Joy To The World

Well, it’s almost time to ring in 2014, so I thought I’d end this blog year with a song all about Hope for the future:

That video played at church right before our pastor shared a message about the meaning behind Joy To The World this past Sunday. Did you know it’s a song about the return of Christ? “Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let Earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing“.

Intrigued, I spent some time getting to know 1 Thessalonians for the first time last night. Wow. Mind Marrow. Blown. Chapter 5, verses 1-28 filled every fiber in me.

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doingEncourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone…Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances…Hold on to what is good.

That’s just a small sampling of what I read.

I soaked the whole thing up a few more times and then texted a friend who lives just like it was written. His (gracious) response led me to Hebrews 4:12, and into one of the most meaningful conversations I’ve ever had with my husband. No joke. I’ll never forget it. I sat on the coffee table, facing Kevin on the couch, and we connected in a way that you wouldn’t think possible after almost 11 years-worth of conversations. It was…hmmm…what’s the right word? Enlightening? Emotional? Exciting? Hopeful? Heavy? Heavenly?

All of the above, I guess. :-)

It’s just that when I think about loving and being loved in that way, like Chapter 5, I mean……whew. It just grabs me. I’m struggling to nutshell it right now, but I think it made such an impact because it reminded me of how deeply we are able to care for each other’s soulsand how deeply other’s have, and are, caring for mine. Ya know what I mean? I’m probably doing a terrible job of putting my feelings into words but it sure seems like how I respond to what I read last night could have the everlasting ability to strengthen my character and the quality of my existence- and I could always use a little a lot more help with that. I hope that makes sense. Anywho, these are just some thoughts that I wanted to jot down while they were fresh. Here’s to significant and wide-sweeping strokes of grace and encouragement in 2014, and beyond!

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  1. Gina says

    Love this Layla!! talk about some powerful verses and what a way to live!! Just think what a different world we would live in if we (professing Christians) lived this out. :) Don’t you think that your conversation with Kevin is what a Godly marriage is supposed to look like too? You are truly blessed. I don’t think many married couples connect that deeply.

  2. Nicole says

    Beautifully written…what a perfect verse to reflect on as we send off 2013 and prepare to welcome a new year. And, the song was wonderful too!

  3. Betsy Derr says

    Great way to end the year!
    My hubby is teaching through 1 Thess in our Sunday School class. It is chock full of good things. In chapter 5, I especially like vss. 16-18:
    16 – Rejoice always
    17 – Pray without ceasing
    18 – In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
    God spells out His will for us, in part, in those 3 little verses.
    God’s word IS living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
    Happy New Year!

  4. Jessica says

    … And this is why you’re my favorite. So beautiful! Have a wonderful new year enjoying God’s many blessings!

  5. says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Layla! As a “newer” growing spiritual being (just finishing Jesus Calling this year and in 2014 will read again, this time adding the scripture posted below each writing) I appreciate this insight. I will be starting with the verses you mentioned this evening. :) Wishing you a joyful and blessed 2014!

  6. Patty Page says

    Beautiful thoughts! God’s word is full of rich passages to ponder. After 45 years of being a believer, I’m learning more than ever from the Word—-there is so much there–a well that never runs dry.

  7. says

    Thanks for the Bible verses, very inspiring. I am going to share with my son also. God bless you and Kevin, and Godspeed with your trip to get your beloved child in 2014. A Happy and Healthy New Year!

  8. Gwen says

    Yes. I exactly get it. Because the Holy Spirit was helping you with your words so He immediately made it clear for I too have had my eyes really opened to this part of the Christian faith. and to not be upset that someone is not taking care of me, from the church, when I was so very gravely ill, but God sent others…and this led me to hand out little verses on stands with God so loved the World around the circle…and verses from 1Peter 4:8,10a,11b NIV
    You’ll see how it goes with your passage!!! We will serve others with the strength Godd provides!! So me, disabled, brain injured, will wholeheartedly serve in a different way than you, young, able bodied!!! And the whole Body of Christ works well. I believe God is closer-ing you as a couple for you’ll soon be three!!! It is exciting to have a growing spiritual love too!! Thank you for letting the Holy Spirit guide your fingers as you typed and shared. I liked the song too. JOY!

  9. says

    That was well put – Thank You for writing your reflections. I so enjoy your Blog, and look forward to reading another each day. Thank You !!

    Here’s to a wonder filled New Year 2014 !!

    Sincerely, Linda B.

  10. Lisa W. says

    Perfectly said, at a perfectly good time for me right now! Happy New Year!!!!!!

  11. Kit says

    Hi Layla! been following your blog for awhile now….I am so inspired by you and your husbands sense of style…, and who knew I could be inspired spiritually with your blog as well? you two are something special I tell ya! thank you for this… the song is beautifully done, I hope there is more to come …. I would buy a Christmas CD from those guys for sure! take care & God Bless

  12. Pam says

    Thank you for the inspiration and blessed reminder. Blessing to you and Kevin and your soon to be family.

  13. Mary Catherine says

    Thank you for sharing! Completely beautiful! I have been reading your blog for many years. I wish you and Kevin the most in 2014!

    Mary Catherine

    P.S. I make the ranch potatoes that you shared a while back all the time. They are delicious!!

  14. Joy says

    I tend to be a cynic more often than I should, but let’s just say I named my son Paul. Love the apostle Paul. He got to the point very very well and makes me want to live a little better.

    Happy new year, and all best wishes. Thanks for sharing a little daily beauty and improvement. Xo

  15. says

    I enjoyed your post today. I wish you all the very best this coming new year.
    ( I think I might copy the verse from 1 Thess. and put it up in my work space. It is a good reminder of who we are to be at all times, especially at work.)

  16. Barbara says

    Layla, you are such a joy! Some little child is going to be very lucky indeed. God bless you and Kevin.

  17. Julianna says

    That’s a way better experience than a fleeting resolution. It’s so fun to watch you both grow in your faith and share it in such an organically gracious way. Happy new year!

  18. Virginia Mom says

    Lovely post! Wishing you a very Happy New Year and looking forward to hearing more about the arrival of your new son or daughter. My children came to us via the miracle of adoption from South America. My son is a tall, handsome United States Marine, has served two combat tours, and is now beginning his college career along side his fiancee. My daughter is such a beautiful young woman, studying dance at a major university and competing in dance internationally. I get to go along for the ride with these two accomplished, fun people, and it’s such a treat. You’re in for the ride of your life!

    God bless you!

  19. Susan says

    whoa. i can see why it got you so riled up – pretty fantastic.
    can i ask what version of the bible you recommend? i like the language that you quote here.
    thanks for a(nother) great post!

  20. Amy says

    What an awesome post, Layla!! Happy New Year,..hope 2014 gives you much joy and many blessings!!

  21. says

    Layla, you are such an encouragement. I look forward everyday to reading your blog. I can’t put into words what it means to me to read things such as this. God bless you and Kevin in this new year.

  22. Sunny says

    words never seem to convey enough but the ones you used were enough. I was moved by the beauty of the song and your sentiments.
    Reading the verse again..and the words “of how deeply we can care for each other’s soul and let them care for mine” touched me.
    The Lord has used this and a few other touches to show me how the battering of the battles of the last year had harden my heart. Survival mode I suppose…so now He softens, touches and heals to begin again and to have hope.
    Thank you for helping care for my soul through Him
    Happy New Year!

  23. Jessie says

    Thanks for sharing!! I discovered your blog about a week ago and it has been such a blessing to me! I have always struggled to find ways I can use my passion for interior design to glorify the Lord and you are such a wonderful example of that! Thanks for being true to your faith and sharing your heart with others, it’s truly inspiring! Hope you have a wonderful new year!