What makes you happy!?
When I’m asked this question, a thousand things flood my mind. Various things, both large and small, that make me smile and give me a happy “high” in the moment. I begin to see with my mind’s eye a warm chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven (well anything chocolate, really), brunch at a new, trendy restaurant with my precious group of girlfriends, a romantic candlelight dinner with my hubby, sitting on the beach under a beautiful blue sky … put me in any one of these scenarios and, yes, I’m a happy girl! But what happens when the chocolate is gone or the trip is over? Is the feeling of happiness still there?
For far too many years I struggled with finding true and lasting happiness. Although I accepted Christ at a young age, a lot of life’s circumstances seemed to keep me, well, looking at life’s circumstances!! From an extremely hard marriage of 16 years that ended in an embarrassing and devastating divorce to the loss of my precious Mamaw shortly thereafter during a time where I was a broke, single mom parenting two kids who seemingly hated me because I “kicked their dad out.” Add in a few years of “dating” in a world where dating seemingly had all but disappeared as the expectation was no longer dinner and a movie, which resulted in long bouts of loneliness … it seemed there was no joy to be had … happiness had completely evaded me!
All that changed in January 2011 when it hit me like a lead balloon that I had to stop looking to my circumstances to make me happy, I must look to my Savior! That year I decided things were going to change and I was turning over my circumstances to the Lord! I remember praying, “Lord, if this is what you have for me, if being a single mom is your plan for my life, make that the desire of my heart!” Mid-January I met an amazing man who is now my husband and a wonderful father to my children!
Now I’m not saying that God gave me a man and that made everything instantly better. But I have no doubt the Lord placed Michael in my life for a reason. His unconditional love and constant encouragement allowed me to finally see past my circumstances. For the first time in my adult life, I had a partner who truly believed I could do anything I set my mind to. He supported me in every new venture I sat out to undertake! I felt beyond blessed, and my heart yearned to share that feeling with others who may be hurting or need some encouragement as well!
Early in 2012 I felt the Lord speaking to me about serving others. Now, this had always been a desire of my heart and something I longed to do, but never before had I felt the support or means to do it. I had no idea where to even begin, but the Lord was telling me to do something and I was busting at the seams to make a difference, no matter how large or small. That year our family set out on an evening of performing random acts of kindness. It was SO much fun! From that point on, it took off and we began serving His people as a family in many various ways both large and small. Guess what I finally learned and found? JOY!!! There is nothing that brings me more happiness or greater joy than doing something for someone else, especially someone who is hurting or in need! God finally revealed to me that happiness — I mean pure joy — doesn’t come from a person, possession, or even a positive life circumstance … it comes from giving and investing in things that are eternal … in serving God’s creations!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~ 1 Peter 4:10
Are you seeking happiness? A true sense of joy? Try helping or serving someone else … a complete stranger even. I promise you, the blessing will be all yours and not only in that moment, but throughout eternity! I challenge you today to step out and SERVE!
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Amber Edwards began Blessing Bag Ministry, affording her numerous opportunities to share her love for the Lord with many lost and hurting. A native of Birmingham and Huffman High School, Amber is happily married with two teens and working as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal. She enjoys leading women’s small groups and serving as Captain of the Events Team at her church. Her true passion is for others.