Finding Joy Resources from Joy Let Loose: New EBooks!

We all need some  finding joy resources to help with our joy journey. So, while I’ve been working in worship ministry and writing for this blog, I’ve also been creating some others to go alongside. I want to provide practical steps to help us reclaim joy by renewing our minds and strengthening our spiritual lives.

Finding Joy Resources

Replace Lies With Truth, finding joy ebook

Today I launched my second finding joy ebook, Replace Lies With Truth. This ebook was birthed from a blog post I shared several months ago. I have expanded it to highlight 7 prominent lies people believe about finding joy in the Lord. It applies Scriptural truth to the lies to help us walk in the reality of joy-filled life. “Replace Lies With Truth” also provides you with a place to keep track of your own progress as you identify and eliminate lies by trusting in God’s Word. So I’d love for you to grab it today!

God longs to complete our joy. | Replace Lies With Truth Click To Tweet

 

abiding joy, finding joy ebook

Some of you have already downloaded my first ebook, Abiding Joy (30 Prayers from Joy Let Loose.) If you have, thank you! The idea for this ebook came when I realized one of my blog posts about prayer was gaining particular traction. Couple that with my experience as a worship leader, coaching many people to learn to pray publicly, and I realized how many believers feel inadequate in their prayer lives. So I designed these prayers to help readers learn to pray in a variety of ways.

I would love to hear your experiences with using these prayers in your daily life.  So share in the comments below!

May it be said of me that I am a person of constant praise. | Abiding Joy Click To Tweet

And before you go, earlier today I recorded myself talking about each of these ebooks. Check it out! 

Thanks for visiting today! As always, I’d love to hear about your joy journey in the comments!

Elizabeth Joy

 

We Have to Find Reasons to Rejoice When Life Gets Hard

We live in a broken world where things seem to have a tendency to go wrong. The trajectory of the corrupted world seems to be toward sadness, brokenness, incompleteness. Because sin. And even when our lives seem to be going fairly well, we don’t have to look far to find hopelessness.

We have find reasons to rejoice.

REASONS TO REJOICE WHEN LIFE GETS HARD

The blessed narrative for many of us in the Western world is one that rises and falls, often in rapid succession. And the drops tend to yell with louder voices, commanding greater attention. Even as we try to fight the gravitational pull downward toward difficulty, we have reason to  hope.

How do we live in this broken world, and find hope in our everyday lives while the world screams at us that there is none? When so many enormous trials face millions of people, how do we find reasons to rejoice as we face our everyday, mundane disappointments?

We have to look for reasons to REJOICE

So over the last few days, I have been looking….

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

6:00AM – I awoke, like most others, to the tragic news of a senseless act of violence in Las Vegas. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it, and the disbelief swirled around in my mind as I prepared for the day, the numbers of deceased and wounded steadily climbing. I pray that the joy of the Lord strengthen those facing this tragedy. I have reason to rejoice because I know He is faithful.

7:00-8:00 – I embarked on the familiar morning ritual of repeatedly encouraging a fourteen-year-old girl with fourteen-year-old hormones and blood sugars running high to get ready for school. And I happen to be at the point in parenting my third where I am annoying 93.5% of the time. I remind myself, “Children are a gift from the LORD ; they are a reward from him.” (Ps 127:3) I have reason to rejoice because He has given me the opportunity to shape her life.

8:20AM – I chose to sing my hope as I drove to work. I dropped my daughter at school (miraculously on time), then prayed and sang, and asked God to move in Las Vegas, to move in my daughter, and to move in me.

And then my suburban was hit by a semi… 

                                                                                       And I realized I was okay.

8:39AM – And, as though the Lord Himself were holding me, I was able to move out of traffic, and remain calm while assessing the damage. I had no pain, I didn’t think I was in shock, and I didn’t even feel anger toward the other driver. 

I  just sat there & looked for hope.

There had to be reasons to rejoice even in this moment.

  • My son had decided not to come with me that morning, so he was not in the passenger seat, where the majority of the impact was.
  • I was literally one minute from my work.
  • We were in a roundabout, so our speed had been reduced.
  • My husband was almost immediately accessible to drop everything and come.
  • One of my Pastors (and friends) was on the scene within minutes.
  • My 13-years-faithful suburban had remained so today.
  • No one was hurt, and I was not at fault for this collision.

There were so many reasons to  rejoice in these unexpected moments.

10:30 – But after the police report, the tow truck and the rental car, a phone call came from the police officer. He was full of apologies as he revealed I was at fault, according to a new law neither he, nor I, (nor any of the insurance agents I talked to through the day), had known about. 

And I felt myself slipping toward disbelief and almost anger. How quickly I felt my trajectory change! I could not (still cannot!) wrap my mind around this law that allows semi drivers to ignore posted traffic patterns and forces other drivers to go against conventional wisdom. But even in my frustration, I can rejoice.

It just may be a little more difficult

11:30AM – So after attending to obligatory accident details for the rest of the morning, I finally arrived at work, my intended destination. There I met my caring co-workers who were concerned for me, and encouraging to my heart. They helped me continue to look for reasons to rejoice, as I joined our meeting (already in progress) and we celebrated what God had done over the weekend.

2:30 PM – And when we were finally tired of sitting and working through some difficult items, we went out for fresh air. My team looked for reasons to rejoice together. 

And we found them:
  • We welcomed the staff of a new bank to the neighborhood,
  • We laughed as some of us raced down the sidewalk
  • Also, we successfully avoided the doughnut shop (it helped that it was closed…) 
  • And we stopped at a playground to swing as high as we possibly could.

The sun, fresh air, and blood pumping through my veins lifted me out of the pit of irritation that wanted to swallow me whole. I just had to choose to be lifted up.

After intentionally looking for reasons to  rejoice that afternoon, it was much easier to return to the tasks of the day. Minute by minute, that one day threw several curveballs that distracted and tempted me to lose sight of hope. But, curveballs or not, it is 100% my choice to rejoice

It is 100% my choice to rejoice. Click To Tweet

And we all have that choice every minute of every day. So, how can face this world, with all its bad news and disappointments, and find reasons to rejoice? Is it true that we can bless the Lord at all times? (Ps 34:1a).

Bless the Lord at all Times

I believe that in all circumstances, there are three things that can quickly re-focus us to bring hope:

God hears me.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)

God turns his ears to his children. He hears the prayer of the son or daughter who calls out to Him. No matter our situation, God is El Roi, the God who sees us.  

God holds me.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

God is like a tender shepherd who gathers his lambs in His arms. He pulls us close to protect us under the shadow of His wing. He will not let go.

God calls me to Himself.

Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him to life on the last day.” (John 6:44)

God has made a way in Jesus to bring us to Himself. And as we draw near to Him, He continues to draw near to us. Because He has welcomed us as sons and daughters into His own family. 

When all around you the world seems to be falling apart, remember that you have reasons to rejoice.

Reasons to Rejoice when Life Gets Hard

Download the Printable!

As we face tragic news, parenting struggles, and even wrecked cars, God has given countless reasons to rejoice. So will you join me?

Elizabeth Joy

Peace, Be Still: How to Trust God for a Quiet Heart

I need a quiet heart. Thankfully we went away to the sea, first in April, and then again in July.

But since we have been back from our summer vacation, the last two months have been full. Work, writing deadlines, settling in, parenting responsibilities, company, and the new normal of this season have all been positive, but very busy. And as I’ve thought about writing for Joy Let Loose, I’ve simply felt depleted, like I didn’t have many more resources to pour out.

Peace, Be Still: How To Trust God for a Quiet Heart

Raging Seas

So when it felt like a raging sea, I needed to remind myself of the gentle waves. I needed to remember my quiet heart. I have looked at the pictures and videos on my phone, and sat out on my patio, staring at our pond. If it weren’t so hot again this afternoon, that’s where I’d be right now! 🙂

I need to drink deeply. And in my rest, these words refresh me:

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
even those who sail on distant seas.
You formed the mountains by your power
and armed yourself with mighty strength.
You quieted the raging oceans
with their pounding waves
and silenced the shouting of the nations.
Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy.

(Psalm 65:5-8 NLT)

Peace, Be Still

I am reminded how Jesus rebuked the storm’s waves in Mark 4:39 by saying to it, “Peace! Be still!” And in the times I choose to take moments to pull away from the chaos in my life and mind, it is because I hear Him speak to my heart, “Be still.” It is much like in Psalm 46 when God said, “Be still and know that I am God.”

So much of my life feels simultaneously like catching up and keeping going; like moving forward and dragging from behind. But the Lord calls me to stop striving, and to set apart time to simply rest with Him. He invites me to a quiet heart.

For my own sake, I’m learning this is incredibly important. And for the sake of Joy Let Loose, if I don’t do it, there will be much less joy to share!

(If you made it this far, you may be interested to read about some quiet moments I took by the sea in Nova Scotia, Canada, this summer. I had a chance to share my experience with Annesley Writers last month.)

Pursue a Quiet Heart

In January, I issued to my readers my Morning Joy Challenge. I’d encourage you to take a look, and I’m going to re-visit it in my own life as well. But once the day gets rolling, it may be that we also need a  Peace, Be Still invitation. Any time you feel chaotic, or you sense God calling you to step away, please use this resource to help you to be still, and know that He is God. 

Steps to a quiet heart with God

 

Download the PDF!

What Next?

So what next? How do you re-enter the world of storms after taking those precious moments of stillness? Well, I would recommend keeping a journal. Write just one line that reminds you what you learned in the silence. What did God speak to your quiet heart? Make that the shout of  joy that God has inspired. (Ps. 65:8b) 

Habits take time to form. So, keep the Peace, Be Still resource and a quiet heart journal handy as you build the habit. And let us know in the comments below if you are taking me up on the invitation.

Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.

(Rev. 22:17)

Elizabeth Joy

 

Back to School: How to Teach our Kids Life Skills

This post contains affiliate links for Skill Trek. I am excited to tell you about it! See my full disclosure about affiliate links by clicking here.

Fall is almost officially here, and we feel it because it’s back to school time. This elicits both a sigh of relief and a bit of nail-biting for most parents. Will our kiddos move ahead this year in their readiness for all the world holds? Are they learning the life skills they need to navigate it well?

Life Skills

Whether parents choose private, public, homeschool, or unschooling, I’m fairly confident most of us want our children to succeed. I think we all want our kids to be happy while they are learning too. We have mainly educated our kids through the public school systems (in Canada and in the U.S), though we forayed into Christian Schooling for a couple of years for one child, and virtual schooling for the two others. Each model has its benefits and drawbacks, but we’ve managed, and our children have thrived all the way through.

Back to School: How to Teach Our Children Life Skills

Sending my firstborn off to University recently, while seeing #firstdayofschool posts everywhere, has made me a bit nostalgic. It has forced me to consider the paths that led to this point. Have we prepared him well?

As I’ve thought this through, I’ve realized that much of what he needs to succeed he didn’t actually learn in school. Yes, he gleaned a lot there, and we’ve had some awesome teachers along the way. But he learned many of his most important life skills outside of the classroom, away from textbooks and technology.

This is #joyletloose.

When life becomes a vibrant classroom, life skills abound. Click To Tweet

Some of the skills that top my list as most important are:

  • Looking people in the eye
  • Listening well
  • Having a strong handshake
  • Extending hospitality
  • Respecting our elders

 

Then of course add in such things as cooking a variety of foods, laundry care, home repairs, money management, conversation and table etiquette and the list goes on… There are so many things we can add to the curriculum of life. And parents (and grandparents!) of littles, it is never too early to begin!

 

Skill Trek

Life skills are learned through repetition, in an environment that feels natural and enjoyable. They are internalized best when someone who loves them brings them alongside. And learning goals can be set according to the values that parents see as important in the adult world.

It just so happens that I stumbled on this great resource just last week. Skill Trek is a program designed for parents who want to make life skill learning a key (and fun!) part of home life. We didn’t have such a resource as our kids were navigating their younger years, but I wish we did! 

Whether your family is just entering the school world or starting into their teens, they can become Trailblazers, Rockhoppers, or Cragsmen. And Skill Trek promises 500+ skills are available to you in innovative and fun ways, with a reward system that encourages good habits to form through practice. Their goal is to banish boredom in your home, and to help everyone thrive!

Here are just a few of the testimonials I’ve read:

Skill Trek has exceeded everything I hoped it would be.  My children are eager to earn nuggets and master new skills, and the lessons have been fantastic jumping points for further discussion and learning.  I highly recommend this program to all parents of children!” ~ Dawn of Cedar’s Story

 

“My kids keep asking “Can we do Skill Trek?” They love their [trail]guide and earning nuggets! I love that they’re learning a wide range of life skills. It’s a busy mom win, for sure!” ~ Tauna of Proverbial Homemaker

 

So whether you’d want to include this in your homeschooling curriculum, or slip it into your after school routine, I encourage you to check out Skill Trek to see what you think! And I’d also encourage you to intentionally set some goals for your children. What are those key attributes you see in vibrant adults that they can learn now? What are the things you want to be sure they live naturally by the time they set out the door for university?

Goal-setting

Joy Let Loose adults are very often those whose childhoods were impacted by patient, loving mentors. How can you come alongside your children (or grandchildren, or other children you love) to help them grow to let joy loose?

I made a printable goal-setting sheet for you to get started. Download the PDF here. 

Life Skill Goals Sheet

How about you? What are some life skills you are instilling in your children that are invaluable to you and your family?

Elizabeth Joy

How to Live a Life that Overflows with Thankfulness

Last Monday I had my second opportunity to lead in prayer on Facebook Live. It was the fifteenth day of  21 Days of Prayer for Waterline Church, where I am the Director of Relational Arts. You know, I absolutely loved my time leading online and experienced fantastic engagement with the people who joined me live. We talked about how to live a life that overflows with thankfulness.

How to live a life that overflows with thankfulness

Thankfulness

The theme that book-ends each week of our 21 Days is  thankfulness. Therefore, we begin and end each week with gratitude. The Scripture I shared was Colossians 2:6-7.

 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.  Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Col. 2:6-7 NLT)

I love how the Message words this same passage:

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. (Col. 2:6-7 MSG)

 

#BOOM

Paul paints a clear correlation here:

Rooting + Building our lives in Christ  —>  Strong Faith + Thankfulness

I believe most of us want to be thankful people. And I think many of us want to have strong faith. But it’s hard to muster those things up. It seems they depend on our rootedness in Christ, which leads to lives built up in Him – living Jesus.

When we begin to live Jesus, to truly walk out the things we’ve learned (from the Word, from our Pastors, from our worship songs, from others’ life stories), then our faith grows, and we become thankful people.

Does that sound scary to anyone? Doesn’t walking out what we’ve learned mean stepping out before you are sure God will catch you? Isn’t that kind of like jumping out of the plane before you know for sure the parachute is going to open up?

 

That’s faith, my friends.

Faithfulness is one of the spiritual fruit listed by Paul in his letter to the Galatians.

Spiritual fruit grows naturally in people rooted in Christ. Click To Tweet
Fruit

One of my sons likes to grow things.

At any given time, we could have potted plants from pineapples and cantaloupe to avocados and tomatillos in various stages of growth around our house and patio. I don’t know if any of you are gardeners, but I’ve noticed that sometimes fruit grows v-e-r-y slowly. After all, nurturing young plants requires incredible patience and diligence. And it generally helps if he keeps going back to check them, care for them, and assess their progress.

Sometimes I think our spiritual fruit grows in us so incrementally that I wonder if we even notice. And I wonder if we forget to keep track of its progress.

So, I want to help us notice fruit.

Monday evening, during prayer time for the 21 Days of Prayer our church is walking through on Facebook Live, I issued a challenge I’d like to extend here too. Instead of looking for external things to be thankful for (let’s face it, there are a TON), instead, why don’t we start to look internally for some fruit to thank God for?

Overflowing and Spilling Over

Did you notice that Paul said our thankfulness would overflow? The Message version says, “spill over.” That means it comes from the inside. And it can’t be contained.  After all, things that overflow come out from somewhere, and can’t be held in any longer.

So what’s on the inside? What’s going on inside of us that might begin to spill out thanks? 

One key to natural gratitude is being diligent to acknowledge and express what God is doing in us. Click To Tweet

Now, an incredibly important discipline for the joy-seeker and the one who wants to be grateful is to  look for things to be thankful for. So let’s start the inward search. Let’s take inventory of our fruit – the ones that are ripe, and the ones just blossoming.

Notice Fruit and Discover Thankfulness

 

Printable to inventory your spiritual fruit

 

Download the free printable

As you take your time considering each of these spiritual fruit, allow God to direct your thoughts. Important: Recognize that our fruit doesn’t grow all at once. Often we are in a season where God is helping us to grow just one type of fruit. Other times several types might be growing at once, but you’ll still find it s-l-o-w.

How do you start?! Survey your day today. Do you notice you reacted differently to any situations than you might have a few months ago? Think about conversations, or your inner thoughts. Do you have a sense of contentment where there used to be anxiety? Do you notice you have been able to be more kind to someone difficult in your life?

Where are you changing?

Then, as you notice that you indeed have grown, even if it is just a small amount of growth, begin to celebrate that! Speak it out to the Lord. Write it in this Colossians 2:6 journal, leather notebook, or on the printable above. And tell a prayer partner or friend.

Let your living spill over into thanksgiving. 

 Live a life that overflows with thankfulness

Habits take time to form. So I invite you to keep today’s printable handy. Let it remind you to go back to the garden again and again. Assess growth, nurture and cultivate it. And with every new leaf or new blossom, thank God – loudly! Praise Him that fruit is growing and you are living Jesus.

Those who do overflow with thankfulness.

Elizabeth Joy