Joy in the journey!

Joy in the journey!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Joy in dark places.....with a party hat.

It was not the news I was expecting. In fact as I sat listening to the test results for my sweet Mamma, hearing that her cancer was no longer responding to the chemo, it was as if someone had placed a plastic bag over my head and I was suf
focating. The house was quiet. Everyone was gone for the day and I listened to the silence. Is there a word to describe what I felt? If there is I don’t know what it was. As fast as all the questions filled my head was as fast as my lips just kept uttering the words “Jesus help.” All I could get out was a faint whisper.....”Jesus help.” It came from a place in my soul that had never cried out like that before. In an instant....the sweetest presence blew over me and I knew He was there. Where I ended....He began. Someone asked me the other day, “How does this Holy Spirit thing work for you?” They asked me if it really was possible to have joy in the dark places. Today, sitting in a dark place.....He’s there. It’s as if the room lit up and I didn’t have to ask the questions because I knew He had the answers and they all made sense. That my friend is the Holy Spirit. That is what gives me joy to jump, joy to face this journey with my sweet Mamma, joy to know there is a party to be had on this side of heaven....regardless of what my circumstances are.

As we drove to the Doctor today, knowing what we were facing. Or better yet, not knowing what we were facing.....we looked at each other and we laughed! I know right? We were cracking up! Belly laughs! We hugged each other in the car as we sat parked in the lot and we remembered the scripture the Lord gave us through this journey. Jeremiah 33:3 “Call on my name and I will answer. I will show you great and mighty things you know not of.” We felt joy! We felt expectant, and we felt a party coming on. And you know me, I always have party hats in tow and by golly we wore them to this appointment. Whatever the news.....God had a party in store.

The news was not that great. One more try at chemo, and then we take a look at things then. Another plan to be tried. The doctor never knows what to expect when Mom and I come to see him. In fact he always opens up the door and peeks in first. And then he smiles. I say “come join the party!” We love it when we make him laugh. It’s kind of become our mission.

I am sitting here with my precious Mamma now. That red bag of chemo running into her’s a love hate relationship. I have prayed as it enters her body the blood of Jesus heals her. I pray we will see those great and mighty things we know not of. No matter what, we have had the journey of our lives. We have been able to minister, love, pray for, and cheer those on who are in this battle with her.

A precious beautiful young lady sitting beside Mom is having a rough journey. The tears are flowing and she is heartbroken. All I could do was put my hand on her leg and pray. She asked me for a party hat. Do I have an extra one? Are you kidding? I have a bag full! As I watched her tears dry and the laughter began.....I just thanked God for the journey He has us on. It’s a journey of party hats! That even in the hardest journeys, we see the biggest miracles. The laughter we heard today, no money can buy. Moments like these are those that shape and define and stay in our hearts forever.

The lessons I have learned on this journey with my Mamma have changed me forever. Jesus has become more real and closer than ever. His Spirit and His presence have carried me when I felt uncarriable. I am thankful He has His party hat on too. I know when we get to’s going to be one huge party. Why not start now? Today....we are. Yes, even in the chemo unit. But that’s just Jesus. That just my precious Jesus. And that my friend is why I jump for joy....a lot! Party on!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What a friend we have......

She sat there with a look on her face that was angelic.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  She would sit in her rocking chair and sew for hours.  Those clothes she worked so hard on, would be sent to missions.  She usually had a straight pin or two in her mouth, but it didn’t stop her from singing.  I could hear the shaky sweet voice of my precious Grandma sing “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”  It was her favorite hymn. There are days that sweet tune she sang rings in my spirit for hours.  

This week as I sat here thinking about the journey I am on.  I started to get a little overwhelmed.  Never at one time have I ever had so many huge tasks at hand that needed so much faith, and endurance.  I am a doer.  I am a planner.  I tend to overthink things in figuring out how things will work.  This can work for me at times, and it can work against me at other times.  Have you ever become so exhausted in the planning that you don’t enjoy the trip?  Well I found myself working on the solution to every situation, and there were many situations to be solved.  It was exhausting.  

Then as I sat there completely overwhelmed, there it was.  It was that sweet shaking voice that sounded like an angel.  It was like it was right there with me.  I just remembered it all and began to sing it outloud.  “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear.  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”  The hymn my Grandma would sing for hours. It rang so strongly in my spirit, and a peace came with it.   

I remember even as a young girl I would get overwhelmed, and my Grandma would remind me to stop looking at the problem, look to Jesus.  She said it with such comfort.  
It was so simple, so sweet, so lifechanging. 

As I sung the song under my breath, I realized that all my methods to solve, all my plans, all my “trying to figure things out”, won’t work without His fingerprints on them.  He reveals to me what doesn’t work because, after all, He is the answer.  In my worthy goals to do things right, and figure things out, in my home, school, church, ministry, relationships, in any place or situation, there is no saving grace, no answer, apart from Jesus.  It is Jesus alone that makes the difference.  His competence, His comprehensiveness, His assessment of what is needed, His interactions in hearts, and in days, His presence and performance are key to any “solutions.”  

I cannot overthink God’s plan, I need to trust Him with it.  As C.S. Lewis said “Relying on God has to start all over every day, as if nothing has yet been done.” Some days that means relying on Him minute by minute.  

Oh the amazing things I have learned on this journey.  He shows up in ways I never dreamed.  He teaches me and equips me in some of the hardest times of my life.  I think that is so neat.  It’s not about me, and how I can fix things.  It’s about Him and how I can trust His plan, no matter what.  

As I sing that song over and over in my captive consciousness: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”  I am not singing anymore about my act of carrying anything, or figuring things out, or my acts at all.  I am singing about Him.  He’s the game-changer, He’s the difference maker.  

Are you facing something that seems insurmountable?  Let God put His fingerprints on it, let Him be the game changer for you.  He is there just waiting.  Not only will you see your breakthrough, you will watch your life be transformed through the journey with Him.  You will love who you become!  What a friend we have in Jesus!  I will forever hear this hymn in my heart.  Thank you Grandma, for so lovingly instilling in me what this really means.  I know she is in heaven smiling and singing.  And I kind of think heaven joins in with her when I sing those sweet words.  

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless
pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to
the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge,
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to
Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there
will be no
need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship
will be our sweet portion there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why we need "underwear" friends!

I just read a devotional this morning that has now become my favorite.  It’s about underwear friends!  I know right!  These special friendships are there when the wedgies of life tear us apart at the seams.  It made me think about all the amazing people God has placed in my friends. 

I have friends that lift me up, support me, even pinch me back to reality when I go out in left field.  They have stood with me, laughed with me, been patient with me, prayed with me, cried with me, and even drove me around while wearing a chicken suit!  I have learned so much from my friends.  They are treasures who enrich my life.  The best kinds of friends in life are those who love us despite our wrinkles and warts.  They have a knack for drawing the best out of us and challenging us to grow into all we were meant to be in our journey of life and faith.

 Psalms 18:39 is one of my favorite verses.  “You have equipped me with strength for the battle...”  I thank God for my underwear friends;  they lift, support, squeeze, and even pinch me if necessary.  They are God’s resources that gird up my proverbial loins for the battle.  I can throw away my girdle, because they are the best option to gird me up....God’s option.  A friend is one of the best things you can have and one of the best things you can be.  I want to be the best friend I can be.  I want to give back what I have so generously been given.

I am forever grateful for my underwear friends!  They have made life’s wedgies a journey I have grown through and seen miracles through.  May we all be underwear friends!  Stretch on my friends....stretch on!