Who Am I? A Bit About Where I'm Coming From...

Hello! Welcome to my blog! I'm Hannah Joy, Mother of four Joys! I actually go by Hannah or Joy generally, not both...But Joy is important to me, it's become a deep theme in my life and so much of it is centered around my constant intention of gratitude.

Which brings me to the three people I share my name with, and for whom I am extremely thankful for, my children.
Yes, I share my middle name with my daughters known on the blog as Roo, Friendly, and Pipsqueak (Pip for short). Our son Ziggy also has a very happy name with the meanings "Laughter and Joy" in both his first and middle names. 

We never set out to have a theme, we're really not "themey" people. We do like meaning though, our daughters names all have deep meaning to us.
Us...Yes, by that I would mean my awesome husband -he's cool, my best friend since age 4 - we think that's a cool detail and I like to throw it out a lot, nearly a decade as a couple and we're still pinching ourselves- how did this happen? I am so glad it did!

 Yes so we're not really into themes or trends, actually we tend to dig our heels in and refuse to get involved just on our own pet principles. I promise we try not to take ourselves too seriously, we've just got an obstinate streak of well...probably obnoxiousness. :D

Anyway, Yeah Joy... It kind of just became this thing, and now it's very much a part of our family. I get asked a lot, "What's with the Joys??"
When it comes down to it, it is my way to honor my Dad who lost his battle with brain cancer in 2006. I was going to be named Hannah Rose but my Dad said no- "Hannah JOY!", and so I, a Christmas baby, was. I can't count how many times my Dad told me growing up (usually after laughing at some thing dumb/silly I'd said) "Hannah JOY, we named you right!" 

After he died I wanted a way to honor him- but we keep having girls and "Jeffrey" isn't really a name you can incorporate into a girls name (at least that I could live with). So we passed on my middle name to my children...In memory of my Dad.

My World View...Not Short or Necessarily Sweet...
So, obviously I have the world view of ...and I honestly have come to struggle with identifying as a "Christian". It's a loaded word to many, and a lot of TERRIBLE and awful stuff has been done in His name that I do not want to be identified with. But I am a Christian, I do have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Webster defines "Christian" as:


  1. Of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings
    • - the Christian Church
  2. Having or showing qualities associated with Christians, esp. those of decency, kindness, and fairness
Christians, plural
1. A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings  
 That more or less sums me up...But I feel like the word has become a cliché in Western culture. I am not really all that normal. My family is technically Mennonite. No not the horse and buggy- no electricity kind. The peace living, Loving, serving, striving for social justice kind. We do believe relationship with Jesus is extremely unique and personal and goes through different seasons. Our faith is about relationship and love, and reading His word through a filter of Jesus and His words and his redeeming work on the cross.

That's where we're at right now.

That all explained: I'm His Friend and Child. I hope my life reflects more than a cliché.  And I have a lot of stuff I'm working through when it comes to being called a "Christian": I prefer Friend of Christ, Follower of Jesus

So to continue...How That Effects me as a PERSON

I believe God is a personal God. A Friend.  The PERFECT Parent. He cares deeply about the little things, just as much as the big.

Psalm 139 says...

You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.

 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely

You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me. 

When you read that- how do you feel?

Some times I struggle with feelings of "Ah where can I go to get away from you?!" or

"oh crap! You know my every thought. yikes."


The fact IS, we are so desperately and extremely loved by our Father.

But shame scootches around in there. We are taught to think along the lines of shame. And it can color every area and aspect of our life.

Shame says, "I am a wretched worm." or "I will always struggle with this." or "I am just BAD." ..."I don't deserve any thing."

But bottom line, we are called to live life from a place of awe and love...A Love that is our birth right because of what Christ did for us:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-6 
(emphasis my own)

It's not about where we fall short. If you've been raised in Christian circles, you were probably taught we are all "sinners saved by grace." yes and no. We WERE sinners, but because of what Christ did we are no longer sinners, we are SONS (daughters implied!). Does that mean we never sin and mess up? Of course not, but positionally God sees us as perfect: through a lens of Grace.

How people see us, how we are perceived by those who love us, effects us. If we think that we're "worms before God" - how does that effect how we behave? We expect to be sinners.

If we accept that Christ wiped out sin. We're free. We're HIS. We're beloved and precious. Paul said we were "more than conquerors"...Not because we are always battling, but because positionally (how God views us): it is finished. 

What That Means For Me As a Parent....

I teach my children in every thing I do. Their big hazel eyes take in every thing.  My attitudes, and treatment of them, and how I handle life, reflect to how they view God. I am their first reflection of God. And in my actions I can teach fear and shame. Or Grace and Love.

I also teach them about the boundaries in their world...I can do this by punishing and indicating to them that they are wretched little screw ups (make them feel badly)...Or by making sure they are human, and we all make mistakes. My treatment of them in their lowest moments needs to reflect how God would treat me. How He has treated me. GRACE.

I believe as a parent, Jesus has called me to ask Him. To call on Him for help. That my day-to-day relationship with Him, *my* learning, growing and "abounding" in Grace, will flow out to my children. As a parent, I am not called to "lay down the law", but to live it. 

To teach it to my children "when we sit, and when we walk along the road...By binding it on my forehead... By writing it on my door posts" (Deuteronomy 6). God wasn't talking about buying kitchy Christian decals for our homes. He was talking about LOVE. "The Law" (or the fulfillment to it, Jesus) was LOVE. We teach our children who He is by making His Love and Grace some thing they can't escape seeing. THAT was what was to be written on every part of our lives and our homes.

Can I do this by sheer will power? No. It's all about relationship, about listening to the gut God gave me, my instincts and His Voice. By knowing His acceptance and Love because of who I AM in HIM.

Am I there? Ha! I'm still bumbling along, asking Him daily what it means to be His. What is my true identity in Him?

But that's all He asks...Relationship...It's all about relationship.

You can read more thoughts on that HERE   (and THIS)

And THIS (much shorter ;0) explanation can be read on GreeneGems DARE TO DISCIPLE site...

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