Joy comes after you become you.

My life and my spirit have always been an exact reflection of my self-worth and inner state. You have to know with certainty who you are…the real you…to experience true and constant joy. I wonder sometimes if the pain I have experienced in my life was actually just God refining me towards a meaningful life filled with purpose.

Long story short, I simply gave up my expectations (based on my extremely limited vision) for whatever God’s will would be for my life.

It sounds so simple, but it actually requires an intense refinement of your thoughts. I always felt certain something external would fix whatever was troubling me. A huge house, abundant wealth… but there isn’t enough money on earth to heal a broken soul or an unhappy relationship or a meaningless life. There are zero “things” that can quiet the struggle inside you. Also, happiness truly isn’t expensive. It is simple and pure and fills you in a way nothing else can. It’s love and peace, and it belongs to you, and it can’t be taken or lost.

Living a life that I find honorable fills me. Giving of my time and any resources I have gives more to me than whomever I am helping, and because I do everything with my daughter, it is soul changing for her well. She learned to give a genuine compliment to random people, and their reactions lit her up so beautifully… you just never know the power you have to change a person’s entire day.

My life is my testimony. The fact that I’m here and beyond grateful and that I wake up and say thank you while twirling under the stars. The fact that I have a daughter who is not only my favorite person but also my greatest teacher and joy. The relationships I have with my parents and the understanding of who they are is just nothing short of a miracle!

Probably one of God’s greatest gifts to me (outside of my daughter) was having to move in with my parents. My feelings and long-held resentments and just blinding anger had me screaming at God, “WHAT IN THE WORLD! WHY DID YOU PLACE ME BACK IN HELL!?” Well…Thank you God. I had a choice… I could be angry and awful (I was), or I could be quiet and listen and try to see where they were coming from. I could help and be an example, and most of all, I could let my daughter experience her grandparents with zero filter. Well, that sucked… but only until I put my ego and pride aside and saw the honestly astounding humans in front of me.

My parents are people. Sometimes, even as an adult, you forget. They are broken and flawed and kind and honorable and doing their best. My dad is grumpy and frustrating and haunted and sensitive and shy and loyal and the most protective and generous man I have ever known. He gives until he has nothing. He will show up to help you no matter the hour, no matter the issue. He will be the 1st person to save you and will worry about everyone and everything nonstop. He will also offend you because he has no filter, and he will be devastated if you get mad because he will have no clue what is wrong. He is complicated and the best grandfather in the universe.

My mom will spend 45 minutes explaining how to use the new shampoo she bought and hold the shampoo hostage so you are forced to listen to “you pour a small amount in your hand and then put it on wet hair…WET! ARE YOU LISTENING?” But she will also search high and low for your favorite things and encourage you to buy things that make you feel better. She will always laugh and desires nothing more than seeing her family happy and joyful and safe. She doesn’t hate a single soul and is very much still the little girl she once was. She just loves people and sunflowers, and mostly, she loves my dad and just worships her grandchildren. She is simple and kindhearted and believes God answers prayer, and she prays for each family member 100 thousand times a day.

I am blessed and grateful and know how to use shampoo. I have learned patience and tolerance and that life is way too short to not find the good. There is so much good. It is so easy to pass judgment and be critical, but if you don’t want to be judged…well, you know the rest.

I choose to live my life privately because I want a happy and wholesome existence. I don’t allow devices or distractions in our lives, and I am very purposeful in my parenting. I put God first and believe that offers a shelter for my daughter in difficult times and also a base of morality, which the world currently seems to lack. I am happy with what I have and have gone from praying for everything to praying for enough because that is all I need. Thank you, God, for everything good and bad because it led me to today and today. I am filled with joy.

Published by Heidi

All glory to God. Mommy, horse lover, photographer heidibond11 on Instagram and Heidi Bond @heidimukki for Venmo donations or to buy photography ❤️

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