He will fill me with shouts of joy

I saw a news report recently that said people who get fewer than 5.5 hours of sleep a night have higher health risks than the average population. I told my husband that any new mom could have told the researchers that and saved the public tens of thousands of dollars on the study. Not only do sleep deprived people have more risk for diabetes, heart disease, depression, and a host of other health conditions, they become a risk to anyone who irritates them. Fair warning, people.

My littles aren’t “new” anymore, but they still don’t sleep as much as I’d like. Even if they did, I’d have to spend some of those precious quiet moments taking care of things that get pushed to the side when they’re awake. Praying, reading, writing, editing, cleaning, planning. Thinking. With so much going on, it’s hard for me to fully appreciate the joys God gives me. Good for me that God’s promises don’t have an expiration date.

Today’s confession gives me peace, and it comes from an unlikely place. Most of us don’t look to Job in the Old Testament when we want promises of joy. But it’s there in a few ways. Job 8:21 is a response where Bildad the Shuhite tells Job, “He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

Er, perhaps not the best response to a man who has just heard of the loss of all his earthly possessions and the deaths of his children. I’m sure Bildad meant well, but he might as well have opened his mouth and put his foot in it. Deeply. Still, if you read the story through to the end, you’ll see that God did restore Job in full. In fact, he gave his servant even more blessing in the second half of his life than in the first.

He will fill me with shouts of joy.

Shouts of joy. Not shouts of irritation or impatience. Sometimes, I’m as quick to let loose with one as with the other. As I fight to keep my eyes open and my tone gentle in these sleep-deprived days, I confess this truth. He will fill me with shouts of joy. I’m not the only one to benefit from this promise. My whole family will recognize the change and the glory will go to God.

Are you shouting with joy or impatience these days?

The everlasting God will crown me with everlasting joy

I have trouble believing in myself. My abilities, however developed or natural, do not speak to my brain and convince me that I can accomplish much. It’s ridiculous to feel such self-pity and depression when I have so much to be thankful for, but the day can be wasted fighting for the slightest sliver of joy. It impacts my life, my husband’s life, and the lives of my littles.

I’m praying for that to change, and I think it begins with one word.

In searching for today’s confession, it seemed that one word jumped out at me over and over.

Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).

Everlasting life (Galatians 6:8).

Everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Everlasting kingdom (Psalm 145:13), peace (Psalm 22:26), and joy (Isaiah 35:10).

According to the news reports, three people won the largest lottery in history this weekend. Over $200 million goes to each winner, and so much money must be hard to spend, right? But it’s not everlasting. It will come to an end.

Besides my own pity party, I look at the world around me, at the lives of people I love, and see heart-wrenching pain. Brokenness, confusion, isolation, and destruction seem to have no end. But they do end. They are not everlasting.

It gives me comfort and hope that something worthy in this life is everlasting. (The keyword there is worthy, by the way.) And two pieces of Scripture give me a window into a world that far exceeds this one.

Isaiah 40:28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

Isaiah 51:11 Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

The everlasting God will crown me with everlasting joy.

That’s a powerful confession to me because I find joy hard to come by. When I feel defeated or hopeless, I’ll proclaim this truth. The everlasting God will crown me with everlasting joy, and I will move in the power of the Holy Spirit. I don’t have to believe in myself as long as I believe in Him.

Do you struggle to find joy in your life?

I have great joy

My littles think there’s a Spanish-speaking lady living in the back of our car.

I’ve developed the habit of keeping a bag of donation items in the car, and this particular bag has an electronic device that must be set on Spanish. As we round a corner, the lady pipes up. “Hola!” and she uses a lot of words I used to know but now can only guess at. They gasp and look at each other, eyes wide and mouths open, and my biggest little begins mimicking her in words I’ve never known. Then belly laughs fill the space around me, and my face splits in a wide grin because of the great joy God has given me.

Psalm 4:7 says, “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.” While this piece of Scripture isn’t speaking directly about children, it’s the perfect confession because our children ARE from God. When we let them, they are an endless source of joy that is more satisfying than food or drink. (Er, yes. There are times we prefer food and lots of drink, such as previously mentioned screaming and water incidents. But that’s not the point here.)

I have great joy.

And if you don’t have children, God has done something different to give you great joy. Look around. Sunshine, friends, freedom, good food, a Savior.

Sometimes a good belly laugh is the only cure for life. (Well, that and dancing to Harry Connick, jr.) My littles have perfected this, and I’m learning how right they are. I’m learning to slow my mad dashing and take a few minutes to enjoy the simple things. Like a Spanish lady in the back of my car.

What brings you great joy?

I will rejoice

I hate resolutions. They’re counter productive and they make me feel like a mess.

But this year, in keeping with my no-fear mindset, I resolved to have a resolution. Just one because there’s no need to stress myself out, right? Besides working on ‘fraidy cat issues, there’s a lot I’d like to accomplish this year: publishing my books, writing a new book, continuing my blog, home improvements, better organization, a sense of humor. Yeah. Just one resolution because this list is stressful.

A few days earlier, my husband and I realized that in this very chaotic time of our lives, we need to work on having a sense of humor. Some people find joy an easy state to achieve. They laugh all day and find something funny in everything. Let’s get one thing straight. That. Person. Is. Not. Me.

So is it sad that I skipped right over sense of humor in my resolution list because it’s just too hard? Much easier to create a list of things to do and get busy. I can cross each job off my list when it’s complete. So satisfying! But it’s not laughter or joy…

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” That’s so decisive. I love it. There is another piece of Scripture that comforts my heart and speaks to me in a more personal way. “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.” Maybe that one from Psalm 31:7 speaks to you, too. Knowing that the living God cares about my troubles and loves me makes the world a more bearable place. It makes today’s confession possible.

I will rejoice.

Whatever life (or one of my littles) throws at me today, I will rejoice. It will take time to make this an automatic response, but because of His unfailing love I know it’s possible.

Can you rejoice in spite of your troubles today?

I will burst out in songs of thanksgiving

‘Burst’ is a fun word, isn’t it? When I was a kid in the school cafeteria, I sat two tables away from someone who burst out laughing – with milk in his mouth. Guess how far the milk flew? Yep, I got sprayed with his delight.

In junior high school, my best friend thought it would be cool to drink from the spray nozzle on her kitchen sink. She pulled it out of the faucet, wrapped her lips around it, and pressed the trigger. Water burst from her nose. (I’m still laughing about that.)

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we burst our thanksgiving the way various liquids burst from our oral cavities when we’re being ridiculous kids? Based on Psalm 28:7, I’m practicing that today. “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

I will burst out in songs of thanksgiving!

Burst. As I do it, I get some interesting looks from strangers, but it’s the joy in my heart and the reaction from God that makes this worthwhile. Don’t know any songs? Try looking in the Psalms for inspiration, or start Christmas caroling early. Many of our favorite carols started as songs of praise and worship of our Savior. Or go back to your childhood and sing to your heart’s content. This Little Light of Mine, Jesus Loves Me, Father Abraham. Before you know it, strangers will be sending you interesting looks, too. And you might just inspire someone else to burst.

What songs are you bursting today? Leave a comment and inspire someone!

I have peace at all times and in every situation

Today’s confession can be a challenge, and it’s sure to be necessary at some point for some reason every day for the rest of the year.

Thanksgiving week is at our doorsteps – and immediately after that will be the Christmas season. Whether you celebrate these holidays with the rest of the country or choose to recognize the purpose of the holidays in another way, the busy-ness of the season is undeniable. It’s easy to overlook the brightness, the hope, and the joy. Let’s be honest, celebrating abundance and the birth of our Savior can be stressful.

No matter how you celebrate, take time today to stop the busy-ness and reflect on the person of Jesus Christ. And let today’s confession move your spirit to places of rest, trust, and peace. As 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation.” Not to be simplistic, but it can be as easy as believing it and accepting it. Repeatedly. Accept it over and over, every time you feel it slipping away, confess it again.

I have peace at all times and in every situation.

His peace surpasses understanding, so when the noise around you is deafening and the chores seem insurmountable you can calm the storm within and truly give thanks for the gift of Him.

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas? What are the sources of stress you face?

With God all things are possible

Pop quiz: When was the last time you used the word ‘impossible’? As in, “That’s impossible.” or “I’m impossible.”

For me, it’s almost a daily challenge to ban that word from my thinking. For one thing, I’m, er… slightly melodramatic. I think we’ve established that fact. I tend to over-exaggerate. (Are you proud of me? I totally avoided – like TOTALLY avoided – melodrama and exaggeration there. I’m never going to exaggerate AGAIN!)

For another thing, I like to use dry wit at my own expense. I roll my eyes and say, “I’m so impossible.” Or I look at my goals and think, “Yeah. Right. IM-possible.”

Today’s affirmation directly contradicts that thinking. I want you to look in the mirror this morning and say these words out loud, believing them, believing in the power of God. This is not about your own superior ability to do all things. It’s not about your super-human efforts. It’s not about you. This is about God, about His love for you, and about His power to do ALL things. (And that is not an exaggeration, my friends. That is Truth. See for yourselves.)

Confession: Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

With men, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:36

It stands to reason, then, that with God all GOOD things are possible. Want to make this affirmation more personal? Do it. “Every good and every perfect gift in my life is from God, with whom all good things are possible.” And name your gifts. Your spouse? Your children? The ability to pay all your bills – and still have enough to get a coffee or a special treat – in this time of economic uncertainty? How about friends that keep your chin up? Your health? Even pets can be gifts from God. Don’t forget those gifts that enrich others’ lives. Wisdom, joy, peace. Yes, all the gifts of the Spirit are included here. Look for them, too!

Go into the world today knowing that every good and perfect gift is from God and that He loves you so much, He wants to do impossible things in your life!

What impossible thing are you asking Him for today?