Monday, May 21, 2012

A Life of Unbridled Exuberance

The dishwasher broke this past weekend.  The kids were all shouting from the kitchen and I came in and sure enough there was smoke coming from the control panel.  It was all quite exciting and dramatic, as most things are with little people around.

I spent the weekend doing dishes.  7 people go through quite a bit over the course of a day, you know.  I was washing up after dinner last night and actually felt myself relax and slow down and actually enjoy the process.  When was the last time I did this?  Sure, I wash pots and pans now and then, but never a big sink full (or two!) of every last fork, knife, spoon, cup that people have used.  It's oddly soothing, the gentle splashing of the water and the dishes lined up, just so.

It all gets me thinking about joy.

 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father..."
James 1:17 

Dinah's dance recital was this weekend.  I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in years.  We exchanged some catching up chit chat and she said "You know, I keep up with you on facebook.  You seem like you are having a happy, full life."

I hemmed and hawed about being online a bit too much, but her comment stuck with me as I made my way home.  I've heard it before, and sometimesas a criticism, although I do not think she intended it to be so.  As if the words I put out here might not be absolutely true, as if I'm just a bit too positive or happy to be "real."  Sometimes it seems that reality is measured by some in how openly miserable people are.  But I'm not miserable.  Not a bit.

Sometimes I wonder if I should reign it in, this unbridled exuberance.  Sometimes I even try.  But time and time again I look about me and I just can't help it.  I see God's faithfulness in every moment.  How can I be anything but filled to overflowing with joy?

 "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12

All this is not to say that I don't have hard days.  I do.  Or that I always see the broken dishwashers, the toddler tantrums, the messy chaos and the daily exhaustion as blessing.  I don't.  But I have a prevailing, unwavering belief in God's unfathomable love for me.  The proof is all around me.

So my dishwasher breaks.  The windshield, too, needs fixing.  If I measured the quality of life by all the things that need fixing or doing or mending, I'd be miserable.  That's why I look closer, because when I do, I see that there is so much more to life than this.

How do you live a life of unbridled exuberance?  It's in the noticing, the truly seeing that God's grace is always sufficient.  His love all encompassing.

I dry dishes and hang up my apron right next to our growing gratitude wall.  Look out in the backyard and what I see there is testimony to His great love for me, His provision in my life.  When I think of the great work He has done and continues to do in my life, I'm bolstered, strengthened, encouraged and inspired to continue on.

"...the joy of the LORD is your strength." ~Nehemiah 8:10


  1. Your joy is contagious. And it's beautiful on you. Keep smiling, and sharing your grateful heart. You inspire!

  2. I say this often about your posts, so here I go again...beautiful!

    I love what you share in this space, and I enjoy visiting.

    1. Thanks so much, Kim! I love having you. You are such an encouragement to me!

  3. Lift up your hands towards the heavens with open palms ready to receive all the joy that He gives us. And always remember that it is often through our joy, because we are in Him and He in us, that others who do not yet know are able to see. Our testimony should always be one of joy. This was a wonderful post. Thank you.


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