True Joy…

My name is Krista Paula Beata (bee-ah-tuh). While it is unusual, and may sound odd, my name is very dear to me, there is an incredibly rich history behind my name… and I enjoy having two middle names.

You see, my parents named me (and all three of my siblings) based off of the meanings behind the names, they prayed for us, and felt compelled by the meanings they felt held true to who we were meant to be. My beautiful little sister and I both have two middle names, a tradition my older brother and sister in law kept when they had my most adorable niece (known to mankind), and one I will likely keep as well if I ever have a daughter. Making the history even deeper, both of my middle names come from my grossmama (German for grand-mama) and grosspapa (grand-papa), but even more than that, my name literally means “joyful little Christian.”

I love it because every part of my name and the history behind it fit me. I very much enjoy the uniqueness that is the story behind my name, I love that the meaning fits me exactly…

Joy has typically been a fairly tangible characteristic of mine, and even more than that, I (like my dad) have a fairly loud laughter that gets more comments than anything else. It took me a while, but now I love the laugh that is often just a little too loud, very distinctive, and causes my entire body to partake in the laughter. One of the things I have found is that my laughter has a direct correlation to my joy… I laugh easily and often… and usually loudly when joy is down the core.

Joy is a choice, joy is hard… But, joy is also a gift I am so thankful my parents have been praying over me since before I was born, and one that seems to be woven into the very fibers of who I am because joy is where I am the most comfortable in my own skin. 

There have definitely been periods of my life where I literally could not find joy, it was as if it had evaporated like the mist in the morning, and all that remained was a sweltering day followed by a pitch black night. During those times in my life, when I laid in bed at night, I remember thinking several times, “where has my joy gone?… Oh Lord, find it and bring it back to me…”

Every single time, the joy eventually comes back, not always right away, and sometimes it takes much… much longer than I would ever willingly choose, but it also brings with it an unexpected layer of faith that once again my sweet savior protected me through the heat of the day and carried me through the overwhelming darkness. Each time joy returned to my life, it brought with it an additional understanding of the difficulty it takes to choose joy, but also the absolute importance of joy as well.

True joy is not a result of naivety or a way of choosing not to see reality, there is something about true joy that ushers in hope, that paves a way for faith, and that replaces fear with peace. More specifically, the joy I am speaking about is not to every be confused with happiness, and definitely not to be mistaken for fake or fleeting. I am talking about an unmitigated joy to the very core. The type of joy that could only come from my Lord, my king. The kind of joy that resonates from within and somehow finds a way of reaching to the very core of those it touches as effortlessly as a feather wafting along on a breeze. True, authentic, unhindered joy… That is the joy that returns to me faithfully, brought to me like a perfectly wrapped gift from the God of the universe.

I am so thankful for true joy in my life.

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