Ode to Joy


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:23


There is a gift listed here that is only three letters long. That small word encases the grace that makes life light and sunny. Maybe you guessed it? It’s joy!

The gifts of the Spirit are given by God, not only to navigate in this world. They’re given so we can be more like him. So if the source of joy is our Father, then he truly is a joyful Father.

Sometimes that’s hard for me to remember. I do share my happiness and praise to my Father. But I also share my wants, hurts, sorrow and confusion too. He bends his neck low to hear my whispered heartbreaks. He lays a gentle hand on my shoulder in the hard days. His strong, peaceful presence accompanies my morning and evening prayer.

I am so comforted by his love. But the one thing I don’t see? Joy.

It’s not that joy isn’t there. It’s all around me, because my Father is all around me. I don’t see it because I get distracted by my emotions.

When I look at a calm sea, my eyes go right for that one white cap in the distance. If I get a phone call from an old friend, followed by a thunderstorm, the storm takes center stage. Joy is in each situation, but I have to choose to experience it.

We brought our son home when he was two weeks old. We were brand new adoptive parents. When he started to cry, my husband looked at me with worried eyes and asked, “What do you think is wrong?”

I didn’t have a clue. I’d just met the young man myself. But, it’s usually an empty stomach or a full diaper, so I started there. That whole day was one ‘first’ after the other.

I know we were joyful. I know we were thankful. But it was a lot of stress, unknowns and fevered shopping too. (Not wanting to jinx the adoption, I only bought a few tee shirts, one outfit and some diapers.) So what do I remember most?

Oh, it was the joy. I chose to let that joy wash over me the first time he fell asleep in a heavy heap on my shoulder, drunk on formula. I would have missed so much happiness if I’d given into my feelings of inadequacy. Or the unknown reasons for crying. Or the sight of three soiled tee shirts in front of me…and I didn’t have any more.

Our Father wants me to look past my worries when I am with him too.

So the next time I pray, I’ll try not to get distracted by my own waves and storms. Instead, I’ll spend my time soaking in the grace of God’s presence. Hidden in that grace is everything he is. And he is joy.

Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook

Linking today with: Sharing His Beauty

76 thoughts on “Ode to Joy

  1. Thank you for visiting! I have spent the last half hour reading through some of your more recent posts…so glad I did. You have such a gift for writing…I’m a more visual person who wishes she could write! looking forward to visiting again. AND thank you for explaining how to comment…I have been blogging on blogger for 5 years and was at a loss how to comment on WordPress. Oh the joy of finding a little balloon!

    • Hi Anita! How lovely of you to come over and visit! And thank you for reading some of the posts here too. I’m so glad you liked what you saw.

      Yay! You found out how to comment! My first blog was on Google Blogger, so when I moved, I wanted to be sure my blogger friends would be able to join the comment party. And now you get to benefit too!

      I look forward to getting to know you better 🙂
      June Blessings,

  2. Oh I love this post, friend! There are times in all of our lives when we can’t see the joy over the hurt, the pain. the strife…whatever. I think our Father understands those times when we have to make a concerted effort to find the joy again…He made us after all. I am so thankful that my God is always there to help me find my joy once again… after I have temporarily “misplaced” it! Hey, how’s that for a blog post title…”misplaced joy”! 🙂

    • Hi Debby! I love that title! Or how about “I lost my joy, and I don’t know where to find it?”

      The fact that it’s always with me doesn’t help all the time. Sometimes I feel lost, and can’t find it. But, it’s there if I choose it. It’s only misplaced in my mind!

      So good to be back and to see your name pop up!
      Happy June 🙂

  3. Choose joy! Sometimes it takes a conscious decision and other times it comes easily. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder.
    PS – you asked about my plants. I got a Fuschia, a mixed basket with Geraniums and several other flowers and another pot for my porch with gerbera daisies in it.

    • Hi Mari! You got some big flowers! Those gerbera daisies are so big and full, aren’t they?

      Flowers really help me see joy. Their beauty reminds me that there is so much loveliness and joy in life if I just choose to see.

      I know your flowers will do well. Hope mine do too!
      June Blessings,

    • Hi Deb! How nice of you to come on over today! It’s always a treat to meet another adoptive parent. I’m sure you remember feeling a little bit like we did. It’s quite a ride!

      Good point. I should count them all. And if I was honest, my list would be endless.
      I look forward to getting to know you better!

    • Hi Linda! Thank you for your kind comments. It’s great to be back after a hectic week off. Good to see old friends…like you!

      Have a peaceful evening,

  4. oh my … to come to call and see that glorious header … without a doubt, the most striking, vibrant blog welcome I’ve ever seen!


    it made the joy overflow. welcome back, dear friend! you were missed!

    • Hello Dear Friend! Thank you for mentioning the new header! I just LOVE it, so it’s so fun to see you loving it too. I found a website with free headers for WordPress, and this was one of them. There were a lot of really great images.

      And it made the joy flow? Then it really is a perfect addition. Thank you so much for the warm welcome back too. It was a nutty time. I’m sure I’ll write about it…but it’s great to be back 🙂

      Always such a joy to see your name pop up here!

  5. A priest I knew well long ago once said to me “If Christians believe in the Resurrection and eternal life with God; how come they’re always miserable?”

    It’s true … these days when I look round the church on Sunday most people seem to be carrying the world’s woes on their shoulders and have long faces as if they have a permanent bad smell under their nose.

    How sad … When I recall back that priest, he was always cheerful and full of joy; no matter how bad the situation.

    Thanx Ceil for this marvellous post. It struck a note with me and brought back many fond memories.

    God bless you always and may He smile on you and yours.

    • Hi Victor! That priest is a very wise man. I often have to remind myself of how blessed I am. How much I am taken care of by the Lord. It’s so easy to see the bad stuff all the time!

      I really liked your description of the ‘permanent bad smell’. So descriptive! But I know your friend would have to be a happy person. He knows the secret of joy 🙂

      Thank you for your lovely prayer for me and the family. It means so much to me. You are such a great blog-friend.

      Have a peaceful night,

  6. What a lovely perspective Ceil. It can be challenging to find the joy in the tough moments. I also find it a challenge to thank God when I am submerged in the joyful moments. I’m so busy experiencing them that I forget to be thankful to the one who blessed me with joy. Thank you for this reminder.

    God bless you my friend.

    • Hi Jennifer! I’m glad you liked the post today. Good point about being thankful too. Joy should lift me to praise and thanks. Thank you for your reminder!

      So cute to see your daughter jumping into blogging. What great practice for her future smash-hit blog!
      Blessing to you too my good friend. Have a peaceful night,

  7. Dear Ceil, what a beautiful and encouraging post. It is so true that we sometimes miss the joy, especially in this day and age. With all the technology and everything else, it is so easy to miss the beauty, the joy, that is right there with us. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Hi Linda! I’m so glad this encouraged you. Thank you for mentioning that!

      I think it’s a good point to remember that technology often has us staring in one place…and there is so much more in the big world to see. And to spark our joy. Thank you for adding that 🙂

      Have a restful night,

  8. I love your attitude and dependence on the Lord in all things Ceil. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and when we abide in Him, it really does overflow. I love that.

    • Hi Debbie! Thank you for your kind comments today!

      Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, so if we are in that joy, it’s a way of reminding ourselves that God is with us always. And can overflow to everyone around us, just as you said.

      Thank you for your visit tonight, it’s great to see you!

    • Hi Cecelia! I think it’s great that you can always find something to be joyful about…knowing that it comes from God. That’s inspiring!

      Thank you for your kind comment about the blog too. I appreciate it 🙂

      Have a wonderful Monday, finding all the joy planned for you,

  9. Dear Ceil, Thanks for your encouraging me in my bit of stress lately! But this word touched me! I will look for the blessings and not what might I miss. I have come to realize that with our Daddy, we kids will miss nothing!
    So glad your son was given a set of parents that were perfect for him!
    God works like that, because He is all about JOY…
    Happy June!

    • Hi Roxy! I think that God gave you joy in your decision to quit your link party, didn’t he? And I like how you phrased God as our Daddy, and how he will make sure we have all we need.

      He is joy, you are so right. And how lovely of you to say that we were the right parents for my son. I agree 🙂

      Have a joyful Monday!

  10. It is always such a delight to stop over here and be inspired. You never fail your readers. Ever. Have a wonderful week!! (P.S. I’ll let you know how those drawer liners work. So far, they smell heavenly.)

    • Hi Patty! Thank you so much for your lovely comment, you are such a blessing to me. I’m so glad you liked the post today!

      Yes!! Let me know how the liners work. My dresser and highboy need help 🙂

      Thank you for your blog-friendship Patty. I appreciate your visits!

    • Hi Joy! What a beautiful name! I’m glad this came at just the right time for you. God is such a wonderful Father. Always giving us what we need.

      Have a joyful Monday 🙂

  11. Wonderful post, Ceil and it did make me feel joyful…

    If I can love all life
    my troubles soon
    The world reflects
    the joy
    I carry in my

    Blessings to you, always

  12. Thank you for this reminder. I was just thinking about James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” What an incredible outlook to have!

    • Hi Lauren! I really like that passage. I think I’ll use it for a blog post that is floating around in my head! It will be perfect 🙂

      To know that God is with us in every trial is a really mature attitude. I have to work on it daily. Good thing I have his grace, because without it, I’d be sunk before I started.

      Have a joyful Monday 🙂

  13. I know just what you mean, Ceil. I have often wished that my first reaction to things could be total dependence on God, not myself or circumstances. That would definitely make for a more joyful me. I am just thankful that when I look back over my life, God shows me the joys and helps me forget the fear, pain, and sorrow.
    Blessings on this beautiful day, Ceil!

    • Hi Pam! What a great point. Even if we don’t see the joy right away, God will take it upon himself to inspire us to see it! That’s great Pam. Thank you!

      Thank you for your prayer of blessings too. I hope you will see all the joy planned for you this day in the Lord 🙂

  14. This has blessed me in so many ways this morning, Ceil. My word for the year is JOY and this just really spoke to my heart on not taking my eyes of the joy He has for me each and every day. The joy we find in Him. These next couple months may be difficult but I know through the trials I can still “soak in the grace of His presence.” Such beauty here. Blessings to you. xoxo

    • Hi Beth! I didn’t know that ‘joy’ was your word for the year! And joy is such a function of choice in the hard times, isn’t it? It doesn’t always well up like a fountain in me, that’s for sure. That’s why I need to pray, pray, pray. And listen for his soothing, joyful voice.

      Thank you for your lovely comment today my friend. It’s so fun to see you here!

  15. Such an encouraging post and a beautiful blog! I just wrote a post titled ‘Rejoicing in the Lord’, for me, this post a lovely confirmation. We all get distracted from His joy from to time, but thank God for the Holy Spirit who is constantly at work in us, always pointing us back in the right direction. Thank you Cell for this beautiful reminder! Blessings 🙂

    • Hi Shade! Thank you for visiting today! I’m so glad you like it here. It’s so nice to make new blog-friends isn’t it?

      You are so right about the Holy Spirit. If that is not alive in me, and I don’t accept it, there just can’t be any joy at all. What a blessing to be in his strength and wisdom through his Spirit. Wonderful thoughts Shade, thank you!

      I look forward to getting to know you better 🙂

  16. Ceil, Isn’t joy one of the most important things we can reflect and hold onto in this life. Joy isn’t about the external, it’s about your internal world and your relationship with Christ. We should always be able to find the joy with what our Savior has gifted to us, right? This world is a crazy place. Passing on joy is one of the greatest gifts we can do to spread light into the world.

    Blessings to you, Ceil. I LOVE that painting. Did you do this? I’m wanting to dig my paints out and try to recreate this now. Gorgeous!

    • Hi Kim! Did I paint the header? You must be joking! I told you I can barely use glue, didn’t I? Lol! I found this awesome site for free headers on-line. I copied several of them, but this is my FAVORITE. I’m so glad you said something…thank you 🙂

      I do pray that I will always see the joy in the Lord. But I didn’t really say anything about passing that joy on, and you are so right about that. It’s only the first step to open myself to joy. Then comes step #2. Great thoughts Kim. Thank you!
      Always lovely to see you, my friend,

    • Hi Cheryl! I’m so glad you liked the post! It was my pleasure to visit you, and I hope we’ll get to know each other better 🙂

      Blessings to you this Monday!

  17. This says it all:
    “Instead, I’ll spend my time soaking in the grace of God’s presence. Hidden in that grace is everything he is. And he is joy.”
    Beautiful, Ceil!

    • Hi Lisa! Thank you for your supportive comment today! I’m so glad you liked the post today. Thank you for all your writing this past month! It was fun to review.

      Have a joyful Monday 🙂

  18. You paint such a wonderful picture of our heavenly Father. 🙂 And you are so right! Seeing the joy around us is a choice. Not focusing on the storms of life is sometimes hard and we must turn our focus on Him and the joy He brings. Thank you Ceil! Amazing yet again. My heart if FULL of joy!

    • Hi Monica! I’m so happy you liked the post today! Joy is something we can all use more of, and it’s all there. Right inside us. We just have to say ‘yes.’

      Well, you know all about that from your reading. You are the ‘Joyful Reader’!!

      Have a peaceful and joyful evening 🙂

  19. I love that Joy that God gives. And you know it’s from Him in certain circumstances, because the of the circumstances. God bless, Lisa :O)

    • Hi Lisa! Thank you for your visit today 🙂

      I think you are right. If we see him in all of our lives, then we will start seeing the joy in everything. Good point! Thank you for that.

      God bless you too my friend! Have a peaceful and joyful evening!

  20. Ceil, as always this was a very uplifting post. Thank you for that. If I’m totally honest, I’ve really been struggling with the whole concept of joy. True, it’s the word that God placed upon my heart for this year. And, I have looked at the sky more than once (today!) and said, “Lord, what were You thinking???” I am not a happy, perky person by nature. I’m more like the little girl in the corner with a good book and an “Uh oh, the sky is falling” sort of outlook on life. But, God undoubtedly has something to teach me about this word.

    For one thing, it doesn’t mean fleeting happiness, it doesn’t mean a lack of problems, it doesn’t mean giggling and naive living. I’m learning that it has something to do with where my focus is…

    Still learning.


    • Hi Sharon! You are the second person to say that ‘joy’ is their word for the year. I think we are all struggling to find that joy in all of our dark places. It’s not easy is it.

      I think you hit it right when you said that this kind of joy isn’t the type where we are giggling and laughing. It’s a knowledge that God is in control. And that is a joyous thing.

      I’m not so sure that I am very buoyant by nature either. But I’m trying to see that joy in every circumstance, even if it’s in my rear view mirror. I think 20/20 hindsight helps!

      Blessings to you my friend. You are very wise.

  21. Beautiful post and a good reminder. I wonder how much joy I miss out on because I’m too focused on the negatives. … This is my first time visiting here, but I loved you sharing about bringing your son home. Precious times. 🙂

    • Hi Priscilla! Thank you for visiting me!

      I think that the negative things are just louder. They stand out more because I know I’ve almost come to expect them. Pretty sad. So much better to look for the joy, because that’s where the Father is.

      So glad you liked the post today, and I look forward to learning more about you 🙂

  22. Hi Ceil, so glad to connect through the (in)courage FB group. Your post is perfect for a Monday, isn’t it? I work full-time, so only get to invest myself fully into writing on the weekends. It’s far too easy for me to lose my joy starting on Monday morning. I just saw a quote on FB that read, “Joy is just a perspective shift away.” Love that. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Hi Crystal! It’s always great to connect with a Starbucks lover 🙂

      That quote is really true. If I look for it, I’ll find it. I kind of can’t wait for the day that I don’t have to look. I’ll just expect it and be so open that I’ll always see it. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

      You are a busy person! It was so great to see your blog, and I’m happy we are getting acquainted on (in)courage too.

      Have a restful night!

  23. It really does depend on our choices, doesn’t it? A good and Godly perspective does wonders for how we view things, day to day, large and small. So glad you reminded and encouraged us, thank you!

    • Hi Karen! Oh yes. If I would only choose to look at the sea, and not that lonely wave out there… It just seems like negative things are so much louder in my life. It’s definitely something to work on.

      Thank you for your visit today! I know you are busy writing, so I really appreciate it 🙂

  24. “And he is our joy.” Amen. Some time ago I read an acrostic for joy. J-Jesus, O-others, Y-you. Simple but it keeps things in perspective. When the focus is on me joy is fleeting (or non-existent..), focus on others brings temporary joy, but focus on Jesus – well, that brings joy everlasting!

    • Hi Mindy! I think I have seen that too. It’s a great way to prioritize, isn’t it? And it does lead to the Lord every time. Gotta love that!

      I like the simple helps like this one. Thank you for reminding me of it tonight 🙂

      Have a restful night my friend,

  25. Life is full of choices, and I some times choose fret and worry without even realizing what I am choosing. The fruit of the Spirit is joy…and as I am reminded in John 15 as I’ve been studying, I need to abide in Him. There, in Him, I will find joy regardless of my outward circumstances. I’ll also make more positive choices by abiding in Him. Thank you for sharing where our joy truly is, Ceil. You are a blessing.

    • Hi Dianna! Great point! I can choose the negative without even taking the time to realize what I am doing. I love that! Thank you.

      I am trying to see that the Lord really does live in me, and so joy can be mine all the time. It’s a difficult concept sometimes…especially when I don’t even realize I’m choosing the wrong attitude. You have give me some things to think about here.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments Dianna. I really appreciate it!

  26. Hey there!

    Yes God is our Joy, our happiness, our light, our hope and it’s the best day ever!

    Sometimes when I get distracted while praying I feel as though God wants me to pray about those things that come flooding to my head. So, I pray about each thing and I continue on. I don’t want that dang devil to think he got me off course during my prayer time. (Smiles)

    I refuse to give up any of my Joy! Your son sure did get a wonderfully blessed mama and daddy! What a perfect touching story…..

    I hope you have a wonderful week!

    Love and Hugs,

    • Hi Amy! I love how you handle any frustration that might come in prayer. I’ve never heard of just praying about what you think, and continuing on. Such a great tactic, and I could use it too!

      Thank you for your kind thoughts about us. We were so happy to be blessed with our children. They were definitely little miracles. And now, they are having little miracles of their own 🙂

      Have a peaceful night my friend.
      Love and hugs right back!

  27. What an uplifting post! I was reading Gal today and thinking about the fruit of the Spirit.

    As I read your post I thought about my own first months of being a mom. I’m so glad God brought a ‘seasoned’ mom into my life to help me relax and enjoy being a mom instead of focusing on all the things I didn’t know. Being a mom is one of the greatest joys of my life.

    • Hi TC! Thank you for your uplifting comment!

      Isn’t that wonderful? That you can say that being a mom is such a great joy for you…all because you were able to grab those great times. Wonderful!

      I think we should all review those gifts of the Spirit from time to time. It’s good to remember what we have 🙂

  28. Hi, Ceil. What a lovely blog. Thanks for visiting mine and commenting about the alpacas. They don’t take a lot of acreage. (I replied to your comment on my blog so won’t repeat myself here except to encourage you to pursue that dream!)

    • Hi Johnnie! Thank you for coming on over today! I haven’t been back to your blog yet to read your answer, but I’ll scoot over right after I finish this reply. We got new phones so our heads are exploding over here. Not pretty. Wish I was more tech-minded 🙂

      I don’t think my husband needs much prodding. He loves alpaca’s and llama’s!
      Coming right over,

  29. Ceil, I love this! I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, but of course, you are right: “So if the source of joy is our Father, then he truly is a joyful Father.”

    It was so timely for me to read this today, especially since you used the example of your first day with your newborn. The plans are now that my grand babies will be born on June 16. In the midst of procuring tickets, wincing at the cost, and creating a to-do list a mile long, I must focus on the joy of those babies – nothing else matters!

    • Hi Jerralea! I am very sure I read about that in a book. I didn’t come up with it myself. But like you, it really stuck with me. How many times to I fail to see joy? I think it’s more than I’d like to admit.

      I am so excited for the birth of your new grandchildren! Such a huge blessing. I’m really glad you can be there, even though it costs so much money. You’ll see! It’s so worth it!

      You’re so right. Nothing else matters.

  30. Hi Ceil. I’m browsing through your blog to play catch up (just subscribed) and have been greatly blessed by all that I’ve read. But this… it stands out for me as one to pay particular attention to, and not just because it has my name in the title and topic! It’s that my circumstances do not lend themselves to joy on a daily basis and I am seeing that my eye has been far more frequently on the storm than the tiny ray of sunshine peeking through it.
    This post is a beautiful reminder to deliberately search for the hidden joy within everything, to pause and praise rather than give way to gloom. I will try to put that into practice in the week ahead. God bless you, and thank you for this timely word! 🙂 x

    • Hi Joy! Thanks for visiting here today 🙂
      I’m so glad we’re connected now by our blogs, and Twitter/FB too.
      I would say that joy is struggle for me too sometimes. I think that’s just the way we are as people. But choosing to see joy is a spiritual gift, so we know we have it. It’s choosing to use it that’s the catch for me.
      Hope you have a great week, and see joy everywhere (and not just you in the mirror! LOL!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *