I have been thinking of this word the past few days...................what is joy? How do you find it? What does it mean to have joy? And the word that keeps accompanying it is inappropriate.
You want me to write inappropriate? Argh.
If you know me personally then you know that word is ENTIRELY appropriate.
Inappropriate seems to be a family trait. It encompasses my mom, my brother, his wife and I - all INAPPROPRIATE. The normal trophy was passed from my dad to Joe. Carry on, honey, carry on.............we are all depending on you. But here's the thing. When I was thinking of joy and how you find it I was trying to think of APPROPRIATE things because I wanted this to be a serious post about how you find your joy and how it's in the Lord and I wanted TO HELP and be a serious person.
NOPE, He said.
JOY IS INAPPROPRIATE.
Why? Because we live in a fallen and broken world. Like that roller coaster I talked about yesterday we never know what is coming around the next corner. All around us are stories of death, destruction, political divide, racism, divorce, joblessness, neglect, abandon.........so much more horror and tragedy. Joy would be inappropriate in the face of such things yet every day we face such things in our on lives, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our world.
BUT WE WILL BE JOYFUL.
Because we know. We know that happiness is based on circumstances. But JOY is based on who we know. JOY is based on a heart convicted of deep truths, hard truths. Truths that speak of a new world, a better world and finding a glimpse of it here as you carry Jesus with you. And Jesus brings JOY. And Jesus was the ultimate example of being inappropriate.
SO LET'S GET INAPPROPRIATE......
Joy is a weapon. A weapon against an enemy who seeks to rob you of your JOY. I have seen joyful faces in the midst of tragedy and I have wanted what they have. I wanted a conviction, a faith that would carry me through the darkest times with a face that reflected joy. I think of those people now and I think of the impact they had on my faith walk. They were steps on my journey to Jesus. They knew JOY. So when life becomes too hard, too much, too crippling.............dig deep, rise up and laugh in the face of what is being thrown your way.
Remember how I said that JOY is inappropriate? Well, I thought about every laugh out loud moment I have had, the ones that really stick out in my mind...........they are all ENTIRELY inappropriate. THis might just be me but look back, look back in your life. What causes you to laugh out loud? Because here's the thing. We can know Jesus and we can have faith but then we need to be ok with laughing in the midst of tragedy. That goes against what seems right. And there are times when you need gravity and to be sensitive to those around you but I think we are scared to acknowledge JOY sometimes.
My joy moments.................sitting at dinner and being overcome with the need to throw a glass of water in my husband's face. HE HATES THIS. But seriously, it brings me so much joy, I am seriously LAUGHING OUT LOUD RIGHT NOW. I have no idea what comes over me but I have done it quite a few times and it's even better when your kids are sitting there, UTTERLY HORRIFIED that their mother has just LOST ALL SENSE OF PROPRIETY and has just thrown a glass of water across the table at daddy. I love to wear the kid's underwear on my head and declare wars. We did this at Francesca's birthday party........girls vs. boys.......the grandmas, aunts and uncles all played too. I think there were 12 people crammed into the girls tiny room all throwing socks at each other with underwear on their heads while Uncle Vince videotaped it all and Aunt Colleen wondering what the heck she married into...........I am sure that Uncle Vince explained later that this is more a Kossler thing than a Codispoti thing and it shouldn't affect their life too much........or their children when they come. I love making fart noises with Nico-BIG, LOUD, WET fart noises. He laughs SO HARD. I think this is a laugh, a moment I am storing up for later in life. This is a memory, me and my boy, laughing so hard. I love any moment with my brother and Tash........oh my gosh, especially watching Glozell on YouTube talking about Subway..............or whipping her hair........or reminiscing about our childhood and telling stories about mom. THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES. And what's awesome is our children will have THE SAME STORIES..............I become more like mom every day and, well, Tash shares so many of the same characteristics.
Yeah, but those are fun. What about when LIFE is not FUN?
Create joy. Let yourself laugh when life is not fun. Again......JOY is a weapon. The enemy has been defeated...........death couldn't hold Him down...........lift your voice in victory...........make your praises LOUD. Again.........I look back, I look back to when Adalyn was born.........five days in Kansas City with my brother and Tash.........five days of LAUGHTER, TEARS, JOY, SORROW, LOVE, PRAISE. I remember going to the funeral home to pick out an urn with Matt and Tash.......feeling like kids doing the job of a grownup. It was so AWKWARD walking into this place because it was so unnatural. We walk into the room with BARRY (I kid you not the funeral director's name was BARRY) and there is a WALL OF URNS - it looked like a trophy display. Some had pictures, some had little statue things, all kinds, almost all ENTIRELY RIDICULOUS. We spent a few minutes feeling each other out and then I couldn't help it I started to laugh. REALLY HARD. Barry came back in and I had to pretend to be looking at the urns, Tash had her head down - Barry thought we were sobbing........which made me laugh harder, Matt was the only one to keep it together. He finally had to ask Barry to leave the room so we could have a moment...........for our, ummmm, sobbing to cease. We never did get it together. We laughed the entire time. It was ridiculous and inappropriate and SO MUCH FUN and is a memory created around Adalyn JOY, JOY in the face of tragedy. I remember, also, being at Adalyn's memorial service and standing with my family, arms around one another, the only ones standing, standing and praising and in doing so acknowledging that DEATH has not won THIS day. THIS day is the DAY OF THE LORD.
I think JOY is the ultimate letting go............................JOY is messy, it's in your face, it's LOUD, it's sometimes jarring because of it's inappropriateness, you want to look away because you think YOU SHOULD BE SAD AND BROKEN AND NOT BE JOYFUL. But then you look back, you want to know..........what does this person have that I don't...........where is that joy? Where does it come from?
The enemy's been defeated............death couldn't hold Him down............we're gonna lift our voice in victory...........gonna make our praises LOUD..............
Today lift your voice......in victory........with conviction..........with JOY.
Find a way to experience JOY.
After you throw the water...........just tell your husband it's my fault ;) Any revenge can be exacted on me............I'm a big girl.............with a BIG bucket :)