It’s uncovered in the everyday things. Some joy, like watching my son receive a very special play costume from his dad, is right in your face. You bask in it and live in it as long as the moment lasts.
Other joy has to be searched for. Joy is like a hidden treasure, sometimes buried very deep but when found a greater reward than you could have ever hoped for.
Here are some highlights of joy from this month…
In Homework…Every day all year when there has been homework my son has obediently and gladly completed it. I am beyond thankful for his teacher this year who is speaking his language and a therapist who has helped us create a rhythm for success in this area.
In Sleep…Only one night all school year has our son needed a sleep aid. This summer it was almost every night. Thankful and full of joy that our son feels at peace enough to physically rest.
In Character…Every school day, except for a few, our son has carried out his commitment to complete Bible time. It is a great joy to me to see him choose this and engage in it on his own and beyond that, enjoy it and ask good questions.
In Communication…On at least three occasions our son has been able to approach us in tense-to-him situations and clearly communicate his needs and his feelings. I find joy in seeing him be his whole self, inside and out.
In Independence…The day to day ability to make his own bed, put away his own clothes and dress himself most days brings joy to me. While he may still be behind his peers, he has made so much personal progress that just seeing him dressed at the breakfast table makes my heart skip a beat.
On days where joy seems silent I am forced into self reflection. What have I done to see the joy in our day? Where am I cultivating a place of joy in my home? How am I speaking joy to others in my life?
I often meditate on this quote from Ann Voskamp…
“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy’s flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust.”
The more I let go of my preconceived expectations of what parenting should be and the heavy notion that a Difficult Mind is all doom and gloom, the more I see joy.
Joy comes in the mourning and peace along with it.
“Hope and sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”
There’s Rescue: Joy does exist in the everyday struggles of parenting a Difficult Mind. Taking time to acknowledge and share and celebrate keeps joy at the heart of this journey.
There’s Not: Seeing the joy takes work. It is an intentional practice. Maybe one day it will just be habit but for now, I constantly return to a place of working hard to see the joy.
Today I am thankful for the ability to celebrate and in celebration feel genuine joy through the every day struggles.