On Monday Esther decided not to have a day sleep, she was tucked into her bed and I was just about to start a new batch of resin earrings and BAM!! there she was awake and ready to do anything. Being the super mum that I am I put a movie on and continued with my plans for jewellery glory. I was in heaven and smuggly thinking how awesome I was to be able to create my pieces and parent.
My first lots of earrings were mixed, poured and sitting in their moulds when suddenly hurricane Esther was standing next to me. There was glitter going everywhere, a finger went into my friends’ earrings that were almost set, colours were mixed and then I hear “mummy I cut my hair”. Again being the super mum I ignored her and shouted “STOP IT, JUST STOP TOUCHING MY THINGS!” and continued on with my earrings. There was some gentle shoulder barging and silent cursing (all very christian like of course) as I finished up.
A glitter bath was had by Esther and I went to cleaning up the aftermath of the cyclone. The piles of glitter throughout my house were actually kind of pretty and the enormous lock of hair I found on the floor will grow back.
It was worth it for a giggle and the whole experience humbled me. I am a mum, I think we are all super mums but things still go crazy and moments can turn at a blink of an eye. I turned my frustration into joy and laughed along with Esther at the beautiful mess we created.
Our day of beauty and mess reminds me of one of Esther’s books: “Beautiful Oops” written by Barney Saltzberg. It is one of my absolute favourites to read and Esther loves it as well. Beautiful oops
I had such lovely feedback from my previous post which was lovely because I was quite nervous about putting it out there. It’s not always easy to admit to struggles, especially so openly on the internet. However I believe it is extremely important that we are free to share both the good and the bad in our lives. That’s real life isn’t it?
So… finding joy. Each day I work hard to find the joy in even the smallest things. I have paintings throughout my house that say “I choose joy” and when I see them I think to myself “Heck yeah I do”. Choosing to feel joy even in the midst of challenging periods of your life is a choice worth making. How do I do it?
- I take photos of things that make me feel happy and then on the days that I am extra unwell or depressed I can look back at these memories and am reminded that there is joy in my life.
- I have spent lots of time over the last three years working out what small things can make me happy. For example: I love being outdoors so having a comfortable and easily accessible place for me to enjoy the outside world is so important.
- I have a white board in my room and I write “I am thankful for…” on it.
- I bounce ideas off of my husband. For example “Darling, is everything going to be ok?” I trust my husband completely when he always answers “Of course chika”.
- I started a “dream jar” I can have a look in there and see what I wrote back in January when I was stuck in bed. The one pulled out today said “Get out of the house at least once a week”. I sure am smashing that goal.
- I try to correct my thoughts as much as I can from negative to positive.
- I exercise regularly- yoga in the mornings, hydrotherapy twice a week, a few minutes on my eliptical trainer. Not only are these things good for my body but the endorphins released are almost tangible.
- I read an amazing christian devotional app called ‘She reads truth’. I always find this uplifting and an excellent reminder that my God is with me even in the depths of my struggles.
Joy is different to happiness (my opinion only). I feel like Joy is found in the absolute depth of my soul. My joy exists because my God gave it to me. I am sure you can have joy even if you have different beliefs to me but these are just my ideas.
“I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” John 16:20
Chronic illness is a lonely thing. Even when I am around people I still feel lonely. It is isolating, I can’t socialise easily. In fact if I do manage to have an outing I end up in bed for the rest of the day or longer. I cry alot. I feel alot of sorrow for the life I no longer have, for the children I may not be able to have and the dreams I no longer dream. It has become everyone’s norm that I am sick,. I understand, I mean, it has been over three years but for me each day is a a challenge which cannot be forgotten. I often wish I could have a holiday from myself. Is that possible do you think?
Amidst the sorrow there is joy. I strive to find it everyday, it might be a new bud on a plant in my beloved garden. The sound of my daughter laughing. My husband sharing in my sorrow and life. I try to hold onto these moments, I take photos so I can look back when I am feeling really unwell. I am grateful to have these moments in my life and I hope that they become more frequent so that sorrow and illness is abnormal and joy and life is the norm.
How can you find joy in your everyday?
- be intentional with your thoughts. Even just thinking of one happy thing can help change your perspective.
- Do something nice for someone else.
- Laugh alot.
- Sit in the sun for a little while
- Put your bare feet on the soil.
- Try some yoga in the morning and night
- Spend some time with God.
A few tips if you have a friend or family member with chronic debilitating illness:
- Be there: it doesn’t have to be in person, in fact in person is often difficult but send a text, write and post a card. Pretty much just do something frequently, it will enrich their lives and bring a little joy.
- Don’t get offended if play dates or outings have to be cancelled last minute. It might be an inconvenience for you but for people like me it is deeply upsetting and a reminder of how ill we are.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I love it when my family and friends want to understand whats going on in my body. It makes me feel really supported.
- Pick a flower from your garden and drop it at their front door.
- Cook a meal or two if possible. I am on so many dietary restrictions I would never expect this but someone might love it.
- Pray for them and let them know you are doing it.
- Positive talk like “you are so much better than you were” or “you will get there, I know it” may sound lovely and I know these statements are made with love but sometimes I want to feel validated for how awful I feel as well.
- Laugh with me
- Cry with me
- Join me in finding joy in the everyday
I am grateful to my father for giving me joy in my sorrow. It is deeply enriching.
“He redeems your life from the pit” Psalm 103:4
This psalm gives me hope for I am well and truly in the pit.
I turned 30 earlier this year and for my birthday I was given a sewing machine and over locker. My previous post was about finding joy in small things. Sewing brings me a lot of joy. I have been busy making things for my daughter Esther and for friends children.
Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world. (John Piper)
I love this definition of joy. What a beautiful thing.
Most days I try to see the beauty in my every day life. God has always used little things to remind me of his love for me and the Joy he brings to my life. It could merely be the sound of a bird singing outside, the laughter of my little daughter Esther, the way my plants bloom and grow after I lovingly tend to them. The list is endless and in all of these things, I see Jesus. I am one blessed person.
Blessed means to be happy and in the position to receive favour and benefits from God.
I would like to encourage anyone reading this to look for joy in everything, in everyday.
In the midst of pain and suffering I will turn to my father who gives me peace and comforts me. How else will I get through these days of endless discomfort.
It is so very easy to forget to turn to God at the first signs of worsening circumstances. It is easy to just wallow in my sadness.
It is even easier to lie in his arms and rest in his word.
I have had a pretty hard time since having my gorgeous daughter 6 months ago. My health in a number of areas has been awful and it has really taken it’s toll on me. Each day is a struggle and I know some mornings I sit and cry in despair not knowing how I will get through that hour let alone that day.
God is good though because I ALWAYS get through. I always feel his love surround me and in the midst of it all I try my hardest to remain thankful for the things I do have. I don’t always succeed and some days I spend in the depth of depression but even in these dark moments I know that I am ok and that I am not alone.
I have decided this year to create a wall hanging and each day leading up to christmas I am going to write something I am thankful for on a little card. It is a way for me to purposefully remind myself of the good things and while I’m at it I say a prayer for whatever and whoever I put on the wall.
Thank you God for loving me no matter how low or how high I feel. Although my life and health are up and down your love for me remains constant and what a comfort that is.