June 23, 2020

Two Colourful Ribbons by Joylene M Bailey

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

I think it’s interesting how a person’s calling is often related to their natural ‘bent’, the way they’re created, the way they roll. 

In recent years I’ve heard some negative talk surrounding the idea of a calling, but the Oxford English Dictionary simply defines a calling thus: ‘A strong urge toward a particular way of life or career.’

My writing life is an extension of my everyday life, and in my everyday life I’ve only recently considered whether or not it has followed a theme. 

Throughout my life, I only followed my natural bent and how I sensed the LORD’s leading. But as I purposefully look back, I see two colourful ribbons threading their path through the course of my life, sometimes wending a singular circuit, sometimes running side by side, or intersecting.

When I was born, Mom & Dad named me on purpose, and prayed from the time I was tiny that joy would be evident in me and in the character I presented to the world.

From my earliest memory I have been aware of those little sparks God put in my ordinary day that set the joy bubbles bobbing in my soul. This has extended into my grownup life, though it is sometimes harder to pick out. Not because God doesn't put them there for me, but because I don't make the conscious effort to look past the cares of life and notice them. That's where choosing joy comes in.

Finding joy in everyday life inspires me and keeps me going, and it’s what I want to relay to my readers. If I can inspire you to take a second look at your life and see those sparks God puts in your path, then I have been true to my calling.

Encouragement is the other ribbon laced through my life. Last year I came upon Isaiah 50:4 and read it as if seeing it for the first time: 

'The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are instructed to know how to sustain the weary with a word. He awakens me each morning; he awakens my ear to listen like those being instructed.'  [CSB]

'… sustain the weary with a word' jumped out at me and I fairly shouted, “THAT’S IT!” That completely defined the ‘strong urge toward a particular way of life’ that fulfilled me; that seemed to be the way I was created. 

And so, as He awakens me each morning like those being instructed, I learn how to sustain the weary with a word; how to encourage someone on their way; how to help another to look upward and outward instead of downward and inward. 

At the beginning of 2020 I asked two of my very Instagram-savvy daughters to give me a tutorial on building a bigger presence on Instagram. It seems to be the place to be, at least for the younger generations. 

Both of them said that my Bio was the first important thing. I had only a couple of seconds to hook followers, so my bio needed to be short and catchy. I needed to think about who I was, what I was sharing, who I wanted to connect with, and the people I wanted as followers.

It took me more than a week to come up with the shortest bio I’ve ever written, but I think what I finally ended up with communicates my calling and my heart: 

Gentle encourager, joy-infuser, sustaining the weary with a word.

Joy and encouragement are the two ribbons laced through my life and colouring my writing.


Joy writes from her home in Edmonton, AB, where she lives with The Cowboy and Babe. Find her at Scraps of Joy and @joyousmi on Instagram.


  1. I loved your post, Joy, and felt the joy in your words. I love knowing that your name was 'specially chosen for you by your parents. What a precious gift. Living up to one's name is a truly marvelous thing.

    Many blessings,
    Brenda xox

    1. I do have remarkable parents. Interestingly, they never told me what they’d prayed for me regarding my name until I asked them about it when I was in my 40’s! 😃

  2. This is so lovely and inspiring, Joy!

  3. I'm glad we have encouragers in this world. I received very little of that when I was young.

  4. I’m sorry you didn’t receive encouragement, Bruce. It makes life so much harder. I hope you have more encouragers in your life now.

  5. I also love that verse from Isaiah about “sustaining the weary with a word,” and I also try to give words of encouragement in my writing, personal notes, and so on. But you have added that powerful aspect of JOY! Good for you for living up to your given name. How wonderful that your parents prayed that name over you and that you lived up to the name before you even knew that the story. Thanks for sharing.


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