“You were full of joy.”
“You could feel the joy in the barn.”
“Your wedding was so joyful and happy.”
These phrases were spoken over me often after I got married on that overcast day in June. It seemed so simple and obvious to me at first - of course I was full of joy as I walked down the aisle to marry the man that I had prayed about for so long. But what most people didn’t know, and what I had failed to remember, is that it took a heavy season to get to that point.
I entered into my senior year at Waynesburg University excited about what the school year would hold for me, and the wedding that would happen soon after. I had just gotten engaged that summer, I was loving my major and was excited about my plans for the future, and I had an amazing community of people surrounding me. But that winter brought a season of anxiety that I did not expect and that took me through feelings that I did not want to feel - questioning every little thing about my relationship with my soon to be husband.
One particular day in December, I was at home for Christmas break and I was enjoying my bedroom [side note: my dad is amazing at what he does and turned my bedroom into an introvert’s dream]. My anxiety was running wild that day, so after getting frustrated that I was struggling with so many things, I just asked God “what do I do?” The words that followed that were “joy” and “celebration.” That night I dug out an old notebook from a high school English that sat on my bookcases because I cannot throw anything slightly sentimental away, and I started writing a letter to Ben listing some of the things I adored about him.
I kept writing those letters throughout the rest of our engagement. This is not to be boastful about how cute I am or how sweet our relationship is. This is to say that even in the darkness and in the mess, joy can be found. And celebrating that joy can absolutely change your heart. The days that followed the decision to write those letters were much brighter, and God showed me His heart in ways that I never expected.
That is also the heart behind Oh Joyful Day. Seasons of joy and celebration - engagements, weddings, pregnancies, graduations - can also bring heaviness along with them. Oh Joyful Day was created out of a desire to celebrate, knowing that hearts can be changed when focusing on joy. Whether it’s through calligraphy or coordination or business logos or even email conversations, there is always, always, always joy to be found. My heart is to offer joy to you - in a piece of art for your home, in wedding invitations, in conversation - and extend the freedom that comes with it. May your days be joyful.