Battle Scars

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It was a beautiful evening.  I had just exercised on our outdoor trampoline and was stretched across the large mat staring through the green canvas of black walnut tree leaves into the blue sky beyond.  Since surgery, my husband had occupied the living room thereby disrupting my corner space where I spend time with the LORD.  The trampoline had become my new space for quiet and meditation.  And I had A LOT to think about.

The Monday following Father’s Day was when I noticed my first spot of poison ivy.  By that Wednesday I was wrapping both of my wrists.  From there it appeared under my breast, my lower back, both thighs, and had nearly swollen one of my eyes shut.  I also had stray blisters on my face, neck, and upper arms.  It was a nightmare.

I remember waking one morning and wailing, “How long, LORD?”

He said, “Seven days.”

At first I was put out.  Hadn’t I suffered long enough?  As the days began to tick off, and I realized I’d be healed in time to enjoy a much anticipated visit from Floridian friends, my spirits buoyed.  But then I woke on a Tuesday, the 7th day, still carrying the marks of the ivy.  That day on the trampoline had been nearly a week past my day of prophesied healing and my body still bore the marks.

I gazed at my dry, scaly wrists and glanced at the discoloration and the bright pink circles that stood out on my thighs.  I heard the girls’ sad voices in my head timidly asking, “Will the scars go away?”

I again stared through the leafy green canvas to the blue beyond and whispered, “I don’t understand, LORD.  I know I heard You.  I expected this to all be gone.  What’s up?”

He was quick to remind me that, as Mum pointed out, I had no new outbreaks and there were no blisters remaining.

“The war in your body is over, Christi, but healing takes time.”

Flashes of pictures of war-torn countries, complete with bombed out buildings, filled my mind.  “Rebuilding takes time even after a war is declared over,” He said.

Time.  A peaceful quiet settled over me.  It wasn’t the answer I wanted, but I like answers no matter how distasteful they are at times.  One of my favorite t-shirts is white with a beautiful print on the front of a Thomas Kinkaid painting and this equally beautiful scripture verse:  “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…”  Ecclesiastes 3:11a KJV

In His time….

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I made mention in one of my prior posts that I wholly relate to dear Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride who impatiently stated, “I hate waiting.”  I’m beginning to think that my trials aren’t necessarily trials of faith, but trials of patience.  And God leaned forward from His throne shouting, “Hel-lo!  My girl’s finally got it!”  And all of the angel choir shouted, “AMEN!”

Seriously though, faith and patience are related, aren’t they?

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”   James 1:2-5 NKJV

Romans 5:3-4 NKJV is like unto it:  “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  

Only thing is, sometimes in the midst of fiery trials, I find myself being a character instead of having character.  There is a vast difference; just ask those around me when I am in tribulation 🙂 .

I don’t pray for patience.  I learned a long time ago not to.  I kind of figured that just by virtue of my being a believer in Jesus I’d have ample opportunity to grow in it.  Unfortunately, I was right.  Opportunities to mature in patience happen organically, frequently, and sometimes in triplicate.

I have, however, prayed for unwavering faith.  I might as well have been praying for patience all along according to these scripture verses!  That was abundantly confirmed to me when I read a page from Mrs. Charles E. Cowman’s compilation in my all-time favorite devotional, Streams in the Desert.  The reading basically boils down to this: Just as the strongest trees do not grow in sheltered places but in the open, where the elements beat upon them, so it is the way with spiritual giants.  They do not grow alone in joy, healing, and victories, but in sorrow, hardships, and persecutions.  Life is a bittersweet mix of both and I am only now coming to realize the painful necessity for them.

Have you, like me, found yourself going ’round the same mountain?  Would you take into consideration that your trial may not be as it appears?  It may look physical, financial, relational, etc., but at the bottom of it may be a lesson in patience.  Just refer back to our scripture verses to see the value God has placed on this virtue.  It’s wonderful…and also comes at a dear price.  What is encouraging to me is verse 5 in James 1 If you need wisdom, ask. God will not let you do this on your own.  He may have an instruction or comforting word for you.  Mine concerning the poison ivy was comfort: I did hear right.  The war in my body is over.  I simply need time to heal.

I truly believe that as I let patience have her perfect work, I will see answers coming quicker and in succession.  But for now, these lessons are my school.  Join me today and see if the trial you face is one of patience.  If so, go in faith believing that all will be made right…it may just take some time.

Hope you enjoy this “Darling” of a song featured on The Andy Griffith Show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woe-Go-Round

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This spring/summer has been a string of woes.  We lost a dog and a cat; Laura had all 4 wisdom teeth removed; I had a wretched case of poison ivy with blisters bigger than peas; my husband was violently ill on the day we were scheduled to depart for a much anticipated, much needed, family weekend away; and he had surgery–not related to his being ill.  Besides what was going on in our house, prayer requests came in for other people I know and care about.  Seems a lot of people are currently on a woe-filled ride.

It was while I was wondering if the poison in my body would ever cease and desist, and the fire and need to scratch would ever end, that I cried and poured my rampage out in my journal.  I had prayed.  I prayed for myself.  I prayed for others.  I tried petitioning,  proclamations, and praise–I tried until my trier was broke.

Healing is still somewhat of an enigma to me.  I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve studied it too much.  I don’t approach God with child-like faith near often enough.  Instead, I go armed with the teachings and experiences of others and their “formulas” and expect it to “work”.  When it doesn’t, I am crushed and fall into unbelief.  I know God heals.  I know Jesus paid a horrific price and took every disease known to mankind upon Him.  I know satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy and that Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly.

But during these times, when the suffering sets me on the precipice of breaking, I wonder if God truly loves me.  The reality of His love is too often like a butterfly to me, flitting here and there, instead of the immovable cornerstone it is meant to be.  Mostly, these insecurities arise when those I love or myself am facing physical crises.

 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?  Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”  Matthew 7:9-11 NLT

There’s the crux of it all.  I’m led to believe that my Father will do better for me than I can do for my own children.  Where are the good gifts–the salvation, deliverance, provision, healing, miracles– they’re already paid for.  Where are they?  When they don’t come quickly, the frantic want begins and the frenzied application of formulas ensues.  Nothing changes.  Nothing happens.  I must have misunderstood.  I must have done something wrong.  Let me try something else.  I try until my trier’s broke and I have no more strength to seek.  Why bother anyway?  He doesn’t answer, at least not quickly.  Life seems to run its natural course and goes on until the next crisis occurs.  How sad it would be if I remained in this place.  But I will not.  I can not.  Why?  Because God does love me, immeasurably, eternally, recklessly.

Another scripture came to mind:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:39 NLT

Some time ago the LORD told me that He made me tough, not hard.  There’s a vast difference.  I must guard against being hard on myself, not loving myself, because it spills onto others.  And part of being hard on myself is thinking if I’ve not done everything “right” I am not worthy of healing (or other God-benefits).  How silly!  Jesus already purchased that gift for me.  I’m no more healed 10 minutes from now than I was 2000 years ago when Jesus paid for it.

Encouragement can also be found in Matthew.

“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

Rest.

Rest.

It’s worth repeating.

That scripture went over me like salve.  Then came a God-thought too wonderful for the human mind to create on its own.

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Rachel’s birthday was fast approaching.  As I had this journal time of contemplation and Holy Spirit applied God’s Word, He deposited the most wonderful thought: Rachel doesn’t have to try to receive birthday gifts.  Some of her gifts had been purchased a couple of months prior, and all of them had been wrapped for weeks; she didn’t have to try to receive gifts.  She simply had them, all tucked away, waiting for the appropriate time, her birthday.

Remember the man who had been blind from birth?  The disciples wanted to know who sinned, him or his parents.  But Jesus said,

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”  John 9:3 NLT

The miracle was available, but it was for a set time, when God would receive the most glory.

These thoughts bring peace to my weary soul.  I can’t say I’m totally done with formulas and trying to receive what God has for me, old habits and thought processes are hard to break.  But I expect to do a lot less and receive a lot more as I rest and realize that I don’t have to try to obtain what Jesus already bought for me.  I already have it.  It’s wrapped and will be given in His time.

Join me today in resting in His Word, leaning into His love, and confidently waiting for our appointed day.  Rest, Beloved, just rest.  His Word will all be fulfilled in due time.

Hope you enjoy this song by Mercy Me.  It’s how I felt when the LORD told me that I don’t have to try--it’s already been done.

 

Chaotic Peace

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Ever have one of those seasons?

Years ago, while I was changing a morning diaper, I noticed a little spot on Beth’s leg.  Until I had cleaned her, changed her, and put her back together, she was covered with what we assumed to be hives.  I was terrified that her throat would eventually close.  We quickly loaded up the family and went to the e.r.  By the time we got there, there was nothing to see and nothing to do.  Thank God…kind of.  I was relieved but perplexed about the mystery.  What caused it?  Would it happen again?  Was it life threatening?

It was these thoughts that swamped my brain while we traveled home.  On a long stretch of highway not far from home is a little restaurant.  At the edge of their parking lot were two vehicles with teenage drivers idling side by side.  One driver, view of the highway blocked by his friend’s vehicle, not knowing why his buddy wasn’t pulling out, shot out of the parking lot and t-boned us.  As soon as we were parked, we jumped out and checked the girls’ status.  With all of the excitement that morning, the wreck barely jarred the sleeping babies.

I, however, was a mess.  I began to cry.  I wish I had refrained, but stress had gotten the better of me.  Now I was concerned for that boy who had to deal with my very well built, very large, very strong husband, whose very lovely babies quietly dozed, while his very petite wife was having a melt down in the restaurant’s parking lot.  Bob handled himself quite well, by the way.  But our day didn’t end there.

When we came home, there was a message on our machine.  Bob’s paternal grandmother, with whom I had shared so many fascinating conversations and laughs, and loved her like my own, was dying.  As you can imagine, many more tears followed.

Life is one big bulldozer bucket-full of awful sometimes.  And that’s how I’ve been feeling off and on for several months due situations that are beyond my control.  Then again, as I’m fond of telling the girls, we don’t have the power to control or change anything but our attitudes.  So, I guess what I really needed was an attitude adjustment…and lots of prayer…and release through lots of tears.

To tell you the truth, not much has changed at all except for my attitude.  What brought the change?  A relinquishing of what ails me to God’s capable hands.  I realized I had to cast away some cares when my youngest said she wanted her mum back.  She said it was like I was in a depression.  I myself felt like I was under a dark cloud.  I could not continue that way when the Hope of Glory lives within.  Some care casting away was in order.

The time following the casting away was most precious.  In the quiet one morning the LORD whispered to me, “I’ve been waiting for a while now for you to calm down.  We need to talk.”

He proceeded to tell me some things that are coming and how I am to handle them.  He gave me a time frame.  He cautioned me.  I can’t ever remember a time in my life when He laid so much out in front of me like that.  Is it fearful?  Yes and no.  No, because I know that He’s in it.  Yes, because there’s always fear in the unknown.  I still don’t know the details.  It’s kind of  like when Jesus hopped in the boat with His disciples and gave them an edict to go to the other side.  They didn’t know what it was all about, they simply obeyed.  Despite Jesus’ presence, the storm still came.  But because of His presence so came the peace that calmed the storm.  That’s Who’s living inside of me.  So even though I don’t know the details, I know He’s in my boat and we’ll safely get to the other side.

There is perfect peace even in the storms of life.  His name is Jesus.

This song from Sanctus Real brought peace to me through a time of transition 10 years ago.  Maybe it’ll do the same again for me and for you.

 

 

Though the mountains be shaken
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.   Isaiah 54:10  NIV

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.    Isaiah 26:3  NKJV
If you’re going through “one of those seasons”, I want to comfort you and remind you that: This, too, shall pass.   The storm will calm.  You will get to the other side. 
Join me today in committing the known and the unknown into His capable hands.  After all, it’s technically all unknown anyway and He is able.  So very, very able.

Super Capacity Plus

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Several Fridays ago, for no apparent reason, my shoulder began to hurt.  Hurt is an understatement.  If there was a pain chart, the pain would have been off of it.  I cried.  Then, the laundry came.

My children, who rarely ever care to do so, were suddenly inspired to change their sheets.  Not just their sheets, but their comforters, too.  I could barely open my arm enough to apply deodorant and I was suddenly staring down the barrel of 4-5 loads of bedding.  Plus, I had been inclined to do some spring cleaning the week prior and therefore let the laundry fall by the wayside.  Ten loads of laundry all together.  Probably.  And I couldn’t raise my arm to save my life let alone do 10 loads of laundry.  Yes, my children do help with the laundry, but at the time, they were helping spring clean other areas of the house.

After a very hot shower Saturday night and a massage with liniment following, I felt considerable better by Sunday morning…at least compared to Friday.  A friend from church laid a hand on my shoulder and prayed for me during meet and greet.  We both felt the heat of the Holy Spirit while she prayed.  Was I 100%?  No.  But by the time I saw the doctor on Tuesday to see whether I should rest it or exercise it (as I got conflicting reports as to how to speed up the healing process), my shoulder was feeling pretty good.  Sore, weak, but for the most part, pretty good.

Thursday following was to be a gorgeous day, so said the forecasters.  Prime time for clothes hanging.  I had contemplated dragging the bedding to a nearby laundromat then bring it home to dry.  I didn’t know if my washer could handle the comforters and survive.  I scowled as I thought of a trip to town, coins, time away from doing other chores that had fallen by the wayside…and my shoulder which was still slightly sore and weak, but so much better.  Thank You, Jesus!  I stared at the baskets, hampers, and overall mass of dirty clothes and debated.

I found a tag on what I thought was the largest comforter.  I read the instructions and found that it should be washed in a “large capacity washer”.  Something tripped through my memory.  I scoured the writing all over the underside of my washer lid and then pulled it down to read the fine print written around and underneath the knobs.  And there it was:  “Super Capacity Plus”.  Not just “Super Capacity”, no, “Super Capacity Plus“.  The comforters were hung and 4 loads of laundry, easily and quickly followed.

Think about this: God is not a large capacity God.  He isn’t even a super capacity plus God.  He is an endless, bottomless, measureless, God.  Need salvation, deliverance, healing, wholeness, prosperity?  Done!  He’s got it.  And He’s got enough for you, me, the entirety of all mankind, pressed down, shaken together, running over.  I’m telling you, eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has any of our minds been able to imagine what God has prepared for those of us who love Him (2 Cor. 2:9; Is. 64:4).  We can’t conceive it.  We get glimpses.  Sometimes we get a torrential downpour.  But we can’t contain it all.  We can’t contain Him all.  Nor should we want to.

I want a God that’s bigger than me.  I want a God Who thinks outside of the box, performs radical miracles, and does unbelievable stuff.  Is this the kind of God that we serve?  Or have we unknowingly set up perimeters due to unmet expectations and unanswered prayers?  Let’s take time today to ask God if we have unwittingly placed restrictions on Him and ask Him to invade those places.  Life’s too short to serve a god that can be confined.

I hope you enjoy this timeless song by Rich Mullins.

“I will be great.  My Name will be made great.  I will be lifted up.  You have been looking for My hand.  You forget that I Am awesome, mighty, and wonderful.  I have not forgotten you.  My eyes and My hand are still upon you and your land.  I will be exalted.  I will be exalted.  I will be exalted.  Whosoever will let Me work in them and in their land I will do mighty, fierce, and wondrous things.  I will be exalted.  ~God

 

 

A Prayerful Song for a Holy Day

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May you be blessed today as you contemplate all that was purchased for us so that we might be saved, healed, delivered, preserved, protected, prosperous, and made whole.

Hope you enjoy this song by Keith Green.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2 Berean Study Bible

Thank You, Jesus!  Holy, holy, holy!

The Dreaded Finger

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An older, fellow coworker approached my brother at the machine shop and began quizzing him about his age.

“Just you wait,” the elder prophesied, “won’t be long until you’ll be gettin’ the finger when you go see the doctor.”

Mark replied, “Oh, I got that when I went to see the dentist last week.”

“Uh-ha, ha, ha, ha!”  The man laughed and fell backward into Mark’s gigantic tool box on wheels.

Mark grabbed him by the shirt front and tugged him forward and upright.  The old man laughed and laughed.  “You need to get another dentist,” he slung over his shoulder as he walked away.

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When I was in my 20s I never gave 40 much thought.  It’s odd now to think that while 40 never seemed “old” to me, it must not have seemed young, either.

Thirty came and went without much fanfare.  Even if there was, I wouldn’t have noticed because I was chasing 1 1/2-year-old twins around the house.

Forty seemed exciting…at first.  Then it hit me like a sledgehammer.  I thought I’d be one of those lucky, brave souls who didn’t waiver with numbers; I’m not.  I had an aunt who said 40 didn’t bother her a bit but 50 nearly knocked her out.  I have another aunt who won’t even celebrate her birthday anymore.  I don’t know if she stopped after 50 or 60.  The point is, she has stopped counting her years and we had better not remind her of them either.  Kind of makes me wonder what 50 and 60 have in store for me.  Hmm…

Some people handle age with flare.  When I think of  people like that I think of Betty Leonard.  She had a style all her own and she didn’t apologize for it.  She had dyed black hair that she kept in a hip hair cut, wore fashionable clothes (some cheetah printed), lots of gold jewelry, and painted her nails and lips vibrant colors.  You’d a never guessed her age.  I liked her.  She was personable and good-humored and seemed to celebrate life and live it to the fullest.

I remember traveling on a four-lane highway years ago.  Bob was watching the mirrors.  A car approached,  burning up the pavement between us.  He was doing the speed limit +5.  It wasn’t long before the sedan was at our side and then passed us by.  We burst out laughing when we realized the car was driven by 83-year-old Betty.  She didn’t let anything slow her down.  What a way to live.

I don’t know if any of us are groomed to survive to old age let alone thrive.  Actually, I’m pretty sure we’re not.  I recently heard a d.j. say that he was 45 and figured he’d be spending lots of time in the hospital so he would like a hospital gown of his choosing.  It is odd, that, how medical technology has grown by leaps and bounds but no desirable dressing gown has been designed.

If we do survive old age we are certainly not supposed to live it the way Betty did.  Don’t believe me?  Haven’t you seen a doctor since turning 40?  That is, if you’re blessed enough to be that age.  If not, heads up.  You will immediately be cursed.  Make a complaint, any complaint, and you’ll get a smug smile that you’ll want to slap off your health care provider’s face and a pat answer of: “That’s what happens when you’re 40.”  Add to that, every genetic disease and disorder that has ever been in your family line is bound to invade your body beginning at 40.  There are plenty of health screens and tests to take to prove that you are sick.  And if you’re not, they may just help you along on your journey toward disease.  Don’t believe me yet?

Haven’t you watched t.v. lately?  Haven’t you noticed that most commercials are for some drug you can take for some ailment that you have?  And you can supplant that drug with this drug.  Don’t fret the drugs.  They may cause dry mouth, cramps, headache, constipation, and the like, but you’ll live.  Then again, maybe not.  Some of them cause blood clots, liver problems, internal bleeding,etc., and death.  But we need drugs to survive to old age…Don’t we?  No fear.  Even if the drug fails and you have suffered because of it, or perhaps have died, a lawyer will help you sue.  Lots of commercials for that, too.

According to statistics I could find, the life expectancy for the average American is on the decline.  One can expect to live to be about 80ish.  However, no one wants to live to be that age if they “aren’t healthy”.  What hope do we have given the fact that we are to begin feeling the effects of old age at 40?  If we look to the bulk of the healthcare industry and our society in general, we are to officially begin our decline halfway to our checkout.  Who wants 40 or more years of increasing vision impairment, hearing loss, weakness, aches, pains, and disease?  Can you tell that I’m fed up with this world’s system and their take on it?

I’ve made a grave decision concerning old age.  I’ve decided not to participate.  At least not the way it’s currently accepted.  I’ve decided to fight the doctors and their grim prognoses concerning 40 and beyond, the drugs and the harm they cause, and my elders who try to curse me with, “You wait!”  That’s what started this mess in the first place: words, words, words–vile, destructive words.  If I’m going to fight then I’m going to have to do so with the Word.  Here we go:  

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.  3 JOHN 2 NLT

 

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
 He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
 He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!               Psalm 103:1-5  NLT

 

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4

I really like this:

But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.  For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in him!”    Psalm 92:12-15

Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.  Does that sound like the old age that our society has embraced?

Let’s try this scripture on for size:

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”  Genesis 6:3   NLT

The LORD said, “120 years.”  !!!

My husband blew my mind when I asked how old he would live to be if he could.  He said 400 years. !  He said, “Imagine all of the inventions and stuff you’d get to see.”

And wives, said I, ’cause I ain’t plannin’ on bein’ here that long.  Of  course, that’s if health is not an issue for him.  That’s what we all say.  We’d all live to grand old ages if we could but be healthy.  Moses was.

Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever.   Deuteronomy 34:7  NLT

Is that our average senior citizen’s expecatation?

The scriptures don’t present old age like something to dread, but a blessing, something God carries in His hand–if we let Him.  I’m rather partial to the idea of aging according to Moses’ version; I think it’s heavenly, so I’ll do the best I can to follow along those lines.  Is it going to be a battle, living this way?  You betcha!  All uphill with a river flowing down it.  But I think it’s worth it.  Don’t you?  With God, ALL things are possible…even avoiding society’s laundry list of old age woes.  Join me in fighting old age as our society has come to accept it.  I’d love to have the company.  

 

 

 

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Ken Davis’ comedic routine,  The Confused Stage of Life, sounds like someone I know and love.

This one’s for you, Dad.

Happy Birthday!

 

 

 

 

Have fun with this song from Tom Rush.

 

    God knows no age.  He has no expiration.  He has no limits.

 

A Cure for Mondayitis (and other ails)

 

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Does anyone remember Vacation Bible School?  Remember the little songs sung that burn in the brain forever?  “Father Abraham”, I am sure, was one written by already weary adults to try to tire out high-strung kiddos.  Then there’s the “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery.  I may never fly over the enemy, but I’m in the LORD’s army.  Yes, Sir!”  That was another action packed song that probably juiced kids up more than calmed them down.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t include, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” which usually turned into a screaming response because the leaders kept asking, “Where?”

While scouring the internet, I came across a blast from my past, scripture memory songs.  These are so cool!  I can’t tell you how many verses I memorized through song and I’d like to share this one with you.  You may not care for the style, but I hope you’ll give it a try as it just might help you memorize this portion of scripture.

 

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  Psalm 28:7  NLT

 

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”  Nehemiah 8:10  NLT

I burst out in songs of thanksgiving!  Can you picture that?  I admit it.  I eavesdropped on Laura while she was showering the other evening.  I stood outside the bathroom door and listened to her sing and I could not help but smile.  Singing is important!  The girls sing often and I love to hear them sing.  It’s joy spilling out of their hearts.  Father God must feel the same way about us when we burst out with songs of thanksgiving.

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Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Mom says that when I was younger I’d sit at the top of the stone steps in our yard and sing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of my lungs.  I can only imagine what that must have sounded like to the neighbors as I have a pretty good set of pipes.

But sometimes singing isn’t so easy.

Singing in the rain is fun when it’s July, 80 degrees, and no one can stand the heat anymore.  But when it’s a saturating downpour that lasts for an agonizing amount of time in a season that’s prone to being cold anyway, it’s no longer fun.  It’s exhausting and frustrating beyond belief.  That’s why joy, this supernatural gift of the LORD, is so important.  It keeps the outer elements from penetrating our hearts.  It’s glorious!  But it’s difficult in certain seasons, isn’t it?  So how do we do it?

I listened to a minister this past week who was encouraging the attendees to laugh.  “Ha, ha, ha ha.  Unpaid bills?  Ha, ha, ha, ha.  Sickness in your body?  Ha, ha, ha, ha.”  It seemed absurd but I joined the service via the internet.  The laughter sounded mechanical at best, ridiculous at worst.  I did it anyway.  In a matter of moments it became sincere and I literally felt lighter.  Why?  Because the joy of the LORD is our strength.  Laughter does good like a medicine.  Through Christ we’ve been made more than conquerors.  We win!

Try laughing.  It you can’t do it on your own, try doing it with this video.  Laughter really is contagious–Share some!

For those of you who can, do you remember feeling carefree as a child?  Do you remember how easy the laughter and the wonder came?  Make an effort to remember those things that cause joy to bubble up inside of you.  Do you still allow yourself to indulge in those things?  Wear your p.j.s for an entire day (unless you’re a nudie, for that may prove problematic 🙂 ).  Have a movie marathon.  Color.  Enter the world of play with a child.  Wonder again at the majesty of creation.  Sing songs of thanksgiving for they usher you into glory.  Laugh like a child, laugh for no reason at all.  Let me remind you today that we are not God’s grownups, we are His children.  Let us return to laughter and wonder because Jesus said,

“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Matthew 18:3  NLT

Everyday is not going to be a joy-filled day.  We live in an ever-increasing hostile and violent world.  Bad things do happen that are beyond our control.  Even without the “bad” things, life is sometimes just plain exhausting.  The mundane things of life can make us feel like we’re being sanded down like a board.  So then, it comes to this:  CHOOSE.  Choose to sing anyway for God inhabits the praises of His people.  Saying you can not sing is not an excuse for the Word says to make a joyful noise as unto the LORD (Psalm 100:1).  Choose to laugh anyway because our enemy is an arrogant cuss who won’t stay around and be a laughingstock.  Join me in a conscious effort to try to choose joy on a regular basis and let’s see what a difference joy makes.  

This is a fun video and a great song from King and Country.  “Joy” is one of my dance favorites.

 

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