Has your life been interrupted lately?

Fire at 500 Serenity
The thermostat in the hallway with Fire Dept.

It’s been a while since I last blogged. In my last bold post, I confidently declared my blissful expectations of Summer 2014. {Check out my comical last post, My Tribute to Summer.} Boldly, I confessed how I was going to live in the moment and have a memorable summer with my family. Well… my life, my plans, my summer got interrupted. My lofty plans for the best summer yet were rudely interrupted by a minor but messy house fire! The A/C thermostat randomly caught on fire. After the first day of Vacation Bible School, the boys and I returned home to a house filled with black smoke. The fire department even got to pay us a visit. The fire caused some damage to the floor and walls immediately surrounding the fire – however, the smoke permeated the entire house. The burning plastic thermostat was immediately underneath the A/C intake and smoke went throughout every square inch of the house. Every inch of fabric in our home – including our clothing, furniture, and drapes – had to be confiscated to the dry cleaners for eight weeks. Every single item in our home also had to be sanitized and wiped down. We ended up not being able to properly live in our house for eight weeks during the clean-up and renovation. The A/C and ducts were replaced, all the walls and baseboards completely repainted, and over a thousand square feet of wood floors were ripped out and replaced – all the while, a busy, one-year old was getting into everything. My plan was to have a blast of a summer while the reality quickly became navigating insurance companies, contractors, and being displaced from our home. All this craziness left me edgy… well, a little mean at times!

Has your life recently been interrupted?

Oh, I forgot to mention that we had just moved into the house at the end of March 2014.  We bought a house that sat empty for a year then quickly renovated it ourselves before moving in. (So we had just painted it a few months prior before repainting it again.) Are you feeling my pain now? We gratefully got the house back together just days before Josiah started kindergarten. Whew!

4 wheeler pic
Making the most of not being able to go home – Fun in Poplarville, MS

Since August, the time lost was redeemed as we changed the name of our non-profit from Hope 4 Joseph to Joseph’s Joy along with launching the new updated website. We finished creating the bylaws and articles for Joseph’s Joy along with officially obtaining our 501 (c)(3) status. YAY! In addition to all of this, we completed our book which is called, Joseph’s Joy: Living with Unstoppable Hope. (My next blog will have more information.)

So… where did 2014 go?  It flew by! It has not been an easy year, but it has definitely been a productive one! Once again, it has been confirmed that God truly does work out all things for my good, even when it does not feel good. I decided to make the most of my failed summer and enjoy it anyway. Living in the moment, was a skill that I tried to exercise. Only living one day at a time helped me from being overwhelmed by it all.

Have you ever felt  frustrated when plans did not go your way, then later looked back to see that it was a blessing in disguise?

 Every time I mop my new wood floors, I think of just how great a blessing it turned out to be.

May you ponder this verse today:

“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.” Romans 8:28

My Tribute to Summer 2014

Joy and Joseph LaughingSummer officially begins on June 21st, but down here in the deep south the stickiness of summer has long  begun.

School is over and the days are long.

Whether you are a mom at home with energetic toddlers, kids, and teenagers or a mom juggling a work schedule while planning childcare and activities, summer time can be taxing.

Even though homework stops and racing after school activities slow, summers are just HOT!

Here is my tribute to summer time this year from a mom who longs that the eldest of her trio of boys were here to share it with.

Live this summer with your kids like it is the last.

Slow down. Make memories and messes.

Gaze at the clouds.

Help someone else’s load be lighter.

Get dirty.

Let’s not be uptight.

Can we laugh? I mean really laugh hard.  Fake it if you need to.  But also give yourself freedom to cry.

After all moms, what will they remember?

They will remember your teeth gleaming with a smile on your unmade-up face.

They will remember if you were happy. So…let’s be happy!

This is the only summer from fourth to fifth grade, or two years to three years, or maybe one last high school summer.

Make memories in the messy moments.

This is my aspiration and tribute to the summer of 2014

Will you join me?

Can you share some ideas with me?

.

Don’t switch the cards

I just want to give you a short reminder today of the truth.

The enemy wants to TAKE YOU OUT.  God wants to TAKE YOU OVER.

joy-wendi-maryrThe enemy wants to BIND YOU UP.  God wants to SET YOU FREE.

The enemy wants to TAKE AWAY FROM YOU.  God wants to GIVE TO YOU.

The enemy wants to MAKE YOU DOUBT GOD’S LOVE AND GOODNESS.  God wants you to experience HIM.

The enemy wants to MAKE YOU BITTER.  God wants you to be PURE and FORGIVING TOWARDS OTHERS.

The enemy wants to KILL, STEAL, and DESTROY YOUR LIFE.  God wants you to LIVE ABUNDANTLY, OVERCOME, and OVER-FLOW.

John 10:10

Just a reminder…Don’t switch the cards.  The battlefield is in the mind.

Choose what you will allow to win today!

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.
IMG_5160
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