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Five Minute Fridays : Leave

We've scaled October for beauty (it has been) and it's also been an arduous one.
We've made it to the last day.  The kiss good bye that is sticky sweet with candy corn, a million kitkat wrappers, and colorful trick-or-treators. October 31, Halloween.
I'm joining Kate Motaung at Five Minute Fridays to pause for five minutes and just write, about one word Leave......

I tried this month to type out 31 reasons why my life is full, full of joy.  Like a five minute journal of thankfulness.  I think I ended up logging in about 17.  Not too shabby for me, yet not complete.
Today as I leave this stream of gratitude (but never want to end it), I think I should let you in on a story.  It's a good one.  Why I decided to call October, Offer Joy.  Why those 2 words?

Three Autumns ago I along with many devoured Voskamp's 1000 Gifts and despite all the imagery could not leave the idea of keeping running journals of thankfulness to God.  It's therapeutic, it's joyous, it's life altering.  I have no idea what number I have gotten to.  And thats fine by me.
Isn't that the real theme of all sinners rescued by God's grace? Unending praise, always more.

Somewhere in between my journals and dashes of "bills paid", "baby kisses", "billions of stars", and "parents who still care"...somewhere in learning to write down all the blessings I remembered.

I remembered an old red journal I found once.  Feminine hand writing curled over the pages into a journal of thanksgiving too.  I remember spying it in my parent's old early 1980's bedside table.
It was my mothers'.
Peeling open the journal the words scrolled happy.  Stories of funny things, simple things, things only a mother would recount.  There were words about two young daughters and a husband.  I remember smiling as I read how my mom saw the world when she was just my age and had two toddlers with fresh eyes, like my own.

I remember that somehow I asked her, "Why?" or probed deeper to find out the reason for the journal.  Perhaps I thought she just wanted to remember all the little things forever?
Well, maybe.  But that wasn't the only reason.

At twenty eight my mom experienced the terrifying experience of a rehabilitation hospital.  Normalcy crashed hard and she was taken to spend the better part of one month in a psychiatric ward.  She was a young and vivacious woman with two toddlers.  With seemingly no time for this huge and painful hiccup.  Too many things had pressed hard and heavy that previous year and a mind couldn't hold it all in.  It broke.
Sometimes when I look into my mom's eyes and see the blood vessels that follow faintly I think of all that sleep she didn't sleep.  All the turmoil and fear that gripped her at my own age.  It hurts me to think about it.  I can picture my mom with her chestnut rich long hair and her deep blue eyes sitting somewhere alone trying to figure it all out, by herself.  Locked away from her babes and her family.  Her only comfort was her Savior.

When my mom was released her life resumed.  She was a wife and a mother.  No slowing down there.  A three year old and a one year old don't understand things like that.
Alas the red book.

Why the book?
One day unexpectedly in the turmoil of getting back to normal when things had been anything but normal she felt God speak as loudly as if He had been in the room into her heart, "Offer Joy."  Like soul therapy to help one climb out of black despair she could climb rung by rung into the light by offering joy for the moments, the graces around her.  And that is what she did.
They weren't ground breaking revelations, just the quiet gentle thanksgiving of a young mother.
The red book meant so much more to me after I knew.
Sometimes thanksgiving is the therapy we all most need.

Now back to me in my own journals of ways God has blessed my own life.  One day in my own musings I remembered.  Remembered her, my mom working out pain by penning down praise and wasn't I doing the same thing?  Reminding myself over and over that God is good because of all the ways He had filled up my life plate?  How full of God's goodness my life already was if I decided to ponder it?

Perhaps this idea of bringing a sacrifice of praise is hard because sometimes we are coming from a place of deep hurt and it isn't what we would most want to do.  However when I recount all the ways my table is full and my cup is overflowing I cannot help but find joy in the very Giver Himself.
I know thats what my mom found in her "joy" book and what I started unknowingly doing myself.
It really is an ancient theme.  Like David who recounts over and over the goodness and enduring love of our God.

I've felt it too.  The same joy that spread across my face and brought me a chuckle when I read my mom's romantic twist on her husband and her new mama love for her children, I feel it too when I look over my ratty books of memories.  The good memories that spill off of every page (thanks to my almost non legible scrawl).  Memories I have forgotten.  Today I scanned some from January and February and it was like experiencing them again.  All over.
That is the wonderful thing about praise.  It washes joy over the pain.  True all our lives are filled with bad spots, but keeping these lists readjusts the memories.  I remember some specific struggles I was going through then, but the book is filled with joy that I decided to write anyways and now the beauty of them jump off the page at me.

So on this last day I'm leaving these every day (or tried to) paragraphs of praise I'm offering joy for my mom who offered joy for me 26 years ago.


  1. What a beautiful tribute of joy!

    My mom passed away when I was 32 and when I was going through her things I found journals of hers...moments she had scribbled down not wanting to forget.

    I journal often for this same recount the ways God works in my life.

    I have read Ann's book, 1,000 Gifts and it was a life changer for me.

    You have a way of stringing beautiful words together...a beautiful gift!

    I'm so glad I was your neighbor today at fmf.

  2. Rachel, Thank you for sharing. I'm happy you found those journals. They are precious aren't they? I just hope my girls will be able to read mine.. i've gotta work on the scribble factor of mine. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. What a legacy you are leaving for your girls! I love reading some of my mom's letters when she was a young woman. It speaks volumes to who she truly is. Thank you for sharing today!


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