Category Archives: Joyful Life

Pray To Live A Joyful Life

I grew up in a Christian house and went to church with numerous relatives because I am related to 5 founding members.

John 3:16 was drilled into my head from a very, very young age.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16
King James Version
(KJV)

And so was prayer.

When I Learned What Prayer Could Do

I did not understand what prayer could do until I was six years old. My parents woke me up early, early one morning (about 2 a.m.) and told me my paternal grandmother had a stroke and they were going to the hospital. My maternal grandfather was sleeping downstairs if my sister and I needed anything. They asked me to pray for grandma.

I did.

God, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die. God please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die.

Me, when I was 6

I prayed that prayer over and over and over again until God sent the sandman to put me to sleep. The next morning I raced down the stairs and was informed that grandma had not died but she had a long recovery ahead.

Wow! God answered my prayer! The simple prayer of an innocent six-year-old.

That is when I realized what prayer could do.

However, once I moved away from home, I got lazy. Lazy about going to church and lazy in my prayer life.

Oh, I would occasionally say prayers throughout my life, but it was after Joe’s passing that my prayer life and relationship with God got stronger. It did not get stronger all at once but slowly over the years while dealing with grief, unemployment, and building a new life.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Psalm 27: 7-8

Prayer is not for God. Prayer is for you. It is your way to communicate with our heavenly Father, to develop and cement a relationship with Him. He wants to talk with every one of us.

You don’t know what to pray?

Well, if you followed the previous step and read your Bible after exercising, then you have the best prayer book in your hands.

Pray God’s word back to Him.

If you are grieving try the second part of Psalm 30:5

For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5
New Living Testament
(NLT)

For example: Lord you say weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Would you please let that morning arrive soon? Preferably tomorrow morning? In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

That’s it. Just a simple little prayer. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated.

Just remember God will answer that prayer – in His time, not yours. I know it is tough to wait for His time but His time will arrive.

So for the next 40+ days, including Sundays, pray about one thing in your life or a loved one’s life. Write it down on a piece of notebook paper or in a journal, draw a circle around it and pray about it daily.

Not sure yet what thing or area in my life I will be drawing a circle around in my notebook. I do know it will either be this blog or my job that will be the recipient of intense pray this Lent.

Pray as if God was your best friend because He is. He will never get tired of hearing your prayer request.

I encourage you to join me in making prayer an area of intense focus this Lenten season to jump start living a joyful life.

Resources: Draw The Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson – The perfect prayer guide for Lent or any 40 day period. Inspiring stories about answers to prayer. Also includes scripture and prayer prompts for your journey.

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears – Mark Batterson

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions by Arthur G. Bennett

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Living A Joyful Life – Read Your Bible

This is the second post in the Living A Joyful Life series. You can read the first one here.

Once you are experiencing your high from exercising, read your Bible. Read life giving words.

My current favorite verse is:

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;

    you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.

Psalm 3:3
New Living Translation
(NLT)

I do not care if you read the same verse over and over. The point is you are reading words that will comfort you and bring restoration and new growth to your soul.

Other Verses

Here are other verses you may enjoy reading.

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13
New Living Translation
(NLT)

Bible Reading Plans

You could start from Genesis and read all the way through Revelation, or you can follow a specific Bible reading plan. There are numerous plans you can complete in a year or two.

I like the one developed by Ferree Hardy of Widow’s Christian Place. She developed this plan and has refined it over time. Here is a link to her reading plan which I am following this year.

Also here is a link to her post on how to make Bible reading a delight.

There are also chronological Bibles you can buy so you can read the Bible in the order events happened.

It does not matter whether you read one verse over and over or if you use a reading plan.

Just read The Bible and you will experience a joyful life. You will still have tough times because Jesus said:

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33
New Living Translation
(NLT)

May His peace be in you today and always, whether life is good or tough.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Living A Joyful Life – Exercise

Author’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles on what I believe are keys to living a joyful life. A new post will be published every Wednesday.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1st Corinthians 6:19 -20
ESV
English Standard Version

I know you are reading this stunned that the first article in the series is about exercise. After much thought, I decided this was the foundation for living a joyful life. Hopefully exercising will lead you to the next step, especially if you are grieving or going through another nasty life event.

Now I am the last person who needs to be writing about exercise since the most I do is up and down the basement steps when doing laundry.

But maybe if I write about exercise I will do it more. Maybe this spring I need to bring back Tour de Parks where I walk a different park every week and then blog about it.

Plum Creek Park

Exercise and Mental Health

It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.

Marcus Tullius Cicero
Quote courtesy of QuoteGarden.com

You need exercise to keep the endorphins and other chemicals giving you a natural high. They help boost your mood so you feel like working through tough situations such as grief or career transition.

It is the number one thing I would tell a person to do to get through grief and I mean start the day after the funeral.

Even if it is walking around the block, just do it and keep doing it. You will slowly but surely feel like doing more things to move forward with your new life.

Speaking of walking…

How I Make Walking Less Of A Chore

My favorite thing to do when I go for walks in area parks is to take my camera. Practicing my photography takes my mind off how many laps I’ve yet to do around the pond…

or how far I still need to walk.

Getting Started

The desire of activity is designed by nature to promote our physical well-being. Physical activity is the law of physical health. 

Edward Brooks, 1882
Quote courtesy of QuoteGarden.com

Get some cool tennis shoes and some cool Hollywood starlet shades and you are off and walking.

Chores

Not into walking? Then do chores as they count as exercise – both indoor and outdoor. They are another form of activity that adds up.

So run up and down the basement steps while waiting for the dryer to stop, pick up your speed when vacuuming or dance while you are dusting. Hmmm…we may have a new sport – ballroom dusting.

For your outdoor exercise may I recommend raking a gully as part of your plan to meet the 150 minutes per week requirement.

The gully in my backyard is known as The River Kearns and every couple years, it makes an appearance when we get a lot of rain. I then rake the drain area to make sure leaves, twigs and grass clipping are not clogging the drain. Fun, fun, fun.

A Wise Old Saying

You’ve heard it said that in order to never work a day in your life, find a job you enjoy doing.

The same is true for exercise, find some type you enjoy doing and you will never exercise a day in your life.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go strip the sheets off the bed with the force of an F5 tornado, run down the steps and dunk them in the washing machine. Then it will be time to get out of the house as it is my day off and I must spend most of it away from home. Looks like I will be walking the mall due to the cold, gloomy weather.

Remember – Exercise and you will experience joyful life thanks to the endorphins and other hormones. Plus you will give people something to talk about when you tell them you did ballroom dusting before coming to work.

Reflect first upon that great law of our nature, that exercise is the chief source of improvement in all our faculties.

Hugh Blair (1718–1800)
Quote courtesy of QuoteGarden.com

Related Reading: How to Start Exercising and Stick to It.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com