Joy

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Beau (aka Travis) waiting for his morning belly rub.

Travis was rescued from death.  Literally.  Estimated to be about 7 months old when he was found at a construction site, Travis was so sick they didn’t think he would survive the night.  He had hookworms that had drained most of his lifeblood from him.  He had an injury to his left eye that left a cloudy ulceration.  He couldn’t lift his head.  He received transfusions for 3 days.  For weeks, he wouldn’t even open his injured eye.  He was kept in isolation since he was weak and couldn’t see very well.  He was given food and water, vitamins, eye-drops, worming medication.  He began to recover.  He willingly took his vitamins and sat very still for his eye-drops.  Given any opportunity to snuggle up to his rescuer, he did.  He craved attention.

 

I first saw his picture on the PUPS website.   I was hooked.  I talked to his caregiver and got the information she had: his estimated age, his size and temperament with other dogs, and his house training.   I found out that Travis would be neutered on Tuesday and available for adoption the following Saturday.  I was at the Petsmart that Saturday to meet  him as soon as they were setup.  And I took Travis home with me that day.

Travis is now called Beauregard (Beau for short).  It didn’t take him long to make himself at home with our other fur-babies.  His eye is healed and after a few visits with the vet, he’s up to date on all of his shots and worm free.  He has a tag with his name and my phone number on it as well as a microchip, so he cannot be lost.  He is a little ball of energy.  He rolls and plays with the other dogs.  Every morning, after his potty break outside, he comes back to my room to find me.  I can hear his tags tinkling together as he runs down the hall and comes and lays at my feet.  When I call his name, he rolls over and wiggles in anticipation of the belly rub he’s about to receive.  I pick him up and cuddle him and get my morning kisses and then he’s off to breakfast.

Beau reminds me how I should react to time with my Father.  I was saved from death by the blood of my Savior.  He has taken care of me and prepared me for life in this harsh world.  It is through God’s loving care that I have survived the grievous events in my life.  I allow the world to suck the very life out of me.  I struggle to see where I am headed. But, I don’t always go to my loving Father with excitement, anticipating His loving attention.  Many times, I’m distracted by other “things” in my life.  I don’t have time or I’m sure I can handle this one myself.  I forget to spend time with Him.

But, He comes to my rescue, time and time again.  And I remember His tenderness and His love.  My name is engraved in His book of life.  I will never be out of His sight.  I realize that it is time with my Heavenly Father that I crave.  I spend time in His word.  I pray and listen for His guidance.  And, yes, I beg, plead, cry and complain about all that is “unfair” with my life.  He’s always there to correct me when I’m wrong, to provide for my every need and to always love me.

It took a squirmy, cuddly rescued puppy to remind me that I just have to go to God.  He’s waiting with every thing I can need or imagine.

I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart,
    I’m writing the book on your wonders.
I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
    I’m singing your song, High God. 

Psalm 9:1-2 MSG

Fraud

Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:17-19 NIV

Sometimes, I feel like a fraud. I tell people I’m okay, when the reality is that I feel the urge to crawl out of my own skin. I tell others how to deal with grief and how to begin to live a new life, but the world around me is just dark and sad. I’ve forgotten how to laugh. I assure others they can depend on me, but I feel as if I’ve been betrayed by my own emotions. I offer pep talks on how things will get better, never give up. I just want to quit; walk away and never look back.

I’ve been in this funk for about a month. After almost nine years, I would expect to be better able to fight off the demons of depression. Obviously, I can’t. I don’t know why I’m at this place again. Maybe, it’s caused by the reality that I will be an empty nester in the next few months. Or, maybe the unexpected reappearance of “a friend” in my life after a 5 year hiatus has knocked me off-balance. It could be my ongoing awareness of the embarrassment I create for people for whom I care. Or maybe, it’s just an issue with my need to have approval and to be in control at all times. Whatever the cause, I can’t seem get my arms around it.

I thought I was doing pretty good at concealing this stuff until Monday. A friend, someone who knows my heart, called my bluff. I’m not holding things together as well as I thought. So, now what? I’m beginning to wonder if stubbornly pushing through each day is the right choice. I’m tired of trying, pretending. I don’t want to cry every day. How do I get past it all, this time? Will I succeed?

I may not succeed, but I will not give up. I will continue to call out to my God for guidance and deliverance. I will look for the bright spots each day and cling to them in the darkness. I will remember how to laugh and enjoy the beauty of life around me. I will attempt to release my obsessions as well as my fear of rejection and disappointment. I will try to forgive myself for not being perfect. I will learn to rest.

I will get through this darkness. I know there is light. Somewhere. I will find it.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Five Minute Friday – Grateful

Featured Five Minute Friday:
Here’s the deal. Five Minute Friday. You go find the little prompt at the wonderful Lisa-Jo’s blog, set the time and write for five minutes, and then just stop. Where you are, no edits, just publish raw words.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on the word:::

Grateful
GO

Some mornings, I look around and wonder if it’s really worth all of the hassle and effort. It would just be easier to stay in bed and hide from the world. I listen to that inner voice that keeps telling me that I’m not good enough or that I’m failing in some way. But, I’m reminded of the truth in Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” And, I remember.

I remember that no matter how sad I may feel at time, God is there to lift me up. He provides friends and encouragement. I don’t need to spend time thinking about what was or what will never be. God has my life planned. He has “eternal pleasures” for me.

I remember the gifts He has already given to me: a good (if too short) marriage, true and faithful friends that listen and encourage, beautiful kids that have joined with me to overcome the grief that death brings, a supportive and loving family. How can I doubt?

When life doesn’t go quite as planned (or even reasonable close for that matter), I am still grateful. Not always for the events in life, but definitely for the experiences, the learnings and the love.

I am grateful.

Listening, Waiting, Living

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:31-34 NLT

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NLT

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NLT

“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:12-13 NLT

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 NLT

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, 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. Psalm 23: 1-6 NLT

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. Psalm 56:8-10 NLT

The Doll

She was a beautiful doll made of delicate porcelain. Her face was painted with the utmost care. Her dress was taffeta and was edged in delicate french lace. Beautiful red hair fell in delicate ringlets around her shoulders. The utmost care had gone into her creation. She was exquisite, not a blemish of any kind could be seen. The squeals of delight could be heard throughout the house as the little girl opened the box and saw her special gift.

At first, the little girl was careful with her gift. She held the doll carefully and just gazed at her beauty. As the days passed, her excitement began to wane. She was no longer content to just look at the beautiful doll. A tea party was setup for all of the toys with red fruit punch and chocolate chip cookies. In the blink of an eye, the beautiful doll’s dress was smudged with chocolate and stained red from the punch. She was still beautiful, just not quite perfect.

As the days turned to weeks and the weeks into months, the beautiful porcelain doll was hard to recognize. Her once beautiful ringlets were gone, cut-off with the snip of little brother’s scissors. What was left of her hair covered a large crack caused from falling off of the bed one night. The beautiful painted face was now smudged with the remnants of crayon “lipstick” and sharpie “eye-shadow”. Her beautiful dress was in tatters and had been removed so the poor doll was covered only by the blanket wrapped around it. And then one day, in a fit of temper, the once beautiful doll was thrown against the wall and her right leg was broken off at the knee. She was no longer special, no longer perfect. She was soon left in the closet, forgotten by the little girl who had seemed to love her so much.

Years later, the little girl grew into a young woman and had her own little girl. While searching through yesterdays toys, the once beautiful porcelain doll was once again discovered amidst squeals of delight. The doll was carefully held and gazed at once again. The young woman remembered the special doll and wished she had taken better care of it. She took the little doll to an expert in restoring dolls. The doll was cleaned, repaired and dressed in a beautiful new dress. When the young woman once again gazed upon her precious gift, she was amazed to see the beauty had been restored. There were still marks that evidenced the lack of care the doll had received, but she was once again a beautiful and delicate doll. A doll that deserved a special place on the display shelf in the young woman’s home. Never again would the doll be subject to not so gentle hands or be left out in the weather. She was special and to be protected.
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Is there a “porcelain doll” in your life? Have you been given a beautiful gift that you abused and cast aside? No matter what we do, God still cares. He is still there. He is the great Restorer.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:8-12