In my neighborhood

If all I could see most days was that beyond my window

I would delight in the four seasons of color, of life given the neighborhood.

If all I could hear was the barks, creaks, whirring, whoosing inside our home

I would be reasonable for the solace of being alone brings peace between each one.

If all I could smell was the beast under my feet in our mostly clean house that we share

I would concede in the relative order of things that hasn’t gone to awry in my senesence.

If all I could feel was an occasional cool breeze blowing in from the opened blind beyond

I would love that this Fall has been quite mild, keeping my toes a wittle warmer at night.

If all I could sense was the softness of my baby blue-colored robe as I write these words to you

I would be glad for one area of comfort that stands out amongst the rest . . . in gratitude.

And if all of these things came true as they have this day in our home, in our neighborhood

Then I say that I am at peace with the world:  God is good.  All the time.  He is so very good.

For it is in the ordinary things of life in which we live and find our meaningfulness each day

On this street here with my hubby, our pup already asleep, with me saying “good night” one and all, and Godspeed too.

Psalm 121, peace, coming and going, gratitude, rest, forever

Climb Every Mountain

This song came to mind with the burdens of late.  “Keep moving forward,” my brother used to say.  “Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding . . . ” we find in Proverbs 3:5-6.  And when I was a girl, it was the singing of Mother Superior in the Sound of Music that captured my spirit.  She begins with the instruction that, “we have to live the life we were born to live.”

Ah yes.  Now I shall praise my Lord Jesus Christ for bringing it to mind.  May the wonder of my youth, the life I was born to live be rekindled in my soul.  You too, Gentle Reader.  You too.  JJ

We must learn to let go

You must learn to let go to move forward.

“Keep moving forward” my brother, Mike, used to say when we were settling the estate of our dear mother after her death.  The attachment and meaning of each object and task made moving in any direction difficult, confusing at times, and so very final.  Then we decided to take them one at a time.  Then we decided to learn to let go . . .

The unmade necklaces which would have surely been my best work needed to be disassembled today before they were ever completed.  If I had stopped to make jewelry this afternoon then I would have never made my deadline for shipping Trinity Jewelry by Design to its new owner.  I actually tried putting the beads back on the cotton fibers before realizing that I needed to stop and it would be o.k. to let these unmade designs go . . .

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The 9-foot mural on the wall of my condo in Naperville, Illinois took a year to complete.  I began with sunny colors of yellow tracing paper, pastel hues of unyru papers from India, custom-stenciled golden palm leaves, a few rhinestone swirls, lettering from a local sign shop, and a very important message about the bunny trails of life being such a very important part of the journey.  “But what about the mural?” my friends would ask when moving to be with my intended beloved would take me 200 miles to the East of my happy place.  Yes, finding true love required leaving the art of restoration behind:  a different song of letting go . . .

When the pain of running my life on emptiness, stress, unanswered questions of “why?” and never having enough to make a difference anyways I finally crashed into the arms of my Jesus.  At the time I was 29 years old, single, working full time, and forever trying to finish my Master’s degree.  Then a laundrymat attendant laid out the plan of salvation and invited me to come to the table of the Lord for refreshment, forgiveness, renewal, eternal life with Him.  Later that night with tears the wasted meaningless living-for-me finally did let go once and for all . . .

The hurt of wretched divorce grieves my Lord and me, sometimes even now when I have known such goodness in my new life with Steve.  It took me years of harboring what it would take to even the score if given the chance:  holding onto the files that would prove the ways in which I was wronged.  Then I realized that the one carrying the baggage too far was me not him.  I was already forgiven years ago for my part in things.  In due time and with lightness of heart I finally learned to let go of that other person too . . .

Who could ever imagine the hellish suffering of these past three years with my head banging to and fro day after day?  Literally, I mean, with a yet undiagnosed illness that has had too many pieces to keep track anymore.  Cries out for healing one thousand times have made little difference on the surface; it’s so easy to become discouraged, to give up in motionless brokenness of the worst kind.  “Who knows if the trials will ever end?” I often wonder when up late at night.  We cannot know much about tomorrow so we must move along in faith today.  For through faith, through Divine intervention, I have had enough grace once again to get me through yet another episode, another day.  And the smallest of sweetness has come that would have been missed had it come any other way.  So to the throne of grace with great expectation I do most definitely let my achy breaky heart go . . .

For who really knows when the Lover of my soul shall return in glory or to take me home?  When He comes for me I’m sure I will recognize His name, His face, His comfort from all the days I’ve seen each of these before.  I cannot afford to be discouraged or waste much time groaning the pangs of sorrow in this life when preparation is what is now due.  It is time for letting God direct my every word, my every task:  my thoughts held captive as an offering in love nothing else.

Oh how I do pray He comes soon to take me home to His mansion with many rooms and warm embrace!  Yet in the meantime, Gentle Reader, my Jesus directs me to keep my eyes on Him from here and the one step of the path (that’s all) in front of me as I go.  Yes, I must learn to let go of more than I ever dreamed I would need to and let it all slip through my hands to be free.  My happiness depends upon this for the lightness in my spirit that will carry me to the wondrous places in life you or I may ever go.  I trust that down the road a bit it will be truly beautiful and worth lightening the load a bit don’t you think?  JJ

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

For this I have seen

The darkest time of night

Brings hope in ways not the norm:

When breathing is restored and the room stands still

My mind clears and my Lord speaks in ways never heard before.

He knows my frame

And delivers me once again

With less pain overall these days

And more wisdom than trauma for all the suffering.

For alas I can go

To such a wretched place

Time and again whilst wondering “why?”

Only to find hidden answers just for me, in the those tender places.

Not all makes sense

And that can be o.k. in the end

When I know the Lord is at the helm

And uses my suffering for His glory, my healing, to bring light, and more.

No, it was not wasted

When I found you who came along

This way with me where the blackest times of night

Served to shine streams of sunshine into days once lived in shades of gray.

Oh to keep mediocrity!

That would be dreadful indeed.

To never see beyond vanilla, boring landscapes

Creeping traffic in the middle lane when the Audubon beckons in a Ferrari 458.

Mach 1 with your hair aflame

Is bound to singe your eyebrows too

But how will you know if you are truly alive my dear

If you have not seen, tasted death along the edges of life truly lived whoot, whoot?

Because when it is over

A job will be waiting for you as me:

To tell our stories to those stuck in the dark

Or on an exit ramp on the wrong road they once thought went nowhere too.

There is always more

Even when our breaths are numbered

When we each see the door to the last destination

And can no longer wonder if we did too much or too little when our past cannot change.

The door to eternity awaits us both dear one:

With adventure of which we cannot conceive;

A place filled with wonder and no more tears

Where our heart will be home, finally, at last.

Will you risk this to be true and come to Him?

Will you lay down your fight, the need to know

To let Jesus Christ be your true reason to live:

The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end.

Even when in our hearts we must let Him reign

Leading our thoughts and quieting all our fears

Adding His increase when no strength remains.

Finding this kind of peace transcends all we see:

We will find more than the mind can imagine for

We will live at peace I tell you for this I have seen.

:JJ

 

diaperthongGotcha!  ;J

 

Don’t confuse happiness with joy

In the words of Billy Graham:

Some people think Christians should always be smiling and happy, and something is wrong if they aren’t.

But this isn’t necessarily true.  Jesus stood outside the tomb of his friend Lazarus, and we read that, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  As he approached Jerusalem “he saw the city and wept”  (Luke 19:41) because of it’s spiritual blindness and guilt.  He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and was, “. . . in agony [and] his sweat became like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44)

Don’t confuse happiness with joy.  Happiness comes with happy circumstances; joy wells up deep inside our souls as we learn to trust Christ.  Joy does not mean that we are never sad or that we never cry.  But joy is a quiet confidence, a state of inner peace that comes from God.

Life’s troubles will rob us of our happiness, but they can never rob us of the joy God gives us, as we turn in faith to Him and seek His face.

The joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

From “What is joy?”  in Hope for each day, (2002).  Thomas Nelson, Inc.  p. 338.

I get this and hope you do too, Gentle Reader.   Few things can rob your happiness like waking up in the middle of the night 8-10 times with convulsive episodes and a massive headache.  It probably wasn’t nice for my beloved husband Steve either, awakened from a sound sleep lying next to me.  The aftermath for me felt like I banged my head in every direction against a wall.  Not fun at all!  Gratefully the dream I later woke up in the middle of (after more seizure attacks falling asleep)  was a reasonable one.  I mean that we had experienced something similar just under 2 years ago so it wasn’t that bad really.

I dreamed that Steve and I had moved temporarily into an apartment while some work was being done on our home only to have all of our belongings and the inside of the apartment become covered cascades of dust!  Yeah, that was not good for someone multiply chemically sensitive like me knowing that mold is often lurking in dust.  The situation was beginning to resolve when I woke up.  Phew!  It was just a dream!  This time the headache was less and the convulsions were replaced with less violent seizure attacks.  They actually helped clear my head some . . . and yet I still felt beat up.  The next few hours were meaningless . . .

Regardless, I have joy!  How is this possible you may ask?  Well, it’s just like the quote from Billy Graham noted above.  I have learned to trust Christ in all things, wretched or not.  Of course I cry in sorrow when a new treatment intended to help me makes things worse for awhile.  Call it a healing crisis, herxheimer reaction, or the like.  It’s a bite in the shorts any way you slice it!  But that doesn’t change anything between my Savior and me.  He meets me on my bed of sickness and weeps for my suffering.  This is not His intention for me yet at the same time my suffering will not be wasted because He has a plan for my life.  Maybe one part is this:  I am hoping that my suffering provided an illustration here of HOPE IN ACTION.  I pray that it will encourage someone out there who is suffering too.  HE CARES FOR YOUR SUFFERING TOO and will see you through it!

One day all of our strife and worry will be over as He makes our joy complete when He comes again in glory:  with unimaginable happiness too!  This promise holds true for those who love the Lord and call Him Savior.  If you are suffering, please do not let that stop you from seeking the best hope you have in your pain:  the person of Jesus Christ.  His love covers ALL.  In Him, you will find a joy that will transcend it all.  Gentle Reader, please do not confuse happiness with joy.  JJ

Jer 29.11