Make Time

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I’ll never forget that morning, it was September 11th, 2016.  I woke up, put my feet on the floor, rose to a standing position and instantly lost consciousness - falling forward with a thud.  I awaked to discover that I was lying on the carpet, staring straight at the floorboard. Our apartment bedroom was small and I was two inches away from cracking my skull on the bottom corner of the door jamb.    

 You would think something like that would slow me down right?

 Nope! I got right up.  I remember thinking, “Wow, that was weird!  But, I’m ok!” 

I shook it off, brushed my teeth and went downstairs to make my 1st cup of coffee.  When my husband and sons woke up a couple of hours later to begin getting ready for church, I casually shared, “You know the weirdest thing happened this morning. I got out of bed and I passed out.”   They looked shocked, but I assured them I was ‘just fine.’  And on we went on with our day.

The next day, my Morning Show co-host Karl must have noticed something was different because as soon as he saw me, he said, “Juni, are you alright?”  Can you guess what followed?

 “Of course! I’m fine!” I beamed.  He didn’t look convinced. 

Our primary topic at the start of each hour was concerning the many 9/11 memorials in honor of loved ones lost on one of the saddest days in North American history.  But that wasn’t the only headline - strangely enough, Hillary Clinton also passed out that day while waiting for her ride after attending a memorial ceremony.

By early afternoon on Tuesday, September 13th, I was in the emergency room because of exhaustion and dehydration.  As I laid there with my IV, I remembered the events of the previous week: A prayer-walk across downtown Chicago with hundreds of others crying out for healing of the plague of escalating violence in our city.  Culminating into a gathering of thousands to discuss what we could each do to unite and fight back the darkness. 

Lying there, still and quiet for the first time that year, I considered the facts:  I’d been suppressing heartache every single day as I worked overtime while downplaying my grief over my mother’s death. On top of that I was trying to process incomprehensible bad news I’d received about my husband and his extended family.  

The months leading up to that day are best described as a kind of Sorrow Tsunami that started building about 10 thousand miles offshore, and when it came crashing into my soul, my body simply gave out. The problem was, my mind didn’t.  You see, I can be quite stubborn. If you’d asked me then, I’d shake it off and say, “You know me, I’m determined, committed, tenacious, resolute!”  

If you ask me now, I wholeheartedly admit that my decisions then were nothing but foolish, proud, and dangerous.  What was I thinking? 

Wisdom comes from some of the most beautiful places.  The inspiration for this blog for example came from my son, Elijah.  He’s blessed with a wonderful AS* mind that enables him to naturally ‘think different.’  Recently after returning from an especially stressful, 7th grade school day, He asked me to pray with him and we did. Then we held each other for a bit before he said,

 “I’m going to my room to take a nap,

I need time to be sad today.”

 

There’s not much more I need to share about this. His statement says it all. 

 My prayer for you today is that you will decide to be determined, committed, tenacious and resolute about rest. 

Make time to be sad, right now if you need to and be blessed because you are beloved.

 * * *

For more encouragement on the topic of making time, consider what the Bible says in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 1-11.

Join in the ‘Quest for Joy ’ and share your thoughts and lessons learned about courageous rest!

*ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder, but I don’t use the word, ‘Disorder’ when describing my son’s beautiful mind cause he ain’t nothing but a blessing! XD

Just in Case No One's Told You...

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I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! - Jesus

Hello there.  I’m Juni and I’m so glad that after all you’ve been through, and all you’re going through - you found the courage to read this blog and take a first tiny step in your Quest for Joy.

The heartache that you woke up with this morning, that pain in your soul that makes even the task of receiving hope for the day exhausting, that heartache is not who you are. 

The abuses, losses and betrayals you suffered do not have to define you and they can’t tell you who you are.  Your situation is not your destiny and sorrow is not your permanent address. 

Trauma recovery has nothing to do with a lack of faith. You have faith, that’s why you’re reading this.  It’s not about lack of faith, or failure to pray the right prayers and do all the right things. Trauma recovery has everything to do with your willingness to commit to a healing journey. 

Just in case no one’s ever said this to you before: I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair and you didn’t deserve it. What happened to you matters because you matter. There are some things that happen to us that no one can make right, but I promise you ,  you can be made new.

You’ve already come this far, that’s how I know you can do this. Recovery from trauma of any kind is like facing a giant and requires courage and faith like you’ve never known.

If you want to make it to the other side of your sorrow, you have to armor up, train hard, learn your gifts, trust your allies and do the work. But if you’re unwilling, I’m sorry, you’re not going to make it. And I really want you to make it. That’s why I came back for you.

So, if you’re ready, and you’re willing, let’s go. Let’s journey together with joy!

Special thanks to Annie Spratt for this beautiful photo! 

Courageous Joy

Habits are like plants.  Start small, find the right place for them, grow them over time.”  - Dr. BJ Fogg

Lately, I’ve been studying joy.  It’s a word with a very simple dictionary definition: “A feeling of great pleasure.”  But life has taught me that joy is not simple at all - it’s beautifully complex and it’s pervasive or permeating – meaning once you have it, it influences and affects every area of your life.   

Joy is an identity feature.  It’s comprehensive, completing and eternal.    

Of course, in North American Culture - when we think of ‘joy,’ we often subconsciously rush to connect it directly with happiness, which is so temporary.  Happiness is directly tied to our situations and circumstances, and the second we have it, we face the reality that the moment will pass and the unknown next moment will soon come.  This state of ongoing anxiety is the source of great stress and the subconscious bandit of peace.

Globally, people can’t help but dance as soon as the first beats of the hit song Happy by Pharrell begins, but most people don’t understand that the attitude that the song celebrates are actually evidences of an identity established in joy.  

How can we cultivate habits that lead to an identity rooted in joy? 

I believe by faith.  Jesus talked about this directly when He told his disciples that “I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you” (John 15:11-12).  How different would our lives become if we lived out of this kind of pure love that Jesus lived and taught?  How different would our relationships be if we lived out of love and truth instead of out of fear of loss.  How different would the world be if we found completion in love leading to courageous joy? 

Cultivating the habits that lead to an identity rooted in joy is about authentic faith. Leading to appreciation of the sacredness of a moment.

A moment spent in prayer.  A moment spent in gratitude for the beautiful gift of life and the person or persons that are sharing the moment with you.  Even in conflict and in crucial conversations, * an identity rooted in joy will understand the deeper issues that led to the struggle.  And understanding often leads to compassion, and compassion leads to love.

I pray that you will begin today – prayerfully cultivating the habits that lead to a life of joy.  So that when trouble comes, you can be a conduit of hope for everyone involved, including yourself.

*Joseph Grenny – Crucial Conversations | Willow Creek 2014 Global Leadership Summit,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCkHT_4CtNA