Joy: Heart and Eyes

 I’ve been thinking… It is hard for me to feel joy…

About the reality of joy from a Christian perspective. In discussions, the divine mystery gets muddied as the dust of this world smears our tears.

With God’s help, this is what my thought life penciled out. . .

JOY is not a hue heart

JOY looks forward with eyes to the eternal.

Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place.

1 Chronicles 16:27

Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord; For He is coming to judge the earth.

1 Chronicles 16:33

When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Job 38:7

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalm 16:11

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

Therefore, let us consider the life changing perspective. . .

IF JOY LIVES NOT IN THE FEELING,

DOES JOY COME TO LIFE IN THE SEEING?

Look back over the mosaic Kathleen created for you.

Which image gathers joy with the eyes of your heart?

Can you guess my fav?

Dearest Daughters: If I Could

Hopie, Ashie, Megums and KMay,

If I could open up your hearts, to pour, without loosing a drop, this would be my pitcher.

All of you know the piano connection to the music of the heart. Some of you better than others. 😉

From the deep longings of a woman’s heart, rain and water droplets wet the dry places of want. I remember, so often, watching rain droplets on glass, and everything in me, being at home in that moment. I wanted to soak up each and every one.

Let this speak to the Lord of your wants, Let it go in as deep as it will go now (Murphy Toener) and come back often. . .

  • to hear your heart longings spoken
  • to have your wants filled
  • to have your fears healed
  • to be delivered into more of yourself
  • to have your precious wants washed on with His love and mine

When you watch/listen, look for the little girl playing the violin in the rain.

If I could, I’d write a Momma’s love song, to grow into, just for you.

If I could, I’d play it on my violin, flawlessly just for you.

If I could, I’d make the melody linger in your heart, for love’s sake, just for you.

If I could, I’d make the rain wash each note with God’s goodness just for you.

If I could, it would be a wet witness of His Love and mine just for you.

My little girl, never knew to expect you, but you are all she could ever have dreamed and then some. 🙂   (Pinterest Inspired)

A Christmas Invitation

pinterest inspired

pinterest inspired

So, He waits, and waits and waits.  I walk past and He brushes His Large Hand against my busy hands in a caress. The warmth of His Hand catches me off guard. I keep moving but my heart lags behind. I turn, only briefly, to see Him gazing into the fire holding a gift.

The invitation does not slow me down. Much of my body may be stilled but my head is running around with the Christmas crazies. . .putting the holiday into action. (Because it all depends on me, right?) Poem on my mind, reblog Toll Lege. Got to answer that email, her heart is hanging by a thread of uncertainty. Two more things to order on-line, yet. Arrow prayers for Hope to finish med school testing strong, Meg and Kathleen: texts sent: Where are you, no one told me after school plans, again. Is Ashies’ elf list too long? Christmas Cards to scribble with what’s left of my handwriting. Presents to wrap, thank you Candy. Aunt Gay’s Reindeer cookies (see my Pinterest) to make, thank you Donna, a visit to encourage my neighbor, thank you God.

“Did I hear my name?” “Well, yes” I murmured, thinking it was more just a spiritual reflex to thank Him. “Did you mean it?” “Mean what?” I queried. “You’ve forgotten that quickly?” He was sounding disappointed. This whole round robin question dynamic is feeling strangely like my marriage, I thought. “That would be funny if it was not so close to the truth, young one.” He said it with a light chuckle. I could sense He was trying to redeem my side of the conversation, When He said, “I have a gift for you.”

I found myself thinking about the sermon on God’s Gifts. It enveloped the concept, do you look to The Gift or The Gift Giver?  I’m not sure where my heart is with that at the moment. Hesitant to examine my posture in my sudden fatigue (all too common these days), I snuggle into His lap presence quickly.  I must have fallen asleep because when I next opened my eyes, the fire had died down to a smolder. He allowed me to wake slowly, stroking my head. I thought I heard Him counting. When I finally looked into His soft, transcendent eyes, He asked, “Are you going to open it?” I did not want to disappoint Him again, as I fingered the bright red ribbon (did I hear the ribbon humming?), I sought courage. Perfect love casts out fear. I blurted out, “I’m afraid to open it.” (I’ve done it now I thought.) He simply said, “Tell Me why you are afraid to open My gift.” (He already knew why. . .)

“You are holding your breath again,” as He nudged me. I’m trying to hide from my own words, I thought. The words came with the next breath, “God. . . what if it’s not,” I stopped short. I could not continue. Gifts can be hard to give and receive. “Do you limit Me to a box?” He asked, boldly. “Of course not!” I answered with conviction (and a little, okay. . . more than a little, indignation).  I put the gift to the side. I really wanted to please Him.

“The gift can wait until you are ready,” He comforted. The smile that started in His Eyes and worked it’s way to a broad crescent grin that rounded out His whole face. I thought, you resemble that jolly. . . ..He interrupted me, “Yes, It’s fun to pull a Santa look-alike every now and then!!!” “I’ll take my present now,” I giggled. We laughed so hard, we both tumbled out of the chair onto the floor. The lid to the box fell off and out spilled everything we needed to roast marshmallows and make Hershey’s chocolate s’mores. “YUM!” I exclaimed, with the joyful delight of a child!!! “You can roast a perfect marshmallow,” realizing how silly I sounded. There’s that smile again. He is melting more than marshmallows in His Hands, I mused. He knows just how to tag my heart this Christmas. My fingers became sticky with His Love and goodness. And the chocolate~marshmallow~graham cracker connection was pretty sweet in the moment too.

P.S. Readers: God can be very playful with me. I  mean NO disrespect. I am not comparing or coupling God and Santa Claus. In the way I process my Faith, the sacred and the secular are meshed in ways beyond our understanding. This “conversation” suggests the familiarity that exists between intimate friends. For many of us, Holidays are blend of our Christmas traditions with His Sovereign Love. God is big enough to embrace a little fun over the holidays. (His fingers got sticky with marshmallow too.)

Hide and Seek: Kingdom Play

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Oh to be a child again, playing hide and seek. I vividly remember playing hide and seek and squeezing into this very small square cabinet on the bottom of a china cabinet my dad and brother, Toby built. I look at it now and marvel I could ever fit in there! I remember being so worked up and scared when I tried to crawl out and  run for base, I was moving in slow motion! I read it’s called the “slow motion effect.”

I don’t try to squeeze into small places anymore! But, I have a secret to share, I still play. Yes, hide and seek with the kids was so much fun! But I play hide and seek with the Lord. He “hides” treasures for me in my days/nights. . .and I “seek” them out. Sometimes, it a blossom hidden in the ivy, a card nestled in my mailbox, a warm towel after a shower, a cheek to cheek touch from a friend, a comment on a blog post, a sun ray in my eyes, a warm water therapy splash, or a clean happy yellow washcloth to wash my face. (I’ve loved yellow ever since I was a little girl!)

It’s a game I give great weight of glory, but it’s playful. God initiates the play, He hides and the hunt is on. . .It’s a whole different posture for my heart to enter into this game where bits and pieces of His Heart for me are tucked into my movements of routines. I can hear His presence following me. . .

“Ah, she’s close, this is my fav for today, Ugh, she missed it! Rolled right past it, sometimes I wish she would drive the wheelchair speed limit! Wild Woman in that chair. I knew I should have given her the down scaled model!”

“I knew, she’d get that lovie, I placed it right near her chocolate stash! :)”

“Awe, look at her stop and embrace the gift of my presence in the texture of her daughters hair before school! She closes her eyes as she recalls My Truth tucked right there and she thanks me for counting every hair on Megan’s head, Good girl!”

Kingdom Play:

Matthew 18

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Rank in the Kingdom

18 At that [a]time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him [b]before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you [c]are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 

Seek, Seeking, Seeketh in His Name with all our hearts and we will find the child in the seeking and enter into His Kingdom for us by His Hand. A youth worker at church once told me that Kingdom Workings for her was like having Disney World in her backyard!!!

Let’s Play. If you don’t feel like it, probably all the more you need it!  

What has God tucked before your very eyes and is waiting with bated breath for you to discover???

Recognition?

Pinterest Inspired

Pinterest Inspired

We say to our children, “Did you make any new friends today?” So anxious are we for their social interaction and success. We communicate a need for them to make their world happen, as if God isn’t working things for good for those that love him.

We too “make” our lives happen. A spirit of expectation of the need to create or we live void of life? We teach our children to “make” and we live to “keep up with our neighbors.” I think we forget, our Creator is at work.

God Creates, we “recognize” His workings and are called into what HE IS DOING with our feet, our hands, our hearts

Some women shared a gathering recently, and I was again so aware of what I cannot “make” happen. My feet don’t work, my speech doesn’t work, my hands are weakening. . .and how easy it is to feel inept, without contribution. This is a very painful, poignant God lesson for me.

There is an unveiled, untold, uncelebrated recognition of what He does, has done and will do that is so much bigger than we can “make happen on our own.”

Recognition of His workings, His creations, His relationships is a powerful dynamic that highlights His Hand in providing for our needs. He provides for our need to connect through friendships.

I recognize him/her as a friend in how they:

*encourage me

*hold up a Godly standard

*love me unconditionally

*affirm our strengths

*servanthood

*gentle accountability with my weaknesses

*laugh and cry with me

*faithful and loyal

*the relationship just stirs my desire to be my very best when I am with them

*know how to carry light and know how to carry heavy

*remind me how to play

*offer a unique role

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So today, as I think about my friendships,

I ask my Lord to recognize them, as not of my creation but of His making.

I strive to honor each and everyone as the gift it is from God.

If I could, I would invite each one of you to tea, with your favorite flowers on the table, your favorite homemade warm cookies on a tiered serving piece and a wrapped gift of your favorite perfume. I might say something like this. . .   For example. . .

“You have sweetly served as the fragrance of Christ in my life in several ways. I just want to honor our friendship in sharing with you some of the ways you have blessed me. You have listened and affirmed my anger at this disease.  You made space for my pain. You have been my hands in loving my daughters. You have seen through my weakness to the real me. You have brought flowers. You have cuddled in bed with me. You have left me a tear-filled voice mail. You have commented on my post. You tell me you miss me, You’ve encouraged my purpose. You’ve looked at me and meant it. You brought a warm meal. You drove my children. You made me feel special because you made time for me. You drove me to water therapy. You prayed for me. You loved me in my worst angst. You held my hand. You dropped a happy surprise and I don’t know your name. You made space for my need. You anchored hope, when I floated lost. You let me cry. You made me laugh. You’ve chased dust balls.”And on and on and on. . . .

And if I had it to do all over again, I’d talk to my girls after school, and ask them. . .

“Did you recognize any friendship offerings from the Lord today?”

Friend in Blue and then a few shades more. . .

Pinterest Inspired

Pinterest Inspired (My life verse)

Friend in blue, you know who you are, you remain behind the scenes, yet God places you in the forefront of my hands and feet in creation and organization. I give thanks to Him who gifted me with your offerings.

To the shades of color in friendship to all of you. I lift you today, in a garment of praise for the brush strokes you lend onto the canvas of our lives. There is no beauty in this disease, but the ashes rendered from the fire in our hearts for life, suggests beauty coming. . .There is no adequacy in my words of thank you. . .What a deep, rich gift to experience His grace through each of you.

God does promise rainbows when our lives flood and here you all are. . .Readers from all over the world. Friends I will never meet and those closer to home. . .with heart felt prayers. . .and hands and hearts that serve with offerings and feet work for the ALS walk. . . .visits. . .texts. . .challenging thoughts. . .eye connections. . .meals. . .cleaning. . . .books. . .music. . . .post comments. . . .you each show up in a way unique to His plan for provision and promise.

The movement in His sufficient grace, creates, it shakes the heavens with your love. Does it get any better than that. . .here? To move the heavens with our hearts for Him and each other?

This verse comes from His response to each of your color-flushed offerings. You display His splendor. Thank you with depths only known in the heavens. I have never known such love. You picked up the paint brush, dipped it in oil of joy and painted outside the lines of my life! 

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.