15 July 2011

Thoughts on JOY and PEACE

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you
were called in one body; and be thankful."  -  Colossians 3:15

What a week this has been - blessings upon blessings, and I realized that it doesn’t take much to fill my heart with JOY. For me, joy is not in the major happenings, the expensive gifts or the elaborate plans. It is in the simple things in my everyday life.

I’ve been blogging about the Shared Blessings journals that my friend, Peggy and I have been keeping. Our plan was to exchange the journals (via mail) around the 15th and 29th of each month and continue recording our blessings in the other person’s book. Well, this week it was time for our first exchange and something unexpected happened. I got a FaceBook message from Peggy on Monday saying she and her husband would be in town (Denver) that evening and wanted to get together for dinner. So, not only did we get to see a beautiful double rainbow before dinner, have a yummy meal and awesome conversation (“girl talk” till wee-hours of the morning), but we got to exchange our journals in person! My heart was filled with joy - Ann Voskamp (author of One Thousand Gifts) was right, “Blessings definitely do precede the miracles!”

Then, on Tuesday I happened to be flipping through a Parents magazine and came across a Johnson’s baby shampoo ad. What caught my attention was the caption at the top of the page. It said, “Make a promise…” followed by the statement “… to pause, reflect and recognize the everyday joy that is already there in your everyday life.” Coincidence or God Wink? You decide.

I believe that acknowledging and appreciating the blessings in all things and all circumstances, has already begun to change my attitude. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we should go around pretending to be happy all the time, even when we are going through struggles. There is a difference… happiness is an outward expression, based on circumstances - whereas joy is an inward feeling, based on attitude. We need to recognize our blessings, so that even in troubled times we can find joy and peace. Joy in knowing that God is at work in our lives, and peace in knowing that God is in control and always present. I am beginning to see the difference…. contentment, comfort, gratitude = joy and peace.

As I thought about the changes in my attitude a song came to mind, one I use to sing when I was young. It was a popular Christian song called Down in my Heart, often sung around the campfire and during scouting events.  There were many verses to the song, but here are two that really speak to our topic of joy and peace:

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

I've got the peace that passes understanding
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I've got the peace that passes understanding
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle… action required… Monday I posted a blog about crayons.   Joy, peace, smiles, and color crayons – there is a connection! The childhood memory of coloring pictures put joy in my heart. It also reminded me of a way that we can share our joy with others.  A non-profit organization called Color A Smile provides a way for any one of us to pass along our joy to those needing a “smile,” and to do it, all you need are some color crayons…. how cool! Here are the details:

Color A Smile was started when Jerry Harris was in the kitchen at a friend’s house and noticed how cheerful the refrigerator door looked with all the colorful artwork from their children. Since 1986, Color A Smile has been collecting crayon drawings and distributing the colorful masterpieces to Nursing Homes, Meals on Wheels programs, and individuals all across the country. Their goal is to make people smile… and they are always looking for more suppliers of drawings. The Color A Smile website allows you to down load pictures to color or templates for drawing your own pictures (their guidelines are included on the website). You can also add a name of someone you know who might be needing a smile, and would benefit from receiving a masterpiece.  An easy, free and fun way to spread joy, peace and God’s love… for the price of a box of crayons!  Check out their website: http://www.colorasmile.org/

I couldn’t resist… I bought a box of 64 beautiful colors this week and look at my masterpiece.

As our heart fills with joy, we receive a peace that passes all understanding. The same peace that scripture talks about in the following verses:

"and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  - Philippians 4:7

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
- Romans 15:13

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer
I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

I’m putting my masterpiece in the mail to Color A Smile today… and passing along my JOY. Why not join in the fun?

Have a blessed weekend. Pass on your joy!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon.
A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed,
we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly –
and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air
Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas.
And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. 
Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and
gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and
all the rest. And people would smile and get a funny look on their faces
and cover the world with imagination.”   – Robert Fulghum

1 comment:

Kathi said...

Donna (Sis2),

You truly did have blessing after blessing and it just can't get any better than that when your best friend, Peggy shows up to exchange your journals in person....

I really love the idea of "Color a Smile...can't wait until I print some templates off for me and my grandchildren to color. That will bless me to see all of them contributing to spread some "joy" around while they are coloring their masterpieces...

Thank you for always inspiring us with your wonderful ideas...and for always making my heart "smile".. You are one of my most favorite "blessings!"

Lv & Hugs,
Kathi....Little Sis