This year I am asking God for joy.

Joy in the mundane. Joy in the small things. Joy in my work. Joy in my family.

Just a simple, awestruck joy for life’s subtleties.

Wild Joy

You are allowed to love tiny, daily, ordinary moments in your life. You’re allowed to feel wild joy for the simplest and smallest reasons. You’re allowed to be unreasonably delighted by spicy pickles or a perfect apple or a joke your child tells you…You’re allowed to hold memories in your mind and play them over and over like an old-fashioned slideshow—click, click, click.

Shauna Niequest, author of I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working

Daily Joy

God puts these simple joys in our path to remind us of where our true joy comes from: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10).

My own kids and the students at the middle school are God’s gift to me as He teaches me about simple joys, such as:

  • The smile on a student’s face when I show up to give them their birthday PEZ.
  • Treating random students to an Italian soda at the café.
  • Being a guest reader in a grade 5 classroom and seeing their faces attentive and engaged as I read aloud.
  • The sound of 400 young voices singing praise songs in unison during chapel.
  • Seeing the excitement on the students faces in the morning as they watch the hour strike 8:00 am and burst through the front doors.
  • Giving each student a big “good morning” and high-five.
  • Seeing my youngest son’s face light up when he finally masters his Bible memory verse.
  • Seeing the grade 5’s conquer their fear of climbing up the new slide on the playground.

One of my biggest joys was surprising our four kids at Christmas time with a trip to Legoland and SeaWorld during spring break.

Staycations are our usual holiday choice for spring break. Finding an affordable trip with four kids is nearly impossible so staying around home has always been the most affordable solution.

Until this year.

We’ll brave the 20+ hour car ride to San Diego with the kids. This may seem daunting to some, but seeing the joy and excitement on our kids’ faces that came with the surprise will be well worth the long drive!

I look forward to seeing my kids’ faces when we arrive at Legoland, where I’ll experience joy once again. Joy in the anticipation, joy in the new adventures together, and joy in spending time with my family.

As I look to the everyday simple joys in life, my simple prayer is this: “Lord, give me enough time in my day to see the small joys you placed before me.”