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now they look joyful!

This year is going to be a special year.  How do I know?   Well, for one thing, on January 1st, 2011 I woke up, took a pregnancy test and found out that we are going to welcome into this world the third Winslow child!  That’s enough to make it great.  On top of that, as I prayed at the start of the year about what God might have in mind for me and how I could respond to what He is already doing in and around me, the word JOY echoed in my heart.

2011 is to be a year marked by joy, and I am to be a woman marked by joy.

Wait a minute….Isn’t my life already marked with unending bubbles of joy?

Well…not totally.  One of the amazing parts of my daily life is loving and caring for my two toddlers.  Yes- two toddlers.  My kids are 16 months apart and boy has it been a busy couple of years…and we have another one on the way, so things aren’t slowing down anytime soon.  I will be the first to admit that I am not super-mom and I do not exude energy, joy and laughter every moment that I spend with my precious kids.  I wish that were the case, but it’s just not.  I get easily overwhelmed many days with the tasks at hand- housework, school work (I am in grad school), errands, cooking, the consistent discipline needed to train the hearts of my kids not to mention, the constant physical and emotional availability that having young kids requires.  The thing that almost every older and wiser mom tells me is this…”Enjoy this time, don’t wish it away because it will be gone before you know it.”  I am trying not to wish it away, I promise, but some days it is easier said than done.

God is so good to give me the word JOY to direct the devotion of my heart this year.  He knew I needed an anchor for my (at times) weary and distracted heart.

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is FULLNESS OF JOY; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:11

Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, I have access to the source of all fullness of joy; moment to moment access to the presence of God.  This is not just a nice image, but a reality that can be lived if I will open myself to His affectionate and beckoning presence.  I don’t have to drum up positive thoughts or try to be someone I am not.  The fullness of joy that I need in my life (and that God longs for me to enjoy) does not start with me- it is found in HIS PRESENCE.  I am convinced that experiencing this joy not only benefits me, but it will impact the eternal souls of those closest to me, as well as those whose shoulders I brush but barely know.  His presence is powerful and transforming.

Even in the midst of first-trimester exhaustion, toddler meltdowns the size of Montana and school deadlines to meet, He is enough for me.  His presence is not only where I find the peace I need to make it through each day- it is the place where I can be sustained by a joy that reaches past my capacities and brings me out from my darkness into a spacious place where my heart can dance.

Each day that I have the honor of loving, guiding, and nurturing the precious hearts my two kids, I trust that as I seek Him, Jesus will overcome my weariness with the pleasure of knowing Him.   I pray that I will display His life-changing joy to my children, my husband and everyone else with whom I come into contact, captivating hearts for eternity.

Seriously, how can you resist that face?!!! Got to love it!

Thank you Lord, You are enough for me.  You are the source of my joy.  I will, by your grace and extravagant love be a woman marked by joy.  I trust that this will be a year filled with joy that is contagious, rooted in JOY Himself.

Do you often feel heavy hearted with the weight of life?
Have you ever considered that sitting at the feet of Jesus could be the place you’d receive the joy your weary heart needs?
~ Wrapped in His Affection ~