Joy comes from connection. Connection to self. Connection to God. Connection to others.

Connection comes from vulnerability.

As a child I learned the rules to keep safe in a dysfunctional family system. Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel, don’t share.

In me these rules bred disconnection, pain, anxiety, fear, isolation, and numbness. Not joy. In those days I defined happiness as an absence of turmoil. I had no idea it was an actual emotion that could be felt and enjoyed.

As a young adult I learned that these family rules were destructive to my wellbeing. It was terrifying and so hard to break free from my programmed responses. At times I still protect myself even when I am safe, and connection is possible. I believe the lies that are whispered to me that to be vulnerable is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. I push away those who love me. Interestingly enough I do this when there are happy celebratory experiences, that I keep to myself, as well as the hard and difficult ones.

I have discovered over and over that every time I believe these lies and lean into defensiveness, I become fearful, miserable, alone and hurt. I lose trust in God, myself, and the world.

On the flip side, when I resist the desire to protect myself and instead risk being vulnerable by sharing my experiences and feelings with those who love me, I become open, responsive, and find that I trust God, myself and others. I find connection. And through connection I experience Joy!

I am passionate about living a joy filled connected life with others who are willing to experience it too. I have been blessed with mentors and friends that God placed in my path to teach me new skills and give me new perspectives. I’m grateful for all of the people who have walked with me and continue to walk with me.

I’m once again in a space of discovery. I am discovering that grief and sadness are rich and bearable when I connect to the waves that pass through me and share them with friends and family who have discovered the power of the connection that lies within their own vulnerability. And in the moments of deep sorrow, I turn inward to the place where I connect to God so that I can receive from Him the love and grace he is continually offering.

Today my joy is in the power of vulnerable connection! My gratitude is deep for all of you who have offered prayers, love and support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We are that we might have joy! Now and into the eternities.