Joy Finding

We have the same reason for joy as they did way back then.

I pray I’m intentional in my choice to let Christmas be all about Jesus. Here’s the truth, I believe, the joy stealers don’t rest at Christmas, there’s no reprieve from those set on negativity and strife. And then there’s unexpected sadness that makes no sense and seems to happen more at Christmas. Or maybe in our seeking to be joyous, we’re thrown off by its unfair interruption.

I’m not sure. I only know that we each can choose joy and like someone told me yesterday, I was caught off guard, “your face seems happier.” And I had prayed earlier that God would put someone on my path, literally wrote this in my journal,

“God send someone to my path who needs to know about your grace.”

This person who told me she saw a difference in me, I said to her, smiling over her words, “I’m getting better at understanding God’s grace and it’s no longer a striving thing, I am not working so hard for something that requires nothing of me, God’s grace.”

My day started this way yesterday. How can I not proclaim the joy as I circled prayers today, some still praying and this one given an asterisk for answered?

I consider it joy.

You know that joy when a longing you’d gotten a little disheartened over slips in and comes true in a way unexpected?

That’s the joy and joys I’m keen on noticing now.

If it takes writing them down or slowing my morning to be certain I give them their due, my time and attention, I am more aware because of doing so.

I think of my grandma’s little hands, her practice of keeping her “memorandum” book and I look towards the jewels she meticulously pinned into bright ornaments, I see her joy in her art.

I see joy, find it here.

Most especially when it comes in a way surprising me, a way that speaks truth to our Father’s all-knowing.

Like an angel I suppose, saying hold out for it and hold on sure but tenderly to this hope, your joy is coming.

You shall bear the light of this truth, that when you believe what you can’t see, you will get to see it come true.

Bear light of it just like young Mary, a mother unprepared and untouched by man, bearing the Son of Man, light of the world.

Remember the time another Mary and her sister Martha chose to believe?

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”  John 11:40

I’ve not known joy quite so miraculous as the risen dead, still I’ve known the joy of Jesus coming through, on my behalf, the behalf of those I love.

Known the joy found in what we believe will be true.

Jennifer Dukes Lee shares her thoughts about how to “Prepare Him Room” and a story that is oh, so very relatable, the task of Christmas decor and how we should simply rest in the beauty of our homes, stamped and shaped by our hearts.

Visit here:

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/prepare-him-room/

Linking up with Kelli LaFram, at Quietly Through

http://quietlyreminded.com/2017/12/07/confess-sins-quietly-thursday-link-20/?ct=t(RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN)&mc_cid=68c27bf7bd&mc_eid=8fccf10d46

Day 11 – grace, regardless

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Day 11, Advent
Uphold me in your promise that I may live and let me not be put to shame in my hope! Psalm 119:116

How we feel about God, about His part in our plans and how we give him a role in our lives, our faith, dependence, trust…our unwavering acceptance of his unwavering grace is the image and message we convey.

It can’t be hidden, won’t be hidden. With God, there’s no masking, no faking, no playing of holy part. Our lives are not scenes from a grand play for which we’ve auditioned and are  chosen to be the star follower or the longing reject hoping to be picked to follow Jesus.

There’s no need for acting. There’s no need for striving to maintain appearance of never being afraid or feeling condemned, yet again because of negative conversations with self.

If we try to cover our doubts about grace in the day to day, how will we ever convey God’s saving grace to the doubters of us and of life and love,  all around us and in our lives?

We end up exhausted from the farce of it all…going through life only sporadically believing in grace.
Grace is daily.
It is our bread, our sustenance.

It’s what we know we lack and circle back to remember.
The very same grace we accepted as ours when we surrendered our wandering, questioning hearts and believed is the grace that is ours every second of the day.

So, I let my insecurities show and  some might be repelled by my lack of discretion, of not covering up. By the grace of God and my discernment of right people, they show less day by day.

In time one of two things surely happens:
It will, my insecurity, show more or struggle to stay hidden. Insecurity is relevant and relatable. It is beautiful for us to be brave enough to be less than strong enough or as we might be expected to be.

The more we remember grace, the less glaringly we’ll obstruct its beauty by the wearing of our masks of can’t be known.

Heather said she’s ready for the leaves to all fall away, the trees should be wintry now, it’s Christmas.

I agree. There’s beauty in barren. There’s beauty in exposed and clinging to what means life.

Can a winter branch shield itself from cold, wet and harsh season?

I think not, still it’s a beautiful thing to see resting in the strength of roots and even more clearly visible unadorned with leaf against wide blue sky.
#graceupongrace #quietconfidence #birthofjesusday

Our King Has Come – Walk in Confidence

I  laid the Advent Card representing today, beside my journal.

From darkest of darkness came light

From darkest of darkness came light

My intent to ponder its visual as I’d done with the others.

The day got away from me and I waited for the rain to offer a half hour or so.

I wanted to walk.

I walked, noticing grey skies and vacant landscape. The sky, foreboding, the wind stronger when I turned back towards home.

But, it was okay. I walked on, my steps confident.

Raindrops blowing around me, landing sharply on my face like tiny pin pricks.

Still, I walked on, a confident, good and strong walk.

Trees, dark and severe against the stormy sky. Bare, curly limbs curled, like tight fists clenched.

The air was thick and the clouds began to meld into a more solidly thick darkness.

Still, I walked on.

Noticed barren limbs again on path.

Reminding me of crown made of thorns. Of a dark foreboding day before symbolic and surprisingly new life, His resurrection, mine.

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Closer to home, I stopped to look for my companion.

A hawk. First noticed as I turned toward walking path from driveway.

Large bird, solitary and intermittent in showing itself, in unison it seemed.

I walked on,  turning to  look towards  sky.

Back home, greeted by dogs, I look up and see again.

Circling above, still.

Led me home, joined me there, made sure I’m good.

And I think of what I can’t discern, bigger than me, greater than I can figure and I realize there’s no need.  His way is not our way

Making sure I'm okay

Making sure I’m okay, leading me home

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, the night marked by the birth of a King, our Savior.

A King without a throne.

whose only crown was twisted, mainly limbs of brittle thorn.

A King sired by Holy Spirit. God the Father, to save our souls.

Merry Christmas.  Advent has led us here.

 

Following your Star, Unwrapping your Gift

Advent Thoughts

Advent Thoughts

On today, the day before the eve of Christmas Eve, I started with a note from my daughter, reminding me of Christmas coming…”feel better” it said and so I committed to feel better.

And I did.  Some little things happened to help in the betterment of day. Gifts were wrapped, special notes written and gifts received.

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Beautifully gifted day

I prayed twice and then read about the star that was followed by the wise men.

Thought of them differently, not of bearded ancient figures with long flowing robes walking through the desert gazing upward.

I thought of them as wise people, intelligent, wise men.

It occurred to me then that the star must have been so spectacularly compelling they couldn’t imagine not seeking to know more.

Couldn’t imagine turning back, abandoning their souls’ fulfillment.

Wise men, yet still seeking to know more, to experience fullness as their feet followed, guided by brilliant star.

So, I jotted quickly, so as not to forget the thought.

Hesitant to record my thoughts because they felt strong like epiphany.

To write in my journal might lessen the power of my thoughts.

But, I wrote a note to self:

“What’s your star?  Where is the place God has for you?  What gifts in store?  What is the work God would have you achieve, knows you’re both capable of and long for?

If my feet followed my heart led by Jesus, knowing spectacular like a bright star awaits, I wonder where I’d be.

What gifts are waiting for my unwrapping?

Is it writing?

Painting?

Maybe the joy of leading by example, so that others move towards their calling, their joyous star.  Continue reading

Day 23, a Need to Rest

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I’m prone to crashing not the day just after being overwhelmed.

But, more so after the two or three days.

It all catches up and slows me down real slow.

Depleted at the end of the day with only minimum words and no answers for the question, “What’s wrong?”

“Just tired.” I say.

Because it’s hard to explain my fatigue has caught up with me.

With my emotions too.

The body gets tired, the heart’s always close behind.

The Advent card, today’s image reminded me of repetitious days.

Of sameness and habitual motions.

Of showing up, being more, doing more and marking another day done.  Pencil marks counting another task finished, not much more than finished.

Day 23, two days away from Christmas Eve

The image reminding of  23rd Psalm.

A timely reminder, I need to rest.

Psalm 23
A psalm of David.

 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.

 

Preparing Him Room

In all the busyness, the hosting, the planning and the preparing…

Prepare Him Room.

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Breathe in his presence and sit with it.

His gift of grace like the spot known as yours on the sofa, next to the twinkle of tree now, it’s Christmas.

Peace, be still and Alleluja

Solace and  love there

Heaven and nature singing above and around.

I’ve invited Him in.

Prepared Him room.

Revel in and then rest there, His presence in your room.

Let every heart prepare Him Room.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday started with daylight only sparsely present.  I walked outside and noticed the clouds shifting in a swooping motion.

It was supposed to be more chilly, I thought. My daughter said, “It hasn’t moved through yet. It’s coming.”

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And it did, we had dinner after shopping later, the wind cold and the sky filling with stars above a fuzzy peace sunset.

I remembered earlier in the day, I had sat aside the Advent Card for Day 20, noticing the image so much like stars, clouds, waiting for change.

Little triangle shapes like Christmas trees planted for next year’s home.

little trees growing

little trees growing

Thinking of how nervous and anxious I was on Thursday for what I’d be doing Friday,  speaking in front a large group, cameras, prominent people…but I was okay, it was okay.

Yesterday was good. Good and unexpected things made me smile. There was some bad, some annoying and out of nowhere mean, sharp words.

A good day, but a long one.

Yesterday becoming today.

Yesterday was good. Today will be too.

We’re closer to Christmas, closer to Christ.photo-35_kindlephoto-6872653

Come thou long expected Jesus.

 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21