Today, I came alive.

Just days before, I was living in what felt like a soulless human frame. I experienced movement, conversation, and basic survival, but my mind and heart were missing.

I remember the days before when I only woke up for my family. My love for them was my motivation that carried me through another hour. Despite this love, all I could manage to do most days was hold back tears and go through the motions.

I’m not sure where these intense feelings came from, but they have consumed me since the birth of my son. I know my emotions are not from lack of love or adoration. They are from the enemy.

Today, I feel freedom from the darkness.

Yesterday morning my life coach called me. The topic I chose to explore was JOY.

We tossed around the subject until she asked, “What does joy feel like?”

I began to cry. I curled up in the corner of my bed with my knees pulled up against my chest and the phone buried in my neck.

“I don’t remember,” I said.

I was confronted with the realization that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt such a necessary and fulfilling emotion. This discovery made me realize I can’t live another day without trying to discover joy again.

I have a new challenge and purpose to take over the living corpse I have become.

Today is the first day of the challenge. I wake up with the goal to notice and search for the good and the beautiful. I pour a steaming pot of tea that provides me energy and comfort with each small sip. I enter the white and pastel colored bedroom where I used to see through a lens of chaos and clutter. This time, I see my kids learning from the mess they are creating. I play with them in a different way. No longer am I mindlessly throwing the ball with my son, but I am tickling him and using his leg to kick the ball into towers we build. I’m not giving my daughter coloring crayons so I can hide in the bathroom where she won’t see me cry; I am sitting with her on my lap and teaching her letters. She just wrote an “E” for the first time, and the first speck of joy is tickling my heart.

I decided I’m going to cook a meal this evening. I haven’t cooked a meal from scratch in probably a year. This is more due to the fact I don’t cook from scratch period, but the size of my kitchen plays another factor.

Our decision to live in a 700 square foot home with a family of four and two dogs is often an obstacle in which I have a love/hate relationship. Our kitchen doesn’t allow for more than one person to comfortably fit unless both are in there for a purpose. I spend most of my time commanding my kids to “stay out of the kitchen!” and “go play!” The tugging of my apron or the sneaking of dog food hidden in the corner bothers me to the point I don’t cook unless it is a quick in-and-out process. But today is different.

Today, I pick out a healthy and homemade meal, go to the grocery store for fresh ingredients, and invite my daughter to join me in the tiny space that seems foreign to me. She stands on her purple stool to see the full, messy countertop. I cut, she stirs, and together we create more than a meal; we create a joy-filled memory and a new daily habit.

Through each elbow bump as I try to fit between the countertop and refrigerator, I discover I love to cook with a perspective of nourishing my family’s bodies and my daughter’s soul.

The act of cooking serves all involved. My son seeks alone time, which is hard to come by in our home. He often crawls away out of sight and just sits alone with his toy car he drives aggressively on the wooden floors. He receives this needed time when his sister and I are together.


My daughter is a lover of food, and cooking is the exploration and experimentation of her passion. Her smile today reveals all her pearly teeth and her eyes have a sparkle I have been missing. She is curious about utensils, recipes, and spices, and I am curiously seeking joy from an experience that has left a bitter taste in the past.

When I woke up today looking for what I’d lost, I never thought I’d find it hidden in dusty pans or my crumb-caked microwave. I didn’t anticipate implementing time with my daughter that involved something I considered to be a chore. But I did. I wouldn’t say I am completely healed, but today my soul is nourished, and, for the first time in awhile, I remember joy.

Maybe the enemy has fought long and hard to steal your joy, and you don’t even know where to begin your search to get it back. I challenge you to wake up with an open heart! You may find the gift of joy in the most unexpected places when you take the time to look.

Foust headshot 2Amanda is a wife, mother, writer, and life coach. Pen and paper make her spirit come alive. She spends her creative time reading, decorating, and handwriting fonts. Her world is better with an assortment of chocolate and a stack of books packed and ready for travel. Read more at