“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives. When the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and his gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening – or not happening – in our lives. He is the source of all joy."
–President Russell M. Nelson
Ahhh summer is winding down and I'm not sure how I feel about it this year. Usually by this time I am SOOOOO ready for the kids to be back in school and back to some routines and schedules. But this year, I'm still craving those lazy kind of summer days.
Ashlyn got to go to girls camp with me. Or maybe I should say I got to go with Ash to girls camp.
This is my 4th year and not sure what next summer will hold for us, for me. I am so grateful and so blessed to be able to spend these occasions with my kids.
Our theme was JOY which I immediately loved the moment it was announced. We are designed to be happy and this Ashes girl encapsulates joy to the fullest extent. Happiness just exudes from her and people can't help being drawn to her personality and good-naturedness.
She has a myriad of friends and continues to make new ones, the latest being a 14-year-old Chinese girl adopted by the McConnells. Ash, or Pikachu as this new friend calls her, became fast friends even though the language barrier is still quite prevalent. Love and the spirit know no boundaries.
Is it possible to have joy amid trials, setbacks, and disappointments? Of course it is.
Are there going to be days when joy seems elusive and tears just flow? Of course there are.
But “what messes us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be” (Matt Townsend). I know of no one whose life has turned out exactly how they envisioned. And when we get stuck wishing for a different life, that can be a joy sucker. Social media contributes to this in a big way. We start to compare everyone's best to our worst and begin to wonder why our life is so hard. Start looking at what is going right instead of what isn't. Have gratitude for the blessings seen and unseen.
Right now, these girls are some of my greatest blessings. I love them. I love serving them. I love being a part of their lives. Nicole brought me joy at girls camp as she did not become upset when she was placed in the tent not of her choosing. Jenny brought me joy in the thoughtful notes she wrote to each girl at camp. This ginormous feat only took her four days. Nevaeh brought me joy as I watched her move seats to comfort a girl in another ward who was having a hard time.
What else brings me joy? Service. Every day I try to think of one person I might serve that day. This gets my mind and thoughts off myself and the struggles I have as I try to alleviate the burdens of someone else.
May the son always radiate the joy within us as we go about serving in his kingdom and in our small sphere of influence.