Category archives: Joy

How to lay your burdens down

One time, I wrote this book. I never set out to write it. It's just that when I had my first kid, I decided to stay home with him and teach him about salamanders and rocks and how to read and be a human and since I was lonely, I began to write. I wrote on this here blog and that all began about ten years ago, but about five years in, my friend who had been reading my blog and could see that I was a fairly decent writer said to me, "Maggie. I'm going to go work for a publisher. And I'm going to make you an author." That was her shimmering dream, that she believed God had put into her heart, and so she went and did that. And wazaam. We published a book. People ask me all the time, "How do you publish a book?" And I say, "I don't know, but I think you need a really good friend.[...]

Truth is...

You wanna know the truth about me? The truth is, I do more striving than I do resting. I want to have a peaceful disposition, no matter what chaotic things are going on around me. But, I stress a lot. I stress about the crud on the kitchen floor. The piles of laundry. The ring in the toilet bowl. (Okay, let's get real. There's not really a ring. The entire inside is like a whole weird shade of grey.) I stress about the dirty dishes. The overgrown flower beds. The spider webs in the corner. About whether or not I'm investing in my children. Whether or not I'm loving my neighbors. I stress if I'm writing too much. Or not enough. Or from the right motives. Or about the right things. Truth is, I have the awfullest time overcoming myself with all my weaknesses. I want to be a ru[...]

Some Things to Help in Your Fight for Joy

The other night, a friend called. She struggles a great deal with fear, anxiety and depression. So, she called to talk. To ask questions. To hash things out. To be prayed for. The thing is, she called me at one of my lowest points. The last few days had been hard for me, too. I’d been bombarded by the same sort of struggles and emotions and I was fighting for my own joy. I let her know right from the get-go that I wasn’t sure how encouraging I’d be. It occurred to me, though, that she wasn’t calling to hear a 10 point lecture on how to overcome fear and conquer anxiety. She was just needing to walk through this with another human being who could understand her and help her in her own battle. Mostly, she needed to know that she wasn’t alone. So, I stepped out the back door and pac[...]

The Hope of the Broken

We shouldn't be ashamed of our brokenness. It's through our own fractured places that we're more capable of relating to the world. When we're fragmented, we can deal tenderly with the aches of others. After all, we see that it's hard to hold it all together. We see that we can't always do that. And so we learn to be okay with that. And it's not just okay for us. It's okay for those people over there, too. The Jesus-follower who experiences brokenness has the craziest kind of hope. Because Jesus says of him/her, "Where you're weak, well, that's where I'm strong." (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10) So, like sunlight bursting through broken up clouds, Jesus shines through all the cracks and crannies of our shattered hearts. And the world sees something they always wanted to see. They [...]

A Plan for a Troubled Heart

Dear little troubled heart, It's okay. I know you've been a wreck lately and you've sort of lost your way, but I wanted you to know that you don't have to stay here, in this anxious place. You see, your Maker is close by. He's close at hand, even closer than you think and He hears you when you pray. So, come on over. Be still, for just a minute, because I've got a plan. A plan to set you free again, and to make your soul secure, in God's good grace. But, it'll take some work. A fair amount of intention on your part. I know you're ready. So, first, just confess. Talk to Jesus and just tell Him the ways that you've spun out of control. Maybe it's pride. Or fear. Or getting all wrapped up in yourself that you couldn't even see you were all wrapped up in yourself. Maybe it wasn't [...]

One huge-mongous way that I've found the deepest kind of joy

All of us here, we’re looking for joy. I don’t mean the temporary bliss we feel when we eat a warm piece of punkin’ pie. I’m talking about that deep abiding sense of gladness and well-being that we all ache for. The stuff that keeps us fulfilled and stable when the world around us attempts to topple us over. I want to speak into that. Now, as a Jesus follower, I’m confident that joy has a Source. And that source is the Maker Himself. My heart echoes with the heart of this guy, who found joy as he got close to God: You make known to me the path of life; in Your Presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11) So, yes, joy comes from God, through relationship to Him, but He’s provided one sure fire way to tap into that joy and here’s [...]

How to Live the Best with the Few Days You've Got

I love October warmth. Wearing a sweatshirt and raking leaves in bare feet. I know, it’s ridiculous. But, have you tried it? Just watch your toes. The rake can do a number on your toes if you’re not careful. And I love the way the sun tingles your skin. How when you sit just so, with your face turned up toward all the light, the sunshine starts warming you right there in the middle of your chest and then overtakes the rest of your happily contented self. One could almost doze off to sleep if it weren’t for that cool breeze that nips around the edges of you, reminding you that you’re quite alive. I love those Autumn breezes. My friend tells me that this time of year, the wind seems to whip everything together into winter ready shape. The grass is still a vivid green but the purple[...]

Happiness is...

Happiness is shutting down the glowing screen and stepping away from the wreck for just a bit and taking a barefoot walk in the grass after the rain. And happiness is pausing long enough to peer up into a thousand tiny branches. It's sticking out your tongue and sipping up the rain from the tips of trees... Or letting the edges tickle your shoulder as you walk beneath. Happiness is stretching out and reaching up... To feel the world around you, so you can more fully see. Happiness is pressing close, And stooping down and leaning in to all the wild things. Happiness is cupping tiny cheeks in the palm of your hands and looking  into little eyes to whisper kind, "I'm so glad you're here. You're a good, good kid! I'm thankful God mad[...]

How I'm Learning To Enjoy This Life

The girl with the paint smear on her forehead ran, like some wild child, like someone without a care in the world. Like someone utterly free. So, her momma turned to see. To see that light in her eyes and the way it shines out through her smile and punctuates her cheeks. And the boy, he ran too. Like a crazy hooligan, streaking through the hallway, tearing through the kitchen, and all for sheer pleasure. Nothing else. And that momma of theirs was captivated. She couldn't stop watching how the fully alive enjoy just living. She'd read about the dying. What they had to say. How they wished the living ones would just slow down and really feel their lives. She'd watched a dying man express how intensely happy he was when he heard the pitter patter of his little girl's feet comi[...]

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