But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.
We’ve all experienced more than a year of emotional whiplash. The world we knew before COVID shifted on its axis leaving nothing and no one untouched. The emotional fallout has been anxiety, depression, anger, uncertainty, grief, impatience, and a bone-deep weariness. While much of the COVID experience is not new to those affected by chronic illness, mental illness, chronic pain, and disability, it feels more pronounced as the unease we’re familiar with is now felt by so many around the world.
What’s the answer to all this angst? It’s found in two words: courageous kindness.
WHAT IS COURAGEOUS KINDNESS?
Courageous kindness is choosing to extend kindness to one another even when those around us aren’t being kind, in spite of the anxiety, in the midst of fear. It’s a dependence on the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of kindness as we open a door, as we choose not to respond with unkind words, as we call or text someone to offer a little encouragement, as we pray for those we love and those we are struggling to love — and it is so many other simple but intentional acts of kindness.
Chronic Joy chooses courageous kindness each time we prepare a #PenToPaper mailing. While on the surface the envelopes that arrive in your mailbox may not seem like courageous kindness, Cindee and I never really know if God will use them or if they will simply be tossed in the trash. It takes courage to develop the content for each mailing, design all the print items, place the order (which requires a huge amount of courage! Did we catch all the typos? Did we order the correct number of each piece? Did we miss anything?), and finally to sort, stuff, and pray over each packet before dropping more than 1000 envelopes at the post office several times a year.
#PenToPaper mailings are one of our greatest joys in spite of the anxiety, in the midst of the fear. It is only with, through, in, and all because of Jesus that those mailings are possible at all.
BECOME AMBASSADORS OF COURAGEOUS KINDNESS
We also just launched our Prayer Shawls page to provide Touch of Kindness Boxes to those who need a little bit of encouraging hope.
Do you knit or crochet? How about courageously sharing the work of your heart and hands to provide a prayer shawl for our Touch of Kindness boxes?
Two brand new Creative Contributors have become our first Pattern Partners, generously, courageously, and oh, so kindly providing patterns for your use. If you’ve never worked with yarn, but would like to be part of our Touch of Kindness boxes, would you commit to praying for those who are creating a shawl and for those who will receive them?
A NEW TOOL
Did you notice this symbol on the right side of your screen? Meet our new accessibility tool!
Would it be easier if there was more contrast or less color? Is it difficult to find the words that are also links? Click on the symbol to make these changes and so many more, and you’ll find this tool on every post and page.
Chronic Joy® Access
Opening Doors. Removing Barriers. Accessibility is an invitation to broaden our perspectives, choosing the simple kindness of including one another, opening doors, and removing barriers.
Making the Journey Easier for All of Us
PASS IT ON! is an invitation to pass on the love and kindness of God – making the journey easier for all of us. Write hope-filled #PenToPaper notes. Share encouraging books, blogs, and websites. Knit prayer shawls. Welcome others into the Chronic Joy community.
SPOTLIGHT ON COMMUNITY
We are so blessed to link arms, hearts, and minds with some incredibly talented, Christ-led, mission-hearted people. Introducing our newest partners and volunteers!
Emily and Kristine are our new Pattern Partners. You’ll find their beautiful patterns on our Prayer Shawls page. Both women have shown not only courageous kindness, but tremendous patience as well, since the idea for our Prayer Shawls page began as a book more than two years ago. Today, in God’s perfect way and His perfect timing, we are excited to introduce them!
Jan has been quietly working behind the scenes for many months as one of our Voices of Chronic Joy and editor. Most recently, she has joined our board of directors.
Creative Contributor • Shawl Pattern
Emily is an avid knitter and designer, who loves natural fibers, cardigans, and anything sparkly!
She developed an early appreciation for nature, art and crafts. Self-taught, her interest in fibers, textiles and fashion grew as she increased her skills making gifts, shop samples, and charity knitting. In 2011, she found her niche in the world of knitwear design, specializing in shawls and cardigans.
Creative Contributor • Shawl Pattern
Kristine is wife of 17+ years to her hubby and mom to six great kids (1 boy and 5 girls), ages 26 to 9. She homeschools her youngest five girls, and they are where the majority of her inspiration comes from.
Kristine began designing her own patterns in 2007, when a friend of hers had a baby ten weeks premature. She spent two weeks looking for a preemie blanket she liked, but couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she instead set out to create one, realizing that she loved designing, and she’s never looked back.
Chronic Joy® Editor and Board Member
Jan and her husband Gerry divide their time between Sterling, Alaska and Sedona, Arizona (where she is a choir director at Sedona United Methodist Church). Jan's love of words fills the spaces in between being a wife, mom, grandmother, and retired music educator.
Sedona also provides Jan and Gerry great Red Rock views and amazing hiking trails -- if you're ever in the area from April through October, do drop by!