A Strong Heart

Love Hearts

The word heart is mentioned in 930 verses of the Bible.  We hear and use the word heart on a regular basis.  “I love you with all of my heart.”  “That makes my heart happy.”  “He broke my heart.”  You get the picture.

What does the word heart really mean though?  Of course, we have our literal heart in our body that serves as one of our major organs that pumps blood throughout, which totes oxygen to every other part of our body; without this oxygen, we would die.  But then there is the soul/spirit reference of the word heart that we use when we are hurt.

Proverbs 4:23  (NIV) says, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  The New Living Translations says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Just as our literal heart is the source that disperses “good or bad” blood throughout our entire being , our spiritual heart is the source that feeds every other place in our life, “good or bad”.  The Bible says to,  ABOVE ALL ELSE, guard your heart.  Our hearts will determine the course of our entire life.

What does that look like?

A broken heart = apathy, lack of motivation, and a “shut-down” attitude

A weary heart = lack of trust, tired of believing, a “give-up” attitude

A deflated heart = lack of courage, lack of confidence, an “I can’t” attitude

A bitter heart = negative, unforgiving, an “I won’t/can’t let-it go” attitude

A shattered heart  = pain that shocks and stuns,  emotionally frozen, an “I can’t go on” attitude

A strong heart = confident, healthy, an “I am fulfilled” attitude

God has mended my heart over and over again.  He always gives me His heart when I exchange my broken, bitter, or shattered heart for His.  Sometimes it takes me a while to give it to Him because I like to nurse my wounds and get others to also.  I know from experience that I can trust Him with my heart no matter what state it is in 100 percent of the time.  When no one else “gets-it”, He does!

Where is your heart today?

Psalm 73:26 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”

Our loving Father can strengthen our broken, weary, deflated,  bitter, or shattered heart!  Our heart will determine the course of our life.  “Above all else, guard your heart!”  How do you and I guard our hearts?  To guard our heart is to guard our thoughts.  We can shift our thoughts to something positive.  We can refuse to keep dwelling on something.  We can replace our “nasty” thoughts with the Bible.  We can believe the best in people when we want to believe the worst.  We can just take one step, when we want to shut-down.  Sometimes we need to just stop thinking because we are tired and go to bed.  (Nothing fruitful comes out of an exhausted mind and body.)

Father, I ask that you be the strength of our hearts and our portion forever.  Strengthen my friends today and fill them with a fulfilled heart that can only come from you.

Helping Others Is How You Heal!

I shared a few weeks ago about how I have overcome loss in my life on my blog entitled:   What will define you?  Your pain or your purpose?  https://theunstoppablelife.me/2012/08/20/what-will-defi…r-your-purpose/

In that post, I talked about how I overcame many losses in my life from: an abusive marriage to losing my “so-called” identity while having my active boys 14 months apart, to losing my first-born son from a brain tumor last December. I shared how at some point, either your pain or your healing will define you.  I want to elaborate on practically how that happened for me.

There comes a point when you come to a transition in your painful situation.  There is a transition time and point.  This is the time after you have gone through the natural stages of grief and have mourned the reality of the deep loss that you have experienced.  It is critical to grieve appropriately in your own time, but there does come a transition point where it’s time to heal properly.  This crossroad in your grief can define how you respond for the rest of your life – Cynical or Hopeful.

I came to a point when I realized that I could never bring Joseph back to earth and I had to decide how I was going to respond to that realization.  Was I going to be stuck? Was I going to be negative, doubtful, and cynical the rest of my life?  I knew that I couldn’t change that I was going to live the rest of my life here on earth without him with me.  I decided to place my hope and heart in heaven and try to help and encourage as many other people as I was able to! This was a game-changer for me!

As I began to step out and help other families who were battling for their child’s life or who have lost a child, I began to heal and get stronger in my heart!  As I lifted my eyes to heaven and decided that I was going to kick the enemy’s butt for the rest of my life,  joy and purpose came to me!  I can now see a bigger picture!

Since starting Hope4Joseph Foundation last December, we have had the privilege of helping over 2o families and have also given away tons of resources to families fighting for their children.  This was definitely something that I never thought that I would be apart of.  I never thought that this would fall into my lap, but it did!

God is healing my heart and am now more full of faith than before Joseph went to heaven.  I am serious!  I am not just trying to write a good blog!  I eagerly look to the future and am excited to see what God is going to do next.  Helping others is truly a huge part in how you heal!”

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”  Luke 9:24  (New Living Translation)

Is it time for you to start helping others in spite of your painful situation?  Only you know when that time is.  The first step is the hardest, but once you start, healing and joy will fill your heart!

I love you,

Joy

Check out more at http://www.hope4joseph.org/

Bittersweet

9 weeks pregnant today!

Today marks the milestone of being 9 weeks pregnant!   The rush of excitement when you find out that you are going to have a baby is unmatched.  We are so thrilled that Josiah is going to have another brother or sister and that he gets to be the big  brother this time!

If I told you that it has been all thrills, then, I wouldn’t be telling you the truth though.  Well, first of all, I have terrible morning sickness this go-around.  I was never sick with my boys, especially with Joseph.  I ran a half marathon when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Joseph and felt the best that I’ve ever felt.  Oh, and did I mention that the only thing that makes me feel better is soft drinks and pizza. Yeah, I’ve been caught shoving pizza down my throat in the middle of the night just for some relief from the nausea.  I refuse to step on the scale to  announce how much weight I have ALREADY gained!  And finally, being pregnant has triggered so many memories of being pregnant with Joseph, my first-born son who now lives in heaven.  The emotional roller-coaster of hormones doesn’t add steadiness or rational perspective to the situation either.

There’s nothing like expecting your first child!  Everything is new!  You are ignorant of all of the many hard days ahead and there is nothing like experiencing giving birth for the first time!  Everything is so vivid with your first child and you record more memories in your brain because it is so foreign to you.  Maybe I don’t remember as much with Josiah because I had them 14 months apart.  By the time Joseph was 6 months old, I was already pregnant with Josiah!  Like I said…ignorant of the reality of how much is involved with infancy and toddler-hood.  Oh, and they were both extremely strong-willed and as active as a wild horse.  Nevertheless, being a rookie mom is exciting!

As hard as those days were, I have the sweet memories of my Joseph who is no longer with me on this earth.  He was full of sunshine and charisma.  Everyone knew when he walked into the room, much like my precious Josiah!  So, I have to honestly say, this pregnancy is bittersweet!  I have to move forward with courage because I never expected anything to happen to Joseph.  I move forward with faith and trust that God holds this new baby,  just like he holds us…just like he holds Joseph.  I have to fight fear and rest that God has good plans in store for my children…ALL of my children!  I rest that the number of all of our days are known by God and he also knows the number of the hairs on our head.  He has a good future for Josiah and this baby. I can trust him with their lives.

As I remember, how Joseph kicked and rolled around during pregnancy and also his birth story, it is bittersweet.  Bitter in the fact that I wish I could hold him again and sweet in the fact that I can remember and cherish his memories through embracing a new “joy” to our family.  Joseph is a huge part of who I am and his life has formed character and joy in me that nothing or no one else could!  He will never be forgotten, even if I have six more babies. (Don’t count on it!)

Today is 9-11.  I think this is another fitting reminder of so many lives that had to “start again”.  Many of them had to embrace “new joys” after that event.  I wonder how many people just couldn’t do it.  I wonder how many people stopped living and fear crippled them.  Fear to the point of not accepting any “new joy” in their life.

Are there things in your life that are bittersweet?  Are there good things that you are afraid of embracing now because of hurtful past experiences?  I invite you to trust God with me!  Trust God that he has good in store for us; that he loves us and longs to make us fulfilled and full of joy and purpose.  He longs to give good gifts to his children!

I love you!  Live your life fully today!  Embrace and love what is in your hand right now despite fear of the past!

Joy

What is your God-sized dream?

This summer I attended a conference in which one of the sessions talked about God-sized dreams.  Stephanie Bryant and Holley Gerth encouraged and inspired so many of us women to pursue our God-sized dream.  I want to share a little bit from that workshop with you to challenge and encourage your heart to do what God has created you to do.

“A God-sized dream can be big or small.  What matters is that it fits your heart.”
You might have a God-sized dream if:

1.  It fits with your strengths, your skills, and experiences.

2.  You can’t think about anything else.  It keeps coming to the forefront of your mind.

3.  You’re scared silly – It’s bigger than you!

4.  People think you’re crazy.

5.  It aligns with God’s purposes!

6.  It’s harder than you thought!

7.  It leads to joy!

A God-sized dream is something that God puts in your heart for you to do to better his world.  A God-sized dream can range anywhere from a business pursuit that is from him for you or combating some sort of social injustice to wanting to be the best wife and mother the world has ever seen.

When pursuing your God-sized dreams, there is a fear that never goes away.  A fear of knowing that this is so much bigger than little old you and me.  That fear also is accompanied by adventure and excitement!  What are you secretly afraid of doing but want to do?  “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7  Knowing God and living your God-sized dream is the most exciting thing in life!  As you begin to walk with God to unknown places and impact the world in a way that honors him and helps others, then, I believe that we discover the reason for living…the reason that we were created and put on this earth!

My God-sized dream is Isaiah 61.  “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for captives, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”  I desire to do this through writing, small groups, speaking, bumping into someone at the store, etc.  It pleases God, when I step out and boldly pursue my God-sized dream.  After all, it is really his dream that he has put in my heart to change the world for him.

So, what is your God-sized dream?  The first step to pursuing it is to write it down or say it out loud.  Will you boldly share your God-sized dream with me?  Your fingers may be shaking at the key pad, but I dare you!

Life is Just Messy!

We got home a few days ago after evacuating for hurricane Issac to people gutting their homes just miles from our neighborhood.  Our little town of Madisonville, LA was severely flooded.  It was heartbreaking to see people’s homes, memories, and treasures trashed and thrown in to a pile by the street.  There are some things that insurance just can’t replace.

I was thinking about all of the uncertainties of life and how messy life can be.  I am a very orderly person and I thrive on order and cleanliness.  When things are out-of-order it makes me unnerved. I like peace, simplicity, and predictability, but sometimes life is just not like that.  You get sudden notice that a storm is heading your way and you have to pack up your things and leave.

Other “storms” of life can hit you unexpectedly too.  The diagnosis, the job layoff, the spouse that is leaving…  Life is just messy and unpredictable so I am thankful that I don’t have to put my trust in my “stuff”.  I can put my full trust in God alone, who through any storm has a plan.  He has a restoration plan already in mind that is bigger and better than all of my plans.  I thank you God that your arms are strong and that you know what to do!

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1  (He is present indeed.)

Called to HIS Purpose?

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I am pondering this verse tonight and the last part is leaping out and screaming at me. “Called according to his purpose.” This verse promises that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Then, there is the comma…”Who have been called according to his purpose.”

What does that mean? What is his purpose in the situations where we need him to work all things out for our good? Where is his purpose in certain situations that seem negative, unpleasant, or that we don’t like?

I can rest in God’s promise that if I have been called according to HIS PURPOSE, then my God is going to work EVERYTHING out for my good. It’s sometimes the purposes in my life that are not God’s, but MY purposes, that I still expect him to work out for my good that confuses me.

This verse doesn’t promise that MY selfish, small, spoiled purposes and agendas will always work out for my good, but HIS purposes will work out for my good.

That’s a point to ponder as we are so graciously blessed to live in America, where we have a tendency to expect our Christianity to be served ,“our way right away”, just like we expect in so many other areas of our comfortable lives.

I must go back to his Word! I am the follower. He is the Savior! He is God and he leads my life if I will let him! To accept Christ is to yield to him and his purposes for me. I know that I can trust him. He has always shown me that his way is better, even if I don’t understand everything. He loves me so much and he loves you too!

What does this verse mean to you?

 

 

Joseph is changing lives in Uganda!

Precious Vincent from Uganda who is battling eye cancer

This is our new friend, Vincent!  We were introduced to Vincent by our dear friend, Jessica, who just recently went to Uganda to serve with International Voice of the Orphan. Vincent, who is battling eye cancer, was dropped off a couple of weeks prior to this picture by his well-meaning parents who could not afford to feed him or get him medical treatment to a 26 year-old woman named, Praise.  Praise, a native Ugandan, takes in children whose parents can’t afford to take care of them and gives them one, warm meal per day.  In addition to this, Praise, schools 96 children and offers them some hope in the poverty-stricken nation of Uganda.

Jessica met Praise and Vincent while serving at her home during her time with International Voice of the Orphan.  Jessica asked why Vincent just sat on the porch with flies swarming around him, while all of the other children were playing.  Praise informed Jessica of his condition so Jessica tried to play with him and offer him some crackers.  She finally coerced him to color with her and convinced him to eat his crackers. He decided to do so, privately around the back of the house.

Vincent hiding to eat his crackers

Jessica was determined to do what she could do to help this little boy get his medical treatments and help to better his life.  After returning from her trip, she remembered Vincent and also our non-profit, Hope4Joseph, that we started since the passing of our son, Joseph, this past December.  Hope4Joseph foundation exists to offer hope and help to children and their families facing life-threatening illnesses.  Vincent and Praise’s household definitely fit this criteria.

We are ECSTATIC and HONORED to share that Hope4Joseph is able to get Vincent his medical treatment and also to bless Praise’s household.  We always told Joseph that he was going to change the world and he definitely is!  Thank you to everyone who has given to Hope4Joseph!

Donations can be mailed to Hope4Joseph P.O. Box 354 Madisonville, LA 70447 if you are interested in partnering with us.  You can follow us on twitter and/or facebook to see how we are helping people everyday!

Love,

Jonathan and Joy Scott

The heroine, Praise, who lives to serve others

The Stillness Of Night

Father, I sit up late with you –  no sounds, no interruptions, and no pressures.  I can finally hear your quiet, gentle voice that has been eager to communicate to me.  I can now hear what you have been trying to tell me for weeks, and even months, but have been prevented because of the clamor of my busy soul.  It takes slamming out all of the roaring noises that this world screams.

Ah, the stillness of night, where the real me is unearthed in You and You alone.  This is who I really am; My Spirit alive in You.  I was made for relationship with you…to know you and to be known at the deepest core by You.

I was made to share my heart, fears, dreams, and desires with you.  I was intended to reflect your image to a God-rejecting, broken world.  A world that craves pleasure more than You.  The fullness of the purest pleasure is found only in You and by You.

I know this because I have looked to other forms of comfort and pleasure to satisfy me, and it does for a temporal period, but it is not enough.  It isn’t enough to satiate that crevice of my being that was created for You.  I keep trying, but it leads to nowhere, but ugly consequences of my efforts.

You are the greatest delight.  You are the truest of all treasures and You offer this “treasure”, this encounter, to anyone who will seek; To anyone who will stop long enough to acknowledge You.

You wait, because I am your greatest delight as well.  You created me for relationship.  You created me to love me.  So tonight, in the stillness of the night, I wait for You.  I am excited to see what You have to say.  I wait for You to come into the canyons of my heart, even the one’s that are shut-off from entry by others and even myself.  You have so much to say, all of the answers, and treasure to reveal to me in the stillness of this night.

Graduated to Heaven

Joseph at 4 yr. Mother’s Day Out class!

I am waiting to attend, what would have been Joseph’s 4 year old graduation from the Mother’s Day Out Program that he attended since he was one year old.  Today the children are going to sing a song in honor of Joseph.  He was fortunately able to attend a couple of weeks of his school year, but in those few weeks the kids fell in love with Joseph and they made him feel like a normal kid.  He went to class, with his mom tagging along to reset his backpack of IV fluids that was attached to him, to smiles and hugs.  I would disconnect his backpack at certain times so that he could run around freely and chase a little girl named, Aleiah, then hold her hand. Joseph was privileged to go to school for that brief time which allowed us to somewhat feel like a normal family with a healthy child.

So today, as the class that Joseph was supposed to be in, graduates and moves on to kindergarten, Joseph will be remembered with a song that he loved to sing around the house and at school.  The children will sing this song in honor of him:

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty

There’s nothing my God cannot do

The mountains are His, The Rivers are His

The stars are his handiwork too

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty

There’s nothing my God cannot do

Joseph won’t be on stage singing that song with his classmates today, but will be singing a similar song face-to-face with that Great God so big!

He has graduated to Heaven!  He has graduated to something better than kindergarten!  He has graduated to everything that he was ever meant to be!

So today, I am sure that I will “cry a river” when I hear that song, but the deepest part of my heart will rest in the fact that Joseph is in the best place that there could ever be!

Happy Graduation Day Joseph!