Jesus Loves Me!

There is the sound of meals rolling down the aisle of the ward and the distinction of plastic utensils for every meal or the calling of staff for the starting of a group to attend.

During the weekdays it wasn’t bad. We kept busy with groups and doctor visits but weekends were awful. You may wait around all day in the hopes of a visitor, but most of the time was spent in your room or pacing the hall. There was rarely enough staff to take us out in what was referred to as outside. Ounce you got out, there was a very high chain-link fence to keep anyone from leaving. The other option was the TV room, which was also only assessable when there was enough staff to watch everyone. These rarely happened because the unit was usually under staffed.

During one of my hospital stays I met a precious little angel, we’ll call, Annie. This dear soul had down syndrome, was blind, heard voices (schizophrenia), and loved Jesus with all her heart. When the voices got really bad the only thing that would calm her down was singing, “Jesus Loves Me”.

She didn’t spend anytime outside her room with the general population. It never occurred to me to ask the staff why. I can only guess that it was too much stimuli for her to handle. There were a couple of us that would visit her during our down time from groups and meals. Any time we would hear Annie screaming we would get to her as soon as possible to hold her hands and talk to her about what the voices were telling her and the fallacy in what they were saying, pray with her and if all that didn’t work we would sing, “Jesus Loves Me”. As she started feeling better she would join us in singing. Such a simple song, that rang out the words of truth. A song that brought such comfort and healing.

For some reason that none of us will ever know why, they decided Annie should be transferred somewhere else. This made Annie very scared and anxious. I was with her holding her hand singing to her right up until the guys with the gurney started to take her away. I told one EMT “Sing the song ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to her, it calms her.” He said, “You’re a Proverbs 31 woman.” My heart warmed, my throat tightened up & tears ebbed on my eyelids (as is happening as I write this) and I smiled as he wheeled her away. There in a Psychiatric Hospital a patient, not as an employee, he saw something in me; in the psych ward where the most humiliating labels come from, that touched my heart and sent it souring higher than any bird you can imagine. That moment though my body was locked up, my heart and soul were in heaven!

I’ve been hospitalized over 35 times and I could tell you how God met me each time. Some people may see all of these hospitalizations as a failure of me not trusting God or of God not meeting me when I needed Him the most. But that could be nothing further from the truth, in each and everyone I can see how God has blessed me. He has either used me, open my eyes by someone else or both.

Sometimes I wonder why God chose to bless me with the thorns He did. But then I’m reminded that God can meet you anywhere no matter what the circumstances. I’m also reminded how truly blessed I am. I’m truly blessed the more bows in your arsenal the more lives you are able to affect. For that affect I’ll ask God for as many as He feels I am capable of handling.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the hospital and if God calls me to go again; wherever He calls I’ll go.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

What or Who is Truly Awesome?

Society uses the word awesome rather freely. “My day was awesome!”, “My boyfriend is awesome!”, “This burger is awesome!”, “Did you see that wave? It was awesome!”,  or the general “That’s awesome!”  We use it so nonchalant that it has lost all of it’s power and impact!

Joy what do you mean, “it has lost all it’s power and it’s impact!”?  I’m glad you asked. When this very issue was brought to my attention in church last Sunday I did not only some soul searching but I looked up the definition of the word awesome it means; extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear. – extremely good, excellent. Now that we have the definition of the word let’s use it as a mirror agaisnt what we say it is.

Can my day really be extremely impressive or daunting (which means: seeming difficult to deal with in anticipation; intimidating), [if you look at part of the definition it might seem to apply but you have to look at the entire definition as a whole.] inspiring great admiration, apprehension or fear – extremely good, excellenet? When have you ever had a day that was all of these things? I can tell you from experience that I’ve never had a day that has been, extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration apprehension or fear – extremely good, excellent. I’ve had a gracious, selfless, chivalrous, and spiritual leader boyfriend but never one that fit the definition of the word awesome.

I hope that you can see now that neither a can a burger or a wave be awesome. They just don’t fit the definition.

Then what or who does fit the defiition? It would have to be something that is very grand yet intimidating at the same time, while inspiring great admiration and at the same time fear and be extremely good – excellent. The only entity that fits that description is God. No boyfriend or day or anyother thing that you can think of can fulfill that description. When it comes to being extremely good – excellent, we know from scripture that there is only one who is good and that is God. It would be pride to call anything awesome other than God for He is the only one that is great enough to inspire great admiration and fear at the same time.

What I learned from last Sunday’s service from Chuck Swindoll is that; “If there is one thing the church needs to learn. is only God is awesome! This church must come to realize the only God is awesome! All the churches need to learn that only God is awesome! Your car isn’t awesome! Your dinner isn’t awesome! Your dog isn’t awesome and definitely not your cat!…There is only one thing that is worthy of being labeled awesome and that is God and God alone! So stop deluting the meaning of the word by using it for anything other than refering to God!” quote to the best of my recollection.

I stand with Chuck on this church let’s guard our tongue and minds and only refer to God as being awesome and expand our vocabulary for other things. Maybe we could try to be more precise in our compliments and thus make them even more sincere. Instead of saying my husband is awesome talk about all the attributes that you appreciate about him, if he’s a good listener, caring, respectful, compassionate, a spiritual leader, helps you, knows just when to say the right thing and just when to hold you, let him know these things that you love about him. It will build him up, reinforce these good attributes, and strengthen your marriage.

So what or who is awesome? Only God is awesome. He is holy. He is all powerful. He is omnipotent and omniscient. He is all love. He is full of mercy and grace. The only truly good being. Worthy to be the only one called awesome. So let’s be cautious about how we use our words.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner and A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Is It All Bad Or Is It Good In Disguise

When the car breaks down or we lose a job or a relationship ends we look at those things as bad. The problem with that is that we are looking at them through our eyes. In our way of thinking. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Let’s chew on that verse for a bit. It is not only telling us that we do not think or behave like God, but that we are no where close to His ways or thoughts. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways…”, that’s quite a comparison. Mankind has no idea how high the heavens are. They appear to expand forever one universe and galaxy after another. This is how different God’s ways and thoughts are from ours, so different that our minds can’t even comprehend the vastness of them.

But He does promise to give us wisdom if we ask, so that we might understand what He chooses to reveal to us.

In God’s economy a broken down car when you don’t have the money to fix it may be an opportunity to grow in trusting God. He may surprise you with unexpected funds at just the right time or the blessing of someone to fix it out of the kindness of their heart.

In God’s economy everything works together for good. It may not come right away or in your timing but that would be your way not God’s way. Even though He may tarry He is never late.

The lost job, as unsettling as that is is an opportunity for a better job or the start of a new career or as it was with my father an opportunity to retire early even if that wasn’t his choice. Though it was not my father’s choice to retire early with health problems or mine to leave the work force and become disabled long before I was 40, God took care of my dad and continues to take care of me. It has been a walk of faith and trusting God. What I thought at first was a crisis has freed me to be a blessing to others in whatever way God shows me.

If it is a relationship that is ending believe me when I say I feel your pain. Twenty Two years ago when I was going through my divorce I thought my life was over and the world was coming to an end. I had gone from my father’s house to living with my husband. What did I know about being single? How would I ever survive? Because of my stubbornness it took me a long time to get to the point of being okay alone and learning how to rely on and trust God for my needs. He met those needs in a myriad of ways, sometimes through people, sometimes I had to truly cling to Him alone. Looking back the pain and suffering that came from the end of that relationship has matured me into the woman of God I am today. Stable in my relationship with my LORD and whole as an individual that has something to offer another individual should God choose.

So you see what seemed horrible, unthinkable, and beyond my abilities to cope turned out to be the very tool God used to draw me closer to Him and to mature me, to grow my faith and trust and reliance on Him and for that I am eternally grateful.

Would I have chosen the divorce? Never! Am I grateful for what God brought out of that situation? Yes, yes a thousand times yes!

I have even seen God use death for good. When my dad died at his celebration of life the gospel was shared and that next Sunday three new people where going to that church. One of them being my dad’s wife my stepmom whom I always called mom. She did not only start going to church but the Holy Spirit lit a fire in her soul. She would invite us kids to join her or more honestly highly encourage lovingly to come with her. It did my heart well after praying for so long for her.

I honestly don’t know anything no matter how painful it is that God can’t use it for good.

Precious ones if you are in the midst of a painful time please don’t misunderstand me and think that I take your pain lightly or flippantly. Finding the good in things varies, with my divorce I was a broken woman for a very long time. When my dad and stepmom died they had both been sick for a long time and in a great deal of pain, so I was comforted by the thought that they were no longer in pain and rejoicing with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong I have my days when I miss one or both of them terribly. Its then that I talk to God and talk to them as if they can hear me from heaven. I know God hears me and that gives me comfort and talking to my parents gives me comfort also.

When things start going wrong ask God to be able to see His ways and understand His thoughts. Then ask Him to help you to trust Him to get you through it. You’ll be a much healthier and happier person if you do. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed sprit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) You see if you have a cheerful heart it’s good  medicine, thus it stands to reason that you will be healthier. As one who fights depression I can attest to the fact that “a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. It feels like you’re withering away.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart