I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall always be in my mouth.Psalm 34:2
Happy birthday, Radiant with Joy
I’m not known for making spontaneous decisions, but I made one a year ago today that I’ll never forget or regret. A year ago, I got my rejection email from FOCUS, and I was left wondering what to do next. I was in the elevator on my way to a dance class when I declared:
I’m going to start a faith blog.
It was spontaneous, impulsive, but I went for it anyway. Looking back, I’m certain it was the Holy Spirit. I knew what I would name my blog right away, Radiant with Joy, after my favorite Bible verse. Psalm 34:5 reads “Those who look to God are radiant with joy; their faces are never darkened with shame.” This is how I want to live for my Heavenly Father, and I hope that my joy not only brightens up those around me, but also helps them to encounter God.
I always felt called to help people fall more in love with God, which is why I applied to be a FOCUS missionary. As much as I was heartbroken when they said they wouldn’t interview me, I took their rejection graciously, knowing that God had other, more beautiful plans for me. There’s beauty in the breaking, and from the heartbreak that came with FOCUS’s “no,” I was able to say “yes” to starting Radiant with Joy.
I started this faith blog with transparency being a priority. I truly believe that everyone can be holy and anyone can be a Saint. Remembering how much I’ve struggled with spiritual comparison, I knew that only sharing my spiritual highs, or the good things going on in my faith journey, would be toxic. Instead, I decided to write about the highs and lows of my faith journey, starting with the “no” I had to hear from FOCUS. It wasn’t always pleasant to write about the lows. It was downright difficult to be so vulnerable sometimes, but it was worth it to be honest with myself and my readers, and I believe this facet of my blog is what makes it so beautiful and precious to readers.
Because of Radiant with Joy…
Within this little ministry, I found that I inspired quite a few people. As the Peace Prayer of St. Francis goes, “it is in giving that we receive,” so as I wrote Radiant with Joy and poured my heart into it, my heart was filled to the brim.
My email wasn’t exploding with messages of gratitude, but when I would run into a friend at the Newman Center and they would say they loved my last blog post, I’d beam just knowing that someone read it and liked it. Having a faith blog kept me accountable for growing in my faith, so I made more of an effort to receive the Sacraments more and to pray every day. In writing about my faith, I found myself learning more about the Church and her teachings, and falling more in love with them. In this past year, I went to daily Mass more than I ever have, I prayed the St. Andrew Christmas Novena, I finally made my Marian Consecration, I did Fiat 90, I’m working on my second 54-day Rosary Novena, and I read more Scripture than I ever have in my life. Radiant with Joy gave me the push that I needed to strengthen my faith. It elevated my prayer life, revived my relationship with Mary, and deepened my relationship with God.
I grew in perseverance not only with prayer and growing in faith and virtue, but also with my writing schedule. By planning blog posts and making a content calendar, I grew in commitment. I found so much support from my family and friends, and from some fellow faith bloggers! It means so much when they support me and Radiant with Joy, and I genuinely love to cheer them on with their blogs.
When I decided to write a faith blog, I became vulnerable and open with my faith journey. Because of this, I could have placed my worth in the amount of readers or followers that I had or the success or lack thereof that I gained, but strangely that never happened. Through it all, I gained a deeper understanding of my worth and identity as a daughter of the Lord. Whether Radiant with Joy becomes a huge and successful ministry or a little way to share my faith, I know that the Lord is pleased with me. I’m secure in knowing that I’m his beloved daughter, which has made me more joyful in everything that I do.
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A Few “Thank Yous”
The Lord is first and foremost in my life, so first, I thank him for Radiant with Joy and its very eventful first year. Every milestone that Radiant with Joy reached during this year, I credit to my Heavenly Father. Without him, none of this would have been possible. As I watch Radiant with Joy grow, I know that this is his plan for me. I felt him guiding me as I got the domain, made social media accounts, watched my number of page views go up each month, opened an Etsy shop, and made the blog look prettier and more professional. I thank him endlessly for what Radiant with Joy has become in the last year, and I look forward to where he’ll take it in the future.
Thank you to my family for being my biggest fans since day one, especially my mom for commenting on all of my blogs and sharing every single one. Thank you to Nathan, for your genuine excitement and support each time I talk about Radiant with Joy or do something new with it. Thank you to all of my friends who constantly hype me and RwJ up, especially Bernie, for your loving words of encouragement. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me and this blog. Finally, thank you, for reading my blog. Whether you’ve been here all year or if you’re new to Radiant with Joy, I hope you’re feeling the joy and love of our Father radiating from my words. Please know that I’m praying for you to always stay radiant with the joy that only the Lord can give.
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