Joy – almost indescribable because it is:
~ more long-lasting and less circumstantial than happiness
~ more stable than giddy elation
~ more passionate than quiet, half-hearted smiles.
Joy is the resounding elation of my deepest inner self beyond emotional bounds with no definable reason or definite time .
I’ve tasted it… and I still struggle to define it. I know when I’m full of joy – I know when I’m lacking joy. I remember where I was and what I was doing when I’ve tasted fullest joy – a joy that overwhelmed and overflowed beyond expressions.
There was the time of seeing myself as He sees me – a mirror clearing of fog… a veil being lifted away…
There was the time of waking myself up as I put earthly verbal sounds to the heavenly dreaming sounds of singing His praises in my sleep…
I long for those times of overwhelming, overflowing joy. I pray for more – they are the times I feel nearest to my Father Friend. They are those moments I draw on when I’m worshipping – when I’m focusing on Him – when I’m getting myself out of my way to have only Him.
And I wonder….
Could I handle a full meal of joy – a daily, three-times a day – dose of divine joy?
Maybe, just maybe…
Since momentary, finite life on earth is dress rehearsal for eternity, infinite life with Father Friend, I am getting the appetizers – as I’m able to savor and process and enjoy – while He keeps the full, daily, multiple times a day entree until I enter my eternity.
My family loves watching the Oscars. My two teen girls and I cuddled on the chaise watching the entire.four.hours of the show. I dealt with squeals every time Benny Cumberbatch photobombed, or tweet bombed, or got in on the panning camera. I dealt with groans and “philosophical” discourses about how it was unfair that Gravity received so many awards when The Hobbit, either part, didn’t receive a one. I listened to teen girls singing along with Let It Go and whoops of victory when Frozen and Let It Go won their respective categories.
Now, evidently, I have to “listen” to Fox News and Facebook feeds and almost every social media outlet extol or belittle the virtues of Matt’s speech where he mentions that God is who he looks up to. I mean, really. Why is that such a big deal? He was born and raised in Texas – bottom half of the buckle on the Bible belt. Of course he believes in God. Of course he looks up to God.
Even the demons do this, and shudder. (James 2:19)
What about the African American woman who sang “I sing because I’m happy… because I know His eye is on the sparrow and He watches over me” when the documentary about her life won an Oscar? What makes Matt’s speech any more important… or impressive… or noteworthy than this lady’s song?
You know what would have impressed me when Matt said those words? If he had also won the humanitarian award (which went to Angelina)… or if he actually helped AIDS victims (like he portrayed doing in the movie he won the Oscar for)… or if there truly was some meat, some substance, behind his words.
And, there may be some meat there. I really don’t know. And it isn’t my place to judge his “stance” with God, either positively or negatively. Nor is it anyone else’s place.
I think there would be a lot less hubbub about a movie “star” mentioning God in his acceptance speech if Christians who truly believe in God acted like they did. Kristen Welch wrote a post here that better sums up exactly what my point is. I enjoy Kristen’s take on life… on Christianity… on parenting… and I agree 100% with most everything she says.
NOTE: This post is not intended to belittle or elevate Matt or Angelina in any way. Matt deserved his Oscar – Angelina is a humanitarian who serves well.
I’m helping bring awareness to a beautiful love story @mercyhousekenya. Share this post and #spreadthelove.
My maternal grandmother, Marquerite, died yesterday morning. Her death was the only hope of our reconciliation. I had not seen or spoken to her in 18 years ~ my oldest child met her once, but thankfully doesn’t remember it. My husband and my other two children had never met her. Marquerite struggled with paranoid schizophrenia. In my unprofessional opinion, it was a result of chemical inbalances in her brain and years of physical and sexual abuse, first from her parents – then her husband – then her son. She was also physically handicapped; her right knee cap had rotted from multiple injuries that were never taken care of, so when she married, her Army husband had it removed and the bones fused together. She could not bend her leg at all; she wore a specially made built up shoe to walk. When Grandma was on her medications, she was a wonderful woman. She knew Jesus as her personal Friend ~ she loved her 4 grandchildren (my siblings and I) to distraction ~ she played Simon Says and Mother May I? up and down our driveway summer after summer ~ she taught us card games and funny songs and crafts. When Grandma was not on her medications, she was a horrible woman. What faith she had disappeared ~ she fought with her grandchildren, daughter, and son-in-law as if we were trying to kill her ~ she assaulted police officers ~ she attempted to assault my oldest child (who was 5 months old at the time). Grandma often went off her medication believing that Jesus would heal her ~ or that she didn’t need it ~ or that the doctor was trying to kill her. For the sake of my family, I drew boundaries that she could not cross. After that last time of seeing her, the one time we tried to talk over the phone left her thinking she was talking to my sister and being totally confused about who I was and who my family was. She mailed back pictures I sent her, including the letters, with pages and pages of nonsensical ramblings where she thought I was my mother. I couldn’t handle her physical presence or written/spoken presence in the life of my family, so I cut off contact. Now that she is in Heaven with her Savior, I believe she is whole again. Her mind is balanced and free of fear ~ her leg is fully functional ~ her wounds are healed ~ her spirit is well. When my family and I join her there someday, we’ll have the reconciliation we could not have on earth ~ the relationship with her that was never possible here. So, part of me rejoices in her death ~ that she is finally whole and the wonderful woman I caught glimpses of throughout my childhood. And, part of me mourns in her death ~ that my husband and children will never know her on earth, that she and I could not have and maintain the grandmother/granddaughter relationship I so longed for. I will remember the bright summer days of Simon Says and Mother May I? ~ of Sound of Music plays in the yard ~ of blackberry picking and creek swimming ~ and be thankful that I was blessed with a grandmother who, as much as she was able, pointed me to my Jesus.
All over the wide world of the web, there are posts about choosing one word for the new year instead of doing a New Year’s Resolution. I’ve never done one word for a year, and most new year’s resolutions (at least my own) rarely last past January 2nd.
I like the idea of one word for a year… it is simple ~ but with focus ~ with consistency ~ and I believe I was given my one word as I was reviewing my 2013 journals and notes from spiritual dimensions trips.
My word for 2014 is…
Closer as in moving closer ~ moving closer to God. This idea came from James 4:8 ~ “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” (NLT) Other translations say “draw near“. Both ways get to the same point, drawing near ~ getting closer ~ to God with the benefit of Him coming closer to me.
Out there on the web, I recently saw a post about not shining so people see me, but shining so people see God in me. This is similar to what my desire is ~ to draw closer to God, so close those around me cannot tell where I stop and He begins. I’ve often pictured holding God by the hand, standing so close to the back and side of Him that my nose is pressed into His shoulder blade, and I’m clinging with my other hand to His arm. From the front, a person would see all of God, and just a little bit of me off to His side.
I would not be able to breathe without breathing in His scent ~ I would not be able to move without His going with me, leading me ~ I would not be able to
This one word ~ closer ~ would give me focus.
I would not do things ~ buy things ~ participate in things ~ pray about things ~ dwell on things ~ that did not bring me closer to God. At least, I would try not to. And this closer to God… it would impact other things. I would be able to be closer to my husband, my kids, my friends, my family.
It has long been the one word that I’ve used most often to describe my life in Christ. Read this post for more information on peace.
Yet it has been awhile since I’ve been living in peace. Life changes have been more challenges; life plans have been revamped and scrapped; dreams have died.
I’m not this… I’m not that. Who am I now? What is my purpose… my plans… my calling?
It is “to hear, answer, and follow the only One Who knows me completely.” (quoted here)
And I now can find my lost peace.
read 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I highly recommend it and her as a writer.
Currently, she and her Farmer husband are serving on a Compassion team in Ecuador. You can follow the team here.
She wrote a post about her daughter Hope knitting a scarf for a child she wants to sponsor in Ecuador. Here are Ann’s words:
And thanksgiving only becomes thanksliving when joy in the blessings given from above — overflows into the blessings given all around.
Thanksgiving only becomes thanksliving when the thanks for His vertical, coming-down grace — is expressed as a horizontal, reaching-out grace.
Thanksgiving only becomes thanksliving — when thanksgiving to God overflows into a joy of giving.
The joy of giving thanks – is ultimately expressed in the joy of giving.
Thanks LIVING – that’s what I want. As our holiday of Thanksgiving gets ever closer, I challenge you to learn how you can begin thanksliving.
Today, I’ve decided to try something new. I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama for the Five Minute Friday. I am taking just 5 minutes to write what’s on my heart, to tell you what God is up to, without worrying about perfection. No editing, to back tracking, no writing it on paper before I put it up here. Just words freely flowing …
Today’s Prompt: Growing
I’m growing up … and it’s painful at times … but I can’t help thinking It’s about time!
I’ve been a believer for 26 years and I’m just now learning things that I wish I had known since I was nine ~ since Jesus first loved on me and pursued me to Him.
I’m learning … eucharisteo … receiving a gift, giving thanks for the gift, and living a life of joy … in ALL things.
I’m learning … God talks to me ~ I can hear Him!
From Hearing God by Dallas Willard:
“When … two become one, they identify with one another, expanding their selves and their world. The beloved, who both loves and is loved, does not want to order the lover about; instead the beloved desires that the lover understand what is needed so that no orders are necessary. In this union of souls – in the conscious delight and rest in one another that is the highest and most exalted relationship possible between two persons – it is not right for one person to always tell the other what to do. And so it is in our union with God, a person both loving and beloved. He does not delight in having to always explain what His will is; He enjoys it when we understand and act upon His will. Our highest calling and opportunity in life is to love Him with all our being.”
I am His beloved – He is my beloved.