little things.
Marles tried on many wedding gowns of various styles, materials and shades of colour. She knew which dress looked the best on her. What she desired most was a budget breaker ivory satin and lace dress.
I prayed for sales. I prayed for any answer or her to change her mind and settle on something less expensive although I never really expected or wanted her to have to do that. I prayed my priorities and hers would not get messed up.
Then I remembered an ivory satin and lace dress packed away in my mother’s cedar chest—her wedding dress. Marles might fit into it but there was one problem. The lace was disintegrating. Mom agreed if the dress fit and her granddaughter loved it we could likely find new lace for the dress if we searched.
The dress arrived from my mother, crushed from years of storage, and lace falling apart but it fit with only a few minor alterations needed and the ample seam allowance allowed for all of them. We shopped for new lace and found something very similar to the original, almost immediately. The cost of all the new lace came to a budget friendly $95.00. A friend, who was also a wonderful seamstress, altered the dress and replaced the lace in exchange for help from my mother in the alterations and some spring cleaning from Marles.
God cared about the little details and granted the desires of my daughter’s heart for an ivory satin and lace wedding dress in an unexpected, affordable manner while generations came together to make memories and celebrate.
If God cared enough about a young girl’s dream, I believe these verses more than ever. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I can trust him for everything else in my life.
What glimpse of hope and glimmers of joy can you find today?
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.