Living Joyfully Despite Hardships
by Lauren Watt
Editor's Note: I am so excited to have a new guest post by my dear friend, Lauren Watt. Lauren is a wonderful sister in Christ who has joyfully navigating some very difficult health challenges with grace and perseverance. Each day is a struggle that she keeps fighting through; however, she has beautifully trusted God throughout the process and her faith has been made stronger because of it. Therefore, I am honored and privileged to share a guest post she wrote for us on choosing joy in the midst of hardships. I hope you're blessed and encouraged.
I'm an artist.
When I took my first lesson in oil painting nearly a decade ago, my instructor told me that once I started painting I'd never look at anything the same way. And she was right.
When I look at the woods surrounding my family's home, I pay careful attention to the shadows on the trees. When I look at the colors of the sky, I am more aware of the gradation of dark to light blue. I even notice things like how light catches on dew drops in the grass.
I am aware of many little details that I overlooked before I began painting. The world has always felt like a more beautiful place since I first picked up my brush. However, none of my surroundings changed, only my perspective did.
Light Pierces the Darkness
Christmas has become such a festive holiday. Lights, parties, cheery decorations, and upbeat music are all part of the American Christmas tradition. It is a season to be merry, a time to rejoice, and a month where good well, gift giving, and happiness seems to abound.
But what if you’re not feeling the Christmas spirit this year? What if your season is tinged by darkness? What if your celebration is overshadowed by grief or loss? What if you feel alone this season and the merriment and happiness of this time can’t seem to touch your soul?
Gratitude: A Posture that Fosters Joy
Thanksgiving has come around yet again. It’s the season and week we as a culture have set aside to intentionally give thanks and celebrate the blessings we have received. While Thanksgiving can conjure unpleasant memories or expectations of family drama or reinforce the sorrow of losing a loved one, the intent and purpose of this celebration is to give thanks. It’s a time where we can stop our fast-paced lives and take a moment to reflect and be grateful for all that God has given us.
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