Tag Archives: joy

A letter

My dear friend,

I wanted to write to you and let you know what God has been teaching me.

I’m also praying for you, as I don’t know all you are going through, but Jesus does.

Uncertain times can bring fear and doubt, but for those of us who know Jesus, it is a place of surrender.

Which is where we should live as believers.

In fact, surrender is a pleasure, because it frees us of thinking we are in charge or that we have to do or must be whatever.

With total surrender we get to wait upon the Lord in peace.

To walk forward in Him and not worry.

It’s what Paul said:

Philippians 4:11-14 NKJV — Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul had learned the practice of daily surrender and he knew there was nothing that he could not endure, because Christ was his Master and through him he could walk whether hungry or full.

Too often, especially in our culture, we think we “have to do…”.

Yet, it is only true if we were given the task by God.

Him and His Word is what we must obey and listen to, not our flesh, not our family, not our neighbors.

At least not any of those before we listen to God and His Word. (We should always check what we “heard” to make sure it aligns with scripture. God doesn’t contradict Himself.)

We must have a teachable spirit, because often God will guide and direct us through the voices of others, but that’s why our relationship with the Lord and studying His word must come first.

Only with a heart completely surrendered before God can we truly hear those around us.

Life was not given for us to live unto our selfish desires.

Nor to achieve our own made-up priorities.

Life was given as a gift, but we should give it back.

Sin has marred the heart so much that we can never find true life without first giving ourselves to God completely, without even a piece left out.

True surrender means Job:

Job 1:21 NKJV — And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

This is surrender.

Job understood all that had been trusted to his care was not his and could be removed at any time.

His life was not his position, family, experience, nor his stuff.

His life was God’s and he would praise him no matter the circumstances.

That is where true joy is.

In finding that one can truly praise God no matter what is occurring.

That I can trust Him no matter the obstacle or the emotion.

There is nothing to despair, because my Savior lives!

There’s nothing I need to prove to others, because my Savior lives!

What does man think of me? It doesn’t matter.

My Savior lives!

What blessed joy!

What grand design!

How great is our God!

May God bless and keep you my friend,

Love, Hope

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your love! Thank You for salvation! How grateful I am to You for Your gift of friendship to me. I’m so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who love me as they do. Lord, please lift up my friend and bring them to a place of rest and trust in You. Heal their heart of past hurts and restore them to faith in You. Lord, let them see themselves and others as You do. Let them walk with understanding and truth. Lord, please open the scriptures to them, that they might find the Way. Let their hearts find peace in surrender. Let them put all their trust in You. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Daisies

To begin, I’m sharing something quite personal and I pray it blesses you.

Many years ago I was struggling and frustrated with circumstances.

I kept praying about it and the Lord surprised me with a perspective turn.

He reminded me this place is not my home, and heaven will be more glorious than imaginable.

Thus, I began to learn to look on heaven as a real place and my forever home.

It has actually helped me enjoy the things here more.

One of the things I expect to find in heaven is a garden.

Since, it was the first place God put people it makes sense to me.

Not to mention, I deeply love flowers, all kinds of beautiful flowers.

I’ve found so much comfort in knowing heaven is my home.

Especially, during the seasons when I’m struggling a lot physically.

Last March I got very sick.

Several days worth of illness worse than I’d had since my health crumbled a few years ago.

During those days of struggle I prayed a lot.

I lifted up others and talked with the Lord about heart things.

I prayed a good deal about the future of our family.

One of the times I was struggling the Lord brought to mind a bunch of daisies.

Flowers are created by God, the beauty and joy I find in a daisy reminds me of the greatness of God.

“I love daisies, Lord. Thank You for creating them.”

And it might sound strange, but I thought about daisies often when feeling the worst.

Because the Creator, who can handle the delicate intricacies of a single pedal, can handle my life.

And my soul is safe in His hands.

When Jase and I were down south for his doctor’s appointment we stopped at the Salvation Army and got a few things including three bags of yarn.

I was prayerfully considering what God would have me make when I felt led to try a new pattern I’m learning.

As I began, I was praying for guidance and made a row out of some pretty variegated yarn, but felt I should do something different for the next row.

There was a lot more white yard than yellow.

It made sense to use the yellow on the inside of the circle and switch to white for the larger outside.

After making the first one for row two I clearly saw the pattern was making daisies.

Since last March, daisies are very special to me.

And I realized God has given me the opportunity to make a daisy blanket which will serve as a wonderful reminder of God’s incredible abilities and care.

I feel so blessed.

Truly, He is the most loving, understanding, incredible,…

Words escape my joy in the Lord and my awe at His ways.

I wonder what daisies will look like in heaven?

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for all these little things which mean so much to me. Lord, please continue to help me to see this life as temporary and to surrender myself completely to You. Lord, I know You are in control of each thing and Your ways are best. Lord in the times when I’m struggling with pain or feeling downhearted please remind me of all Your faithfulness. Lord, You know all my details of today and I trust You and praise You. Lord, thank You for both the seasons of pain and those of joy. For I can praise You in it all. I love You. Amen.

Kindness in a stranger

This picture is of the empty parking space where they had been.

I didn’t really think about it until they were gone.

I’d not been sitting in the car for very long when she pulled into the space next to me.

My husband is feeling better, but not well enough to drive, so I was playing chauffeur.

Since, I’m not allowed inside the doctor’s office unless there’s a medical reason, I sat in the car.

I’d decided to sit in the back seat where there’s more leg room to crochet.

I’d gotten all comfy when she pulled in.

It was an SUV, so I could easily see the driver, a young woman.

A bit later, movement caught my eye and I saw her carrying a baby boy.

I love babies!

I smiled.

She smiled too.

As this young mother left, I figured she was taking her little one to the pediatrician’s office in the same building as our doctor.

Time passed and they returned.

I smiled and she saw me.

She smiled back.

I was a bit surprised, she just hopped into the front seat with her baby, but it’s not my business to spy on people so I returned to crocheting.

Not long afterwards, I noticed movement again.

She had gotten back out of the driver’s seat and was standing next to the car window.

She was holding her baby so I could see him.

Through the glass we both were smiling at one another.

I told her he was adorable and made a motion with my hand for the sign, “beautiful”.

She understood and grabbed his little arm and waved at me.

I asked how old he was.

She carefully held him as she put up nine fingers.

“Nine months old,” replied this sweet mother.

Still smiling I nodded and that was the end of our conversation.

It’s a bit chilly out, so I wouldn’t have wanted to keep them out in the cold.

I also couldn’t think of more to say other than, “he’s adorable!”.

She soon backed out of the space and drove away.

And it suddenly seemed a little colder.

Some how this mother and baby had brought such warmth that I missed them when they left.

How does the kindness of a stranger touch my heart like that?

I am certain, it’s Jesus.

I thanked the Lord for this little moment and I prayed for this mother and child.

I thought of our grandson and then our granddaughter and prayed for them as well.

Pausing briefly, in my crocheting, I looked at the empty space and thanked God again for this sweet moment and these two strangers.

I returned to my crocheting, but continued to pray.

The space remained empty until right before it was time to leave.

It was another young woman who pulled in and as I prepared to back out I smiled at her.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for mother and baby boy. Please put Your hand upon them and watch over them. Guide their lives and direct them into the path of peace. Lord, thank You for the young lady who pulled in as I was leaving. Place Your truth into her heart and mind. Lord, please let those who are called by Your name be lights that shine brightly. Help us to love as You love, to walk this Earth interested in those around us more than our own wants and desires. Lord, help us live open handed, willing to smile and wave to a stranger. Please be glorified through us. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

December 13

Today’s prayer:

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
Psalms 112:4 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for being our light! Thank You for being upright and righteousness. Lord, thank You for being merciful and kind, full of compassion and understanding. Lord Jesus, please help each one of us to completely surrender ourselves before You. Help us to be aware of those things which would hinder our relationship with You, those things we have allowed to bend our perspective away from completely following You. Lord, please remove anything which would ensnare us. Lord, please break off the chains of sin and help us obey Your Word with zeal and humility, not as puffing ourselves up, but instead resting in Your strength and Your Sovereignty. For You do not see as man sees. Lord Jesus, help me to relinquish every part, every piece of my life to You. Please help me to walk in wisdom, honor, and love. Please give me Your perspective and set Your Word upon my heart. Thank You for all Your wonderful works. Lord, I humbly lift up the hurting, the sick, the lost,the caption, the prodigal, and the innocent before You. Please, touch each heart and bring them all they need. Thank You. Amen.

Rest

Matthew 11:28 KJV — Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

What weighs down the soul?

What things cause hearts to be heavy and burdened?

Grief, fear, pain, loss, need,…sin.

Behind most things, which weigh like lead upon the soul, is sin.

Other’s sin or our own, cause such pain, such hurt, such damage.

It doesn’t take much sin nor does it take generations of sin to wreck the peace of a heart.

Look at Adam and Eve.

Their own sin drove them out of the Garden and separated them from all that God had provided for them there.

Their son’s sin caused them to be the first parents to lose a son.

And one really can’t find a worse way to lose a child, he was murdered by his brother.

They literally lost both sons in one day, one moment of sin.

Which cultivated the broken and hurting sin filled world.

The sin at the Garden, the sin of Adam and Eve, the sin of every person, Jesus came to save.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NKJV

True rest is found in Christ Jesus alone.

When our soul is safe in the cleansing blood of Christ we find no need to fear.

Peace, joy, security, goodness, kindness, faith, love, and so much more is in the gift of salvation.

Yes, there are still the daily struggles with our flesh which wars against the Spirit.

Yes, there are still continually trials and tribulations from the enemy.

Yes, there is still the pain, grief, loss, need, and all the other consequences to sin all around us, but even in it all we have hope.

Jesus promises to return.

He will deal with sin and the enemy.

Jesus is preparing a place for us.

This world is not our home, but merely a journey.

And while we travel we have the privilege to share the Good News of the blessed rest we have in Christ.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for salvation. Thank You that we need not strive and labor to earn our way into Your presence, because we could never do it. Thank You for making the way, for bridging the gap, for paving the road. Lord, sometimes I forget that I need not strive and struggle. Sometimes I think I have to do this or that. I forget to lean on You, to seek You when it’s difficult, to rest in Your ways when I’m frightened or disappointed. Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me. Thank You for saving me. Please help me to rest in You each and every day. I praise Your holy name, Jesus! Amen.

Yesterday was…

Thanksgiving for our family.

My husband went to work on Thursday so we had already made plans to celebrate on Sunday.

We sang some Christmas carols.

(I know we were blending two seasons, but we love Christmas music and sing it as early as possible.)

We read the Pilgrim’s story.

My heart breaking all over again for the sacrifices those dear people made.

Then we took turns writing what we are thankful for in the back of the book.

My husband carved the turkey and we discussed a few memories while filling out plates.

“Well, two years in a row. We over cooked the broccoli and cheese.”

“It must be that old crockpot. It wasn’t in there more than an hour.”

“Remember how people were eating your honey-butter straight out of the dish while we were in the UK, Mom?”

“They did?! I don’t remember that.”

“Yeah, it was for the cornbread, but Daddy caught them passing it around like a side dish.”

“What’s in these mashed potatoes? They’re really good.”

“Butter, sour cream, milk,…”

“Do you remember the play we put on at the school?”

“Yes, and how the one line he did turned the play into a comedy!”

“I think of him every time I read that!”

It didn’t take long for talking to subside into eating.

After cleaning up most of the family played a board game twice and then a card game..

Later, we watched three episodes of the Chosen.

(If you’ve not seen Season One of the Chosen, you can download their app for free. Dallas Jenkins is the creator and it’s wonderful.)

It was a lovely day of thankfulness and family.

Something my husband and I cherish and realize won’t always be.

Our children are growing up so fast and we know they belong to God.

We want them to go, to do whatever God calls them.

We want them to be people completely surrendered to His perfect will.

Which means we have to surrender our own desires and plans.

Because they only live under the same roof with us for a season.

A season we are so thankful for.

No matter what the future holds, may we never spend so much energy preparing for tomorrow that we miss the blessings of today.

As my husband began his prayer yesterday: “Lord, we really have so much to be thankful for…”

He’s so right!

We have today.

Dear Lord Jesus,

It’s true, we have so much to thank You for. You have given us so much each and every day. Although things can be scary and the future still seems so unpredictable, I thank You that You promise to never leave us. Thank You for providing for us. Thank You for carrying us through. Lord, please continue to help us see the blessings in today. Please help us to live wholly unto You in each day. Lord, we want to serve You, to be close to You, to love You. Please help us to do so. Thank You for yesterday. Thank You for today. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Despite the mess

Our daughter was nursing our grandson.

When she suddenly realized there was a problem.

Without being too graphic, anyone who knows babies understands: sometimes it gets messy.

I grabbed two old towels and wrapped him in one.

As she handed him over he spit up.

More mess.

I left her to cleaning herself and carried the baby to the other bathroom.

I put another towel on the floor and began to remove soiled clothes.

I changed his diaper.

In a fresh diaper and clean from all mess, he was laying on his back looking up at me.

He smiled.

Of course I smiled back.

We had several minutes of smiles and babytalk before his mom and dad came in with fresh clothes.

Much later I was blessed to sit in the rocking chair and rock him to sleep wrapped carefully in a blanket.

This morning I was reflecting upon our day yesterday.

And the Lord brought to mind this moment I shared with our grandson.

As a baby he’s completely unaware of the fact that he stopped all other activities with his mess.

He wasn’t embarrassed by his mess.

He was completely oblivious.

He’s not old enough to understand how his life suddenly stepped in and made our lives change.

What he was aware of was the love.

His little face when I was talking with him up held joy and security.

He obviously also felt better, but his smile said so much more.

His little smile said, “I’m happy to see you”.

Later, as he drifted off to sleep, his little face held peace and comfort.

And I see a beautiful picture of God’s love.

He loves me so much, that He cleaned me up from the stains of sin and death.

And it’s a continually thing, because I am a sinner and I need His cleansing daily.

As our grandson grows, he will become aware of his messes, like our granddaughter already has.

And when she’s made a mess she runs for the loving arms of her parents.

I too get to run to my Savior.

His arms are open.

His Word is ready to clean me, to shine truth into my mess and teach me how to put off those things which lead me to sin.

His voice is speaking to me, honing my heart, changing my perspective of the circumstance, and giving me guidance to live by.

And I can smile at Him, because I know He loves me.

Despite the mess I might have made, He loves me.

Because my favorite place to be is clean and warm, wrapped safely in His grace, resting in His peace.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your salvation. Thank You for shining Your truth into my heart and mind. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach me and hone my heart that I might not sin against You. Let nothing stand between us, but remove whatever would hinder our relationship, because You alone are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. I never want to miss a moment with You, nor to have my walk with You hindered. Thank You for our family and the lessons I’m learning. Thank You for Your faithfulness and unending love. Lord Jesus, You alone are worthy. I praise Your holy name! Amen.

November 22

Today’s prayer:

Because you have made the Lord , who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
Psalms 91:9‭-‬10 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for salvation! Thank You for keeping my soul safe. Lord, I know it is only through You that I can be saved. It is only in Your ways that I can find anything good or wholesome or true. Lord Jesus, thank You that no matter the circumstances here on Earth, my dwelling with You in heaven is free from all sin, death, disease, and pain. In Your presence is fullness of joy! Lord Jesus, how I want others to find safety and security in You! How I long to share the peace and comfort and love I have in You! I know You want that even more than I do. Thank You for being such a loving God. Thank You for giving us life and truth in Your Word. Thank You for being so faithful in all things. Lord, I can look backwards and see those times I felt lost and alone You were there. Those moments of pain and trial and grief, You were there. You have never left me nor forsaken me. Thank You! May Your name be praised! May the whole Earth be filled with Your glory! Amen.

Today

2020 has been full of change for the world.

We’ve learned to let go of experience and learn new ways of doing things.

It has been overflowing with change for our family as well.

My husband’s brother and wife had a son.

His sister and her husband had a son.

Sis and her husband had a son.

Bell got married.

Anne is now a Senior in highschool and Jase a Freshman.

Sis is in her final year at University.

Anne is learning to drive…

You get the picture.

From my perspective 2019 was also immersed in change.

Our first grandchild was born.

I had to quit my job due to my health.

My husband changed jobs.

We moved three hours north.

Bell remaining behind to attend college.

We sold our property in the country and reside in a rental in the suburbs.

As 2020 winds closer to an end I can look backwards at these and other changes.

I could long for it to all return to the way it was before, but how far back would that be?

Would I want to return to the years our girls were in sports and school?

Or would I want to go farther back to when they were all children?

What about back to diapers and no sleep and…

Then I look at today.

Today is as full of blessings as any of my favorite memories.

Today is as valuable as yesterday was.

Today is where I am.

It’s good to look back and see where God has brought us.

It’s valuable to reflect on the changes God has made, because He is working through each one.

But it is vital to live in this day.

To look for what He is doing in my present.

For God is at work right now and I want to be a part of that.

I want to live in today, because it’s where He is.

Psalm 118:24 NKJV — This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for today. Thank You for all You have done in the past. How You have walked me and my family through so many things. Lord, thank You for working in and through those things and for giving us new understanding, new perspective. Lord Jesus, You alone know what this day holds and I humbly request that You hold me as I go throughout the day. Hold me in Your ways and in Your Word. Please teach me how to respond, teach me how to love. Please help me to do all I do unto You and not for self. Thank You for Your patience with me and Your understanding. How great and mighty You are! May Your name be glorified throughout the whole Earth! Amen.

“Our love…”

Kissing baby brother.

As I focus on praise, worship, and prayer today it seemed fitting to share part of a hymn written by Peter Scholtes.

“We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord.
We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord.
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

This hymn is precious to my heart.

The first time I was touched by it was as a young adult, sitting in church.

During the offering a music video with this song was played.

Tears streamed down my face and my heart hurt so deeply.

Because although I knew many Christians, it wasn’t our love for one another which we were known for.

I remember telling God I wanted to be the kind of Christian who was known by God’s love.

We purchased a Jars of Clay CD which contains the same song.

My children have grown up listening to it.

Anne’s favorite song is this same hymn, preformed by King and Country.

Our family will be listening to this and other hymns this morning.

I will be praising the Lord.

From what I can find, Jason Upton added these lines to the original hymn.

“All praise to the Father from whom all things come,
And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only son.
And all praise to the Spirit,
Who makes all things one.”

“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

1 Chronicles 29:13 KJV — Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.

Psalm 30:12 KJV — To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for beautiful songs and hymns and spiritual songs that we can sing unto You. Lord, if my breath is taken and I can’t sing, may my heart praise You even more. Lord Jesus, please continue to bring us to a place of prayer and praise, that our hearts might find all we seek in You. How great and wonderful You truly are! What a privilege and honor it is to praise Your holy name! What joy there is in my soul safely in Your hands. Jesus, I lift up those who are hurting, sick, lost, fearful, and in need, please let them each find comfort and security in You. Open their eyes, unstop their ears, and soften their hearts, that they might find joy, peace, and true love in Your salvation. Please heal our land. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.