Today I Choose Joy!

"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!" (Phil 4:4-5 MSG)

Wow! This morning I picked up a book that I had forgotten about called "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" by Eugene Peterson (same guy who wrote the Message). It is a book that works through the Songs of Ascent in the Psalms... each chapter discusses practical disciplines of the Christian life found in these Psalms. This chapter was on Joy!

Lately, I've found happiness hard to attain and hold onto...but I've also found myself realizing that in the process of life, I've been losing hold of joy!! Listen to some of what Peterson says...

Psalm 126
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion's exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn't believer our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations-
"God was wonderful to them!"
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people
And now, God, do it again-
bring rains in our drought-stricken lives.
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

-"Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence....it is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience."

-"We come to God (and to the revelation of God's ways) because none of us have it within ourselves, except momentarily, to be joyous. Joy is a product of abundance; it is the overflow of vitality."

-"....decide to live in response to the abundance of God and not under the dictatorship of our own poor needs....to live in the environment of a living God and not our own dying selves...to center ourselves in the God who generously gives and not in our own egos which greedily grab."

-"Joy has a history. Joy is the verified, repeated experience of those involved in what God is doing....Joy is nurtured by living in such a history, building on such a foundation."

-"Joy is nurtured by anticipation....What we have known of Him, we will know of Him. Just as joy builds on the past, it borrows from the future. It expects certain things to happen."

-"The hard work of sowing seed in what looks like perfectly empty earth has, as every farmer knows, a time of harvest....It is clear in Psalm 126 that the one who wrote it and those who sand it were no strangers toe the dark side of things....They knew the deserts of the heart and the nights of weeping. They knew what it meant to sow in tears...."

-"....laughter does not exclude weeping. Christian joy is not and escape from sorrow....Laughter is a result of living in the midst of God's great works....Enjoyment is not an escape from boredom but a plunge by faith into God's work."

-[Psalm 126] "...It announces the existence of a people who assemble to worship God and disperse to live to God's glory, whose lives are bordered on one side by a memory of God's acts and the other by hope in God's promises, and who along with whatever else is happening are able to say, at the center, "We are one happy people."

**I could not have summed up joy any better...so today, if you are like me, not feeling what you want...do what Philippians says...REVEL in God...in His Goodness...in His promises...in His faithfulness...and you will find your JOY!!

Today, I choose joy :-)


waiting for you is like...

"....waiting for rain in this drought. Useless and disppointing." (A Cinderella Story).

Earlier this evening, I was thinking...and this line just blurted out of my heart into the room. I've had a dream, an ongoing hope, an ever welling desire to know and be known by the one that God has called me to spend my life serving, sharing my past, present and future with...my companion...my co-laborer in the faith... my husband.

1 Corinthians 13 says..."Love is Patient." The following verses further emphasize this point...the very next phrase in this passage says, "Love is Kind." What is interesting is that even Kindness is defined as patience or forbearance which means to hold oneself back, to not react or retalliate. I've been moved by the revelation that God, Who is LOVE, is Patient and slow to wrath. His kindness leads us to repentance...it's His PATIENCE that causes us to turn to Him in our weakness, in the depths of our despair and the darkest, most wretched hole of sin...it's His Patience, not His anger that causes us to RUN into His arms. So what does our love look like? Shouldn't it reflect that same patience...

"I don't know if you're near or far away, but I know that I'm thinking of you today...." this song by LaRue slipped from my lips this evening... In my high school years, I would listen to it as I went to sleep, praying for my husband. Now, a decade later...I still pray, but it is with a sense of restlessness...a weariness...a longing that has matured. I no longer wait for a Prince Charming, a Knight in Shining Armor...but for a Strong Man with a Pure Heart...someone to who will be what I need...someone who will carry me when I'm weak, someone who is not perfect but who lives with the intention to honor Jesus with every fiber of his being...someone who loves the idea of waking up next to me until we're both wrinkly and not so "pretty"...someone who holds the other piece to the BIG picture that God has put on my heart...someone who will laugh at life with me!

I pray with the awareness that comes from having loved...and having had my heart broken...and that brokenness is part of life... I pray with the awareness that to chase and pursue someone because I think he is what I want is useless and disappointing,very humbling and painful....more so than waiting. I pray with an awareness that God is shaping and forming my husband more and more into the likeness of Christ (the great Husband)...and that I am becoming more and more ready to be a bride... each day teaches me more about what it means to honor someone in spite of disagreement... to serve someone when they "don't deserve it"...to trust someone else's leadership...

This desert dance is one of faith...for we are called to live by faith, not by sight...it is one of expectancy, for surely faith gives way to sight. In the meantime, my LOVE grows... as I learn the art of patience. There are some days that my faith fails me...like a blind man, being led through a busy street... I stumble...I fret...I fight...I sit down and pout.

There are days that I want to just take life into my own hands...to make things appear... But in the waiting and stillness...in patience, I am made stronger... my hope grows and becomes experience...Jesus becomes more and more to me ...and I am reminded of what one wise friend said to me..."No man's love will ever fulfill you until you come to rest and experience the true, uncondional love of Jesus."

So though, I wish you would hurry along...quit taking so long...I pray that you would be rooted and grounded in Christ, that your identity would go down deep into His love... I pray that the Holy Spirit would open the eyes of your understanding...that your ears and sight would be restored...I pray that you would know...that you would know...the direction of the Father. Be Strong in the Power of His might! I love you...and I will wait...in this desert...in this place of solitude...until you are ready.



It's snowing...think we have almost a foot of the love white dust by now. It seems like snow has been our very existence this past week. We stay up late to check the news for the latest weather forecast and get the wonderful news...yes, indeed, more snow in the forecast for tomorrow. We wake up early and look outside and discover...the weather man is actually right...AGAIN! So we bundle up and clean off our cars and go to work...come home and shovel to get in the driveway... and go inside and stay warm the rest the night...and the cycle repeats. ah...the adult life :-) LONG GONE are the days of wishing for the (non-existent) snow day...sledding and building snowmen. Hopefully, that season will come again when I have a passel of little ones...but for now, snow makes me tired. It's beautiful to look at, but on mornings like today, I just want to stay inside bundle in my warm covers...and then nestled on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea.

It's winter. That's just a fact of life :-) Lately, it's been a lot of work to stay focused on the fact that spring is coming and that no matter what God is good. I keep thinking of Ecclesiates where Solomon basically reminds us over and over...there's a time for everything...to everything there is a season. And every season has a purpose. I've always had an affinity for nature and trees...I love to be outside and I find the natural process of things so fascinating. Recently, I was reading that the in winter, trees grow and develop the most...their roots go down deep, deep, deep into the soil. They soak up nutrients and the bark thickens, fortifying it against the storms that come in every season...making it stronger and taller. They rest. But ironically, that very same tree looks almost dead in the process of winter. It has no leaves, no fruit... So, as I was reading it, the Lord was like, Rachel...this is not only winter in the natural...for you, it is winter in your spirit...hold fast to Me...sink your roots down deep into My Love... know that in every winter, there's a promise of spring and summer :-)

So, right now, I cling to the promise of spring...I am in the midst of a very long, harsh winter of the soul... but spring comes...as sure as the sun rises...and God is faithful even when blizzard winds blow and I am stripped...

When I was in high school, I used to sing this Crystal Lewis song. I had forgotten it until the other night...it's called "Seasons Change". Here are the lyrics...

**copyright Crystal Lewis
Are you going through a dry spell
Yes I've been there before
Where the trees are slowly withering
Where their roots cry out for more
Where the desert floor is dry and cracked
No clouds hand in the sky
No winter rain or spring it seems
No change in sight

But seasons change
And then they pass
No way to know how long they'll lastI'd love to know the reason why
But God knows
Seasons change

Are you going through a dry spell
I've been there a time or two
Where life seems to stay the same for awhile
You want to change but don't know how to
It's the place where you feel empty inside
Can't put your finger on the need
I look at God and see what I want to be
I look at me and see what I am (Chorus)

Are you going through a dry spell
I was there awhile ago
Now I've come to a place where the rain falls
Where the trees bear fruit and grow
Where I find a refuge in my God
It's a place of surrender I know
I look at God and see what I want to be
He looks at me and sees His own (Chorus)**

My dad gave me the greatest little thing for Christmas it says, "Sometimes you don't feel like singing...SING ANYWAY!" So, I decided to sing a song from my favorite Christmas movie, "White Christmas"...hence the title of this entry... :-)