I always hated my first name, mainly because no one used it. When I heard it used, it wasn’t me. My middle name is my identifier – Martell, a created name by my parents. Growing up, whenever someone learned my first name, they would use it teasingly, and I would cringe. On the first day of classes each semester in college, I didn’t respond when my name was called because they always said, “Joy Johnson”. I didn’t even recognize that name!
The irony is that I have a lovely first name – Joy. I don’t think I truly appreciated this name until I read Ann Voskamp’s book one thousand gifts. Now I want to use it – put it on my website, use it in my signature because I truly do feel the joy that comes from God’s blessings.
When I began my first blog I questioned God at times – “where is the joy here?” I have been in some pretty intense struggles with God at times in the last 10 years. The fabric of my life ripped apart in 2002; its purpose, design, meaning, and pattern lay like scraps of fabric. The last time we saw our only child, Jennifer was the weekend before April 13, 2002. In the blink of an eye, the slip of a foot, a crash to the ground, everything changed.
My heart was broken, so I blamed on God; He patiently held me, waited for me, loved me. He was the loving Father to an angry and devastated child. This heart is mending – still on the journey of healing today.
Ann Voskamp inspired me to write this blog. Reading her book one thousand gifts gave me a different perspective on living. I started counting the gifts God gives me each day in March 2012; by December 31, 2012, I had counted 2559 gifts. Who knew there were so many things to count! Are some of them repeats? Sure, but only because they are worth repeating. I usually counted 10 a day, some days I counted Morning Blessings as well as the gifts at the end of the day. It has become a habit that I seldom skip.