Guess this is one of those "from the heart" posts. Just sharing what's been going through my mind as this new year has begun.
Last year, the Lord impressed Isaiah 26:3 (Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee) on my heart. I had a feeling deep inside that it wasn't going to be an easy year and that the Lord was going to show me a lot of things. I've mentioned this on Facebook already, but those closest to me can attest to the fact that amidst difficult times this year (death of a childhood friend and housing issues to name a few) I possesed peace that was none of my own doing. Looking back on 2011, I can see many times the Lord gave me peace, where my faith was stregthened and I learned to trust Him more.
This year, the Lord has impressed "Joy" on my heart. Haven't quite found a theme verse yet. Guess I'm making my way through the Fruit of the Spirit or so it would seem. Recently, I've heard of Ann Voskamp and her book, One Thousand Gifts. I've only vaguely looked into it and am currently trying to get a copy of her book, but this is the jist of it. She wrote a book out of a tramadic situation in her childhood. She gives you "a dare to live fully right where you are" and count the blessings/gifts every day in your life.
This is a quote from a post she wrote for (in)courage. (I would encourage you, especially busy moms, to read this whole post.) "Wherever you are, count your blessings, collect gifts, count it all joy. Because there’s no way to enter into His courts but through the gates of Thanksgiving — and it’s only in His presence is fullness of Joy!" She offers "A Year of Graces" free printable on her website where you can write down (or download a free app) to keep track of your blessings. There is even a child's version to encourage your children to be grateful.
I'm excited about studying Joy and making it part of my every day life. Hope you'll join me or pray about what the Lord would have for you in 2012!
Side note: This is not endorsed by SRBC. I have not read her book. I do know it references non-KJV Scripture -- I always keep my Bible along side a book like that so I can look up the references in the KJV.