JOY

1 Thessalonians 5:15-19 New International Version (NIV)
15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit.

Joy comes from the Lord. Joy does not come or happen because of our circumstances and thank the Heavens for that.  If we depended on life’s circumstances to provide Joy in our lives, most times we would be sadly disappointed.

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Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  It is not something you can turn on and off at will. It is a gift from the Holy Spirit.  I hear so many people say that they can’t find their joy or have no idea what joy looks like because their lives are so hard or difficult.  Joy has nothing to do with any of that.

It took me many years of prayerful time with the Lord and leaning on more mature Christians who know the Word and could counsel me in Godly ways to understand Joy isn’t something that happens.  It is just a part of who we are. If you are a believer in Jesus and profess to be a Christian and live, walk, eat and breathe a Christ-like existence, you have Joy. Period.  There will be times you can’t seem to grasp it. Times you don’t feel very joyful at all, but it’s there.

If I depended on life to grant me the gift of joy, I would be hard pressed to find it most days.  Happiness comes and goes but the Joy of the Lord is forever.

The past few weeks have been blessings and blessings with challenges or opportunities, I guess if I am being my optimistic, positive self. Our fifth grandchild, our second granddaughter blessed our lives. I call her my little peanut.  She is so tiny and precious. Just weighing a little over 7 pounds. She came into this world, with a good set of lungs and even a little bit of stubbornness. She loves when its time to eat; a little bit of a guzzler, can’t seem to get enough, but refuses to burp, which has been quite a challenge. But she doesn’t cry unless she’s hungry or needs to be changed. She has bright eyes and loves to scoot around on her back when lying in her bassinet. She almost reminds me of a “game-spinner”.  It doesn’t matter what position you lay her on her back, as she gets settled, she usually ends up facing the other way and she is just two weeks old today!

Being able to be in the delivery room, while our daughter gave birth, was so joyous of an occasion. The first time around with her son, Tyson, my other little buddy, that you have read about, I was banished out of her sight. Because I am a crier. I can cry at the drop of a hat. It can be something as simple as a cute commercial on television or something that isn’t even real.  With Tyson, for me, seeing my first-born child giving birth, I was so overcome with emotions, tears were streaming down my face and she couldn’t handle seeing those tears and I was given strict instructions, “Mom, if you are going to cry, you’re going have to back up, I don’t want to see you crying!” So, even though I was in the room to witness his birth, I wasn’t right by her side.

With our tiny Emmalin, I sat and held her hand, bound and determined, that no matter what, I would not let the tears spill out. And I held them at bay.  This time it was watching a miracle.  The miracle of watching our daughter give birth naturally (all the while, observing the epidural not work, pain meds do nothing to alleviate her pain of the harrowing back labor she was experiencing) with pure love, sheer grit, and determination to bring her daughter into view, was one of the most beautiful sights, this grandma’s eyes have ever seen! Praying and thanking Jesus for allowing me to watch and helping me to conceal my tears of joy. And realizing what a strong woman our daughter is. Even though she usually disagrees on being strong, this time she was strong and earned the respect of her parents, her older sisters, and her brother.

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Big brother holding baby sister/Ty & Emma

As our family is growing, and we are learning new routines, Tyson is doing is best to be a good big brother. There are many challenges that go along with bringing a baby home to a home with a toddler that has had the rule of the territory for four and a half years. And while he proclaims to everyone and anyone, that’s “his baby”, he doesn’t understand why she can’t get on the floor and play with him or why he isn’t allowed to carry her around like a rag doll or why it’s not a good idea to poke her with his fingers in her face.

As we are ever vigilant, hyper-vigilance has become our new norm when he is awake as we have no idea what he may or may not do next. The jealousy of a new baby isn’t as noticeable as I thought it might be, because his mom and my husband and I are making special times for him too and there are many days you will find the baby in her arms, while she is sitting on the couch and him right beside them as close as he can get.  As with everything new for him, it will take some time for him to realize how “babies” actually work. He doesn’t comprehend why she can’t share goldfish crackers with him, but I think it’s great that he wants to share with her, just the same.

I am doing my best to hope and pray that the similarities I notice with Emmalin and Tyson are because they are siblings and not for any other reason, but it has always been on the forefront of my mind if she too will have some or all of the special needs he has and I continually pray that whatever needs she has, God, will continue to equip us to care for them as they need.

As an update for Tyson, he is thriving at his ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy sessions. He loves going and right now he is attending 3 afternoons a week after he gets home from school.  On days when the weather closes the center, he is sad and doesn’t understand why he can’t go. As we continue to add more structure to his day, his aggressive behaviors and sensory meltdowns are not as bad. Instead of 6 hours a day dealing with them, some days it may only be a couple of hours to only 30 minutes. What a lifesaver this has been for all of us; as well as changing to ADHD medications that are working better for him than the ones he was previously taking.  We have also found, that playing with dominoes that his great-grandmother gifted him last year, can usually keep him focused and entertained for a while, without bouts of throwing or screaming.

Galatians 5:22 New Living Translation (NLT)
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

May you know how much Jesus Loves you~right now and always! He can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony.  #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings until next time~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

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A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

 

The Bible tells us in these verses there is a time for everything that happens in our lives. Lately, I have been in the season of grieving.  There is a time to grieve, but we must also allow healing to seep into our mourning and grief. It is all intertwined. Death is as much a part of our lives as birth is. For me, and for the people, I have lost in the last month, all of us know we will see one another again in eternity. I rejoice for them as their pain is gone, they suffer no more in their earthly bodies and they are finally home. Each of the people that touched my life is such small and big ways, makes me grateful that God allowed them to cross my path and be part of my tribe. Each of these people I called friends taught me about loving others, looking past flaws and seeing the good in everything. They taught me to never give up, to stand up for what I believe in and to trust in the Lord.

I miss them. Some days I think of the conversations we had, or the times we spent together being silly or laughing at one another. Other days, I am quiet. And some days I weep. It’s hard to let them go because the love you have for the person you lost, is just there and then I recall that they loved with such huge hearts for others and their love supply never ran out, so while I miss them deeply and don’t know when I will join them, I am choosing to direct the love I had for them toward others and go on. That is how I am processing the grief right now. Next week, it may look and feel totally different. One thing I know for sure is there is no right or wrong way to grieve for people we love. But I do know that Jesus will help me get through all of it.

And while grief comes in all types and ways, I relish in how they lived their lives. Building on His Truth and sharing Jesus through the way they lived their lives. I want to be more like that. Less complaining and more loving, stronger and bolder faith in knowing Whose I am and how much I am loved,

And then there’s this grief that I really don’t know what to do with.  The grief that returns in your heart when you sit in an exam room, with your spouse and find out the cancer is back. And they want to wait three months to do anything about it. The anger that after almost 10 years of remission, your whole world can be shattered in a matter of a few seconds as you hear the results of pathology that has come back. But you (me) don’t show emotion when you hear it, because you know that your spouse (my husband) will need me to be strong and positive. And to hold on to hope and cling to Jesus. I have great faith and I trust in the Lord for everything in our lives. Even when all hope seems lost. I want to direct my anger at someone, anyone, but that won’t do any good. It won’t make cancer disappear. If only it were that easy. Three months is a long time for cancer to move around. Three months of waiting because the procedure needed to be done to see how advanced it is, can’t be, because of a surgical repair that requires healing before proceeding. And I sit and I think about all the technological advances in the field of medicine and we are told to wait. We are told surgery will not be an option this time, but there will be other treatments to discuss, in three months!

I don’t want to wait three months to find out what can be done. I want to know now and I want to be able to fix this, but I can’t. I can pray to the One who can. I can pray without ceasing, and I am, but I can’t make it go away and I hate that! I despise that my husband has to continue to feel sluggish and in pain and there is nothing I can do, except love him and encourage him to hold on. And I know he is in more pain than he would ever admit to anyone because he’s always been like that. So, if I can see he isn’t feeling well and after 24 years of knowing him, watching him, seeing how he reacts to things, how much worse is it that he isn’t telling me or sharing? But I have learned not to push to find out because it doesn’t help and usually makes things worse.

He knows what the cancer pain feels like, he’s had the same type of cancer before and he’s worried. That’s all I need to know. However, I can’t let him know I am worried, because  I am not the worrier in the family. I am a faith warrior.  And my faith is strong. Is my faith enough? I pray daily God will guide me and give me the discernment and wisdom to know when to say what needs to be said and when to say it. I guess the thing that really gets me is that God can heal without breaking a sweat. But our healing from cancer or any other devastating illness, may or may not be this side of eternity.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am not ready to let go. So I will bow my head and I will continue to cry out to Jesus that in three months when we go for the exploratory procedure, no cancer will be found. And I will do everything within my power to encourage my husband to do the same.

Just as there is a time to die there is also a time to be born.

Over the weekend, God blessed our family with our fifth grandchild, a precious adorable granddaughter. I am not biased in any way, of course. Today she came home. She is so sweet and the only thing she requires is to be loved. She is on a regular feeding schedule, every 4 hours, no whimpers, no crying, a few hiccups that are quite funny to listen to and pure joy.

Even in the midst of great grief, God sends a gift of pure joy. That’s hope in action.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You! Right here, right now. In the midst of what you are living. He is always available to you. Always.

Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings until next time~Carlene