A personal story:
When my son was dedicated as an infant, the pastor prayed over him. I don't remember the exact words he used, I would have to look at the video again to refresh my memory, but when he was done he turned to us and said something to us about providing joy for him. I pondered it, but it didn't really strike a chord of meaning anything until my daughter was born. At her dedication, the same pastor prayed over her and in the prayer he kept praying JOY, that this baby was some kind of fulfillment of joy. As he prayed, it hit me that this was an answered prayer of what he had prayed for my son two years prior - God had provided for my son the Joy the pastor prayed, in the form of my daughter.
That may sound strange, and if so, it's probably only because I'm explaining it weird or that perhaps my memory is foggy on the exact words. But, something hit my spirit that day... This child was joy!
Now, her name was not joy. No, we had to give her a much more complicated family name instead. But, she was joy!
She was my only baby who smiled a lot.
She was my only baby who would freely allow strangers to hold her.
She was my only baby who slept through the night... at only a few days old I had to wake her to feed her, and then she would easily drift back off to sleep.
But, she would provide my very serious son with his first moments of joy and a whole lot of laughter. He was very cautious in all he did, and she taught him to throw some of that caution to the wind. Yes, it was due to her leading on teaching him how to walk up and down steps that led to his very first skinned knee, but nonetheless, there was joy in his life thanks to the arrival of his sister, 21 months his younger sis.
It was this daughter who would bring excitement into our lives at every turn. She was thrilled about everything new. We often joke that wherever she goes, she leave sparkles of glitter and joy behind.
Now, at 14, we often think of my daughter and joy simultaneously.
Is joy something you can muster up all by yourself? I really don't think so. I really believe that true joy is only found when we are in the presence of God. The Bible says:
You will make known to me the path of life;