Happy New Year from Joy Let Loose! A Year in Review

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from  Joy Let Loose! With 2017 coming to a close, and Christmas celebrations still ringing in my ears, I celebrate what God has done this year.

Happy New Year from Joy Let Loose

Emmanuel has certainly been with us. 

Just one year ago I felt purposeless, and confused in my new home. But I heard God whispering the word “Joy” to me for 2017. I imagined what that might look like. Of course, things don’t always turn out how we imagine they might, but as I review what has happened, God has still proven to be a Joy-Giver. 

A New Start

I dreamt up  Joy Let Loose in a season of grief. I wanted to find joy for myself, but I also wanted to spill it out for others to experience. If I had lost my joy, likely others had too. Could God use me to help them find it again?

So I took the plunge and started this blog. I’ve had my ups and downs as it has gotten off the ground. I’ve found some new communities that have helped me to learn, and to recover from disappointments, and I’ve been encouraged by many of your comments here and on my Facebook page.  I have seen how much Pinterest impacts readership, and taken a course or two along the way as well. But as I review, there is still much to learn.

And even more, I keep needing to remember WHY.

  • Joy Let Loose is a thing because God’s JOY is real.
  • I blog because I want to live a life consistently strengthened by it.
  • I write because I believe I can impact your life, and encourage you in Joy. 
A Year in Review

So as year one of  Joy Let Loose winds down, I took a look in the rearview mirror. I’ve posted 44 times, and here were my TOP 10 posts this year:

2017 Blog Stats

Joy Let Loose Readers

Joy Let Loose readers come from all across the globe, from the USA to Uganda, Sri Lanka to New Zealand. How amazing to remember that people are seeking God’s  joy from one end of the earth to the next. And I pray that the things I write can be a part of how God spreads it. 

Can You Help?

So this morning I sent an email to my Joy Let Loose subscribers, asking for their input. How can I best encourage them in 2018? I’d like to ask the same of you, my blog readers. What has encouraged you on this blog in 2017? What topics have I missed?

Would you do me a favor and discuss in the comments below:

  1. Where you are from
  2. How you found  Joy Let Loose
  3. What has encouraged you here
  4. and what you’d like to read about in 2018

I’d love to continue building the Joy Let Loose community, and hearing how God is impacting your lives with His  joy in 2018. If you’d like to hear from me in your inbox on occasion, and receive 5 Prayer Prompts to restore your JOY over the next 5 days, please click here!

Merriest of Christmas & New Year celebrations to you and to your families. 

Elizabeth Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if #MeToo Became #HealedToo? (Life after Domestic Abuse)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, where many people are speaking up #MeToo. Some people “go purple” to bring awareness to the horrific silence inside of which many women, men and children suffer, where memories are dark and homes unsafe. One in three women, and one in four men have been the victims of some form of violence by someone close to them during their lifetime. Numerous among them were small children when the abuse began, and they remained in abusive situations for years.

What if #MeToo became #HealedToo

This shocking reality is the sad cause of the #MeToo campaign we have seen on our social media feeds recently. My heart breaks for each person who bravely shares this hashtag, knowing thousands still remain silenced and scarred from abuse, at no fault of their own.

We aren’t made for silence. 
I desperately want silence to turn to song. #MeToo >> #HealedToo Click To Tweet

 

Our Father made us for relationship with Him and with one another. We were created to share our lives openly, to vulnerably know and trust one another. We are supposed to learn God’s love for us inside relationships.  But for many who say #MeToo, trust has been stolen, and the possibility of vulnerable relationships has been robbed.

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus gives life to the full. (John 10:10)

#MeToo

My heart breaks for those whose social media sites bravely declare #MeToo, and yet they have not yet found true healing. Some of these are my friends, and yours.

Maybe one of them is you.

#HealedToo

Jesus Christ is the only one who offers true healing and abundant life. He is the Light of the World, and those who follow Him will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of LIFE. (John 8:12). He has come to set people free who are slaves to sin, or enslaved by the effects of sin. And those who Jesus sets free are free indeed. (John 8:36). 

#JoySighting

For today’s #JoySighting I want to introduce you to my friend, Christina. Largely through the help of Prevail Inc., she has found the LIFE that exists on the other side of domestic violence. And in that life, she has found  true joy. Christina displays true gratitude for What God has done in herHer life overflows, and she lets her joy loose by sharing the realities of her story. When I first heard it, I wanted to help spread it. Because stories are powerful weapons against the darkness.

 

We overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11).

 

Even though Christina can say #MeToo, she can also declare that she has been healed, and she is alive in the abundant life of Christ. And in her story-telling, she is overcoming. She is saying #HealedToo.

What if everyone who says #MeToo could also say #HealedToo?

Do you know someone who needs to hear Christina’s story? Let’s see how far we can spread it! Please let her joy loose by sharing on your social media outlets.

Elizabeth Joy

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

 

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

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 #Reclaiming Joy 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