If you’re in a hard place right now, your joy may seem like it’s hiding–or gone.

    I understand.

    But it’s still there, I promise, just waiting to be resurrected.

    And to help with that, it’s with great excitement that I let you know about my new podcast, Find Joy No Matter What. 

    For just a few minutes each week, I’ll tell you a story–one that just might inspire a way to uncover some joy you might be looking for. Then we’ll consider how it might speak to your life. And finally, I’ll offer a benediction to send you into your day…or into your night.

    “Why a podcast?” I can hear you asking.

    Well, it all started with a cow suit…

    A while back, my husband, Ben, and I were at a basketball banquet that was catered by Chick-Fil-A, the restaurant chain with the brilliant ads featuring cows and misspelled words. (Somehow it works.) In fact, that night, the featured mascot was a a person in a cow suit, who bounded in, high fiving kids and cavorting around the gym in fun fashion.  I turned to Ben and said, “That looks like fun. I could do that.” To which he replied, “Yeah, you should.” And then I didn’t. Sounded like a lot of trouble, and a job requiring skills I probably didn’t have.

    A couple months later, we were eating at Chick-Fil-A, when my daughter said, “Hey Mom, why don’t you go up there and ask the manager about putting on that cow suit?” Busted. How could I not, and risk being a poor role model for my own offspring? So I approached the counter, asked for the manager, and when he appeared, I said,

    “Could you tell me exactly what it takes to be able to put on that cow suit and do a couple gigs?”

    “A pulse,” he said.

    So I got an application (clearly intended for an adolescent looking for a part time job), and a few days later the market representative called and asked if I could meet her for an interview. Really excited and anxious to have a little fun, i pulled together my college transcripts, a resume, and some references. Then I dressed to kill, and met her at the mall. We talked, and after a few minutes, ever the professional, she shook my hand and said, “I am delighted to offer you this position as the Area Market Cow for Chick-fil-A.”

    Well. Who’da thought?

    So I went on tour at a couple shopping malls, a baseball diamond, and a random party. My favorite, though, was my last appearance, at the same basketball banquet that had spoken to my restless heart a year before. As I stood behind a door, waiting to make my entrance, I had no idea how life-changing my swan song was going to be.

    If you’ve never been inside a cow suit before, you may not know exactly how hot it gets in there. We’re talkin’ steamy, claustrophobia-inducing hot, and this particular unfortunate moment, I felt my hormonal furnace revving up inside me (Ladies of a “certain age” will totally understand this.), sending the temperature inside that suit into the stratosphere.

    “Oh no, God, please no!” I thought. This was an actual prayer.

    (Ladies of a “certain age” will totally understand this also.)

    But it wasn’t just because of the heat. It was a fresh reminder of personal sorrow that I was experiencing. You see, Ben and I had dealt with infertility for most of our married life. Against the odds, God gave us a beautiful daughter, and we enjoyed her so much that for twenty years we asked Him for another.

    He said no.

    For whatever reason, we weren’t led to adopt, and weren’t candidates for other methods of conception.  And at that point in my life, every “personal summer” was a fresh reminder that “no more babies” was His final answer, and for the previous couple of years, I couldn’t decide if I was still a joyful person just going through a season of sadness, or if I was actually turning into a sad person.

    But at that particular moment of escalating temps, I had a thought that revolutionized my attitude toward tough times: “Wow, what a perfect picture of joy and sorrow in the same place–me having a hot flash in a cow suit!”

    I love an object lesson.

    And at that moment, when I realized that joy and sorrow really can walk side-by-side in the same life, I knew that it was up to me to make an effort to access the joy while I was traveling through the tough stuff.

    Honestly, that gift from God has changed my story, and encouraged me to help people discover joy, no matter what else is going on in life.

    So. If you’re up for doing a few joy shots with a friend, come on over to the Find Joy No Matter What podcast and have a listen. I can’t wait to start this joy adventure together!

     

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