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If you have been following my blogs or know me personally, you know my immediate family and extended family took quite a hit three years ago. My husband passed away unexpectedly and 4 months later my father passed away. To say that it was a rough time is an understatement. Two of the most influenciental men in my life are enjoying their eternal homes. I’m slightly jealous! Jesus can come back anytime! Anyway, For a time our extended family unit struggled to get our footing on who we were as a family. In the midst of our losses, my nephew started dating his now wife. A year ago he asked her to marry him, and God love her, she said yes! This past summer, she married my nephew and joined our crazy extended family. In the excitement and celebration of our family growing, joy and healing outshined the hurt and loss.

I am very proud of my immediate and extended family during this time. We have drawn together as we laughed and cried and laughed some more as we figured out how to live with loss.

On Christmas Day we celebrated at home then headed to my mom’s. We had had lunch and were visiting with each other trying not to fall asleep after our yummy lunch. My daughter had brought her karaoke bluetooth microphone that Santa had gotten her. My niece set it up with her phone and we had our own karaoke concert. My 70 something mother even got in on the action. She and my brother were belting out an Elvis Presley Christmas song. We were all smiling and laughing when my nephew and his wife walked in the door. That hyped up the laughter and the volume of singing! Smiles and laughter were overflowing! That continued that rest of the afternoon. As the evening was slowing down, we all mentioned that our faces hurt from smiling and laughing so much!

To say the least, our family needed some good ‘ole belly laughs. There are a kazillion studies out there that confirm laughter is healing and good for the soul. We are living proof. A great deal of healing occurred. 

For the longest time I had a hard time figuring out joy in the middle of hurt and pain. Many times I prayed, “Lord, I don’t get it. This hurts too much. This is too hard. Other people don’t quite ‘get’ it. I don’t have a poker face, Lord. I’m having a hard time faking it. I don’t feel joy in my heart. I don’t know what that looks like right now.” And my cries out went on and on. Thankfully, He heard my cries and answered me in ways He knew I would see and hear. 

The joy comes when you get an unexpected message of encouragement. It’s when your family grows in members and new joy is added to your family. It’s when your teenage children want to fix you lunch because they ate everything and didn’t save you any! Joy comes when you hear just the right thing from just the right person at just the right moment. It’s okay to laugh even if you’re sad. I have laughed and cried at the same time and think what a hot mess I am. Laughter fills us with joy that brings Light to the darkness. 

Laughter is one of my favorite things to remember about people. I love to hear people laugh. I can recognize a person by their laugh! Which, in return, makes me laugh and smile with them. 

My nephew and his wife brought joy and hope to our family. Joy and laughter is contagious, fun, memorable and healing. Laughter is only one of many things God uses to bring joy and healing into our life. When It happens, enjoy it, soak it in, lean into it, revisit the moment. Each time the joy and healing go deeper into our souls. In return, joy and laughter comes out and blesses you and others around you.

Go share a moment of laughter and joy with someone. 

Thanks for sharing a joy-filled, healing, moment with me. We are in this, laughing together, in Him.

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