What exactly does Joy Complete mean? Great question! Pull up a chair and get comfy – I’ll tell you all about it!
It all started in the fall of last year. My husband and I were leading a church small group about creating a vision for your family. As I was reading my Bible one morning, I happened across a passage in 1 Corinthians that I felt really compelled to share in an email with my small group friends. You see, that’s how God uses me – I’m an encourager – I pass things on.
Meanwhile, I was helping a friend of mine get the word out about a conference for moms she was creating called Raising Generations Today. I received a general invitation to write a post for the conference blog and felt led to share my small group email. But I had never written a blog post before! I mentioned it to one of my friends in our small group as she and I were having coffee one morning and she really encouraged me to write it. So I took her advice, even though it was completely out of my comfort zone, and submitted the post (click here to read it).
Needless to say, I was nervous! Deep down I hoped that it wouldn’t be published. I thought that, just maybe, it could be some sort of faith test where God asks you to do something just to check up on your obedience? You see, having my writing out there, where anybody could read it, made me feel really vulnerable (I am an introvert, after all!). But actually writing the post felt like nothing I had ever experienced before. You know how Jesus says,
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:29-30?
Yeah, it was like that. When I was writing, my soul felt at rest, like I was doing what I was meant to be doing…..like I was yoked with Jesus.
But I had never written anything other than ramblings in my journal. I couldn’t be a writer, could I? And honestly, who would really want to read about anything I had to say anyway? I felt so “unqualified”. Doubts, doubts, and more doubts. The day my post went live I let it happen very quietly – I only told a few people about it. It didn’t seem to get much attention, and that was completely fine with me.
The Raising Generations Today Conference rolled around and I found myself in a ballroom full of beautiful moms, some of which are well-known bloggers and authors. I listened as some of these women shared their stories of motherhood – their struggles, failures, and triumphs – and the Lord spoke to me. He told me that connecting with and encouraging other believers is about experiences. It’s about sharing my story with others and how I see Jesus working in my life. And then he said, Now really share it. Share that post.
A couple of days went by and I knew I had to do it, I had to obey God. My hands were shaking and my eyes welled up with tears as I pasted my blog post link into my Facebook status update. As I pushed the share button, I felt freedom and fear all at the same time. I was not prepared for the response. There were “likes” and comments from people about how they needed to hear what I had written and how it had encouraged them. Friends sent me messages about how I needed to start a blog and they wanted to read more from me. It was a joyful surprise for me!
But it didn’t take long for the doubt, insecurity, and confusion to set in. With thoughts like:
“I’m not a writer.”
“I don’t know anything about blogging.”
“Does the world really need another blog anyway?”
I fell into a pit. And I lost my joy for writing. Maybe someday I’ll share about that here.
The Lord was silent about writing for several months until one Sunday afternoon as I was reading my Bible on my deck. I was in 1 John:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you, the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” 1John 1:1-4
My soul leapt inside of me! I looked at the commentary on the side of the page. ….”Hoping that he [John] could encourage them [John’s readers] in their Christian life, he felt great joy. Excitement swept over me and I said aloud to God, “Ok God, I’m going to Google “joy complete” and if it’s available, I will start a blog.”….
So here we are, friends. Like John, I hope you will find encouragement here for your Christian life as we journey together on the road less traveled. Together, in fellowship with Jesus Christ, we will proclaim what we have seen and heard. I thank God for this gift…
it makes my Joy Complete!