31 Days of Joy

She considered Him. {31 Days of Joy}

“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:11‬

She considered Him faithful.

She considered Him good.

The One who made a promise, she considered Him.

In her longing, hoping, waiting, she considered Him.

In her giving up of dreams, in letting go of hope, in waiting no more, she considered Him.

She believed despite doubt.

She laughed, and named her son, “he laughs”. Joy returns.

She held on. He held her.

She saw the impossible before her, and considered Him.

She considered Him faithful.

She considered Him good.

She considered Him.

31 Days of Joy

Unexciting Joy {31 Days of Joy}

Day 2 of this month long challenge writing about joy and I’m already struggling a bit.

I thought back through my day to see what I could write about and while there were little moments of joy (like getting a piece of mail from my awesome goddaughter!) that was summed up in a nice Instagram post, not really blog-worthy.

Yet, looking a little deeper at my day I realized a type of joy that’s hard to describe. I don’t know if I’ve very noticed it before. The best word I seem to find to explain it is “unexciting” joy.

Often the first thought of joy is happy, exciting, smiles, and laughter. It’s the “wear a sparkly prom dress to work” kind of situation.

Today didn’t include much laughter or sparkles. It was actually kind of a busy, boring day.

But it wasn’t a joyless.

The joy was present in feeling understood and listened to by a colleague, in time praying with one of my RCs, in digging into some data that I hope tells me more about my students.

I cherished the joy in being proud of myself for forcing my body out the door to go for a walk when I would have rather crashed on the couch.

I experienced the contentment aspect of joy when God provided wisdom and discernment in a difficult conversation.

I uncovered other people’s reasons for joy mentioned in my daily Bible readings.

I fought hard for joy when something didn’t go my way.

I shared joy with a friend when she sent me a picture of a rainbow.

I’ve never really thought about it before but “unexciting” joy is the sustaining kind. It steadies us. It goes unnoticed, yet is vital.

It can’t always be prom dresses and confetti poppers. Sometimes it’s a simple caring act from a stranger or a knowing glance from a friend.

We get to the end of a day and our shoulders settle, the corners of our lips curl up ever so slightly, we close our eyes, and exhale.

This too is joy.

31 Days of Joy

Prom Dresses & Defiant Joy {31 Days of Joy}

I wore my daughter’s prom dress to work today.

Let me guess some of the things you may be thinking right now:
1. Why?!?
2. What daughter?
3. No really, why?

Let’s clear up number 2 first since that’s the quick answer: While I don’t yet have biological children of my own, I did get the opportunity to host a 17-year old exchange student from the Faroe Islands a few years ago. She’s beautiful. Her country is beautiful. I love her so much! (You can read about it, and her, in one of my previous October Write 31 Day Challenges: 31 Days on Instant Motherhood).

Now back to the other question at hand… why did I wear her prom dress that I found unexpectedly in a dress bag with some bridesmaid apparel that I thought had been donated to the local prom dress collection long ago?

The simple, surface level answer is that it’s Spirit week at the university where I work and today was “Dress Your Best” day. But the truth is I have many options of (slightly less bold) options of dress clothes I could have picked. So here are a few of the many little things that piece together to do something kind of ridiculous today… When I saw it in the closet it made me laugh and smile. Who wouldn’t? It’s super sparkly and fun. Also, it just seemed just ridiculous enough that I might actually fit into it that it was worth a shot.

It also brought back so many great memories of my year with Elisa. While there were challenges for sure in taking a 17-year old and a 28-year old from two cultures and countries, with 2 different first languages, and throwing them into this weird “mom/daughter/single first time parenting/exploring a new culture/awkward age gap” kind of situation for 10 months, there were also incredible moments as well. This dress made me think of many of them like the night she picked it out, both of us knowing it was perfect. I even remember us getting the family size container of Panera’s tomato soup on the way home because she wasn’t feeling good and it was one of her favorites.

Two people, one wearing the same dress the author was wearing in the first picture, standing outside a house

Then there’s actual prom night where I treasure the memory of me and Elisa’s real mom both standing behind her in the bathroom both working together to do her hair before sending her off. Also, the idea that I would potential wear it for homecoming week made me think of her first and only experience with an American homecoming week. Oh the “blood sweat and tears” some evenings as we tried to piece together a wardrobe for the next day’s adventure. (I’m still pretty proud of our Dora the Explorer backpack!)

Two young women standing by some lockers in a hallway

Reason 3#: Simply put, why not? 🙂

And on to #4: Defiance. Yes, this was perhaps the biggest reason I threw on the silver sparkly dress and walked across a college campus this morning. One of Satan’s most annoying tactics is to make us believe that what other people think of us is what matters most in this world. I’m sure I’m not the only one who goes to battle with him in this area regularly. The fearful, self-conscious Bekah wanted to play it safe. She wanted to participate in the day, but not stand out at all.

I hesitated, afraid of how others would respond. To wear the dress was a practical step toward not really caring if other participated or not, to not caring if they thought I was crazy, to doing something simply because it sounded fun.

And all of that leads to my final reason, and also the reason I’m blogging about the whole experience now:

JOY.

Wearing this dress brought joy to my day, and I think other people too. (Even if they were just laughing at how ridiculous it was.)

I wanted to participate again in the annual Write 31 Day blogging challenge that occurs each October. I’ve jumped in a few years in the past and never regretted the accountability that comes with having to show up every single day to write. It randomly came to mind Tuesday and last night as I considered what I wanted this year’s theme to be, I pondered what I needed and what the world needed right now.

First, I thought about peace. In anxious uncertain times, peace definitely applies.

Then I thought maybe I’d just copy what I did in 2015 where I didn’t really pick a specific theme but focused on the concept of taking “31 Days to Just Write“. Write about anything and everything, just show up.

But then it struck me. What we all could use a little more of right now is JOY. We need fun and spontaneity, hard-fought joy and small delights. This season is universally just so hard. We need… I need… to notice joy, watch for joy, celebrate joy, choose joy. Day in and day out. Moment after moment.

So here we are.

Day 1.

A whole month ahead of us, focused on joy.

And it all started with a sparkly dress on a random Thursday.

What brought you joy today? Share in the comments below!

Logo with text: 31 Days of Joy; October 2020