Wednesday, January 7, 2015

{Three Word Wednesday} Choosing joy – again

I claimed this one three-lettered word for the new year. I knew God was giving to me because it’s what he’s been speaking into my life – for years, really. I believe change is possible, even when it seems so far away. I want some things deep in my soul to be different – like a better version of what is happening right now.

But I had no idea how JOY would be laid in front of me. Like God was reminding it’s really right here. I walk pass it and ignore its sounds far too often. But I don’t want to keep doing that this year. 

I want to choose joy – over and over. It’s not like I can choose it once and be done. I chose it before the year started. I got side tracked with kids’ sickness and life. And I chose it again. More life and expectations. So I choose it again. Today. And I’ll choose it again tomorrow too.

My husband likes to sing songs as soon as he steps out of bed. He is more relaxed and naturally joy-filled than I am. Our son is much like him. They aggravate me sometimes, but they also point me to joy. It’s hard to miss joy when you’re around them.

Joy is showing up in the songs I’m listening to and the books I’m reading. I recently finished “The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You” by Jessica Turner and on page 50 her words seemed to bridge my struggles and my goals in one paragraph.

“Life is not perfect. You are not perfect. But you are a glorious creation, and your life is meant to be lived with joy. Some days you aren't going to get your makeup on, you will burn the bookies for the school bake sale, and you will spill wine on the rug. In our mess, God makes us strong. In your glorious imperfection, you can still shine beautifully bright. Embrace that truth. Stop trying to be everything for everyone and start investing in who and what really matters.”
{Jessica Turner in “The Fringe Hours”}

I believe the joy I’m choosing really matters. It’s a process so beyond myself that I know it’s going to stretch me and grow me in ways only God can orchestrate.

I also started reading “In this House We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love, and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life,” thanks to Kayse Pratt’s encouragement. Greg and I are going to read this one together. And, of course, the first chapter is on joy. In it, author Courtney DeFeo quotes Kay Warren: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”

Um, what an amazing definition.

And I certainly don’t have joy figured out if that’s my standard, but it’s a good place to start.

So I’m keeping a list of moments that bring me joy. Some of them are little everyday conversations that come with being a mom. Others are surprises throughout the day that I want to recognize and remember. I’m keeping a note going on my iPhone and posting pictures on Instagram with #choosingJOY. {I’d love for you to follow along and even post your own moments of #choosingJOY.} Counting joys one by one because I know as I look back I will be remembered that God is indeed in control and that everything will be okay. 

And I want my kids to learn that too.

“I don’t want my children to obey only because they fear consequences or worry that Mom will lose it. I want to know their hearts understand and grasp the joy to be found in doing the right thing. This requires parenting through the daily grind with a long-term mentality.”
{Courtney DeFeo in “In This House We Will Giggle”}

So we played hide-n-seek this week before Daddy came home from work. Honestly, he’s better at starting such games. We turned up some music while we disinfected the house once Ben was recovered from the flu. We read and played when there were still chores to be done.

I still don’t want to sing songs when I first wake up or at the dinner table, but I do sense some freedom and joy that hasn’t always been present in our house. I believe this is the beginning of something more.

In my post last week, I mentioned the playlist I’m making. Like me, it’s a work in progress, but this is what I have now. Some songs are about joy, others bring me joy, and some capture the message my heart needs to experience joy.

“Laugh Out Loud” by Jason Gray :: “… I was alive but I wasn’t living, a prisoner of my fear and shame. But when you find you’ve been forgiven laughter will rise like a holy kind of praise. So I throw my head back and offer up my thanks! Ha ha, don’t it make you wanna laugh out loud? Oooh oooh, and shout, “Hallelujah!” Oh yeah, if you got joy go and let it on out …”

“Joy” by Rend Collective :: “We're choosing celebration, breaking into freedom. … You're the song of our hearts. … You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul, the joy joy joy making me whole though I'm broken, I am running into Your arms of love. The pain will not define us; joy will reignite us …”

“Joy to the World” by Shaun Groves :: This is beautiful combination of “Joy to the World” and “All Creatures.”

“Only Hope I’ve Got” by Ellie Holcomb :: “I don't wanna tell some arrogant story or let myself believe I'm You. I don't wanna be a thief who's stealing your glory. Will you help remind me of what is true? The only hope I've got; it's you …”

“More Heart, Less Attack” by NEEDTOBREATHE :: “Be the light in the crack. Be the one that’s been there on a camel’s back. Slow to anger quick to laugh. Be more heart and less attack …”

“Joy to the World (You Are My Joy)” by Rend Collective :: Another fun version of the traditional song.

“Greater” by MercyMe :: “Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed when others say I’ll never be enough. And greater is the One living inside of me than he who is living in the world … Bring your doubts. Bring your fears. Bring your hurt. Bring your tears. There’ll be no condemnation here. You are holy, righteous and redeemed.”

“Your Love Never Fails” by Newsboys :: “You stay the same through the ages. Your love never changes. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning. And when the oceans rage, I don't have to be afraid because I know that You love me. Your love never fails …”

“Open Up the Heavens” by Meredith Andrews :: “Open up the heavens. We want to see you. Open up the floodgates, a mighty river, flowing from your heart, filling every part of our praise. … You're the reason we're here; you're the reason we're singing.”

“Outsiders” by NEEDTOBREATHE :: “Cause if you're not laughing who is laughing now? I've been wondering if we start sinking could we stand our ground? And through everything we've learned we've finally come to terms we are the outsiders. … On the outside, you're free to roam. On the outside, we've found a home. On the outside, there's more to see. On the outside, we choose to be.”

“I Am” by Crowder :: “There’s no space that His love can’t reach. There’s no place that we can’t find peace. There’s no end to amazing grace. Take me in with your arms spread wide. Take me in like an orphan child. Never let go, never leave my side. … Love like this, Oh my God to find! I am overwhelmed what a joy divine!”

“Promise of Summer” by Jackopierce :: “The winter fields begin to recover and finally it's the promise of summer. Lights are shining round and the guards are coming down …”

“Eyes Wide Open” by Jars of Clay & Third Day :: “Keep our eyes wide open. (Love is kind and love is daring everything we need to keep our eyes.) Draw us in, send us out. Draw us in, send us out. Draw us in, pull us out. Help us to believe.”

“Joy to the World” by Bebo Norman :: Another great version!

“Mighty to Save” by Mac Powell :: Just wait for the African children to join him!

“Hey Mama” by Mat Kearney :: “Singing hey mama, don't want no drama, just a kiss before I leave …”

“Multiplied” by NEEDTOBREATHE :: “God of mercy sweet love of mine, I have surrendered to Your design. May this offering stretch across the skies and these halleluiahs be multiplied …”


Where do you find joy? {Leave a comment sharing and two people will win a copy of my playlist! I'll randomly choose the winners next Wednesday.}


I'm also linking up with Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart and Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory. Be sure to read Jennifer's post on fighting back with joy. It's beautiful and true. 

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."


  1. Kaylie Hodges1/07/2015 6:32 AM

    Isn't amazing how recording a few little moment can change your whole life. I think maybe that's why 1000 gifts never gets less popular. Also? Can you come be the DJ at my house? I'm just gonna flat copy that playlist!

  2. I'm right there with you. Your perfectly crafted words tugged at my heart today. I'm in a season where joy seems so mysterious. But your message and this definition spur me on: "Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” Thank you, Kristin. I'm always inspired when I visit your place. Write on, friend.

  3. Great playlist, Kristin! Music can bring joy to my soul every time. I'm visiting from #TellHisStory. Have a joyful day!

  4. Bethany Boring1/07/2015 8:41 AM

    I love your three letter word my friend! SO many equate happiness and success to joy. Indeed...I love your word! I look forward to more playlists too!

  5. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 8:43 AM

    Thanks! It's really amazing how music does that. I'm glad you visited today. Enjoy your day!

  6. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 8:43 AM

    That definition is kind of rocking my world, but it's so good for me to remember joy isn't just standing up, dancing around, and clapping my hands, because, honestly, those things don't come naturally anyway. :) I'm grateful for your sweet comment today and your presence here lately.

  7. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 8:45 AM

    Isn't it neat how God gives the same message through such different sources sometimes? He knows I need some repetition to even begin to learn. I'm glad you're here, Joanne!

  8. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 8:45 AM

    I'm glad you like the playlist! :) I've listed gifts/joys before and it's always helpful to put life into perspective. Thanks for being here, Kaylie!

  9. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 8:47 AM

    Thanks, Bethany!

  10. Kristin, I am so like you! I really need to choose Joy too...I am seeing it more as an obedience to the Lord than a perk of the Christian've given me something new to think about today :)

  11. I just love what God is already teaching you about JOY! He had much to reveal to me last year. Surprising things, hard lessons, but in the end, a heart knowing that JOY is so much more than mere happiness! I used that quote from Kay Warren on my sidebar. It's a wonderful definition. Indeed, joy is found in settled assurance. As I always said, Jesus, Only You!!

    Great playlist! Isn't it amazing how music can bring joy to our hearts. I have had many times when a song or a particular lyric fills me with this feeling that I cannot describe. Music is a powerful tool, sometimes reaching our souls before we know it!

    Thanks for sharing.


  12. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 9:42 AM

    I keep writing things down and highlighting quotes and adding songs to my playlist. That's me learning. :) Now, I'm praying it soaks in deeply! Thanks for your kind comment, Sharon.

  13. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 9:43 AM

    I'm glad you were encouraged, Britta! Thanks for sharing the link on Facebook too. :)

  14. The quote by Kay Warren is profound in light of the grief they live every single day. I admire her. And, I would be joy-filled to hear Multiplied by Needtobreathe non-stop all day long!!!

  15. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 10:08 AM

    Needtobreathe pretty much could always fill my days with joy too. My husband and I saw them in concert in September ... talk about JOY. So much goodness. Glad you're here, Susan!

  16. I woke up this morning and broke our coffee maker. No coffee was had until 8am (3 hours later than usual). I hate that I was such a crabby pants without my morning cup. But JOY is so much more than the happiness found in a morning cup of coffee. I know that . . . but still snapping out of my crabbiness even after a cup. Oh the reminders that are needed to choose JOY. I so love that this is your word as I know God still has plans for me with this little word. Much love to you. xoxo

  17. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 10:25 AM

    A little word that means so much, really. And it's already rocking my world. We aren't always going to get it right. If we did, we wouldn't need Jesus. Or coffee. (Although you know I'm not a coffee drinker, right? I have other caffeine vices, like Diet Dr Pepper. But I love you anyway!) Love you. xoxo

  18. Joy, so easily could have been my word too. I'm trying to find joy in the small and insignificant and thank God for it all. There are so many words that could be mine right now, guess that's why I couldn't choose.

    And those quotes you used, some amazing words. I need to add those books to my list :)

  19. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 2:16 PM

    I'm glad you were encouraged here, Alecia! And I'm glad to see your smiling face here. Keep shining that joy, friend.

  20. Kendra Roehl1/07/2015 2:22 PM

    Yes, choose joy. That actually was something my sister would say as she battled cancer and became the tag line for the fund we set up in her honor after she passed. You're right, it's not something we choose and then move on, it's something I must choose again and again. Thanks for the encouragement!

  21. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 2:23 PM

    I have chills hearing about your sister. What a testimony and legacy she must have left here. Thanks for joining the conversation here, Kendra!

  22. "I want to choose joy – over and over." Me too, Kristin :)! I just love that itty bitty word. What a great one to choose to focus on. Thanks for sharing your playlist and what looks like some fantastic books. Reading and worship music bring me great joy. Many blessings and much joy to you and yours!

  23. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 3:56 PM

    Thanks, Candace! I'm glad you could be encouraged here.

  24. Oh, I love this so much!!! I'm going to have to make this a spotify list for my book-writing hours! :)

  25. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2015 4:26 PM

    Book-writing hours! I'm still so excited for you. Obviously, I'm thrilled about your topic. :)

  26. Kristin I'm coming over from SDG where I saw a comment you posted. I've enjoyed reading your blog tonight and have loved seeing similarities in our stories of adoption as well. Margaret Feinberg, in her new study Fight Back with Joy, talks about God sending "joy bombs" and how they are all around us. I've written down several books to read after reading this post - thanks for the suggestions.

  27. Ah... Joy.. the elusive 3 letter word, that sometimes seems too far out of my grasp. That is until I stop and look for it, really look for it. I am not good at games, or pausing to take a break, or being goofy but that is ok, I am learning. I dance with my kids a lot. We sing. And God gave me this girl who has made JOY her personal mantra in life, so she is teaching me to laugh a little while I teach her the importance of being genuine and diligent to look for truth. And Joy, it is in the heart connected with God, because Psalm 16:11 says that joy is in His presence. Your playlist looks amazing! Don't foret to dance.


  28. Oh, Kristin, it made me laugh when you said your husband and son's "natural" joy sometimes aggravates you. Boys! Funny how joy follows joy - it's contagious. So encouraging to see the way you are intentionally embracing this great big promise wrapped up in three little letters. Love your plan to jot down your daily joy - what a treasure you'll have a year's end. Thanks for sharing and as always, hosting. Blessings!

  29. KristinHillTaylor1/08/2015 4:40 PM

    I love SDG. :) I'd love to hear more about your adoption story sometime, Melody. Feel free to email me at kristinhilltaylor (at) gmail (dot) com, if you're willing to share some! I keep hearing about "Fight Back with Joy" and have it added to my Amazon wish list. I'm excited to read it! I'm glad you're here and hope to get to know you more.

  30. KristinHillTaylor1/08/2015 4:43 PM

    Yes, what you said - I have to STOP, SLOW DOWN, CHILL OUT ... and then I see joy all around me. :) Thanks for the encouragement. I like having you here, Dawn!

  31. KristinHillTaylor1/08/2015 4:44 PM

    Boys are a whole different breed! :) But it's true - they're contagious with their joy! I've tried keeping a journal of thanks before, like #1000gifts, but, honestly, having it in the Notes section of my phone is just easier. It's right there when something happens while we're not at home or whatever. Thanks for being here, Tiffany!

  32. Marisa Slusarcyk1/08/2015 5:43 PM

    I love this! I think choosing joy really is more difficult than it sounds. We live in a world where everything is telling us our lives could be better if we only had something newer or fancier or more expensive but at the end of the day the only thing that really brings us joy is forgetting about all those things and focusing on the One and the ones who really matter, giving them our time, our energy and allowing them to refuel us for the days ahead. Our lives won't always be easy, and honestly, they rarely ever are easy, but that doesn't mean we can't be excited or joyful during the hard. I pray that while you SEEK joy that Joy finds you :)

  33. Marisa Slusarcyk1/08/2015 5:46 PM

    I did the 1000Gifts in 2014 and have started again and wow life changing, i normally noted things at night in bed. Though, this year i am using the 1000gifts app as well so i can easily put things in when they happen and i can share them right away or not at all :) Its a free app and naturally it isn't perfect but I love the idea of it! Whatever the case just keep counting no matter how you do it because those are the moments you will look back on and be excited about. (((hugs))) to you new friend!

  34. KristinHillTaylor1/08/2015 6:11 PM

    So true! Thanks for your encouragement and prayers, Marisa!

  35. KristinHillTaylor1/08/2015 6:12 PM

    Yes! I love hearing about your experiences doing that, Marisa! I'm glad you're here!

  36. Choosing joy each and everyday is a choice that can empower us to truly have a joy filled day. I am with you on choosing joy and I will pray that we seek the joy in our days and give thanks to God for blessing us with the chance to give it back to him. Blessings!

  37. Michelle Anderson1/09/2015 7:39 AM

    Oh boy I need some joy today.

  38. KristinHillTaylor1/09/2015 9:47 AM

    Me too, Michelle. :)

  39. KristinHillTaylor1/09/2015 9:47 AM

    I'm glad we're not alone, Mary! Good to see you here.

  40. Oh how I love turning up some good music! I want to keep choosing joy too! :)

  41. KristinHillTaylor1/09/2015 3:50 PM

    I listened Rend Collective's Joy on repeat for awhile today. Talk about joy, goodness, it's a great song. Glad you're here, Sarah.

  42. KristinHillTaylor1/15/2015 6:13 PM

    Hey! You won a copy of my playlist. Will you email me your mailing address to kristinhilltaylor (at) gmail (dot) com? :)

  43. KristinHillTaylor1/15/2015 6:14 PM

    Hey, Kendra! You won a copy of my playlist. Will you email me your mailing address to kristinhilltaylor (at) gmail (dot) com? :)

  44. Kendra Roehl1/16/2015 9:13 AM

    Oh wow! Thanks Kristin! Emailing you now!

  45. Courtney Stanford1/21/2015 1:59 PM

    Kristin, I am so glad your friend, Mary Carver sent me your way today! I had written a very similar post today about my own joyful playlist and she knew I would enjoy reading yours, as well! Isn't "Joy" be Rend Collective the best?! Even our baby sings along! Ha! I love the way you refer to joy as "freedom." Yes! I nod along with you that there is so much freedom in choosing joy. Thank you for the reminder to choose joy again and again and again! If you're interested in my post about this topic, it can be found today on May your day be filled with moments of freedom as you choose to live in joy!

  46. KristinHillTaylor1/21/2015 2:13 PM

    Hi, Courtney! I'm so glad you're here. I'm heading over to your place now. Have a joy-filled too!