Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Joy

2 Nephi 14:3 - 2 Nephi 20:11

I saw an old wooden bench on the corner over the weekend.

The writing on the bench immediately intrigued me.

A smile began to tug at the corner of my mouth.  How did they know nothing happened?

I bet something happened.

Something good.

Maybe they were waiting for something remarkable, something historically noteworthy, a once in a lifetime...

But I have learned that sometimes the simplest moments can bring an increase of joy, a happy memory, a happening that lifts the heart.

And maybe nobody is going to take note or record the event, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

And it doesn't mean it wasn't good.

In order to prove my point I decided to start taking note of the small things.

And immediately my heart experienced an increase of joy.

A harvest of peaches.

Maizie eating dirt.  (Why not?)

Humor in the midst of a really hard job.

S'mores.

Someone dropping an unexpected gift on the porch for my daughter.

It was after I started taking note of the small things that I realized my heart really was experiencing an increase of joy, because good things were happening...even if some of them were so inconsequential that nobody noticed but me.

As I drove today I thought about the importance of noticing the small things in the midst of the ordinary moments...the moments where you might otherwise think that nothing noteworthy was happening...

And then I stumbled across this sign...

And that same smile tugged again on the corner of my mouth.

I love that word, serendipity ––the happy accident of finding something good while not specifically searching for it.

How interesting that now, after a weekend of purposefully watching for simple joys, I accidentally stumbled across that sign...happily.

Once again my heart experienced an increase of joy.

I decided I would continue to prove my point for the rest of this week...that remarkable and happy things can happen in small and simple ways, particularly when we don't expect it.

Maybe your heart is heavy.  Maybe eating dirt, or roasting s'mores, or wearing seaweed won't have the power to bring the increase of joy you are searching for.

Some seasons in life are like that.

But in 2 Nephi, Isaiah reminds us of one of my favorite gifts of the Lord, "Thou hast ...increased the joy..." (2 Nephi 19:3)

He has the ability to increase joy.

So if the simple things don't seem to have the power to lift your heart, turn to Him.

He who has been anointed with the "oil of gladness" has the power to increase your joy.

In the darkest moments of my life it has been my opportunity to experience this sweet gift.  I will never forget turning to the Lord after several hard years right in a row.  Life had been so hard that I couldn't remember what happiness felt like.  My prayer was simple, help me to see the joyful moments, please help me to feel joy again.

The burden wasn't taken away...the struggles continued...but my eyes were opened to see the joyful moments along the way ––and it wasn't long before the darkness cleared.

Let Him help you feel the joy again.

Perhaps you would like to join me in this quest to find simple, happy joys this week.

To experience an increase in joy.

If so, I leave you with this happy thought from our dear prophet..."Safe journey to you as you travel along life's pathway, and may you find joy therein."  (President Thomas S. Monson)

Just keep in mind...on this date in 2012 something joyful is about to happen

...and it might happen serendipitously

...so watch carefully.

 

 

Emily Freeman