Finding Joy in the Midst of the Messiness


As I recline on the couch with the weight of my sick two-year-old’s body on my chest, I feel unexpected gratitude. Not because he is feeling ill or because we may have to make another trip to the doctor. But as his slow breathing in and out falls into pace with mine, I realize how rare this moments have become. This letting me hold him, falling asleep against me.

My youngest child is growing up, and cuddle time is getting more and more infrequent. For a moment, I forget about the time and the long drive ahead of us and savor the moment.

Was this the type of thankfulness I was studying? In Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, she studies the mystery of living a full, meaningful life. Sometimes, even those who have found Jesus’ saving grace wake up feeling empty, unsatisfied, and longing for more. Why?

Ann’s discovery? Eucharisteo. A Greek word which means grace, thanksgiving, and joy. A word which is used the night before Jesus was betrayed, when he broke the bread with his disciples. He, “gave thanks.” (Luke 22:19)

Before he was about to die a brutal death, he gave thanks. Before his own Father was about to turn his face away from the sin he bore for my sake, he gave thanks.

Despite the impending suffering, Jesus also knew the joy that was before him. He had tasted heaven. But what does this mean for those of us who haven’t tasted heaven’s radiance? Can we daily live out this joy, this gratitude, in the midst of babies crying, deadlines piling, tiredness and sickness?

Yes. But we must make a choice to do so.

A full life is not a destination we find, but a choice we make.

We choose to find the blessing in the midst of the struggle and the chaos. We choose gratitude over grumbling and complaining.

I want to experience the fullness of life that God desires for me. I want to taste abundance. And I believe Ann has truly discovered something brilliant. So today, I’m embarking on a journey. To record the gifts I already have. Not the things I want or hope to achieve. The blessings right in front of me.

And today I’m grateful that after a rough evening, my two-year-old woke up with a smile on his face. He woke up singing, “I’ve Got the Joy.”

I believe I could learn a thing or two from this child of mine.



12 thoughts on “Finding Joy in the Midst of the Messiness

  1. It is so, so true that our lives are what we make of them. Every day we have a choice about how we are going to handle whatever comes our way; will we complain about and stress over every twist and turn, or will we practice gratitude no matter what our circumstances? Thank you for this beautiful reminder that Jesus gave thanks even in the most hellish of circumstances (literally). I too should give thanks no matter what.


    • Oh Katie, I always love hearing from you and I’ll be thinking about you today. It is a difficult practice, this gratitude, but I think it will be worth it if I can learn to do it.


  2. Abby, I can learn a thing or two from your child as well (and from you)! This is such a beautiful reminder for me to live out joy and gratitude in the midst of my circumstances. I really needed this today. Thank you for allowing God to speak into my life through your post!


    • Oh yes, Julie, I learn from my children each day. They are God’s little teachers. Thank you for your kind words today. You are a blessing to have alongside me in this writing journey. 🙂


  3. Ann Voskamp’s book is such an amazing book and counting your blessings is life changing. I read her book the beginning of the year and continue to count. I’ve been a little less frequent with writing them down but it’s always on my heart to seek the joy God has for us in the every day moments. Blessings to you.


    • I am only three chapters in and I can already tell it is going to be a life changing book. Thank you for stopping here today, Beth. Blessings to you as well!


  4. Thank you for this reminder. My kids are growing up so fast and, as teenagers do, making some questionable choices on how to spend their time (translate, NOT studying) and I get so frustrated with them. It’s so much easier to reach them when I remember to be thankful that I still have them home, still have their love and respect and still have an opportunity to help them learn. I love Ann’s book as well – it really is life-changing. I am ready (with God’s help) to face the morning with more patience and love.


    • Oh yes, Lisa, I can only imagine what the teenage years hold. 😉 One day at a time, right? I’m so grateful God gives us grace for the moment. Thanks for your thoughts today.


  5. I choose joy! I read Ann’s book and loved the message of being thankful for even the smallest of gifts. Your beautiful moment of you holding your child, reminds me of how our Father must treasure time with us. Thanks for sharing this encouragement today!


  6. Pingback: Unwrap the Gifts in Everyday Moments | Fearfully Made Mom

  7. Pingback: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Messiness | A Place For Blogs I Like

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