Joy

He let me run ahead of him, camera in hand, patiently understanding as all of me, enthralled, took it all in.Shrinking from dust of callous and weary, I was caught up in breath of salt and glint, I was caught up in light. Here I could now hear finally the song drowned too easily by discontent distraction, here there was space to savor creation's melody of reflection shifting gaze to the Creator.

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What it was designed to do from the beginning.

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He spent six days in artistic design, pouring over His paintings before breathing into humanity, knowing me yet waiting still to form me.

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He could have brought us into a world grey and shaded, but instead in his omniscience, he first provided these tangible glimpses of His glory, the ones I chased now with open embrace.

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He knew we, I, would long for them, would need them.

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Whispering over mountain heights, I've heard these peaked majesties are still shy of his uncontainable affection. Singing through vast forests of lush green teeming with life, He's exposed them as still yet wanting in compare to his vibrance. Shining across deserts, heat’s greatest intensity, sanded innumerable, and yet, still, His thoughts of me surmount the grains.

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 And then, the ocean is in front of me. Dancing with it's foam and chase, I bend low to catch the shimmer and dart again as it seeps underneath and over my stand.

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 Growing up a girl of plained supberbs, I've always had an infatuation with the water, the pull of the unattainable. It's always sung of serenity, quiet, retreat.

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 But that night, toes sunk in sands, I heard the constant roar, the briny wind whipping fiercer than I’ve seen it before, the magnitude, swelling igniting. The waves, their faithfulness rivaled only by the sun, ebbed and rose again, power crashing upon might.. And yet, the life force behind the strength, it was He who was glistening, revealed in the depths, He is the All in All.

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Ann Voskamp put words around my heart.

“How to see the world again through those eyes. To live in the wide-eyed wonder of a world that unwraps itself grandiose and larger-than-life, so otherworldly?…The secret to a child’s language of laughter, their domain of delight, is perspective. If the heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude, and gratitude is but a way of seeing, a spiritual perspective of smallness might offer a vital way of seeing especially conducive to gratitude… 

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‘How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it!’

The joy of small that makes life large….

But the irony: Don’t I often desperately want to wriggle free of the confines of a small life? Yet when I stand before immensity that heightens my smallness - I have never felt sadness. Only burgeoning wonder. 

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Is it because within each frame of finite flesh lies the likeness of infinite God; In all things large and spectacular, we recognize glimpse of home and the call to our deeper chemistry. Do we writhe to peel out of our smallness and into the big life because that fits our inborn God-image? Echo calls to echo, deep to deep. Awe…awe ignites joy because it makes us bend the knee….I murmur eucharisteo thanks in a pile of laundry and the world expands and heightens and deepens and surges with the glory of God and I can feel the body decreasing and the soul increasing and joy filling the breadth between…the perspective of smallness that cultivates surprise wonder, that grows gratitude, that yields joy.”

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How often I allow my hurry for the next, my discontent in the now to find voice in complaint.

And even if I never give breath to whine in the air I breathe, I nourish their roots in my heart choking out the love-song, letting my human eyes dim the exposure (for the Light itself never changes) and thus dull the wonder-gaze.

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Oh to tune the ears, and fix the gaze, to revel in life’s gifts as the delightful revealing of the Life Giver Himself.

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"As long as thanks is possible, Joy is always possible. 

Joy is always possible. 

Whenever, meaning, now; wherever, meaning here. 

The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. 

The joy wonder could be here! 

Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be- unbelievably, possible.”

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Voskamp unpacks her careful analysis of the secret to joy abundant lived out, Eucharisteo.

"In the original language, "He gave thanks" reads as "Eucharisteo"...Now, he didn't institute the Eucharist around some unusual, rare, once a year event, but around this continual act of eating a slice of bread, drinking a cup of fruit from the vine....Eucharisteo, the root word is chairs, meaning grace. He took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be a gift and have thanks...it means thanksgiving. It also holds the Greek word for chara, meaning joy."

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Oh to shirk prideful rejection of any part of life's journey.

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 My God is bigger. florida_0041

 His purposes uncontainable.  florida_0042

 Isaiah 55 promises, "So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void or without producing any effect or useless,  but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."florida_0043

 "For you shall go out  with joy and be led forth by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."florida_0044

 His purposes bring joy. florida_0045

 He is good.florida_0046

Oh to fix my eyes on this the face of Faithfulness.

In the day in, day out, the sun's rise through dirty panes and loud mornings of bustling children and dishes and budget and routine. To make the same space in my kitchen as I did on the endless shore to see the simple, the small, the common as gifts florida_0047

and to embrace it all as unexpected, undeserved, incomparable, Grace.florida_0048

 “Eucharisto makes the knees the vantage point of a life.” florida_0049

 Yes. This is what my heart rushed towards as the waves reached salt spraying for the orange meeting crimson meeting quiet. This is what was doing the filing of a hungry soul, the wonder of what was being unveiled in the very moment. florida_0050

 Trusting past longing, past dreams of what if, what else, breathing purity of the present,

delighting the Giver of all good gifts... opening human hand, human heart for all of immortal Joy. florida_0051

  "Every breath's a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip from the holy grail of joy" florida_0052

  And thus disrobed of disenamoring ungratefulness, clothed, as always, royally in Grace's' splendor, I sing praise back to the Maker and let my heart beat wildly in all that is ordained. And I offer simply, profound thanks for it all through the All in All.florida_0053

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