Joy in the journey!

Joy in the journey!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wild Abandon....Here I Come!

I was off and running in the crisp cold air this morning....with one thing on my mind.....thoughts about the New Year. There is so much emphasis on New Year’s resolutions...and we know how those go. As I ran this morning I kept thinking about what my year held, and what the next year holds. For some reason my mind kept going back to a story I read in my devotions this morning.

It was about a 17 year old girl who worshiped the Lord with wild abandon! Every Sunday she would be raising her hands, dancing with delight with the light of Jesus shining out of her eyes. She was wholeheartedly worshiping the Lord. The more mature, sedate believers were worshiping God as a refined, upscale kind of way. The young girl's mother would grab her and pull her back to her seat but the young girl didn’t care. She wanted to praise God. So her hands stayed in the air and she clapped and sang loudly as she worshiped Him with abandon. The young girl turned out to be a 2 year old trapped in the body of a 17 year old. She was autistic. She hadn’t learned that her style of worship should please and impress people. Her worship hadn’t been tainted with religious pomp and circumstance. She didn’t pay attention to the people around her or worry about what they might think of her. Out of her childlike relationship with her Savior, this young girl just gave Jesus everything she had.

Do I have this childlike relationship with the Lord? Have I become too grown up to receive what Jesus has for me? Too dignified to respond as spontaneously and wholeheartedly to Him as a child would? I don’t want anything blocking me from hearing His voice more clearly. I want to worship with wild abandon. After all that is what Jesus does over me! He dances over me with singing! Praise and Worship is near and dear to my heart. It was traveling in groups across the country, and singing praise and worship through music ministry, where I received so much healing in my life. It gets me right to the heart of my Savior. This year I want to worship and serve the Lord with wild abandon. I want to love Jesus with a child like love that goes straight to His heart. I don’t want to be a sedate believer.

I have seen a glimpse of Jesus in ways that have been astounding this year through some trials and hurdles that came our way, and I want to tap in deeper. His Holy Spirit is what carried me through when I humanly could not. It was miraculous to say the least.

Whatever 2011 holds, I want to always be reminded of that young girl....praising her Savior with wild abandon. She had a glimpse of heaven. Who can get that glimpse and not stand still?

As I finished my run....I began to run with my arms raised up and a dance to my step. I am excited! I look forward to 2011 whatever it holds. I face it with wild abandon, and know that in His presence....whatever comes my way....He will be smiling over me, and will carry me through to victory. It will be a glorious year in His presence.

2011 Here I come!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve. My dogs are snuggled at my feet, and the Christmas lights are twinkling, as I am up early with my morning cup of coffee. As I sit here looking at the gifts under the tree, I am taken back to the events of the year. I think about the precious friends I made, the relationships that were established, the victories I walked through with my friends and family, the tears we cried together, the prayers we prayed, and memories we made.
I had a sweet conversation with one of my dear friends last night, and as we talked I was just so thankful I had her. She has always been there to pray with me. She has always been so faithful to be there through every season. I have been so blessed with such wonderful friendships this year.

It was a year filled with hurdles, but I have to say, it was a year with more blessings because of those hurdles. I met people I would never have met. I grew stronger than I thought was even possible. I thought I would come to the end of this year saying to myself...."wow, that was just a very tough year, and I'm ready for it to be over." That's not what I am saying. This year was a gift. It was a gift that showed me that the real gifts are not those under the tree. It is life, it is my precious friends who I am so thankful for, it is my Mom and Dad who are with me here to celebrate, it's about my loving husband, and my children who I's about family. Most importantly... it is about Jesus....the lover of my precious Jesus.
He loved me so much that he came into this world in such a humble way. In a stable, born in a manger (with a lot of poop and bad smells around!) I think about how hard it must have been. But He did if for me. Quite frankly, that blows me away.

My friend and I were talking about our favorite Christmas carols last night. We came to the conclusion that "Oh Holy Night" was our favorite. It sums it all up. What a Holy night it was. A night divine! A night that changed the world...a night that is why I am even here....sitting by this the quiet of His presence.
So as I sit here quietly in my spirit....I am thankful for the many treasures God gave me this year. They don't require wrapping paper, they don't have any assembly required, and they don't need batteries. These gifts will be here for years to come......they won't be given to good will or thrown away, and they won't break. They are eternal. I have never treasured these gifts more than I do this year. My Jesus.
May you all bask in the wonderful gift of Jesus this Christmas and treasure those eternal gifts He gives through friends and family. The treasures that last an eternity.
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Live out loud.

I saw my precious elderly neighbor walk slowly with her cane, to the curbside to get her paper this morning. It was then that my mind filled with special memories of yet another neighbor. We call him Mr. Bob. Mr. Bob lost his wife years ago and lived by himself. I have learned more things from the life of Mr. Bob. Life changing things.....he lived out loud.

Every morning without fail very very early, you would find Mr. Bob walking to each house, picking up the newspaper, and taking it to their front door. I have watched Mr. Bob do this for many years. I watched him as he walked briskly to each door, then after hip and knee replacements, he walked with a cane to each door. The final weeks of his life, Mr. Bob had his walker, and he was determined to get each paper to each door. Some days it would take him hours....he just started earlier. I have seen him walk through rain, snow, sleet and hail get that newspaper to the door. I always loved my conversations with Mr. Bob. He always, and I do mean always had a smile on his face and exuded joy. I offered to help him on days I knew he was going very slowly and knew he was hurting. (Although he would never admit it) He would always tell me he was fine and loved doing this, it brought him joy. I asked about his determination to do this everyday. He said to me “Lisa, It may be a very small thing, but over the years I have learned that it is not by what you say that reaches most people, but how you live. I want to live out loud...I want to love out loud...without saying a word.” He then went on to tell me that he prayed for each house and their family as he put each paper by the door. He said to me that over the years he has reached more people for Jesus without saying a word....just living what he believed. The thing I remember so vividly about Mr. Bob was the light that you could see and feel in his life. His eyes beamed. He always had a wave for every passing car. Many times I could hear him singing and whistling as he was delivering papers. It was hard to see Mr. Bob pass away recently. He was 87 years young when he died. Oh I so loved that man. He was like a grandfather to the neighborhood. It was a sad day, the day Mr. Bob went to be with Jesus.

As I took Holly for a walk this morning, I saw all the papers out with frost on them. A sight that I was not used to seeing. Oh how we miss Mr. Bob. It was then that I saw my sweet elderly neighbor walk ever so slowly to the curb to get her paper. Holly was carrying her leash in her mouth and promptly ran over to my neighbor, dropped her leash, and picked up the paper. At first I was chasing after her thinking....Holly was going to scare my precious friend. It was then that I just heard the Lord say to my heart....let her go....listen Lisa,’s your turn. I was like HUH? So I stopped, watched Holly go get the paper in her mouth and she walked that paper up to the front door and she waited for my neighbor to get to the door. My neighbor was delighted! She was so happy and said this made her day. She was laughing and waving her arms with excitement. Holly handed her the paper with her mouth, and wagged that tail with more joy than I have ever seen. Holly knew....she knew! Me? I was standing in the street, mouth open, tears streaming down my face, watching my dog literally be used by God! Sounds funny huh? It was my turn. It was my turn to live out loud. I got it. And God used my dog to help me “get it.”

We would take over where Mr. Bob left off. We just finished getting the papers on our street, took them up to each door, via Holly and her happy tail. She had the time of her life. And you know what? So did I. Mr. Bob was right....this was fun. It gives me time to pray for each house, each neighbor, and have more time to just listen. Mr. Bob is up there in heaven I know smiling. I kind of think he prayed for this before he went to be with Jesus. He lived out loud....I want that too! I am happy Holly and I can follow in his footsteps....literally.