Joseph’s Joy Book Release

Josephs-Joy-Book-Cover-06Well guys…it’s almost here!  Jon and I have a date for the release of Joseph’s Joy: Living With Unstoppable Hope. Drum role please. May 4, 2015.  I exhale with a sigh of relief while my heart simultaneously explodes with joy.

I began writing Joseph’s Joy  in the months following Joseph’s death just over three years ago.  My intention for writing about the events that took place throughout the course of Joseph’s battle was simply to share about the goodness of God to us – even in the midst of this tragedy.  God never left us.  He was so near and good. My primary motivation was that I wanted Joseph’s younger brother, Josiah, to know the truth about what happened since he was only three years old when Joseph passed away.  The boys were the best of friends and only fourteen months apart. I wanted to be able to explain things to him later.  Not wanting to forget the details myself, I also wanted Josiah to know about all of the miracles we encountered along the way. So…I started writing one tearful sentence at at time.

As I recalled everything that happened and put words to our experiences, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “This is not just for you.” Intrinsically I knew that our story was meant to be shared.  As a complete novice in writing a book, I transformed my journal writings into chapter titles. One chapter at a time our story came to life! A real-life story that brings unstoppable hope.  God truly directed my every word and I am humbled at the powerful message of this book – which has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with how loving God is.

I would like to personally invite you on an intimate journey!

We will be selling Joseph’s Joy: Living With Unstoppable Hope on Amazon.com in kindle and paperback versions in May. ALL proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit our non-profit charity also called, Joseph’s Joy, where we provide hope and financial help to children battling life-threatening illnesses. (Please like our fb page if you have not already.)

How many of you know that you are supposed to write your story? Please share with me.

If I can do it, you can too!

Love,  Joy

Just Say Know

Scott_22Do you remember the days when things were simpler…days when Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter didn’t exist? I remember waking up in my college years to coffee, prayer, and Jesus.  It was quiet.  That time was all that I wanted.  It was all that I needed.
Life changes. Marriage vows are spoken.  Children arrive.  Sleepless nights won’t let up.  Laundry grows. Dishes stink. Cleaning never ends. Work demands increase. Unexpected trials come.
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As responsibilities increase and needs accumulate,  I fight harder for my relationship with my heavenly Father.  Navigating mornings in search of peace, requires wading through diapers, sleeping children, blinking phone messages and the open computer screaming my new Facebook notifications. My favorite, Instagram, calls for me to take a quick peek.  Last night’s dirty dishes shamefully condemn me as I walk past.  The laundry I forgot to change the night before beckons me. These are not bad or unimportant things, but they must wait.
DISTRACTIONS! Now I know why Jesus went outdoors to a place of solitude to pray.  They are everywhere and are increasing as our society progresses with the next best thing.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.   John 15:5
When I resist more of these earthly distractions, I find what my soul truly needs.
ineed Him.
ineed the only thing that satisfies my restlessness.  ineed to just be with Jesus.  I wash my mind in His Word and climb in His lap to hear His whispers of love.  ineed Him to remind me of who I really am.  ineed.  Yes, ineed.
2014 is my year to fervently determine to really KNOW God and be a little less “social” by saying, NO.  No, to unproductive distractions, that is. I will know God when I make my most important ineed; abiding with Jesus. I must pave the way for my children and show them what is most important because they too are embarking on this same journey. They are facing this same battle with increasing resistance, and never knowing a world without technological distractions.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13
My friend, what lures you away from undistracted time with God? It’s easy to readjust your “social media life” and resist the world’s distractions…

Just Say KNOW!

 

It’s OK to show emotion

“Don’t let anyone see me cry.  Just act like everything is ok, even though the pit in the core of my stomach tells me something differently.  Just keep, ‘the everything is wonderful face’ topped off with a smile and keep going.” These are just a few mantras that I have chanted over and over in my mind to keep myself together when my emotional radar was sirening that something was wrong.  I’ve learned from Lysa Terkeurst that emotions are INDICATORS, not DICTATORS.

 As women, God gave us the gift of being more emotional.  We feel things emotionally and unfortunately, even amongst other believers, sometimes it just isn’t accepted.  So do you know what we all do?  We stuff and act like nothing is wrong instead of being honest about where we really are.  What if we, as Godly women, can be truly honest about where we are and express and release our emotions in a safe place, without fear?  BEING LESS EMOTIONAL DOESN’T MAKE YOU MORE GODLY!  Did that just help someone?  Sometimes, being honest about your emotions and venting them out to Him makes you MORE Godly!  Just look at David in the Bible.  He was considered a man after God’s own heart and look at all of the whining and crazy things that he said while processing his emotions to God.  This is it though; we can’t sin in our emotional state!  That is not ok!  It’s ok to be emotional and be honest about it.  It’s ok to cry!  It’s ok to get it out, but it’s not ok to sin or hurt others via gossip, losing control, cursing others, or turning to substances, shopping, etc. to cope.  

 What if we could truly be honest?  It seems as though women, overall, have a hard time doing that for many reasons:

 1. Pride. We don’t want to appear weak or unspiritual. Let’s face it! We do not always have it together!  Sometimes we are weak.  It’s ok to be weak.  My Bible says that when I am weak, then HE can be strong in me. 

 2. Fear of being misunderstood.  I have been misunderstood many times.  It’s ok too!  God intimately understands me and I am living to please Him and I have his approval…and so do you!

 3. There is no one available to talk to.  There is a BIG benefit of being in a small group.  You can always call anyone in the group to talk to.  These are people who know you and are sharing their lives with you. Many women don’t want to impose on anyone else.  Get over it please!  Your vulnerability may actually help them.

 4. Getting Hurt. Yes, I promise you will get hurt at some point in your life when you open up your heart to others, but by never opening up your heart is a trillion times worse. When someone hurts you, just forgive that person, let it go, and move on.  Find others who are not going to hurt you!  Be proactive.  Don’t stuff. 

 GIRLFRIENDS!  You don’t have to carry everything yourself!

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not an encouragement to let your emotions run wild and and free to whomever and by saying whatever.  It is an encouragement to pay attention to those tears that are welling up in your eyes and that knot in your stomach because you are valuable and important.  Trust me.  Stuffing emotions is going to hurt you and your most valuable relationships in the long run.  I learned that holding it all together may seem like I am doing everyone a favor, but in the long run, I am not.  It’s not going to be fruitful if you don’t acknowledge, process, and release the emotions.

 God gave us each other.  We were never meant to walk alone.  When I am weak, I run and hide behind my heavenly Father.  I turn off my brain and let him protect me.  I can’t figure everything out.  I also transparently share my tears, fears, and weakness with others.  I am not trying to be a Christian rock star.  I am a fragile, human being with real, raw, emotions who needs others in this harsh world until I get to heaven. 

“If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.” 2 Corinthians 11:30

 Do you stuff your true emotions? Who can you share your true emotions with?

 Keeping it real,

Joy

Unstoppable…Really?

Unstoppable tombstone

It is official.

 Joseph’s tombstone has been permanently sealed upon the ground where his little, earthly body is decaying.  Sadly, it is the cold, hard fact; his body is withering away under the earth, while his spirit in heaven lives on adorned by his new glorified body.  His mere frame of flesh is obsolete and he is soaring with the angels in his forever prime.  The abundant life that Jesus promised is Joseph’s now.

The single word on Joseph’s tombstone is: UNSTOPPABLE.  One word that had to describe his entire life; a potent word.  A word that speaks of moving forward and is ongoing.  UNSTOPPABLE…a word that I want to encapsulate my life as well.

It’s still so surreal to gaze upon this tombstone and swallow that my first-born son is really in the grave. I have to ask myself, “Is this really my life? Did this really happen to me?”  As tears roll down my cheeks, a few words resonate in my spirit: GRACE, PEACE, and JOY.  Yes, joy, in some strange way.  After momentary sadness floods, joy prevails.  There is a deep joy knowing that my son is with his true Father.  It’s an uncanny joy that he will never have to suffer in this life and that he is home.

There really is a PEACE that I can’t explain.  I’m really not that strong.  I actually am an emotional person by nature so why is it that I feel OK with this?  Why shouldn’t I be a wreck everyday?

All that I can say is that this GRACE is REAL!  I can’t logically explain it.   In the natural I shouldn’t be OK with this.  I can’t FAKE this or PRETEND to be strong.  GRACE soothes my soul and rocks me like a baby when memory upon memory fall like an avalanche through my mind.  It soothes me when I try to figure out why MY SON got cancer.  The questions come: “Was it something I ate, did, smelled, etc? Was is something spiritually that I didn’t cast down? What if I would have caught it earlier?” Then, I feel his strong, loving hand push my head to his chest and say, “STOP!  I’ve got him and I’ve got you.  I love you like no other.”

He assures me that He will keep me, cover me, and lead me.  His nearness alone can still me!  One word from Him.  One touch in his presence where I can draw close to him and suffocate the noises of this life.  HE IS ENOUGH! His grace soothes the pain.

This closeness to a gentle, but yet powerful God makes me UNSTOPPABLE, not MY strength, will-power, or discipline to pick myself up by my boot straps and press, press, press to drown it all out; to hide under a facade of busyness.

No, I am an overcomer and am UNSTOPPABLE for one reason:

My nearness to Him and His nearness to me!  I have relationship with the Father because of Jesus!

I am not this strong. I am held by His love in a relationship with the only one who can water my soul.  He is the only thing that satisfies.

Is your soul satisfied by Him?

Are you UNSTOPPABLE?  You can be with Jesus!

Josiah living an UNSTOPPABLE Life!
Josiah living an UNSTOPPABLE Life!

Important Key To Overcoming – Spiritual Family

Some of our small group going to Ship Island

When walking through a valley in your life there are many things that are important to overcoming and not getting stuck in the pain.

One vital key to overcoming is to have a core of people around you that love you…just because.  You can face anything with encouraging truth, support, and love.

When you don’t have the strength to believe or see the future, it is others that are committed to you that carry you during these times.

In my own life, just knowing that Jon is committed to me and that Josiah adores me is anchoring for my soul.  But on another level, I have an extended spiritual family that fills in the gaps that my family alone can not fill.  We were created for relationships. When the web of spiritual family comes together to carry you during a dark time, you can overcome anything!  The strength and power that this brings to your life during weak times is not comparable to anything else in the world.

Relationships are what life is all about.  We need a core of people who will be there when times are good and when times are tough.  It is spiritual family that remains constant, even through all of their imperfections and mistakes.  No one is perfect.  You may not even talk to some people that much, but you know that they are around and love you without expectation.

Our small group guys

In Ecclesiastes 4:10  it says, “For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

You never know when a hard time will strike your life.  If you are not rooted and grounded in the house of the Lord and committed to others, then it is more difficult to carry the load alone.  Our hearts get faint sometimes and that can set us up to be deceived if we don’t have others reminding us of the truth and encouraging us in who we really are.

“Those who are firmly planted in the house of the Lord will flourish.”

So today, are you connected to others?  Maybe it’s a small group at church or a group of people that you serve with.  Who are those that you are committed to walking with even when you don’t feel like it?  Life gets busy and it’s easy to say, “Us four, no more.”  Sometimes, it’s inconvenient to be committed to going to your small group or showing up for that outreach.  When a trying time comes, those people will be already established in your life to be able to love and support you.

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” I Thessalonians 3:12

I thank God that we were committed to others when Joseph passed away.  It truly was spiritual family that carried us through the darkest days of our lives.  I don’t know where we would be without them.  We definitely wouldn’t be where we are now!

Mrs. Juanita drove with Sue to Memphis to be with us after Joseph’s surgery.