A few weeks ago I finished reading the book “This Life I Live“ written by Rory Feek and watched his movie “To Joey, With Love“. I’ve honestly never had a story affect my heart and life more. I had resisted hearing it at first, for I knew the heartbreak and wasn’t sure I could bring myself to experience it. But, it was exactly the story I needed to hear. A story that has inspired radical change in my life.
I’ve always tried to be a good person. To do the right thing and care for those I love. But I am human and often struggle with looking too far ahead, causing me to wish away the time I have now and miss the blessings right in front of me. I get caught up in the struggles of life and fail to remember all of the things I am grateful for. I let my stress and emotions get the best of me, causing me to say and act in ways I later regret.
This year I’ve gotten a lot better at being present and grateful, but I knew I could do better.
Sometimes it’s hard to get out of a pattern, a way of thinking and acting. I needed an example to show me what it truly means to live life with a joyful heart no matter the situation. To show me that each season brings with it some hard stuff, but also some of the greatest blessings if we are just willing to stop long enough for them to penetrate our hearts and minds.
The story of Joey Feek, the woman she was before cancer came into her life and more so the woman she was during her battle and ultimate terminal diagnosis, has had a profound affect on my life. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and the legacy she left behind.
I pray that the radical change I’m experiencing now will allow me to leave a similar legacy.
One that shows the love of God to everyone that crosses my path. A legacy that teaches my children to be present, grateful and giving. So that long after I’m gone, my love will continue to touch those I had the pleasure of knowing.
Joey was that kind of person. She radiated joy. She was kind and truly cared about others. She was present and grateful for the life God gave her. She was faithful and trusted that her journey could still bring happiness to those she loved, even though she’s no longer here to show them.
This type of radical change doesn’t happen over night, but with time I hope that it will become noticeable.
I hope that my loved ones will feel the joy radiating from my heart. See the peace I feel etched on my face. And the faith and trust I have in God to guide them to do the same. I pray that above all else, I leave those I love with a feeling of joy in their hearts too. Knowing that I loved them in a fierce way.
I pray that God gives me the ability to be fully present in the now. For kind words and actions to become my immediate reaction. For a heart that forgives easily and remembers that no one is perfect. I pray for the ability to be grateful, even in the hardest of circumstances.
When I think about this year and all that I’ve experienced, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy. Joy for God’s grace and the ability to start fresh each morning. To keep trying to live this life with intention and purpose. Joy for the lessons about what it means to be truly present and grateful. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s always been worth it…