Tag Archive | Joy

All the Runners Run

Boy that is profound, isn’t it? All the runners run. Duh. That’s why they’re runners.

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I’ve long been a runner. Not always physically, but I’m a runner nonetheless. All of my life I kept running. Running from the boogey man, from pain, from fears, from people, from love, from Jesus.

Almost ten years ago I also started running physically. What great bringing together of the inside and outside of my life. Run away on the inside, run away on the outside.

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I recently spent a glorious week in beautiful Blue Springs, Missouri. We used to always joke that Missouri was really spelling M-I-S-E-R-Y. This week was anything but misery.  I was attending a rather intensive retreat and Jesus exploded all over this woman.

By all over, I really mean All. Over. Completely.

My prayer going into the retreat was that Jesus would ruin me for life as normal. That I would  have zero desire to ever back to what my life had been like. He completely undid me!

I will never, ever forget my time there. I will never forget what He told me there. I will never forget the pictures He gave me.

I am ruined. Forever ruined by Him and for Him.

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If you were to zoom in on my necklace in the picture above you would find the pendant is a stick figure of a runner. Very much indicative of my life to date. I wore it with happiness.

Happiness but not joy.

I had been home for a just a couple of days at the most when I was putting the necklace back on one morning when I heard Jesus speak to my soul.

That isn’t who you are any longer. Throw it away. 

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I held it in my hands, looking at it. And again I heard Him speak,

That isn’t who you are any longer. Throw it away. 

My soul reacted with joyful abandonment. And I threw the necklace in the trash. I have been completely set free from my running from everything.

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Everything.

I still run. It just looks different now. Instead of running from, I run to. I run to Him. I run to life. I run to love. I run to joy. I run to friendships. I run and when I run I feel His pleasure.

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Broken Praise

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My soul exalts the Lord, 
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior

Can I do that? Can I really do that when the pain is great and goes so deep?

Can I choose to exalt my God when He seems so far away?

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For He has regard for the humble state of His bond slave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

What will I choose to focus on? This? Or the pain that is crushing? The ache in my heart that won’t go away, the feelings that are oh so real, or my God who is even more real?

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For the Mighty One has done Great things for me;
And Holy is His Name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation

Can I remember the great things He has done for me?  I know He has. Even now when pain is clouding my vision I know He has done GREAT things for me. I know because I remember, fondly and long for the GREAT again.

It seems light years away.  I know it was last week, but it seems like a forever ago to me.

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Since deciding the best way to help my hurting soul was to Be The Gift to someone else, I have failed so miserably. I decided to Go MAD Monday, to Go and Make A Difference in someone and for someone.

Right now I don’t even think I know how to do that anymore.

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Change your focus.

Focus on Living Cruciform.

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I don’t know how to do that when life hurts and falls apart. When I’m holding on by one fraying, thin thread. When it takes all my concentration to put one foot in front of the other and keep marching.

choose-joy

Choose joy.

I need to remember that I have a choice. Every second. Every day.

Even when the tears run silent rivers down my cheeks, even when my body is racked with heaving, shaking sobs, I can choose.

Even when it feels I have no choice. Even when I feel stuck. Even when I feel He is silent. Even when I feel abandoned and alone. Even when my prayers are stuck in my throat. Even when my prayers are sobs.

Even then.

I can choose.

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He has filled the hungry with GOOD Things
…He has given help to Israel His servant in remembrance of His mercy

Love

I am a gift person. I just love them. Gifts speak love to me. Often when Mr. FullCup comes home with a shopping bag I’m positive it’s something for me.

Usually it’s his dirty lunch dishes.

Which are for me. But not quite what I was expecting, if you know what I mean.

You are never going to guess what greeted me this morning as I prepared to work in the church office.

Never in a million years.

So I’ll tell you….

20150109_093945Do you have any idea what those are?

Buckeyes!

Not the football team. The chocolate and peanut butter balls.

Oh my soul.

Now I’ve been eating very clean for a lot of time. I ate all ten of these luscious goodness filled  morsels one right after the other.  I told the giver, “Peanut butter and chocolate…my weakness.

I will now commence with the flopping, the flipping and the all things dying.

But I will die a happy girl.

This reminds me of working in Missouri and telling a friend I’d do anything for Pringles. I would too. I love them. I was soon going to be transferring departments and her husband was going to be my new boss. The next morning on my desk was a full container of Pringles.

As I was contemplating this I kept hearing in my head all the people who would sit and judge me for eating chocolate and peanut butter. Full of garbage and sugar. Sugar and garbage.

I almost felt the need to defend myself, and almost talked myself out of posting it, or at least honestly posting it. I thought about just posting the picture and not saying I ate them.

Why?

Why do I allow what I think others will say, or think or how they will judge as me being less affect my happiness and joy? Why?

Why do we?

As for me, the rest of the day I’ll be focusing on the gift and the giver, and plotting ways to pilfer more buckeyes.

A Woman Seen

God has really been hammering home the point of my joy right now. I am confronted by it at every bend and curve in the road. Even the straight places smack of joy. It hides in the unlikeliest of places jumping out to exclaim, “I’m here! Remember me!”

“You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies–that never occurs to you.” ~Caussade

I read that a few days ago in 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp and carefully copied it in my quote book. Then I read:

We saw His glory…for…we have all received one grace after another…” (John 1:14, 16)

Every time we look for, are alert enough to see His grace gifts to us every single day, every single moment, we behold His glory.

Every time we realize and say Thank you for a new sunrise, lungs that continually take in oxygen, a heart that keeps on beating, a brain that is still wired, nerves that still send signals of pain. Every time we hear laughter. Every time we see a star. Or the car starts. Or we don’t run out of gas. Or the car headed towards us does.

Every time we say Thank you for the good gifts, love, family, friends. Every time we say Thank you for the hard gifts: struggles, death, sickness. Every time we acknowledge His provision for us, we see His glory.

I read also about Hagar and the well God showed her. (The story is in Genesis 21.) She named it Beer-lahai-roi, which means “Well of the Living One who sees me.”

This wasn’t new to Hagar, that God did see her as she had encountered Him before in a big way.  She knew. The well she saw in Genesis 21 was not a new well. God didn’t just miraculously drop a well right there at just the right moment. He did draw her attention to what was already there.

Her need. His supply.

He saw her.

He sees me. He sees me the middle child always convinced she’s overlooked, invisible, not worth spit. He sees. He sees me.

The God of the universe, Creator of all things, He sees me! Little insignificant, small me. He sees me.

HE sees me. He SEES me. He sees ME.

No matter how you look at it, He sees.

If I can’t find the joy in that, I need stronger glasses, an entirely different prescription. A spiritual one.

Today I’m praying for eyes that see Him, a heart that wants to see, an eager anticipation of His presence, and a heart that swells with thankfulness for all of His grace gifts.

Lessons from Behind the Wheel

I’m having a love/hate relationship with early mornings. I love them. I hate them. It’s a true love-hate relationship. I love getting up early and getting things done early. I love being tired when the sun goes down.

Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Late to bed, early to rise makes a man sick, broke and stupid.

I love getting up early. I hate waking up before my alarm, before the coffee by the bed starts brewing, because my head is aching so much I can’t sleep.

That was this morning. At least my aching head allowed me to sleep until 5.  By 20 minutes after 5, I was propped in bed reading (and listening) to my daily Bible reading and sipping my first sips of the sweet nectar of the gods.  McDonald’s is offering a free small coffee during breakfast hours this week, so by 20 minutes after 7, I was in the drive-thru lane, debating buying a full breakfast.

But remembering my headache and the gastronomical effects I suffer when I don’t follow my “diet”, I decided to just forgo the whole breakfast and get the free coffee.

While on my way to the free coffee I stopped at an unmarked intersection. The car in front of me proceeded through, the car on the left of me waited. I thought it only nice that I wait for them since they were there before me. I felt good. I felt empowered. I had done something nice. I had thought of someone before myself. I waited.

And then I got a little testy when the car that was just arriving behind him went on through the intersection without waiting for me.

I was there first! By right it was my turn.

As I’m getting testy, I feel the Lord speaking,  “Really? Are you really doing this? What about denying yourself? So what if they went through ahead of you.”

“But Lord, it was MY turn.”

“Who cares?!”

“But Lord, my head!”

“I know. But you’ll still get there. The coffee will still be hot.”

“But, but, but…”

Then I realized just how weird it all was. I was upset because I thought of someone else and no one thought of poor little me…

except me.

I was choosing a pity party over the abundant joy Jesus promises.

How crazy stupid is that? Even I can see the craziness of it all with a screaming headache. Who needs that lunacy? Who has time to waste on that?

For sure I don’t.

I’m choosing joy!

 

(For those wanting an update on the house situation, we have a key but not enough keys. Our realtor is working hard to make it all happen for us. Joy! Interestingly, our realtor’s name is John and my not-so-smart-phone changes his name to Jihadist every. single.time.)

You know, God really does work. He does. Even in things we think are funny. Mr. FullCup received an interesting (to him) phone call this morning.
“A little birdie told me your wife wants some sheet rock.”
I’m sure Mr. FullCup was dumbfounded. He knows me and my crazy ways, but this was news to him.  This person had heard I was looking for sheetrock (aka drywall) and he just happened to have a 1/2″ sheet of 4×8 that we could have.

Merry Christmas to me!

Reclaiming Lily

Enter 10/5-10/19. Winner announced at Patti’s Facebook Party on 10/20!

>In Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy, an American pastor and his wife adopt a child, Joy, from China. The day Joy is adopted her biological sister was on her way to the orphanage to see her. She arrived just in time to see Joy get in the car with the Americans. She, Kai, makes it her life’s goal to find Joy, or as she was named in China, Lily.

Kai studies medicine and becomes a well-known doctor on the east coast of America. She is able to track down Joy’s adoptive parents and has some very hard news to tell them about Joy’s medical history.

At first they don’t believe Kai, until they stop to realize all of what Kai is telling them lines up with Joy’s behavior.  But they have a choice to make.

Will they make the right one?

This book is very well written. I did feel bogged down a few times while reading it.  If you have ever adopted from a foreign nation, you would really enjoy this book.

I give this book 4 out of 5 turning pages.

I received this book free for the purpose of review.

Wear Joy

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom”! Please follow along through Christmas day as Melody Carlson, Lauraine Snelling, Rachel Hauck, Tricia Goyer, Maureen Lang, and more share their heartfelt stories of how God has touched their life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND BEST OF ALL … there’s also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS! You may enter once a day. The winner will be announced on New Year’s Day at the Pearl Girls Blog! Pearls – a tangible reminder of God’s grace to us all.

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Wear Joy

by Rachel Hauck

Thanksgiving day in central Florida broke warm and sunny under a blue sky. The thin fall breeze beckoned me. Taking my bike out, I rode the neighborhood feeling so grateful for all my blessings.

Joy bubbled up in my spirit. I’d been feeling it for a day, these waves of joy, but as I rode my bike and talked to God, the waves strengthened and splashed my heart the entire ride.

I’d laugh. Then tear up. And laugh again. As one who’s battled and won the war on anxiety and fear attacks, the onslaught of joy was welcomed, and actually sparked a new prayer in my heart. I’ve endured attacks of panic, time for attacks of joy.

The journey of joy began earlier in the year while writing a book coincidentally named, “Dining with Joy.”

Sitting at my table one day, revelation hit me. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. The more I meditated on it, the more I wanted His joy. I don’t want my strength. I want His.

Not long after, I went to Nashville for a girl’s weekend. One of my friends handed me a coffee cup inscribed with “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Ever just know? God is calling.
During the holiday season, I turn 50. Yep, the big 5-0. Can’t stop it, I might as well embrace it.

Fifty is often associated with jubilee, a time of restoration, and healing, even release from debt and slavery. It’s a time of returning to property, and inheritance.
A time of rest.
A time of JOY!
This past week, a friend gifted me with a beautiful Christmas ornament. Inscribed on it? You guessed it.

JOY!

To me, the world doesn’t look very joyful. There are social and economic woas. But God is speaking and offering joy.

As you go into this holiday season, ask God for a pearl of joy. Like pearls, crafted through abrasion, God’s true joy is often formed in us during difficult seasons.
Here’s the thing, His strength isn’t doled out based on our goodness, our success or failure, or the fact the holiday season is hard or sad for you. He is ready, willing and able to overcome all your weaknesses, fears and anxiety, sadness with the power of His very own joy.

His joy. Your strength.
I’ve been walking into rooms, houses, outdoors, raising my arms and shouting, “Joy!” People look at me funny, but I want to spread the joy of the Lord. To spread the very essence of His strength.

How about you? Can you find the pearl of joy in your life, in the essence of God’s heart toward you?

Wear joy this season.

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About Rachel: RITA-finalist Rachel Hauck lives in Florida with her husband, Tony. She is the author of Dining with Joy; Sweet Caroline; Love Starts with Elle; and The Sweet By and By, co-authored with Sara Evans. For more information please visit www.rachelhauck.com.
Oh, and be sure to enter Rachel’s Dining With Joy NOOK eReader giveaway!

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A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year’s Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info