Monday, October 22, 2012

Why The Battle for Joy Is Worth It - with some help from Ann Voskamp

It's a cold, rainy Monday morning.  Our long, dry and incredible summer and fall seem to have come to an end.  Winter is setting in.  While I love the rain, I'm not ready the damp, bone-chilling cold that comes with it.  The onset of the cold made me grouchy, self-centered, and short-tempered.  I searched all weekend for my happy attitude and I'm not sure I ever really found it.

This morning Curt woke me from a sound sleep.  I forced myself out of my nice, warm bed into the pitch dark chill of the early morning.  As I stumbled to the kitchen for my cup of coffee, I could hear the rain pitter pattering on the window.  It looked to be a cold, wet start to the week.  The next two hours were spent helping all four Stilp kids get through their pre-school chores.  In spite of the fact that we've been through this drill two-hundred-eighty-six-thousand times, it remains a challenge to get out the door on time and in a decent state of mind.  My kids missed the memo that winter is here and continue to dress like it's summer.  A lightweight sweatshirt in the pouring rain with shorts and leggings should keep me dry and warm right Mom?  I walked back from the bus stop, carrying more than just two umbrellas and a discarded sweatshirt.  I also carried back an ugly attitude.  Why can't they ever get it right?

A few minutes later my text notification rang on my phone.  My friend Ashley wrote, "Crying as I read this!  So true!  Hope it encourages you," and attached a link to a devotional written by Ann Voskamp called Why the Battle for Joy is Worth It.   I almost didn't read.  I was so blinded my ugly state of mind that I didn't think I needed tips on choosing joy.

But praise Jesus - I did read it.  And I wept.  Because I too have a gangly, almost-teen-age boy who does so many things well.  But caught up in his world of distractibility and responsibility, he often needs to be told 5.8975 times to do stuff.  Even then he forgets to throw his garbage in the can two feet away.  Just minutes before reading this devotional, I had angrily thrown all his unkempt treasures and trash in a pile in the middle of his room and taped a note on his door letting him know how disgusted I was.

And I'm not proud.  As the devotional says, these failures are what make me a "Cross Clinger."  Without grace, I am a miserable, ugly mess.  Thank you Jesus for forgiveness.  For second-chances.  For the reminder that the battle for joy is worth it.  Thank you for time to dry my tears, crumble up that ugly note, and set about joyfully cleaning up my boy's mess.

What about you?  Do you come by joy easily?  Or is it a battle? Will you share with us how you choose joy?


  1. Wow. What a post. Ann Voskamp sure has a way with words. I'm so thankful for the blessing it was to you today. And yes, my kids have yet to understand it is no longer shorts weather!

  2. Oh yes...The ugly side finds its way around here way too often. It takes a quiet moment to look back and see it though. God is so patient with us.
    I will look for that devotional! I also will be hiding away my son's shorts. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Raina - I linked the devotional in the blog. Just click the link that is the red word "devotional."

  3. Hey Jodi,
    Once again, your honesty is so refreshing. Thanks for sharing with us this encouragement - it was great for me to read today. Love ya! - Faith