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If I can be perfectly honest and authentic, I struggled with growing in joy way more then I would care to admit, and I continue to struggle each day.  I am convinced that joy is one of the top attributes that the enemy tries to steal from us; and he does it in such a conniving and sneaky manner, that most of the time, I don't even realize what truly is happening. He is well aware that if he takes joy away from me or any of you, that our lives will spiral out of control, or will at least seem to, causing us to refocus our attention in a negative direction rather then basking in our call from God.

My life is filled with countless blessings. I am certain that these are the same blessings that I share with most of you, including a roof over my head, a warm place to lay down at night, food on the table, a family who loves me, a remarkable husband, a beautiful miracle son, a job, an education, amazing pastors, wonderful church, and supportive friends and circle of women who have become family. This list truly could go on and on. However, each day, I have to step back and choose to focus on these blessings or the enemy will attempt to refocus my direction to the things that I don't have and ultimately try to steal my joy. He knows that without joy, he can prevent my growth. 

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” If you think about it, that is really deep. If our framework is brittle and dry, how on earth can we expect to carry ourselves around in the manner that we were designed for? How can we fulfill the calling that God has placed upon our lives if we don't have a healthy structure to support it? How can we grow and ultimately become more like Jesus? 

When we fully accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we realize that joy is really much more than a temporary feeling. John 15:11 says,  "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” 

It becomes so much easier to find joy and hold onto it even in our darkest hours, especially as we grow and become more like Jesus.

So today, and every day, I will choose joy so that I can be the person that I am called to be. I am challenging each of you as well to do the same. Thank God through prayer even through the messiest of situations, for every blessing and for every promise that he has given to each of us. 

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