Tag Archives: joy

Odds and ends

I’ve been trying to get some things finished up and make time for stuff I’ve put off.

With all the changes of late, I’m needing to get some projects either done or gone.

Throughout my life, I’ve had “projects”.

Normally, some form of craft.

As a child my mother taught me to embroider, just simple stitches, but I would gladly run for my work to show grownups.

I also remember decorating all kinds of things with buttons.

Our elderly lady neighbor taught me to crochet.

Mom is left-handed so she couldn’t teach me as I’m right-handed.

I had mounds of paper crafts, everything from drawings to construction paper cut-outs.

As a teen I branched out into painting.

Watercolor was my favorite, but I did acrylic and oil.

I also dried flowers.

After I got married I started scrapbooking and did a little rubber stamping.

I also sewed.

My favorite craft is crocheting.

Anyone might guess this if they saw what I get for Christmas!

As of right now I have three sewing projects which have gotten pushed aside.

However, I have been able to finish up most of my crocheting.

The final project is making a replacement table runner for my dining room.

It’s nearly finished and I’m excited to see it in use.

As I prayerfully work through my projects, I’m so thankful for the opportunity.

Part of the reason I make things is my desire to “work with my hands”, but the main reason is the joy of doing something useful, to glorify God.

For life has taught me that things are always changing, but the possibility of using what I have for Him is constant.

Whether I’m piecing scraps of old jeans for a blanket or cooking a meal for our family, I’m blessed to be able to give my time to God.

I want all that I do to bring honor and glory to God.

Proverbs 31:30 NKJV — Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the different gifts and abilities which You bless each of us with. Thank You that these things can be used for Your glory. Lord Jesus, unto You do I want all my efforts to be focused on. Lord, I don’t want to do anything from my own desires or my own ideas, but instead I want to be centered upon You in all things. Lord, it is easy to get caught up with the busy of life and to forget to check my heart and my schedule with You. Please do not allow me to stray into my own ways, but instead call me, that I might return quickly to You. Thank You, Jesus for Your patience. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for teaching me so much each and every day. May my life bring glory to Your name. Amen.

Choosing joy

There’s choices each day.

So many, at times they can feel overwhelming.

One of those choices we all make each day, sometimes minute by minute, is what we choose to do.

What we think on, what we meditate on, what we listen to, what we read, all are choices.

These choices either build our faith or tear it down.

When faced with uncertainty, tragedy, and pain we have a choice.

Despair or trust.

Will we praise God through the current circumstances or will we complain about the havock?

Throughout history we see God using the things Satan meant for evil and turning it to good.

As followers of Christ, we need to choose to find joy in Him, even in the midst of incredible pain.

For we can choose joy even while we suffer.

Acts 5:41 KJV — And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Yes, there will be trials and tribulations.

Yes, we will struggle, suffer, and experience tragedy.

No, it won’t last forever, because Jesus promises eternal life in Paradise.

And thus, we can choose joy.

Not a false pretense of faking it.

Not denying the fear or hurt or loss we are experiencing, but in those things choosing to cling to Jesus.

Choosing to praise Him for He is worthy.

Choosing to find hope and joy in life eternal.

It’s not easy, nor is it popular.

Yet God’s Word is truth and in it we find our example:

Luke 23:34 KJV — Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Romans 5:8 NKJV — But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In God’s Word we have the answer.

Romans 5:3-5 NKJV — And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:28 NKJV — And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

In His promises we can find joy.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for life eternal in You because You sacrificed Your life on the cross. Thank You for showing us how to handle tragedy, fear, and pain. Please continue to guide and direct us as we walk daily with You. Lord, let our hearts be full of Your Word and our lives settled securely in Your truth. For this is not our home, that awaits us in heaven. Praise You, Lord Jesus! Amen!

The joy of family

It was a lovely week, which ended in a lovely weekend.

Our Anne was able to come home for the week.

My mom’s foot has healed so well that she is no longer under restrictions.

Thus, Anne could be here.

Our Bell was also here for a few days, Thursday through most of Saturday.

To add to the blessings, we got to watch Bubba and Faye on Saturday while their parents had a day together.

Although, Bell had to leave Saturday night, everyone else stayed over.

Yesterday, we all drove South.

Anne was to return to Grandma’s.

Handsome and I needed to restock the booth, and of course Tim and Sis were returning home.

The house felt empty when we got back, but I know that’s simply the “drop down” after all the excitement.

Not unlike the feeling one gets when Christmas is over and it’s time to pack it all away.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how valuable each stage or season is.

To cherish time with others, but to also realize there is value in alone time.

To see God working in us when we are together and when we are separate.

Because He knows every season and is working through each one.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV — To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

And I want to hold tightly to Him in all things.

Not unlike the small yet wonderful embrace of my grandson or granddaughter, I want to cling to Jesus with that kind of innocent pure love.

But that kind of relationship requires me to let go of other things.

I can’t cling to Jesus if I’m trying to hold on to the world, or even other people.

He has to come first for me to give Him my best.

I’m so thankful for it.

Because I can find joy, pleasure, and wisdom in any stage.

Philippians 4:11 KJV — Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Paul spoke in respect to physical needs, but the truth is applicable to all of life.

I’m still learning this lesson, but it’s a beautiful journey and a blessed walk.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word and Your truth. Thank You for my family and the gift of time together. Lord, thank You for teaching me so much daily and showing me how blessed each stage is. Lord, I want to cling to You more each day. Please continue to help me learn how to let go of other things and hold fast to You. Lord, I praise You for all Your wonderous works! I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Finding hope

1 Peter 1:3-4 NKJV — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

Unless we truly understand the truth of these words, we will miss finding hope.

Because true hope, confident expectation, is through Jesus Christ.

Acts 4:12 NKJV — “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Thus, when we believe on the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ and we accept His payment for our sins, we are granted hope, confident expectation, of eternal life.

Our future lies in heaven with Him.

Therefore, nothing on this Earth is permanent.

No circumstance is everlasting.

No pain endures past the grave.

Jesus said:

John 14:3 NKJV — “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Thus, finding hope resides in understanding salvation.

Finding hope requires our complete surrender to God.

It’s also a beautiful daily practice.

Romans 12:12 KJV — Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

For the follower of Jesus, our hope is in Christ and in this truth we can rest secure, patiently hopeful.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for salvation. Thank You that You know what each one of us needs each day. Lord, help us to daily rejoice in our hope, to be patient in tribulation, and steadfast in prayer. Help us to view life through Your Word. Lord, please continue to polish and hone us as we seek to honor You every day. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.

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.