Saturday, November 30, 2013

Joy Dare, Week 3: Aunt Status, Golden, Singleness

Joy Dare, Week 3

Day 15: 3 Gifts Golden: 
Starbucks Gold Card,
Little Gold shoes on a baby,
Gold staircase at the Oxford Exchange where we had Girl staff time.

Day 16: 3 Gifts Hard Eucharisto: 
Ann Voskamp describes it as the hard discipline to lean into the ugly…the hard times… and still be able to give thanks, find joy, find grace.)
For my years of singleness in my 20's as I think its helped me know myself more.
For  the lack of Bible Study women leaders, as I think its an opportunity to trust Jesus.
For raising support. Though hard at times, its one of the main things that has increased my trust in God the last 6 years.

Day 17: 3 Gifts of Laughter 
Laughing with Katie
Laughing with Mom
Hearing a little child laugh at the store

Day 18: A Gift made, shared, passed on
Two cupcakes from Dough Bakery, made by the baker, shared with my friend Laura who flew in from Kansas, and passed on to each other to try the other cupcake!

Day 19: 3 Gifts Autumn
Cotton on the side of the road as we drove on a rode trip
Cooler weather as we drove north

Day 20: 3 Gifts of Traditions
The Navigators and their dedication to Spiritual Generations
Heart Conversations at conferences with the single ladies
Seeing Deb pray for people at the conference

Day 21: 3 Gifts Family
My mom
My sister
My new niece or nephew coming in May:)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Joy Dare, Week 2: Freedom, Veterans, Pumpkins

Sweet, Salty, Sipped
Galatians 5

Day 8: A gift Sweet, Salty, Sipped: Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha

Day 9: 3 Gifts from Harvest: Pumpkins, Butternut Squash, Honey Crisp Apples

Day 10: 3 Gifts found in Bible Reading: 
Galatians 5:1--Christ set me free to be free.
Galatians 5:6--Faith expressing itself through love is what counts, not how perfectly I do things.
Galatians 5:22--Things that come with Spirit living that I didn't earn, that are mine without limit

Day 11: 3 Gifts of Remembrance: 
My Grandfather LaFrance who served as a Marine. I never met him, but I see him as a hero.
My Grandmother who served as a Navy Nurse during WWII.
My Aunt Ann, who served in the Navy Reserves.
Thank you Veterans.

Day 12: 3 Gifts at Noon: Our first year Edgers: Katie, Austin and Maggie at staff meeting! Love them and so thankful for them!

Day 13: 3 Gifts Behind a Door: A blast of cool air outside the front door, Kim and Melanie at worship night, vegetable soup in the cabinet

Day 14: 3 Gifts Silence: First few moments waking up, Sitting by the fountain in Hyde Park, Right before bed minutes

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Joy Dare, Week 1: Curry, Kicks, and Freedom of Religion

God is giving amazing things to us all the time. In daily circumstances, He often steps in and crosses the heavenly threshold to remind us of relationship with Him. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've decided to take Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare challenge from her blog, based off her popular book 1000 gifts. Here is a record of this week's little joys, given from the Lord to me:

Student Prayers at USF

Day 1:  3 Gifts Eaten: Masaman Curry, Pumpkin Doughnut Hole, Baby Townhouse Crackers

Day 2: 3 Gifts Worn: Red Button Earrings, New Gray Kicks, FSU Shirt on a winning game day

Day 3: 3 Gifts that start with N: Night Chat with Charlene on Porch, Nice Weather and a picnic with  Mom on the porch, Nap after church

Day 4: A Gift Gathered, Given, Good: Gathered: friends for Bible study, Given: workshop on rest and work, Good: reminder from Elaine from Jesus Calling

Day 5: 3 Gifts-Acorn Size: Little white flowers on my walk.

Day 6: 3 Gifts Government: Freedom of Religion, The Postal Service, Education

Day 7: 3 Gifts from my Window: Shawna, Firepit, Rays of Sunshine

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Crime to Report

I have a crime to report. 

Someone stole my joy this week and I want it back. 

I also want to testify that there were other victims this week of the same culprit. As I sat and heard the heavy hearts of various friends, I realized that before I could look around, mine had also been snatched.  One glance away, and gone!

The truth is, sometimes life is just plain hard. Heartbreaking stories of depression, sin and its consequences, broken relationships, dying loved ones, general ungratefulness, lies that have replaced truth, and unbearable stress that causes tears can wear you down. And the more you hear, the harder it is to remember that there is hope for this joy to be restored.

This week, as I've mourned over the stolen goods and waited for the thief to be taken down, another one reared its head. Comparison, thief's nasty sidekick.

Teddy Roosevelt says "Comparison is the Thief of Joy." 

Not only did I mourn with the heartaches, losses and sadness, but I started looking at the stories of blessing from the non-victims with a sinister, ugly scowl. If I'm suffering, and these friends are suffering, how dare you share your good stories with us? And comparison distracted me while the thief stealthily snuck by, joy in tow. 

When I talked to one who guards the joy, He reminded me that He brings justice to the injustice and healing to the broken. The Lord heard my story, and came to assist. Not just assist, but to restore. Not just to restore, but to renew. Not just to renew, but to fight. And to conquer. And to free. And to secure. And to increase.

In Galatians 4,  the Holy Spirit, reminded me that I have the rights of freedom. That I am adopted by the one who calls the shots. That what is most perplexing is believing that bondage and slavery to death is actual reality and that joy is steal-able. But joy is not take-able. In actuality, joy is a gift that comes from living out of the good news. 

And the good news is this: that Jesus Christ has conquered all culprits of joy theft. 

Truly, this world is hard. But there is a better destiny, a restored order. In Jesus Christ, all things hold together and every tear is wiped away.  My joy and the joy of my friends is actually hidden in the incomparable riches of Christ, and our names are written in the book of life. These are things that can never rust, spoil, fade or be taken from us. And inheritance beyond here. And that is where joy is found! And that is where joy lives. Untouched by the world and its scheming thieves.

So like the psalmist writes in Psalm 42:5, we can say

"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My prayer this week, for these friends and for myself, is this: That in constant renewal and time with the Father, healing and wholeness and joy will make a clean sweep through our hearts. That we would be reminded that what we suspected was actually gone for good, never made its way past the door of our hearts. That the thief and his nasty sidekick have actually been defeated for years, starting the day Jesus died and rose. That Jesus' fulfillment of the law made a binding covenant with us where joy permanently resides. Oh the greatness of the King of Kings! Thank you,  dear Lord, for your victorious self!

In facing these things, I've decided to recall this joy to mind by taking the Joy Dare. Afterall, a grateful heart, is a joy-filled heart and leaves no room for evidence left by two locked up convicts. 

I believe this calls for a celebration. I mean after all, we can all agree that this case is now closed and joy is in order.

This blog brought to you by: Nice weather and Grilled Cheese on the porch with Mom. (The first of my Joy Dare answers!)