Monday, March 31, 2008

God Stops

"Sometimes the God of the universe pauses in the midst of all His creation to touch the heart of one person. Today, He paused for you." Lysa TerKeurst

Over the last couple of weeks God has been "pausing" for me in such incredible ways...and I don't think it's so much something new that God is doing...I just haven't been recognizing His "God stops" in my life. God's been pausing, but I haven't been responding. I've been like Isaiah 6:9 describes, " 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'" I've missed seeing God working in my life. I feel like the Lord is removing scales from the eyes of my heart and I'm actually seeing Him for the first time.

What has blinded my vision of Christ? There's been a variety of things that have cluttered my faith and obscured my view. Self-imposed restrictions and rules that have made trusting and seeing God difficult at best, impossible at worst. My own self-sufficiency...a try harder, do better mentality.

I asked Jesus in my life when I was 8 years old and I've been living in the freedom from the penalty of sin, but not in the liberty of the power over sin. My Pastor has described it as living like justified slaves after being declared righteous. My life has been filled with struggle, effort, doubt, but I can't experience Christ by trying harder. I can only know Him by trusting. All my attempts to surpress and cover the 'bad' in me...the things I want to change...on my own, I'm only restraining who I continue to be. God wants to fill me with Himself and give me His divine power. He is showing up all over my life and calling me not to more Biblical teaching or attending more Women's conferences or reading more books, but leaning on the truth I already know. Leaning on The Truth, The Life and The Way.

The Power available to me is more than enough for any and every situation I will ever face. God is stopping to show me His love. He's pausing to show me His power. He's communing with me and displaying His splendor. I'm in awe, yet at the same time I have I missed this all my life? Where have I been? How come this truth is just reaching my heart now? Why wasn't I living in God's power and recognizing Him before? I've attended church all my life. Did the words become too familiar? Did I become complacent in my Christianity? Did pride keep me from seeking Him? Did fear silence His voice?

There's a commercial I've seen on television where a young man is sitting in a restaurant and a waitress walks by with a tray of beverages. Upon seeing the drinks on the tray, the gentleman slaps his head with the palm of his hand and says, "OH, I could have had a V8!" It's like the light just came on. The thought had never occured to him before. I feel like that right now. I'm wondering how I could have grown up in the church and missed the power of the cross all these years. I'm hitting my forehead and saying, "I could have been living in the power that Christ died and made available to me".

So thankful God paused today to speak this truth into my heart.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Now and the Not Yet

Just a few days ago we welcomed Spring - although to look outside the window as I type this now at mounds of snow making a white border down both sides of my driveway, it's hard to believe that warmer weather is actually on the horizon. Seasons in our world flow one to another. Our calendar each year records the first day of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Each one begins on a designated day, coming expected, unchanging and predictable. The seasons in our life are not as reliable. We experience spring's freshness, summer's warmth and rest, autumn's cool winds and winter's harsher climate at any time of the year. We can even live with the elements of two seasons running parallel across our lives at the same time.

The other morning I was awakened by the sound of nature outside my window. Two birds were welcoming the day. The little songbird's melody was breathtaking. The trills this little bird sang as he cascaded up and down octaves was a glorious song of celebration. Yet, joining in this duet was the mournful cooing of a dove. How sad this song appeared in comparison. Both were singing the song the Lord had given them. One sounded as if it was overflowing from sheer joy, the other offering a sacrifice of praise through pain.

How often in my life two songs are being played. I'm rejoicing because of God's goodness in one area, yet fearful and doubting in another. It's like looking outside right now and knowing spring is here, yet feeling winter's blast on my heart. Spring joy is bridled by winter pain. What I know to be true in my head, yet only seeing the reality of circumstances surrounding me. Living in the now and the not yet. Having the joy of one situation clouded by the trials and hardships of another. One brings laughter, the other tears.

I think of laughter as a gift. I often rejoice in laughter, yet hide my tears. Tears, too, are a gift from God. They do not go unnoticed by Him. Both are wordless emotions that express so much. I read recently that tears caused by laughter are very different than tears caused by sorrow. Their composition is different. Tears caused by sorrow matter so much to God that they even have a different consistency than "happy tears". That's how He designed us.

Ken Gire writes, "The closest communion with God comes, I believe, through the sacrament of tears. Just as grapes are crushed to make wine and grain to make bread, so the elements of this sacrament come from the crushing experiences of life."

It's so hard being caught in the middle of one piece of music. The treble part is victorious and lilting, while the bass accompaniment lingers long, low and harsh. Inside, my emotions are torn. The arms of my heart are stretched out. Each one is being pulled in the opposite direction. A battle is being fought. The journey of life brings the Road to Emmaus, but also the Via Dolorosa. Two paths. Two seasons. Both leading to the same Savior.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Well....I was awake just after 4am this morning....couldn't quickly my feelings can change when my focus goes off God and onto circumstances.

Yesterday was a great day! I was eating, I felt good, the knot in my stomach was gone...then...around 9pm last night I discovered my husband booked me on a 50-seater plane to take this adventure with God to North Carolina! (see "Joy Surprised" and "Urgent Help Needed" posts below for more details.) He laughs at my panicked reaction to the size of this plane and says it's big enough. I feel hurt, angry, frightened, brokenhearted. He knows my fear. Why would he do that? To tease? I know he's never had any patience with my fears, but it seems cruel to me....he couldn't have done this just to be question what am I placing my faith? In the size of my plane? In my pilot? In the scientific reasons why a 'huge' anything can defy gravity and stay up in the air? In good mechanics to service the plane? Where is my faith? Is it in God? Do I trust Him? Do I believe in the character and competence of my Pilot? Is my God big enough regardless of the size of the plane?

But faith is so small...

Your Word tells me that if I have mustard seed faith I can see mountains moved. It's not about the size of my faith OR the size of the plane - it's all about the Object of my faith. Do I trust God?

This morning I see so much of my life is controlled by flesh...emotions controlled by circumstances. A heart attitude filled with the Spirit is full of joy! The constant battle between flesh and spirit is ultimately a battle of control. Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes in "Seeking Him", "Many Christians spend much of their lives struggling and trying harder to repress their fleshy tendencies. The problem is: flesh can't reform flesh. Our fleshly passions and desires need to be put to death." We have to live according to the Spirit by setting our minds on things of the Spirit - Rom. 8:5 - then, verse 6 reads, "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace". Ah....peace.... Nancy continues, "The pull of our flesh is strong. But the Spirit is even more powerful. We must exercise faith in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to grant us victory over the flesh."

Romans 8:11 reminds me that the SAME power that raised Christ from the dead is in me. I can be victorious in EVERY situation for NOTHING is impossible through the Spirit in me.

My stronghold of fear has bound and paralyzed me for so long. It's been my 'normal'. My constant. My way of life. Jeremiah 15:11 offers hope - "Assuredly, I will set you free and care for you. Assuredly, I will intercede for you." My Father is promising me freedom. My Father cares for me. My Father is working on my behalf.

God's Word speaks peace. Suddenly the thought of a 50 seater plane grows dim, in the light of His glory and grace. It really is all about Focus.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Holds the Keys

This song is speaking powerfully to me today.
God is unlocking my heart. He holds YOUR keys.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
How often I have sung those words
My mind believes, my hearts not heard

I long to feel His warm embrace
Or look into His precious face
To see His smile, sense His touch
And yet I feel I ask too much

So many times I've claimed this truth
For others, and I've seen it proved
But for myself I can't believe
And in my heart His love receive

For who am I to ask for this
Awaken with the Kings own kiss
A love that's found in fairytales
But on the cross became the nails

Oh, can't I see He died for me
For me He came to set me free
He calls me now to be His bride
Oh why still do I run and hide

Ashamed of how my life has been
The secrets only He has seen
The darkest places of my heart
He really wants to love that part?

My child, I love you as you are
You never can wander out so far
That My love does not woo you still
It is your heart I long to fill

With all of Me, My hopes and dreams
I have plans for you you've never seen
Stop trying now to understand
Just reach out and take My hand

With trembling soul I looked at Him
And suddenly all else grew dim
How could I doubt the love I saw
That beckoned me closer to draw

Oh Lord, I said, You've waited long
For me to know, accept this song
You love me, yes, You really do
And Father, Savior, I love You.

Joy Brown, February 2005, updated March 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Dear Sweet Friends

Oh how you have blessed my heart.

To those of you who sent me comments and personal e-mails in response to my desperate cry for help yesterday, I want to thank you. I feel so surrounded by love and support. Thank you for responding and encouraging me. Some of you gave me such wonderful suggestions on how to help combat my fear and trust the Lord. Thank you for all your ideas. Others of you made yourselves available to listen as I poured out my heart in greater depth. Thank you for caring so much - for me - just a girl on a blog to many of you. You have no idea how you have spoken Christ's love to my heart. I am overwhelmed....thank you.

Just to let you know...I actually ate yesterday AND slept last night. The fear didn't dissipate completely, but it was manageable. In Mark, Chapter 10, it says, "those who followed were afraid". You know what encourages me there? Yes, they had fear...but it didn't keep them from being obedient. They followed in their fear and regardless of their fear.

I'm praying that this step of faith, springing from a fearful heart, will be testimony to those who know me, of radical obedience. I desire my life to shout to the world what God can do with a life totally surrendered to Him.

Love you all so much....and keep're so much a part of this journey with me!

I'm forgetting those things that are behind and pressing forward - so - I'll be back later to post another writing that I trust will encourage your hearts. Have a blessed Easter, my friends, BECAUSE HE LIVES!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Urgent Help Needed!!

Looking for a new challenge? Would you like to join a growing family business? Do you want to work from your home? Are you a team player? A great opportunity awaits you. Looking for person(s) with caring, dedicated hearts. Limited short term positions available, both Full/Part time. Commitment needed now until June 23, 2008. This job offers flexible shifts, although weekend work is required. No time-clock. Hours on the honour system, however the CEO of the Company will be watching. Benefits paid daily in blessings from above, while still storing future treasures where moth and rust won't corrupt. A personal relationship with the Manager a must. Communication skills required. No age restriction. Positions for professional and novice. Understanding of fear an asset, but not mandatory. Residents outside of Canada welcome to apply.
Respond by comment below.

All fun aside, I'm going to be completely honest here: Friends, I need help. I'm not sleeping or eating and the gnawing ache in the pit of my stomach is unrelentless. Since registering for the "She Speaks" conference,(see post below), the fear that almost won and would have kept me from attending, has attacked with vengence. It's affecting my ability to do the smallest of tasks because of the overshadowing, looming, all-consuming panic of getting on a plane, travelling to North Carolina and all the unknowns associated with this trip. Instead of living in the delight of knowing I took a step of faith and followed God's call, like Peter, whose spontaneity had him walking on water for moments then struggling in uncharted seas the next, incoming waves are threatening to drown the joy of my obedience. Doubts are rendering me immobile. Thoughts of June are distracting me and I'm missing precious moments of being obedient today...right now...

After reading Charlene's devotional yesterday, "Stretcher Carrier for Christ" from Proverbs 31, hope awoke in my heart. She described so beautifully what I need. For those of you who didn't read her words of encouragement, she wrote about the strength of prayer warriors. Friends who come alongside and lift you to the Lord during a time of need.

I can't do this on my own. I need a team of "Stretcher Carrier's". Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually my body, heart and soul can't continue as it has over the past couple of days. I'll be a total wreck by June. I know many of you reading this can't commit to daily praying for me beginning today until June 23rd, but I believe God will place it on the heart of some and raise up a few who will bear this weight and carry me through the weeks and months ahead. Maybe you have never visited my blog before, but His Spirit led you here for some reason today. Don't feel bad if you can't respond affirmatively - God will call who I need - I just ask that you will listen and respond to His voice.

Placing my life in God's hands and surrendering it all.

2 Corinthians 1:11 "as you help (me) by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on (my) behalf for the gracious favor granted (me) in answer to the prayers of many."
1 Chronicles 5:20 "because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him."
James 5:16 "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
Philemon 1:22 "I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Joy Surprised!

OK....way too tired to be doing this right please be patient with me...

If you read my previous post, "Surprised by Joy", you'll already know that God has been blessing my socks off!!! New friends are ministering to my heart and lonliness is daily becoming more and more a stranger. Who knew that having the courage to write an entry for a contest would open up so many doors in my life. Doors of acceptance. Doors of friendship and laughter. Doors of prayer. Doors of openness and accountability. Doors of love.

Last evening the "Surprised by Joy" became, "Joy Surprised". I received a couple of e-mails from precious women whom I love and highly respect and who walk so closely with the Lord. Their life's have shown faithful evidence of listening and following His voice. Through their guidance, support, overwhelming love and affirmation, followed by a sleepless night of wrestling with the Lord, this morning I registered for the "She Speaks" conference.

I am SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!! Yet, the face of fear continues to be my reflection. So many unknowns loom ahead. I know God wants to deliver me from all my fears. So often the battle is not what's happening around us, but within us. God is calling me to trust Him BIG! My God has been too small. I've known about God, but now He is calling me to KNOW Him. He desires I taste and see that the Lord is good. I've been sampling snacks instead of feasting at the table. I've been relying too often on encountering Him second hand, through great authors, wonderful speakers, and testimonies from heroes of the faith. My life has been more explaining God, not experiencing Him. I've been teaching truth, but God is calling me to living proof.

As Goliath as my fears remain, my God is bigger - He must be. I'm arming myself with my slingshot filled with fearless verses and walking (flying?) to the front lines to see God defeat this giant in my life. Good seats are still available if you want to join me on this adventure. Victory is mine when the battle is the Lords.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Surprised by Joy

Recently my Mom gave me a folder filled with my past school report cards. Although I wasn't a stellar student, it's been interesting to look over my grades and even more enlightening to read comments made by teachers. Year after year the same observation was made: "Joy is a quiet, timid, shy girl."

Not surprisingly, Joy became a quiet, timid, shy woman. My life has been characterized by insecurities and fear. I've always second-guessed, felt second-best and struggled to measure up to expectations. As a child I was the one chosen last for sports teams. "Well, I'll take Joy", never seemed to hold much enthusiasm. I didn't excel in athletics, so I wasn't really an asset to a group of players who wanted to win. I wasn't the popular girl, nor was I part of the "in crowd". I was average. Lost in a shuffle of over and under achievers. I didn't fit in. I was just one of the crowd.

Two nights ago something happened and my heart is overflowing. I find myself speechless. As I crawled into bed and snuggled under the covers, a foreign feeling enveloped me and a smile spontaneously spread uncontrollable across my face. A sensation that almost took my breath away captured me.


Earlier in the day I had been reading some recent e-mails and blog comments that I had received and a sense of worth washed over me. New friends were actually reading my meager thoughts and finding value and encouragement in the words the Lord had given me to share. I have spent so much time watching years pass by, sitting on the sidelines, going unnoticed, afraid, but writing has brought me back to life again. The numbness is gone. I'm feeling again...not just my faithful companions of doubt and despair...but joy...REAL JOY! A new song is being written. I am a melody and at this moment God is using only the good notes.

This blog address is "Princess Joyful", but I've been living like a pauper within my kingdom. God has so much available to me that is rightfully mine as part of my inheritance in Christ. The Lord alone gives my life worth and I know I shouldn't need anything else to make me feel valued, but God blessed me with a moment of complete bliss. I was surprised by joy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Coming Home

Every Tuesday I find myself sitting in a music studio for an hour while my son has his piano lesson. Half of the hour his teacher devotes to written theory instruction and the remainder of the time is spent at the piano preparing for his practical exam. Although I could just drop him off and use the time to run errands, I have come to look forward to this hour each week. I write letters, read, prepare for Bible study and basically enjoy an uninterupted hour on my own.

Recently as I was listening to his teacher as she reinforced some Analysis and Counterpoint rules, I heard her give the following advice: "If at all possible, always come home." Now, she was referring to writing music and ending a composition in the tonic or 'home' key, but her direction spoke deeply to my heart.

God is calling us all to 'come home'. To come home to peace. To come home to rest. To come home to forgiveness. To come home to hope. To come home to acceptance. To come home to freedom. To come home to love. Being a wilderness wanderer at times myself, I'm so thankful that God always has the welcome mat out, the door open and the porchlight on.

Not only is there a welcome, but God Himself is waiting and watching for us. He doesn't scold us for leaving. He doesn't list all the "I told you so's". He doesn't gloat over the failure that could have prompted our return. He doesn't lay a guilt-trip on us or list our faults. He gives us a shoulder to cry on. His arms of love encircle us. He smiles and holds us tight. He knows where we've been, but at this moment, that doesn't matter. What thills His heart is where we are right now. We've made a decision to come home.

Do you need to come home today? He's looking with longing for you. If the journey seems too far, the distance too great, remember, the first step is always the hardest. Recall the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. It says in verse 20, "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him". This is the only time in the entire Word of God when the Lord is described as running. Let that grip your heart. Do you understand what makes God run? A child coming home.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is still running towards anyone who turns their heart toward home. It doesn't matter what forces your return. I heard once that it wasn't pangs of conscience that sent the prodigal son home, but pangs of hunger. The prodigal son didn't go home until his desperation was greater than his pride. God will use whatever it takes to bring someone back home, even if it is just to satisfy your own personal needs. Take that first step and you'll find you are home. Zephaniah 3:20 says, "At that time I will bring you home". Let God be your dwelling place today in whatever situation you are facing. Don't just call home....come home.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Reflections from a prodigal

I wrote the following about 8 years ago. Part of me wants to change some of the things a little clearer, change grammar, but the other part of me treasures this just the way it was written. Thoughts of a wilderness wanderer.

Where and how do I begin to pen the thoughts that not even my heart can tell
A story so real that it pierces to my deepest soul
A Friendship more cherished than all my dreams could fathom
After seemingly endless years of being adrift on a raging sea
With deafening loneliness surrounding all my days
An emptiness much blacker than the darkest night consumed me
As I struggled to be everything to everyone - but me
Smiling through countless days while screaming from within
A struggle to keep up the charade or end this constant 'perfect' life
Oh, the mask I wore - and how easily all were fooled, until...
You with Your hope, forgiveness and love
You with Your eyes that penetrated my soul
Eyes that looked past the surface and into the depth of my being
Oh, how You frightened me at first
How I wanted to run and hide - to shut You out
Should my fortress crumble and walls fall - what then?
I wasn't worthy of anyone's friendship or love
Your closeness scared me, unnerved me, but softened me
Could someone actually know me and love me?
Was there worth in me, a value that I never saw?
Emotions came close to destroying, but You wouldn't let go
Not having any strength myself to begin, You carried me to Your throne of grace
A place where mercy and peace flowed freely
You refused to stop believing when all my hope was gone
You picked me up, held tight and wouldn't let me drown
Together, I discovered life - a life brand new
A life where I am treasured, valued
A life where my opinions can be voiced and not ridiculed
A life, though sometimes still filled with hurt, can be surrendered to a Father who sees my need and loves me
And now my heart cries to know You deeper
I experienced the healing love of Jesus
You are everything I'd always wanted
All I'd longed for, hoped for inside,
Oh, the beauty of Christ,
I want to mirror Your life in every way
You embraced me with Your acceptance
You found worth in my life
Smiles, sunshine and laughter began to fill my days and soon became natural
The unshared thoughts that burdened me didn't make me evil
The rejection I'd felt for disappointing others - not being the person they wanted to fit their mold
Lost its powerful grasp
I began, for the first time, to have confidence
Confidence in You who created me
Created me to be all I can be for You
You gave me a life-changing gift
It sometimes frightens me to think where I'd be - or even if I'd be
If You hadn't reached out to find me
You gave me life, saved me, rescued me from myself
You've turned sorrow into dancing, so let the music play
There's been a break through - a new beginning
Changes which will last a life long have taken hold of me
I see myself from a new point of view
I'm free to be me, to dance, to sing
I'm aware of me, the way I am - and it's all because of You
And now our lives have bonded
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You will always be there
I don't need to hold on tight - I will not lose You
Our love affair will only grow deeper
We listen and laugh
We share and encourage
We talk to each other in prayer
Our intimacy is so beautiful, it's breathtaking
All works of true art are miracles
You add colour to my life
May I remain in the Hand of the Master Painter
Allowing You do add only what You desire
Thank You for making my life richer
You are my Friend, my Father, my Lord, and my King.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Microwave or Crock Pot Living

This morning I left a comment on a blog that was requesting participation in a recipe exchange. Although I think these initiatives are great ideas, I have next to no culinary expertise. I actually asked in my comment, if giving instructions on how to heat up a frozen entree would count as a submission. In my response, I also suggested that I'd like ladies to submit 'fool proof', quick menu ideas.

I no sooner pressed the "Publish Comment" button when God began to reprimand my heart. Very cleary, and in no uncertain terms, He told me that these 'fool proof', 'quick' desires were permeating all areas of my life right now. This mentality was not saved for the kitchen alone. I'm seeking "microwave living" when I should be seeking after more of a slow "crock-pot" simmer.

Stay with me here for a minute. Microwave food is fast, easy, requires virtually no effort - unless you count opening the packaging - AND, it's prepared quite often within minutes. Crock-pot cooking, on the other hand, requires a little more planning ahead and then heats for hours, but the results are well worth the wait.

Currently in several areas of my life, I want the quick 'zap' if you will, but oh how I'll miss out on that time of process. The time of God adding and mixing all the ingredients He wants to stir into my life to develop my character.

Where am I practicing microwave living right now? Well, for starters, with regards to my music lessons. Yes, just this past September I began studying the violin. I hold an A.R.C.T. Solo Performers on the piano, but I have always wanted to play the violin. Well, guess what? It's hard work! Just because I already have a musical background doesn't make my violin practicing any easier. I want a quick 'zap'. I want to be able to play beautiful melodies today - and I'm still screeching out, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Go Tell Aunt Rhody", not the great works of master composers.

This holds true with my plan to commit to daily exercise as well. I'm discovering that just OWNING an eliptical does not magically keep you fit or shed pounds. Again, I want a 'zap' to remove excess weight and keep me healthy physically.

What about in the area of writing? I SAY I'm going to put aside one day a week to follow this passion that God has placed within me, but I want the book published TODAY! I want to 'zap' past the time and work required to make this dream become a reality.

Crock pot living takes time. Consider the outcome with me. The results of a meal that has been absorbing flavour all day is delicious! My mouth is watering even now, thinking of some of the delectable entrees that have captivated my taste buds. (Clarification here - my cooking hasn't done this...but I've experienced it through the kindness and generosity of meals from others.)

To prepare such a meal begins with a choice and is followed through with a commitment. In Lysa TerKeurst's book, "What Happens When Women Say 'Yes' To God", she asks the reader this question: "Are you guilty of sacrificing what you want most for what you want right now?" In my longing to satisfy my desire of the moment, I sadly often don't make the choice that will be most beneficial in the long run. For example, I choose to watch television instead of practicing the violin. I choose to read a book instead of exercising. I choose to 'blog-hop' instead of spending time writing. Even worse...I choose to sleep instead of getting up and spending that extra time with the Lord. I confess that too often I say with Paul in Romans 7:19, "For what I do is not the good I want to do..." (NIV)

The struggle is always there. The choice must be made. God is calling me to slow down in some areas of my life. His Word to 'wait' has continued to be impressed on my heart. I want to take action and see instant results, but the Lord is speaking to me about trusting Him. One author puts it this way, "Walking on water is easy for someone with impulsive boldness" (microwave living), "but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ" (crock-pot living), "is something altogether different. Peter walked on water to go to Jesus, but he 'followed at a distance' on dry land (Mark 14:54). We don't need to DO exceptional things, but BE exceptional in the ordinary things of life and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people."

So....where do I go from here? What can help me make this adjustment? I think one thing would be accountability. Not just someone who says they will check up on me, but doesn't carry the impact of holding me to this new found truth. I need someone who asks the hard questions. Someone who doesn't take pity on me just because my day was busy or I didn't FEEL like holding to this resolve. I also need to spend time in prayer and realize afresh that ultimately everything I do is for the Lord and I should be seeking the sound of His applause alone. to 'zap' my lunch :o) OK...did I learn anything here??!!
Have a good crock-pot day!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Just before leaving to take my son to school this morning I read the most amazing post on another blog. The writer relates an example of how personal God can be to each one of us. I mean, this was one of those eye-popping, mouth hanging open stories that thrills your heart and confirms how God is interested and involved in every detail of our lives. It was totally incredible. However, I have found my reaction to be bittersweet.

I was thrilled for the gals involved and my heart rejoiced in how specifically God had heard and answered prayer, but at the same time, tears flowed as my heart cried out...why?...Lord, why aren't You speaking that way to me? I want one of those God-stories to punctuate my life...this gal seems to have them daily...what am I doing wrong that I don't hear You or see You writing this clearly over my life? Lord, why do You seem silent? What is she doing that I'm not doing? Lord, I long for one of those defining moments.

As I drove home from dropping my son off at school, I poured my heart out to God as He and I travelled together. I let my emotions flow while life hurried on all around me.

Suddenly, seconds ahead of me, a 5 vehicle crash. No-one was seriously injured, but cars will definitely have some major repair work needed. As I drove away, God spoke to my heart. "Joy, My answer right now to you is to wait. You have heard from Me. Just like you were seconds behind this car crash and I held you back and kept you from danger, right now I am keeping you from rushing ahead and being severely disappointed. The vision is yet for an appointed time. Wait for it because it will surely come." (Words right from Hab.2:3)

Although I would love to see the end from the beginning, God is asking me right now to rest in Him. His wait is for my best and His glory.

Isaiah 40:31,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

(If you want to read the amazing God-story I read this morning click here: God is in the Bathroom!)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

"Joy Says..."

I remember playing "Simon Says" when I was younger. It was great if you were 'Simon'! Everyone always tried to do whatever was asked of you in order to stay in the game. Obedience was all about community. Not being cast aside. Unity. Conformity. Not being singled out as different. 'Simon' not only made the rules, but enforced them. It was the ultimate 'People Pleaser' game. Everyone listened to 'Simon'.

For most of my life I have had a complex of feeling like no-one listens to me. In elementary school participation in class was difficult. I was shy. Quiet. When I did voice opinions or thoughts they were ridiculed. Criticism silenced my tongue. The harsh teasing and unacceptance of fellow students caused me to retreat inside, afraid to express my views as I was made to feel simple, unimportant and insignificant.

This escalated to such a degree that during my highschool years I was actually made to write final exams, not because my grades were below the exemption percentage, but because I didn't offer answers in class. It was the teachers form of further punishment for a student who had been battered by cruel remarks and held shackled - a prisoner within her own world.

As I grew, so did my feels of inadequacy. It seemed I could please no-one and everything I did was being judged. I couldn't do anything right. Someone always had a better way. I wrapped myself in a cocoon. I wanted a safe place where the analysis and disapproval of others didn't cut as deeply. My heart and soul were wounded. This butterfly was never coming out.

Recently God has been stripping away layers of protective shelter and encouraging me to emerge. I have begun to share the 'real Joy' through my writing. I have tentatively and cautiously expressed ideas and feelings and I'm finding understanding and affirmation. I'm standing back in complete amazement - I actually have something to offer and others are being favourably responsive.

Within the last 24 hour period a couple of ladies whom I love and respect have shared comments I have sent to them on their own blog posts. I am overwhelmed! Two people actually think I have something worthwhile to share that they even quoted my writing..."Joy says...." WOW!

Praying the Lord will sheild me from pride, but at the same time enjoy, for the first time, the wonder and freedom of being me.