Mommy Moment: Joy

As a young teenager, whenever I was in an unnecessarily gloomy mood, my dad would ask me, “Are you happy?“ And I would moan my obligatory answer, “Yes”. He would take another look at me and retort: “Then tell your face!“ And then as an incurable kidder, he would burst into song: “If yer happy and ya knowit, then yer face’ll surely showit..!” How can you keep from grinning at a grown man skipping around the room, clapping and singing like a country bumpkin?

Mommy Moment: Joy

My kids sing a song that goes like this: “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart to stay!” I like the thought that true joy comes from way down deep in our hearts….a place beyond circumstances. And if joyfulness, delight, and extreme satisfaction rest in our hearts, then our faces will glow with contentment and happiness.

Circumstances and strained relationships can attempt to rob us of our joy. Because joy is more than just a politely forced smile, it cannot be easily taken. Guard your heart, and your household. Think about good things, and be grateful in all things. These disciplines could keep you quite occupied, but you’ll be less likely to have your joy swiped. And if times get tough, remember the optimistic power of an impromptu musical hoe-down!

Cari winter2012

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JOY WELL CHOSEN

 Joy Well ChosenI have been reading Elizabeth George’s book Beautiful in God’s Eyes which is about the Proverbs 31 woman. I am a little over half way through the book and a constant thread woven through the pages is joy:

Finding joy in the Lord.

Finding joy serving our families.

Finding joy in the most menial of tasks.

I realize my next statement will not include everyone, but I think for many, if not most, women it can be counted as true:

The home is our responsiblity. To care for. To manage. To set the tone for.

Whether we like it or not, whether we think that’s how it should be or not, whether we chose it for ourselves or even had a choice, for many women this is the case. Single, married, mama or not, the home and its needs tend to fall to us. For me, that can be frustrating. The repetition bores me. I have been a working mom and I have been a stay at home mama and I can tell you this – the routine doesn’t change. You still do things on Tuesday that you will turn around and do on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. Single or married, you will still pick up dirty clothes, clean the kitchen, vacuum, clean the bathroom and mop.

When you view those as chores, as work laid upon you, as yokes to bear, they can steal your joy.

When you feel like nobody notices, your joy can get lost in the mix of pleas from your sinful nature to have your deeds recognized.

Anyone else ever give the “I DO EVERYTHING” speech to your family? Oh please tell me a least one of you  has…….

But it doesn’t have to.

Reading through this book, what I have discovered is that my focus needed to shift. I needed to re-wire my brain and the way I thought about housework and meal planning and bookkeeping. To view them no longer as chores but God-given responsibilities:

Responsibilities to be treated as though they were to Him.

Responsibilities intended to bless my family and those we interact with.

Responsibilites designed to satisfy and bless me.

In the past (and that means like up till about 3 weeks ago), I didn’t take pleasure in cleaning up the kitchen every night, but I always enjoyed getting up to a clean kitchen. I didn’t want to be diligent in meal planning, but the weeks I did I enjoyed a decrease in my stress level. I wasn’t chomping at the bit to get laundry done, but I was happy when I saw empty baskets. I was striving in my own flesh to provide for humans who sometimes forgot to say thank you. I was joyless.

But I didn’t have to be.

The Lord has shown me over the last 3 weeks, that in His strength, I can choose to joyfully be the keeper of my home. I can choose to joyfully handle that dishwasher every night when I see it as an act of service to both my God and my family. I can choose to joyfully fold those clothes, even if they are just mine, and put them away. I choose the tone set in this home. I choose if it is one of joy and order or one of chaos and stress. I can choose that. Just in case you doubt it, just think of some time when you were in a mood. How did the house run then? How many friends did you have lining up to come hang out with you. Like it or not, we set the tone, gals. Even in the worst of times, we set the tone.

Let’s get real honest here, some days it is a definite choice. The flesh that cries for public applause can only got unnoticed for so long; then it starts showing out a bit. You and I have to choose to die to it daily and submit to God’s will for our lives. Joy is to be found there.

Someone is thinking, well, she just does everything and her family must do nothing. I am not about to be a maid for my husband and kids (or parents or whomever you live with). How do I know you thought that? I did to. You know what that tells me? We need to shift our focus. We need to stop viewing our responsibilities as things done to please and pamper man, but as things done to please and honor God. Let us not forget the management of our home is often ours as well. Often times, for me, when I end up doing everything, it’s because I have not managed my kids responsibilities well. I can choose differently.

Ladies, the care of the home is a great responsiblity, no doubt. The hours can be long, the earthly pay small, but what an awesome honor it is. The God of the universe has set you inside that home, inside that dorm room, inside that one-bedroom apartment, to care for it and those who come through it. You, dear one, are esteemed highly enough to be the one to carry God’s plan for that home in your hands. Maybe your clean dorm room is a sanctuary for someone with an out of control roommate. Maybe the order of your house is the only stability the neighbor kid sees because her house, and family, is a wreck. Perhaps the joy you choose to walk in doing those most trivial of tasks ministers to the single mama or daddy just trying to hang on. Choosing joy has no doubt set a better tone for my house overall. It hasn’t been perfect, but it has been better.

My encouragement to you – choose joy this week. Be you a single girl living in a apartment – choose joy. Be you a married woman – choose joy. Be you a mama  – choose joy.

In the mundane, trivial tasks set before you – choose joy. Start at home and watch it carry over to other areas of your life.

Joy is there for you.

Jesus is there for you.

May your joy be found in Him.

Acts 2:28 (NKJV)

 You have made known to me the ways of life;

You will make me full of joy in Your presence.

 

Rhonda winter2012

 

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When Grace is the Only Thing Needed

GraceThe past few weeks have been full up with opportunities for me to show a little or a lot of grace.  And I will tell you what, though one might think I am sweet-natured and gentle-tempered, I am not.  In fact, really no one is.  We are all a bunch of live wires ready to go off–just let the electricity go off for four days or a stomach flu that goes through your family of six, one at a time, and see what happens.  We find that we are not grace-givers…but we are surely ALL grace-needers.

A hug that is not returned…

A gift that is spurned…

A call that is more about digging for gossip than concern…

A friend, who should bring blessing, but rather burns…

A debt left unpaid…

A thousand smiles with no smile in exchange…

A kindness left unnoticed…

A thousand times a thousand carrying out the same task with no thanks at all…

And we have a choice. Get even or remember a thousand times a thousand, Jesus says to forgive. I call that grace.

We need much grace for the times we have been offenders. And don’t believe for one second that a day passes and we have not in some way offended–by what we do or say intentionally or sub-consciously unaware. It is our modus operendi.  We are OFFENDERS!

We need to give much grace for the times we are offended. That’s part of it.  Unmerited favor goes unearned. Oh, but the rewards for giving grace?  Now that is different altogether.  There is RICHNESS to be found in the giving of grace.

We have peace in our hearts.

We can live from a place of JOY.

We can sing a song of HOPE.

We can hear a sermon or read a book that helps and not think–wow, they need to read THIS!

We can live out of the abundant, exceedingly abundant, resources of God.

And I don’t know about you, but I would not trade all the JUSTICE in the world for a shaker full of grace. For I have needed it in a “fiscal cliff” kind of way.  And God has given it…and given it…and given it.  I am glad for the justice I did not get.

Perhaps my hugs and gifts went unreceived and unappreciated…my heart wrenched in pain…my reaching out was ignored…my hard stuff went through an archaeological dig for someone else’s pleasure…I felt gutted and cored. YET, this I call to mind…and this I remember–

my Jesus went through more than I could ever imagine to grant ME grace. And I will give it.  And give it.  And give it again. I will trust and try and forgive again.  For grace has been my given.  Therefore, I shall give it.

Holly winter2012

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‘Twas the Saturday before Thanksgiving

…and all through the house, all the creatures went shopping, except for this mouse.

So I sat and I listened to sounds of quiet cheer, and thanked God again for joy soon here.

I’m supposed to be cleaning, but before I begin–I wanted to write this thankful note for both kith and kin.

Those near and those far, I never forget–each face, through my memory, some I have never met.

I stop for a moment and bend my knee, giving thanks for they’ve given so abundantly to me.

A smile, a kind word or prayer and a gift–letting the dross of my much-ness be all a-sift.

I thank God and intercede for all left unsaid…and remember those feelings which hold weighty tread.

Then I pause and give thanks for my enemies, too–a tool in God’s hand, shaping the much and the few

of my faults and my pride and the things that must go, so I walk boldly by faith and see wisdom grow.

The years laid down carried many such tools, to resent such pressure is the making of fools.

I grasp now in my heart thankfulness for all, the easy and hard, the big and the small.

For I know to my marrow such unmerited grace. And I look ’round overwhelmed, by the hope of Christ’s face.

To you, my brother, and you, my sister–the stranger, the miser, the resentful mister…

Be blessed this Thanksgiving and forget not a one–give thanks to the Father in the light of the Son.

With joyful love from our home to yours!

Happy Thanksgiving

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Leveled

It all started about three months ago.  I began to consistently pray a specific prayer: Lord, sift me. Lord break me.  Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours. Less of me, Lord, and more of you.

So you know what has happened since then? Ripping life. Trauma. Anxiety. Mental distress. Struggle with the same problems.  Struggle with new ones. Disappointment. Discouragement. Weariness that goes so deep, I couldn’t even make a map for you. Anger. Distrust. Cynicism.

There was out-working of all of this on various days–with tears, angry words, and other disagreeable discourse.

Then there was peace. Quiet. Stillness. Calm.

I believe the answer to this prayer has come in the form of leveling of myself–stripped of all pride and laying face down.  Not grovelling, mind you, no.  But surrender. Surrender over and over again to God’s plans for my life.  Surrender to His timing–His way, His how.

What shall come out of these ashes, I do not yet know.  But I know that it will be good.  I know that it will shine forth in beauty.  I know that it will come without the need to be known or understood by any man or woman. That affirmation that has always driven me has been tossed out at a roadside, park waste receptacle, never to be heard from again (I hope). I also know that it will come without the need for receiving credit or recognition.  For every crown, I lay at His feet. Jesus alone is worthy.

You see, underlying all of this is great loss, accusation without defense and a lose-lose situation.  Only God can restore what has been ripped from my hands.  Only God can make a way from the crookedest pathway. I have One, who stands in my place.  I have Jesus.  And His nod of approval over my life is all I need.  So I now stand under a beautiful weight of daily carrying the cross, which He has faithfully allowed me to bear.  I follow Him.  And there alone, I find peace.

It’s like an old injury I struggle with in my right ankle.  It needs daily exercise to be loose and willing enough for me to use it. When I don’t exercise it, my walking is a limping forward.  It’s painful, embarrassing even.  But with daily exercise, I have freedom to run! God’s weights upon us are always, always for us and for good, building core strength built upon a strong and firm foundation–Jesus.

Now, you may be asking, why?  Why would I pray such a prayer?  Why would I even care or bother? I’ll tell you why.  I just got to the point where I was sick of myself, sick of who I was becoming, sick of the same old topics being rehashed in the same base way. I have reached the point in my walk where I care more about God having His way through me than me having my way for my own comfort.

And it’s uncomfortable. It’s hard.  It’s weighty.

But I am not alone.  Daily I pick it up.  Daily I walk it out. All with Jesus. If I am stripped of everything I hold dear for the sake of His call, I say YES, in advance. I do not long for that, no.  But I am willing.  And everything we hold out willingly to our Savior, He sees our pureness of heart and He shines through.  That’s all I want–I want for Jesus to shine through and make a difference in this little piece of ground under my feet and surrounding. Even if…

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Joy and Peace

I love this photo. Two of my favorite people are in it. In the foreground is Reyna, the beautiful redhead. Reyna is one of those amazing young women who doesn’t really know how truly incredible she is. Reyna is now in college, majoring in interior design. I’ve known Reyna since she was 7 years old, and I’ve watched her grow and change in many ways. Most of all, she has grown in her love for Jesus. She is a beautiful young woman on the outside, but it’s the inside love of Jesus that shines so brightly through her that makes her one of the most beautiful girls I know.

Next to Reyna is my youngest son, Sawyer. This photo is “a keeper” for me (although I didn’t take it) because that smile on Sawyer’s face is genuine. He and Reyna were having a great time when this photo was captured on Reyna’s camera by some unknown person. I don’t know what they were doing ~ probably something related to a youth group activity ~ and to be honest I don’t even know when or where the photo was taken, but someone did an amazing job of capturing the two of them having a great laugh together.

Sometimes I wonder…if someone were to snap a photo of me without my knowledge, how would that photo turn out? Would I have a joyful or peaceful look on my face, or would I appear grumpy? Or even worse, would I have an angry look on my face? My husband calls it my sour puss face. I’ve caught glimpses of my sour puss face in the mirror, and let me tell you, it’s not a pretty look.

Am I always happy? No, of course not. But I can be joyful, despite my circumstances. Am I always calm, cool and collected? Not by a long shot. But I can be peaceful, no matter what is going on around me. Humans have emotions ~ they allow us to feel, to empathize, sympathize, to laugh and cry, to be excited, and to handle moments of great happiness and great sadness. We’re meant to experience a wide range of emotions. It’s the way God made us.

I find myself wanting more peace, more joy in the Lord. I want the large majority of those candid snapshots to show the joy and peace my Lord brings to my heart. My life will never be perfect, but my God is ~ and He can handle whatever emotions I feel at any given moment. And in return, He fills me with peace and joy beyond understanding.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. ~James 3: 13-18

 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4: 4-7

 

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More Joy in One Ordinary Day

While reading The Message Bible, this verse that struck me as, “YES, THAT’S IT! That is exactly how I feel”

“Why is everyone hungry for more? ‘More, More,’ they say, ‘More, more.’ I have God’s more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day.” Psalm 4:6-7 The Message

And it is so.

One year, about 7 years ago, nearly every gift I received had the word, “JOY” written on it. I really don’t know why. Was it something I lacked? Was it something I possessed? At the time, I pondered what the message meant to me.

As I think back upon it, I think the message meant that JOY was, is and will be God’s purpose for me. It is His purpose for you, as well.

 

The thing about JOY is this: it alters the outcome of a regular journey and impacts it in such a positive way that there must be an overflow somewhere to contain the whole of it. Joy fills and it also overspills. Joy impacts.



What if my choice for JOY changes the outcome of an otherwise difficult pathway?  It does. It will. I have tested this one over and over.

You may know me somewhat, or well or not at all. In my life, I have experienced much good. But also, I have experienced some really bad and really hard things, too (just like everybody). The thing is I don’t LIVE there. I don’t choose to live there nor do I want to live there.

I choose JOY. My default for any and all situations is to find the JOY in it. I must choose to not let feelings get in the way of it. It is the LIFE in those situations. It is the place where time and time again, I have found my Jesus in such a personal and life-altering way. He is the only One, who can take bankruptcy and make it something for which to be thankful.

For when He comes, He is the One infusing Life and infusing Joy and infusing Love and infusing Forgiveness and giving Perspective and Filling me to Fullness. It doesn’t matter your blood-type. His blood is for everyone–a universal Giver is He.

So am I in denial? You might think so. But I know the Truth and time and time and time and again, Truth in Christ has set me free. So I choose Joy.

You might say, well I’m not wired that way. Ask Jesus for a re-wire. Ask Him to come and change the part of you that chooses against Joy.

For another part of my thankfulness over the many hardships we have faced is this–I am still choosing Joy to cover each hardship. The joy of Christ in me is making me complete and full and thankful…and humble.  His Joy in me is changing the outcome.

Are we still in the midst of bankruptcy? Yes, we are. Is it still hard? YES! IT IS! But for some reason, I KNOW we will continue to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit with our heads held high and not in shame. I KNOW that Joy is making all the difference. Beyond the time when our bankruptcy is discharged in early 2012, we shall remember that we were slaves in Egypt, but our God has brought us out with a mighty hand and outstretched arm…and we shall joyfully tell our children and their children of the goodness of our God over our lives and over theirs.

May you choose His JOY, my friends!

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Journey of Provision

Let me preface this with one thought, this post is meant to teach and invite you into our journey.  You are welcome to hear the story and learn with us.  That is all.  It is not an invitation for solutions.  We have one Solution-Giver.  He holds the answers and we look to Him alone. I hope from the story you will see that our God is not-so-subtle and has a strong streak of humor in him.  I think the humor is what has kept me singing.

In 2008, we knew we were headed for the Perfect Storm.  There was no way around it. It was before us and we were going there. In short, we were without pay for four months in late 2007 through early 2008, which is super-short comparatively.  We sold and “ate” (lived on) our truck. We sought godly financial counsel, who recommended some routes, which turned out to be dead-ends. Finally, he told us our only option was bankruptcy (keeping our home apart from that). He said that as believers in Jesus, we should try to pay back when it was all discharged. And we shall!  That alone makes it an easier solution for me.  I am honest to a fault.  I could this very second rattle off a list of people and the amounts they gave to help us.  I carry it every single day and lay it again with thanksgiving at the foot of the cross.

So we went through it–one of the hardest seasons of my life to date before my dear friend had a stroke early this year, which has also marked my faith in countless ways–I love my friend and am grateful for her life and her wisdom to me today. Bankruptcy was shameful, embarrassing and humbling. With friends like Teresa, who sent me cards every week (sometimes more!) and she still does, to remind me that I am loved and prayed for…I don’t know about you, but there is a lot of LOVE bound up in those cards and a lot of prayer.  Thank you, Teresa. Other friends brought groceries and gifts to our door. Some gave “hilariously”–a car, gift cards and even beautiful get-aways. Some loaned to us, and I pray to pay it all back someday. It is BEAUTIFUL.  It was hard.  And I am humbled, not debased, but I walk with head bowed in thanksgiving much more often than with a strut of pride.

Early this year, we began thinking we would also lose our home. Through miraculous workings (through two unlikely sources–the government home bill and our financial institution), we will not lose our home!  We actually will go to court in the next month to sign papers establishing our new loan(bankruptcy makes everything a bit more difficult). Our bankruptcy will be complete on March 17, 2012. Praise God for that light at the end of our tunnel!! He is our Way-Maker! Then it is my turn, I hope, to bless someone coming behind us in this hard journey and pay it forward.

So lately, my Chris and I have begun to dream again.  Dreaming is good!  We are trying to save, budget and follow good and right ways. Even so, we still live paycheck to paycheck for the most part.  Sometimes, we pinch pennies beyond what is possible.  I know that is the Lord’s provision. Sometimes, we laugh, because once again we feel like college students, learning to handle money for the first time, as displayed also by the ramen noodles. Sometimes, we feel guilty for going away for a night and spending from the little we have. But I know that is not God’s way. He doesn’t teach by guilt–only man does that. So we are learning to rely on what God says and His love–not on the opinions of man.

The other day, I was shopping with a dear friend and she said, “Do you know that you justify everything you buy? You must feel like you are under such scrutiny.” I let out a breath of a laugh and said, “You are absolutely right.” I love a friend like that!  I have turned over her words to me and can think of several reasons why I justify–bankruptcy, scrutiny, living up to people’s expectations, aware of people’s judgement and trying somehow to appease it. It is a default way of thinking, which I am asking the Lord to change in me. It stems from people-pleasing, which is rooted in pride. I am living for an audience of One. I do have accountability.  Oh yes.  It is His faithful Holy Spirit in me that keeps me in step with Him–His checks and balances, if you will. I am like a child learning to walk.

So yesterday, we are driving home from a wonderful away trip to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. And we are broke.  We had $4.31 for the day to eat and enough (cross-your-fingers and pray really hard) gas to drive home. We knew we’d be paid today and other things would be coming in, etc. etc., BUT for yesterday, we had $4.31. And we laughed until we cried–happy tears…thinking, “Here we are again, Lord.”

You see, we don’t have our act together.  We have a blessed family and marriage.  But we do not have it all under control. God knows that!  He laughed with us.  We were in beautiful country. We could sing. We could laugh.  I could crochet a birthday gift. We could take pictures that were astounding. AND we could arrive home to a happy family of four children (and eat when we got home–ha!).

During this time, I saw a bird flying over-head and thought, “He’s lucky.  He doesn’t worry about refilling gasoline. He eats every day.  God makes sure of it.” AS I was thinking this way, God reminded me in my heart, “Holly, rely on me daily.  I watch over the birds.  I WILL WATCH OVER YOU. Trust me, child.” And I do. I do trust Him. I’ve not “arrived” yet, nor are we perfect.  But we are willing to be taught.  And we are humble enough to let God provide through the ways He chooses. I wouldn’t trade any of this story. It is our life. We will walk with a limp straight for the foot of the cross of Jesus, where we daily find freedom and learn how to walk. In Christ, we are free indeed to run this race with JOY! So can you, friends. You need only come to Him and exchange your ugly life-stuff for His more than enough.

With Beauty from my Ashes,

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To Live is Christ

So many things we get caught up in…so many concerns of heart, mind, body and soul.  Like the record player needle getting stuck playing the same note over and over again. Then we spiral. We get off-track.  Our focus on things important is lost. We make idols of the discordant note–focused completely on “whys” and”whats” that really don’t amount to anything when all is said and done.

We hold grudges.  We make people’s problems our projects. We wring our hands over unpaid bills. The future is daunting.  The past, hurtful. And the now?  Well, you don’t even know what to think in the now. You are just putting one foot in front of the other or you are laying down and hoping time will pass. But life?  There’s no life there…there are just empty spaces to fill and irreconcilable tallies that will never ever make sense and then there’s the fear, bitterness and anger that wells up in your heart.  Life is not fair.

No, it isn’t. Then Joanne spoke the most amazing words to me after her stroke at the rehabilitation hospital. She said, “You know we have bills to pay and concerns, but the things that used to matter so much, just don’t seem to matter anymore. I don’t just want to live.  I want LIFE!”

To live is Christ.

So as my dear friend Joanne has been marking my life, my mind, my heart with the truth of God’s ever-present Presence in her time of need, I find that He is using her to mark my soul in a way of stillness unlike I have ever felt. Be still and know that He is God.  Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side. Be still. Live. Abide. Find rest, o my soul, the Lord has been good to you.  Yes, yes He has.

I have been on a health journey, which began in 2007 with a tremor in my hand. Like parenthesis that wrapped our jobless journey, bankruptcy and financial worries was this uncertain situation with my thyroid.  It was broken.  Then it leveled out to normal.  Then it was broken again. So as I have searched and finally found good doctors, I began seeking out the answers for my thyroid (which is still an in-process journey).

In the midst of the journey last Thursday, I went for my very first full physical.  They tested my arteries, which were fine, and then began the rest of the meeting with the doctor.  All my blood numbers were very good!  He seemed surprised.  The thyroid is still auto-immune, but everything was really good. Then he listened to my heart.  Then he listened again to my heart.  Then he sent me back to the young woman, who tested my arteries, to have an echocardiogram, because he heard a heart murmur.

She was a sweet Jesus-loving girl.  She began the test looking for a valve issue.  In mid-stride, she stopped and said, “We are going to do a bubble test to see if you have a hole in your heart.  It’s pretty common actually.” So she did the test and then told me I’d hear results back on Monday of this week.

Well I didn’t–and it is troublesome to wait. But on Monday here is what God showed me–His diagnosis, if you will. From Jesus Calling, “I am creating something new in you: a bubbling spring of Joy that spills over into others’ lives…let yourself become a reservoir of the Spirit’s fruit.” My thoughts as I read this were, “Lord, if there be a hole, let your Joy spill through it.  May I be a reservoir of the fruit of your Holy Spirit.”

Then I read this from My Utmost for His Highest, “If you abandon to Jesus, and come when He says ‘Come,’ He will continue to say ‘Come’ through you; you will go out into life reproducing the echo of Christ’s ‘Come.’ That is the result of every soul, who has abandoned and come to Jesus.” I began to think, “Echo.  Echocardiogram. Lord, let the echo of my heart always be the echo of your ‘Come.’ May I be fully abandoned and come (echo) come (echo) come to You.”

So today’s diagnosis, “No valvular issue, but instead patent foramen ovale (PFO). You have a hole–a passage of blood from the right to left. At some point, if you had a mini stroke from a blood clot, we would do surgery, but as long as you remain symptom free we do nothing.”

Funny thing, I also have a hole in my head, which makes my Chris so happy to joke about–it’s called a partially empty sella around my pituitary (all of this will come into play in the tests that are still before me over the next months for my thyroid).  Today our 13 year old son spoke these words, “Well, Mom, you are holey.  God thinks that is good, right?  Holy?”

I chuckle, for it is true!  I am holey.  I am broken.  I am empty.  I have thorns in my life, so do you.  So I echo to you today, Come. Come to Jesus.  Bring all of your hurts and pains and emptiness.  He is all about filling and overspilling in our lives. In times like these, we need a hole to leak the joy out.  We need the emptiness to become a reservoir. We need the echo of our hearts to ring Come! We need His Holy to fill our holey-ness.

To live is Christ. To die is gain.  I believe it fully.  Now, I live it until the appointed day when I step onto His heavenly sod and echo one final time, Come! For I will need to Come! no more.  I will then BE in Jesus’ Presence and there shall be no more away. Oh Praise God. To live is Christ. To live is Christ.

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