Exuberant Joy

 “Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.” Is.60:5


What does it mean to have joy? To love is to have one’s heart set afire with joy. Exuberant joy reaches through the narrow crevices of soul, entangling the senses and provoking the mind to delicate things…things that stir us…things that move us. Joy exudes out of us through the soul. In the words of Mother Theresa,

“Joy is the net of love by which you can catch souls.”

Joy, I believe, is so different from happiness. Joy comes with the deep satisfaction of loving others through serving them. We can serve people in so many ways. Someone once told me that "love is in the details". That resonates with me. The possibilities to love through the details are endless. How beautiful.

Love is in a friendly smile. Love is in checking on a friend just to say hello or dropping a note in the mail to say, “I’m thinking of you.”

I truly love handwritten notes and I’ve been known to write them frequently. I have a friend who is so good at it, I am inspired by her thoughtfulness displayed to others through her deliberate monthly, weekly, daily efforts to love others through note writing. Think of the money and time she spends just to express appreciation and add value to the life on another. I am so blessed to be a recipient of her encouraging notes that always come right on time. How beautiful. When was the last time you wrote someone a note? Not an email or text or facebook message…but a handwritten, stamped envelope note. This is only one example of joy expressed through giving. Joy of serving can come through hospitality or acts of service. Giving of your time and talents to bless another for no personal benefit except the benefit of the joy that comes with giving.

I used to have a neighbor who was a very generous woman. She loved Christmas. She would buy endless amounts of presents for her family. It was a bit overwhelming actually. Then, one year there was a child of a family they knew who became terminally ill. She began giving tirelessly of herself through fundraising and her own generosity to help the family pay for all the medical expenses associated with the illness. She told me later that it had been her best Christmas ever. She had been so busy helping this family that she bought very little for her family that year, but  “Something was more satisfying this Christmas.”…she pondered to me out loud. I just listened as she drew her own conclusion, “there is more satisfaction and joy in helping others than blessing ourselves.” She vowed to never have big gift Christmas’ again. Instead, they would serve in the community others in need. How beautiful.

People who give love to do so, it brings us great joy. It is an adamant expression of our heart. I find great joy in encouraging others. When I edify another’s heart it strengthens my own soul and fills me to overflowing with glee. It is the joy of seeing others excel. It is being more concerned about lives changed, hearts touched than it is about who gets credit for it. We, who encourage, delight to polish the luster of the gifts of another and allow their time in the spotlight to shine brightly and gain adoration.

As some of you may have seen on facebook, my husband posted about a person who had taken my previous two blog posts, in theme and exact analogies, and wrote her own post. This person is a repeat offender toward me in this capacity. The oddity is that in the past I have offered to share my creative writings for her use. So why would anyone steal what has been offered for free? This baffles me and I do not declare to understand it. At first I was hurt by it, but then I thought to myself…”focus on the positive, Nicole.” It is always about making a difference. I do not give this person permission to liberate my creativity. Though the manner it was done is not all right, my God can gain Glory through lives changed, hearts touched. My reach is expanded either way.  So, it didn’t matter that I wrote it and she took credit, my God can still use it.

Now, my purpose is sharing this particular story is this…

I find great joy in writing, inspiring, encouraging through the written word. Those posts were a joy to create. I guarantee the woman who took my thoughts and re-penned them had satisfaction of personal attention gained from her postings, but she still lacks the joy found from the process of creating. The irony was that God works all things for our good and rewards us in public for things we do in secret. The controversy of it increased my blog followers. Can I just add, I really don’t like the term “follow”. I’m not Jesus, I need no disciples, but I long to reach out and disciple hearts, creating disciples of men to bring Glory to my God. This too, brings me joy.

So, may it be so, that my Lord would set my soul afire to serve others in such a way that my joy would be made complete. I would be captivated by the melody my heart stirred up in the process of serving others and bringing God Glory. I will continue to use my pen, to speak to men, to encourage through creative liberty of heart, soul, and mind.

May the God of all Comforts bring you Exuberant Joy and Peace that stretches beyond your human understand, this day, and forevermore. -Nicole