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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FERRET OUT JOY

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen.  Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God.  I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.  Counting on God’s rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength.  I run like a deer.  I feel like I’m king of the mountain. Habubbuk 3:17-19 (MSG)
     

     The dim light of the early hours peeked through the shutters as if a bit hesitant to disturb me.  My head throbbed and my joints ached as in sympathy to my torn emotions.

     So much to cheer me the day before with the fresh mowed lawn, a revitalizing rain, and fresh peanut butter cookies for the grands.  Two sweet children spent the first part of the weekend cheering us.  A birthday party with my family.


     My youngest son shared words of encouragement as doors opened for him, he stepped confidently through and now glowed from the favor shown and his success.  My husband had a very promising week and proudly handed me the funds in crisp hundred dollar bills to make our house payment, just in time.

     All week I’d noticed the small things.  I rejoiced in them as they chimed in to remind me that God is good. 

     Yet when some undue complaints reached my ears, a sudden chill swept in to steal the warmth of my heart. 

     Hanging baskets of delicate pink flowers around the patio to cheer my daughter's lovely cottage did a little to wipe away the memory.  Children’s laughter, and their shining eyes filled with excitement  returned.  Cozy conversations lingered until hunger pangs reminded us to prepare for supper.

     Then off for home again.  Down I laid to read and quiet my mind before going to sleep.  But, there were more negative words before bed.  We were soon exhausted from the flurry.

     When I awoke this morning to overcast skies, they mirrored my mood.  I was tempted to turn over and ignore the Spirit’s call to walk higher than the low that I found myself in.
     

     I wrestled back and forth until my best self won.  I showered, dressed and willed myself to rise up and defeat this spirit of gloom that wanted to steal my passion for my family and to keep me absent from the presence of our congregation.

     “Go on,” prodded the Holy Spirit.  “Come and delight in me.  Remember, your family situation will turn around when you all do your part to remember who you are and who you are meant to be.”

     Such a petty battle, as I look back on it today.  I mostly just wanted to pout and wallow in self pity a bit more.  Then, how much better I felt, just with a change of heart.  Cheerfulness quietly crept in and this heart of mine thrilled at the opportunity to worship and to walk into the King’s presence as a conquering warrior.

     This is what I might have missed.  This synergy of hearts yielded up and extolling God’s character in the midst of a variety of ups and downs we all experience in life.  It was like I had come in blindly and then put on the perfect prescription that allowed me to look up into the glorious heavens to comprehend God’s infinite might and beauty.

     Adjust my posture oh Lord.  Keep my lowered head facing forward and turned up with the expectancy of a birthday girl looking over all of the decorations, the lit cake, and table piled high with a colorful assortment of gifts.  Just as the family members come from near and far to express to her that she is very dear, you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit surround me in celebration.

     “All of creation I made for you to enjoy.”  I soaked up these love words whispered into my heart.

     “All of my love I extend in forgiveness that allows fresh starts.”  Oh, how I've needed to wipe the slate clean--time after time.

     “So, remove the stopper from your soul and let my love splash all over and around you.  Don’t be flustered anymore.  Rather, expel Trouble and be free of his tricks that spoil your play.”

     I understood and gazed up into His eyes.  My face relaxed into a soft smile.

     “You see what power you have within you?” he continued. “Simply by refuting a lie with the simple truth that I am always here with you, look at the transformation.  I care about your concerns and I will prevail...so can you.” 
     

     A quiet breeze drifted in and softly caressed my cheek as if to say, “There you go.  That’s my girl.”

     I sat and took it all in, not wanting to break the enchantment of this tryst.  The sweetness of His peace and contentment is where I wanted to reside.

     “I take heart and gain strength.  I run like a deer.  I feel like I’m king of the mountain”...again.
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