Reclaiming Joy: 3 Prayer Prompts to Help You Find Joy Again!

Sometimes we straight up need some prayer prompts for reclaiming  joy. We need guidance how to navigate this life and all its unexpected happenings with a perspective that is hopeful. If you agree, read on…

 Reclaiming Joy

Life is Hard. We need to actively work at reclaiming joy. Take the 3 Prayer Prompts challenge to find your joy again.

Hope doesn’t necessarily come naturally to many of us. Rather, it often lives trampled in the dirt of disappointment. So we need help to pick it up, dust it off, and then walk in it.

There are things in our lives that seem to thrive on stealing our joy and our hope. Discouragements, doubts, heartbreak, and fears all connive to strip the joyful person of a hopeful heart and render him or her joyless. We wonder if we will ever find our way back up again.

But it is not our destiny to remain there, my friend.

In fact, Scripture tells us to rejoice and be glad, because our reward in Heaven is so great (Matthew 5:12). And it says to rejoice in the Lord at all times, and always be full of the joy of the Lord! (Phil 4:4)

Is that even possible?

Well, I suggest it is, but we have some work to do to get there. We need to be on mission reclaiming joy if we haven’t been living a rejoice-always kind of life.

We need to get on mission reclaiming joy if we haven't been living a rejoice-always kind of life. Click To Tweet
Rejoice Always

So, let’s start small.

What if, for the next 3 days, you chose to be deliberate about reclaiming joy?

What if, for the next 3 days, you chose to be deliberate about reclaiming joy? Click To Tweet

 What if, no matter what life threw at you in those 3 days, you grabbed this goal by its seemingly impossible horns, and didn’t let go, not for one stinking second? Or if you did, you grabbed right back on to it again? What if?

Are you up for that challenge?

If you are, then I applaud you. And I want to encourage you in it! I’d love for you to join in the discussion over on my Joy Let Loose Facebook community. Could your reclaiming joy journey impact others?

If you aren’t up for the #ReclaimingJoy challenge yet, then I also applaud your honesty, and pray you will take the time to prepare for it. You can jump in anytime!

The #ReclaimingJoy Challenge

Each day, as early as you can, set aside 15 minutes to spend by yourself. This time is similar to The Morning Joy Challenge. But this time, we are on an even more specific mission.

  • Quiet your mind, breathe deeply, and spend a few moments simply relaxing. Then move in to the Prayer Prompt for the day. The printable below is to help you.

Reclaiming Joy Infographic

Download it here!

  • Read the verse several times, slowly. Allow certain words to stand out to you. Look them up, if you want to. This is a good resource for that (simply type the English word in the top search bar.)
  • Focus your thoughts, and then your prayer, on something that stands out to you. Ask God to show you where this particular verse is applicable in your own joy journey. Confess the areas where you have with-held yourself from Him, or deliberately gone another way. Acknowledge areas where you know you are already maturing. Re-read the verse, and ask the Lord to help you lean in to Him today. Plan for hope!
  • Then as you go about your day, remain conscious of how God is with you.
  • Finally, at the end of the day, revisit the morning’s Prayer Prompt. God may show you something you hadn’t noticed before.
What’s next in reclaiming joy?
  1. If you are taking the reclaiming joy challenge, let us know in the comments below!
  2. And after you’ve focused on your #ReclaimingJoy prayer prompts over the next three days, I’d love for you to report your progress either in the comments, or in the Facebook Community.  We need community to spur us on! Use the hashtag #ReclaimingJoy.
  3. And, if you haven’t yet, subscribe to  Joy Let Loose to receive even more Prayer Prompts in your inbox. I won’t be spammy – I promise!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Believing in you as you begin #ReclaimingJoy!

Elizabeth Joy

Friday Fun: It’s the Little Things (Try Some New Fonts!)

It’s been a while since I’ve put out a Friday Fun post at  Joy Let Loose. I’ve been too busy moving into our new place, and then having fun on vacation with my family. 🙂 But we’re back, and Friday is here, so let’s have some fun today, shall we? Because, it’s often the little things in life that bring us the most joy.

*You’ll see some affiliate links in this post, which means that I will earn a small percentage if you click one and make a purchase. But don’t worry, I’ve been checking out these links, and think you’ll love them!

Penmanship

When I was a little girl (before fonts were really a thing…) I used to doodle a lot, writing and re-writing my name until I perfected my signature. I loved trying new ways of styling my letters. Thankfully, this helped me to develop good penmanship.

Unfortunately, penmanship isn’t as important in our now-digital world. It seems many kids don’t even learn it in school anymore. That’s crazy to me! However, it is what it is, and we learn to adapt.

So, remember one Friday when I suggested we Write Our Thanks? I hope you found someone you could do that for. But I bet some of you are hesitant to do handwritten notes because your penmanship might not be up to snuff these days. But, even if you don’t prefer to  write by hand,  you can always send digital thank-you’s to people in your life. 

Try New Fonts

Enter the world of fonts. (Thank you, Steve Jobs!)

New Fonts HungryJpegI recently discovered an awesome collection of fonts and graphic packs at TheHungryJPEG, and since I’ve been downloading some new fonts, I’ve had SO MUCH FUN! 

Not only can I add more variety to the fonts in my blog posts at  Joy Let Loose, but I can use them on digital cards, in emails, and other places where I’d like to improve a digital message. It’s like adding a little human-ness back into the world of typefaces. So, since I’ve been playing around with the font package I picked up this week at TheHungryJPEG, I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve been pretty impressed with the number and variety of fonts and graphic packs you can get for low prices!

Whether you enjoy celebration graphics, design, or crafting, there seems to be something for everyone. And the great news is, ThehungryJPEG often offers monthly specials and FREE or $1 packages! And beyond that, they can help you find some fantastic photos, as well as some stunning new WordPress themes. Truly, they offer something for everyone!

It’s Friday, so why not play around with some  new fonts today, and let some joy loose? Have some Friday fun making creative designs and inviting new fonts into your life. And why not let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below?? I’d love to hear how your Friday goes! 


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Elizabeth Joy

How to Make a New Home When You Can’t Stay Where You’ve Been

Our family moved into a new home in a new neighborhood. And then one week later, we left.

One step forward, two steps back…

Actually, we left for vacation – 26 hours of driving back to what still feels like home, but isn’t, and to places where our history still tugs on our heartstrings, but can’t be our present reality

The relief of welcoming arms, long-term friendships, and family relationships embraced us like the salty air: cool, comfortable, and without pretense.

There's something so refreshing about not needing to make a first impression. Click To Tweet

When life changes happen (like a ministry move, a significant loss, or a job transfer) a new normal is thrust upon us. We have an immediate choice to adapt – or not. Depending on the circumstances, we can choose to dive in to the startingover of life, and the writing of a new chapter. Or we can resist by clinging to what once was.

How to Make a New Home

We’ve moved a lot in the twenty years we have been married. I’ll be the first to admit that, in my twenties, these moves were exciting. My husband and I lived on the precipice of adventure when we were young. We looked at ministry relocation and a new home with great anticipation.

But as I’ve gotten older, (and now that we have moved away several times from people and jobs we have loved dearly), I have a keen sense of the amount of energy it takes to start life all over again. 

And this is kind of where I have sat for the past 11 months since we started over…again. 

Two new houses (first a rental, now our own), new neighborhoods, new ministry, new country… Each footstep has felt measured, like it just might take the last bit of energy that I have.

But I’ve still taken the steps…

I’ve had to, otherwise I would sink under the weight of my own resistance. 

So, how do you make a new home when circumstances dictate that you can’t stay where you’ve been? Here are some key steps I take. In fact, I will be taking many of these as soon as we get back to our new home from vacationing at our old one…

Seven Crucial Steps to Make a New Home
  • Tie Some Ribbons Before You Leave

The reality is that things don’t stay the same. The people you are leaving behind will keep on living and changing, just like you will. As you prepare to move, wrestle with the sadness of leaving, and allow some closure to come to your relationships.

A few will rise to the surface as friendships you will be willing to cultivate from a distance over the long haul. You’ll know which ones those are. For the rest, spend time thanking God for the season you’ve had together, and have open conversations that display your gratitude for the relationship you’ve had.

Give yourself permission to tie a bow on this segment of your life before moving on.

  • Drive, Walk, Sit

If you have the luxury of time to house hunt, and the ability to spend time in your new area for a bit, take advantage of it! Drive all over, walk through neighborhoods, sit in parks. What personality do different areas have? Where do you feel the most you?

I was fortunate enough to be able to pair house-hunting with teaching one of my sons to drive. With a willing chauffeur who needed to accrue driving hours, we ran the roads and got a great feel for the areas that felt most like us.

God is already in this next season ahead of you, and He can place people perfectly. Be patient to seek Him in this. Drive, walk, and sit until He shows you where to put down your roots.

  • Allow Yourself to Dream

There are always things to feel a little nervous about when heading into a new chapter. But don’t allow fear of the unknown to overshadow your hopes of what might be. Be proactive to dream.  Joy comes in the morning.

What stages of life will you (and your family members if you have them) potentially celebrate in this new home? Is this going to be a developing season, or a simplifying one? What milestones might be coming up in the next few months or years? Ask God the help birth dreams in your heart and mind for what is to come.

Once you figure out where to live, let your imagination run wild about how to permeate your home with your personality. Large renos or small DIY projects give you permission to invest your heart and soul into your new home. Joanna Gaines is my hero in this regard, sharing great insights about it in The Magnolia Story. Whether you are a professional decorator or not, let your personality shine!

  • Consider Your Potential Impact

It’s so easy to approach a move to a new home with a list of our own needs. But what if we came to it from the standpoint of the potential impact we might have there? Could God have a specific community for us to pour into?

Spend time considering what gifts you bring to the table. How might you most naturally impact the people in the neighboring apartments or houses at your new home?

Check out The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door to get an awesome perspective about your call to your neighbors. What new relationships might God be preparing for this next season of life? Where might God want us to let joy loose? When we approach home shopping from the perspective of our potential impact in addition to our own needs, I guarantee we will look at our neighborhoods with different eyes.

  • Ask and Listen

People love to be heard. Your new neighbors all have stories they’ve lived and stories their lives are still writing. The very best thing you can do to show them value is to learn them. Ask questions, and pay rapt attention to their answers. You are being written in.

And come to these conversations prepared to share a bit of yourself too. If the people around your new home are people God has placed in your life, it’s easier to dive right in than to let the awkward silence happen…you totally know what I mean! 🙂

  • Allow Yourself to Re-visit

From my moving experiences, it’s best not to return to the place you’ve left right away. But it is important to re-visit at some point, if you are able. I’d recommend waiting at least a year.

Two things are important about this return:

1) It is a good touch-point with people you know and love. It allows you to be able to share, face-to-face, what God has been doing in your lives.

2) It also helps you see the reality that things don’t stay the same. The place and people you left are not frozen in time, waiting for you to come back. Seeing that they’ve moved on gives permission for you to do so as well.

  • Learn From Where You’ve Been

Some of us have moved a dozen or more times. Others have planted deep roots and intend to remain forever. Still, change may be coming. And either way, the past not only impacts our future, it prepares us for it.

What things about your former home did you love that you can bring to your new home? What life changes can you make right now for this new season? What mistakes can inform your next steps, and what best practices can you bring forward?

The rearview mirror is a great coach, but we need to keep our eyes on the windshield. Click To Tweet

Learn from where you’ve been, but embrace the adventure of the road ahead.

Make a new home

One Step Forward…

Sometimes change is thrust upon us. We usually have a choice about how to respond to it. Whatever it is that brings about the move to a new home, find God in it. His joy will be there too. Each of these seven steps may need to be taken one at a time, but each will help in the process of discovering a new normal in a new chapter. So start by taking that first step; it’s exciting to consider what God might do.

Your turn:  What advice do you have for people getting ready to settle in to a new normal in a new home? Comment below!

Elizabeth Joy

 

Moving Neighborhoods (and bringing joy there too)

It has been about ten months since we made the trek from the Canadian East Coast to the Midwest. And it was right about then that we “settled” into a new neighborhood. Being here has taught me some things about being a good neighbor. But the time has come to uproot again. It is time for moving neighborhoods. Thankfully, this time, our move is only 3 miles down the road.

Moving Neighborhoods

Over the last 5 days since we closed on our new home, I have made that trek dozens of times, each time aware that we are picking up and planting again. We are replacing “temporary” with “permanent”. Or, at least the kind of permanent that is possible in ministry–this will be our twelfth home in twenty years. We are so looking forward to settling in our own place.

Moving Neighborhoods

There is disarray right now in both homes. Boxes and paper everywhere! But as I drive under the canopy of trees that has become my favorite route to our new place, I’m reminded we are covered by the love of the Lord. The stresses that can accompany the packing and unpacking, the loading and unloading, quickly dissipate. As I pass the community pool, I’m aware there are so many families here we don’t know. As I see my current neighbors in their yards, I’m reminded of their warm welcome and the community they have with each other, and this inspires me to build community in my new neighborhood.

And, it doesn’t go without saying that, each time I pull into our new driveway, I’m profoundly aware of the provisions of our good Father.

It seems appropriate that at our church we soon move in to a series on The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door. The Lord’s timing never fails to amaze me. We best express genuine love in driveways, on front porches, and around dinner tables

We best express genuine love in driveways, on front porches, and around dinner tables. Click To Tweet

So, Joy Let Loose may seem a bit quiet for a little while as we are moving neighborhoods. But I pray God’s joy will let loose through our family. 

Elizabeth Joy

Summer Reading List: What Are You Reading This Summer? 

Summer is for sandy skin, cold lemonade, and summer reading. It’s for wind-blown hair, cousin-time, bonfires and fireworks. I simply LOVE the summer! 

We are in a particularly busy season of life where one son and I have both started new jobs, and our family is just about to move in to a new house. But vacation is right around the corner. BLESS God! It’s a twenty-six hour drive, but I can’t wait to go to some of our usual summer places and see lots of people we love.

Summer reading list

Summer Reading

And did I mention summer reading? My list for this summer is eclectic. These aren’t to resource me professionally. I read a lot for that already. For summer, I want to stay a little bit lighter. Instead, some are books that will encourage my  joy journey. And others are to help me creatively with decorating our new home. But no matter the book, I’m excited for them to become sandy and wind-blown by the breeze! I also love the portability of an e-reader, and stashing it quickly in my bag when it’s time to jump in the ocean. I have a beach bag similar to this that has always served me well. But hardcover, paperback, or Kindle – I’m game!

Summer Reading Recommendations

I wanted to share some of my summer reading plans with you. Some of the books here I’ve already read, and plan to hit up for a second round, with fresh eyes. A few I’m letting you know about even before I read them, but they’ve been recommended to me by people or sources I totally trust. Watch for updates or reviews as I make it through.

Since I’m part of the Amazon Affiliates program (see my disclosure in the sidebar) you’ll see lots of links throughout this post.

Home and Heart Renovations:

The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines (2016)

I’m not going to lie: I fangirl over Chip and Joanna Gaines. Their rapport, their family, their style, their humility – I love it all. And I’ve already read this book. (Actually, I devoured it just last month.) But I’m going to pop it in my summer reading bag to go through it again, it’s that good. I love how it chronicles the hard work and risks, trust and courage it took for this couple to establish their business, and how through it all, their hearts of generosity, compassion, and humility shine through. 

Also, Joanna’s style inspires me, and will hopefully inspire some ideas in our new home. (Wow, do I wish we were in Waco!) I’ll likely pick up some copies of The Magnolia Journal Magazine  too for visual inspiration! 

Choosing to See (2011)

This is a heart reno book. I have a feeling this is one I may read once every 2 years or so. I inhaled it back when it first came out, and again a year or two later. It is the story of Mary Beth Chapman and her journey of grief after losing her sweet daughter, Maria, in a tragic accident. Even though it is not a literary masterpiece, it is the kind of honest that reminds the reader of God’s faithfulness at all times. I believe it will encourage the downtrodden, and help equip the one who hasn’t experienced difficulty yet.

501 Ideas Under $100

I’m excited about our new home, but there’s no denying we are going in on a limited budget. When we purchased our last house in 2013, we gutted and renovated the whole thing. This time, there is no need to renovate, as the house is only 10 years old and has been well maintained. So our ideas can go more to decorating. I think I’ll pick up something like this to help me brainstorm on the beach when I don’t have WiFi. Even though it’s a little older, I think it may spark some decorating hacks that will be useful.

Interior Design: Interior Design Basics (2017)

There is a Kindle version of this book I think I’ll pick up. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to pay for the paperback version, but at less than $3, I figure there’s not much to lose. And since it just came out in 2017, I’m hopeful the information in it will be relevant. I’ve renovated and decorated before, as I mentioned, but there’s always more to learn. And without WiFi for a while this summer, Pinterest won’t be my go-to! 

Question for you: What are your favorite Home and Heart Renovation resources?

Joy Journey Books:

Surprised By Joy – (new edition 2017)

I’m a C.S. Lewis fan, and I’m so excited there is a new edition of his book “Surprised by Joy”. This is a memoir about his journey toward Jesus, originally part of a 1955 autobiography, and then published in 1966. What I like about C.S. Lewis is how applicable his writings are still today. And I also love learning about the man behind the Narnia series (oh please promise me, if you haven’t read these yet, that you’ll add them to your summer reading list!), and the genius Screwtape Letters

Experiencing Contagious Joy – Women of Faith Series (2016)

I’ve read some books before and done some studies from Women of Faith series, and they’ve been good. But I was excited to see that there is a more recent one that centers on  Contagious Joy, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Have any of you ever read this one?

The Circle Maker – Mark Batterson

I had the opportunity a year or two ago to hear Mark Batterson share about his own journey praying circles around big dreams, and I received this book as a gift for Christmas. I’ve been waiting to read it until I have the time and the headspace to take it in. But I’ve only heard amazing reviews from friends about how powerful this book is, and how it can revolutionize our faith to believe God and pursue Him for huge Kingdom things. I recently also discovered that there is a companion 40 Day Prayer Challenge This might be something for the Fall!

Question for you: Do you have big dreams or big fears to circle?

 

Well there you have it: My Top 7 Summer Reading Plans. I’m almost ready to pack my beach bag. But first, I have to pack up my house! 

 

How about You? What Are you reading this summer?

Elizabeth Joy