Tag Archives: Joy

Joy- Day 4 of the Just Write! campaign

Welcome to day 4 of the Just Write! campaign here at Beauty in it’s time.  Mary Kathryn Tyson is hosting this campaign in an effort to get her creative juices flowing, and other people’s as well.  I have chosen to participate because I need a kick in the rear to get myself writing more frequently.  So,everyday that she does this she will give us a one-word prompt and we “JustWrite!” for five minutes without editing (note: editing for grammar errors is okay, just don’t do a total rewrite). We are not trying to craft masterpieces here, we are attempting to “Just Write!” and get the creative juices flowing. MK has offered to allow us to write in her comments section, or to put a link in her comments if we have our own blog to write in.

Joy

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  So, weeping is okay, but a promise of joy comes after the weeping.  Joy is a promise, an eternal promise.  We do not have to earn joy, it is just ours for the taking.  Joy is a state of mind that can last through the days, weeks, months, and years.  Joy has very little to do with happiness.  Happiness is like the wind, it comes quickly and recedes just as readily.  Joy can withstand the ups and downs of life.  Joy is about trust.  Trusting God that He has got it all covered.  Trusting that there is nothing to worry about.  Trusting that “all things work together for the good of those who LOVE the Lord.”  Joy is not dependent on happiness to exist.  Otherwise, we could not trust God’s promise of joy.  But we can trust God’s promises, because, well, because HE is GOD.  Thank you Jesus for making  my joy complete, even when I cannot feel it.

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Rapunzel

What a chore.  Day after day, I drag this hair around.  Why do I bother?  Hair this long is burdensome and gets in the way.  Constantly having to step over my hair, brushing and binding it up into a manageable bundle, and the constant washing is, well, a chore.  Yet, there is something about this hair that I just can’t let go.  Maybe it’s the way the sunlight glints off of it with hints of gold.  Maybe it’s the way the slightest rustle releases the scent of lilac.  A blessing and curse, my hair is to me.

The other day, I thought I heard a voice.  I thought I heard someone call my name “Rapunzel”.  The voice was soft and alluring.  Perhaps it was just a dream.  My captor came again to visit me here in my tower.  She had put me here a while ago when I stumbled and lost my way in the woods.  My hair was shorter then, just to my waist.  After my captor had put me in the tower, she tried to cut my hair to make it more manageable.  But, it always grew back.  Eventually she just gave up, and it grew and grew.  Now, I struggle day in and day out with this hair.  But, back to the voice.

The voice came calling again today. Confident and strong, “Rapunzel” it said.  This time I felt compelled to take a look outside.  After I had stumbled  my way over to the window, tripping on my hair (yet again) I peeked over the sill to the ground below.  And there he was, a prince.  He looked especially dashing in his emerald blue tunic reflecting gently off of his blonde hair. “Rapunzel”, he said with a smile on his face.  With that smile a memory comes rushing in from the dark corners of  my mind.  Years ago a man, with this same smile, came to me in my days before the tower.  He told me that my strength would be tested in days to come and that I feel alone.  He also told me that I would not be alone, his spirit would be with me.  His spirit would give me strength to get through the dark time, but there was a requirement.  When the dark time came, I needed to let my hair grow no matter how long it got.

And now, here he was at the foot of my captivity with a smile on his face, calling my name.  “Rapunzel” he said, “Let down your hair”.  Now, how in the world was I going to do that?  The hair was everywhere!  “Rapunzel, Rapunzel.  Let down your hair”.  I looked over the side of my tower, hesitating.  And there he stood with a kind smile on his face.  “Rapunzel, sweet Rapunzel.  Let down your hair.”  With a sigh, I begin the onerous task of gathering my hair to throw it over the side, down to the prince.  After a moment, the prince took a solid grip on hair and started to climb.  Hand over hand, step by step, he made his way slowly to the top until he reached my window.

I looked at him for a moment, wondering what this was all about.  “Why are you here?”, I asked the prince.  “To rescue you, of course.”, said he.  His answer caused me some concern since there was no way out of here.  No locked door that could be broken, or stairs that came after to lead the way out.  How would he accomplish such a task?  From somewhere in his cloak the prince produced a sharp blade.  With a slight twinkle in his eyes, he reached around to the nape of my neck and sliced my hair clean from my head.  Needless to say, I was more than a little shocked and bewildered.  So many questions ran through my head.  He had asked me to grow my hair so long ago, and now he cuts it off?  And how is this going to help me get out of this place?

The prince set about braiding the hair into a rope.  He then tied it around a study pole and threw the hair-rope over the side.  He proceeded to climb down.  Dumbfounded, I couldn’t move.  It was that easy.  Throw the hair over the side like a rope, and climb down.  Then I would be free from my captivity.  “Rapunzel”, said the prince, “Don’t just stand there.  Climb down with me.”  Happy to comply, I ran over and grabbed a hold of that hair that I had hated so much, blessing it as I climbed down.

This little fable I have spun off of the real story of Rapunzel, bring into focus the need for obedience, even when we don’t understand.  At the beginning of my walk with the Lord, He asked me to grow my hair long.  I really didn’t understand the need for this.  Over time the Lord revealed to me that the length of my hair would serve as a symbol to me of my need for obedience, much like Samson.  Surely, there have been times when I wished to be free of this burden and wanted to rebel.  Perversely, this caused me to want to cut off all of my hair.  Thankfully I have not.  Obedience is difficult in the face other people’s opinions, circumstances, our own pain and lack of understanding.  Yet, obedience to God’s plan brings life, fruit, and rescue in our dark times.  The bible is full of scriptures about obedience such as:

Genesis 22:18
and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.

Deuteronomy 5:33
Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

1 Kings 2:3
and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.

1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

2 John 1:6
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Has there ever been a time when  you were called to obedience, even when you didn’t understand why?

Thoughts and Feelings

The children used to run rampant through out the grand, old
mansion that they call home. Wild and free they would pursue
whatever looked good to them at the moment. Furniture was
repeatedly knocked over, glass broken, drapes climbed, flower beds
ruined. The Caregiver was beside herself trying to reign the
chaos in. There were so many of them. Often she would
find them with lying on the floor with manic looks of glee on their
face, totally spent from what they considered grand and glorious
adventures. Or, they would refuse to go to bed and find new
ways to bring terror to the Caregivers heart. She knew
something needed to be done, but had not a clue as to what to do
with these unruly children. Sometimes she wished that they
would just grow up and go away forever. But, not really.
She loved them all dearly. After one particularly exhausting
day, the Caregiver decided to call a Friend. She was
desperate, she told him, and really needed his help. In the
blink of an eye, the Friend was at the door of the mansion.
He took the poor, bedraggled Caregiver into her room and
asked her what was the matter. The Caregiver poured out
her heart to her Friend. Tears flowed freely as she went over
how the children behaved and how she was worn out trying to keep
track of them day after day. She was concerned that they
would hurt themselves, or ruin the mansion making it uninhabitable,
and then what would she do? With an expression that radiated
Love, the Friend gently explained that she needed help from the
only person that could make these children behave, their Father.
The Friend said he would give the Father a call. No sooner
had the Friend called the Father than he appeared in the foyer.
He took one look at the place and called out one word,
“Children!”. The constant noise of chaos and destruction
suddenly ceased and all was eerily quiet. Then with a rush
all of the children from every corner of the property came rushing
in to the foyer. Oh, what a mess they were. Some were
covered from head-to-toe in dirt with sticks and leaves in their
hair. Some had been in the kitchen and were covered in flour
and other foodstuffs. A few looked quiet and sullen, or
afraid, these children had barely budged from their rooms.
The Father took one look at his children and very quietly
said, “Come with me.” One-by-one he took them into their
rooms, talked with them, salved their wounds, gave them a bath, and
fed them. Then he put them all to bed. It had been a
long time since all of the children had slept soundly through the
night, but the Father’s presence calmed and soothed them into a
peaceful slumber. The Father then came to the Caregiver. He
could see in her eyes the years of weariness and desperation.
So, he drew her a nice hot bath, brought her a nice supper,
and gently helped her into bed. The Friend kept watch all
night long as everyone slept. The next morning, everyone gathered
together in the kitchen. As breakfast was made the Father,
with a stern, but gentle expression, explained that things would be
different from now on. The children had been neglecting their
duties for too long, and their behavior was unacceptable.
Starting today, the house would be cleaned and put back in
order. No more running rampant. No more destruction.
No more gleeful chaos. This day, their Father
explained, was the beginning of a new way of life.
After a hearty breakfast, the children set off to do their
work. The Caregiver was surprised to find that some of the
wilder children actually looked relieved. Apparently, all
that they needed was their Father. At the end of the day, the
children looked exhausted, but happy. They had their supper
and went straight to bed to prepare for another day’s work the next
day. The children began to fall into a peaceful pattern of
work, and when the work of restoring of the mansion had slowed
down, play. Nowadays, the children gather in the parlor after
supper. Some sit and snooze by the fire, some read a good
book, other’s chat about the day’s events and how they felt about
them. The Father had taught the Caregiver how to manage so
many children at once. They all had their special needs and
their special jobs. Now the Caregiver, is able to fully use
her gifts to coordinate the efforts of the children to maintain
their home. She even joins in their play every once in a
while.

Do your
feelings run rampant like unruly
children?

The Truth on Being a “Princess”

He didn’t have to compliment her on her looks, or the way the sunlight glinted in her eyes.  She kissed the frog because it was the right thing to do.  You see, she understood that she had been given a gift by her father, the King.  He bestowed her with a gift of confidence in who she was as his daughter.  She understood that the gift of confidence from her father showed itself in the beauty of her form and her manner. 

The poor frog was once a prince, but he had made a bad choice and now suffered the price for his lack of wisdom.  He happened upon the princess while she sat by the river humming with her sweet voice.  He instantly knew that she held the key to his prison.  So, he jumped over to her and simply asked for her help.

And, she said, “Yes.’

On being a victim and a weakling

My Prince is calling my name.  But, I cannot hear Him, the rumble in the Dragon’s throat is too loud.  Pain is my constant companion here in the Dragon’s mouth as I lay skewered on his teeth.  Death-stench overwhelms my senses.  Woe to me as the Dragon makes his plan for getting me out of his mouth and into his stomach.

My Prince keeps me caught between Heaven and Hell, preventing my destruction.  Light breaks through my blindness, catching my attention and distracting me from the pain and darkness.  I am too weak to get up on my own and leave the Dragon’s mouth.  I call to my Prince to help me, a damsel-in-distress. 

My Prince hears me calling and suddenly is closer than life itself.  He tells me that that I am the only one keeping me here, a victim of my own choices.  “But”, I protest, “the pain, the darkness, the stench overwhelm me and I have no strength.”    “Do you not know that I have come to defeat the Dragon?  And overcome death?” 

“Help me.”, I reply,with faintness of breath.

My Prince reaches into the pouch on his belt and pulls out a crystal vial filled with dark red fluid.  He begins to reach towards me and undoes the stopper.  I cringe back, unsure of what is next.  My Prince reassures me with depths of unspoken love in his eyes.  He places on drop of the dark fluid in my mouth. 

Unexpectedly, I choke and sputter.  My body is wracked with pain and uncontrolled spasming.  I fear that by accepting this fluid from my Prince, my death has come.  Perhaps that is my release from this slavery.  My body becomes still.  I wait for death to come. Instead of feeling my life fade away, I feel a rush of Life.  Warm gold begins to emanate from my body overwhelming my senses with sweetness and light. 

I am literally pushed up from the Dragon’s teeth and the wounds instantly heal.  And the healing pushes past the boundaries of this world, there are no scars, no traces that I was ever there in the Dragon’s mouth.  I turn with gratitude on my tongue and in my heart to my Prince, who has come to save me from myself.

He puts his finger to my lips and shushes me.  “You are welcome.”

Killing the pet cougar.

Sugar addiction has been like having a pet cougar.  Soft, fluffy and just waiting to be stroked.  One a bad day this cougar purrs and behaves like a kitten luring me in, then when I am contented and feeling drowsy, it attacks.  Boy does that hurt.  Yet, I keep coming back for that sleepy, dreamy feeling I get from petting the cougar.  There is no way out of this particular mess, except by the grace of God.

I have been contemplating the long-term effects of living with an addict.  I am sure that my mother didn’t intend for her life to turn out like it did.

My life has taken a sudden turn for the worse because I have Primary Hypertension.  Apparently my mother had Primary Hypertension too, amongst other things.  This has affected me in ways that transcend the “I don’t feel so good” physicality of my predicament.  Contemplating the train wreck of Primary Hypertension in my life has impacted me emotionally and spiritually and brought me to thinking about what has lead to this.  Not only did I inherit hypertension from my mother, I inherited addictive tendencies.  I am sure that the two train wrecks are on the same set of train tracks.  It is easy to tell myself that I am not as bad her, at least it isn’t painkillers that I am addicted to.  Just like sin is sin (at least I am not a murderer!), an addiction is an addiction.  The only difference between her and I is what we used to deal with pain.  I struggle everyday with sugar.  Every moment that I spend eating involves analyses of what is going into my mouth and why.  This process often leaves me wracked with guilt, or mired in self-pity, or self-loathing.  I often wonder, did my mother ever take a moment to evaluate herself before she popped another pill?  I wouldn’t know because after I left home, I didn’t talk to her much.  But, I mean, come on.  It must have occurred to her on some level that she was destroying her life because of her addiction.  Since she died from an overdose 5 years ago, I guess I’ll never know.

But, enough about my mother.  She can’t be redeemed from her sin, but I can.

That’s right, there is a way out of this mess.  God has made a habit of taking my ashes from me and giving me a crown of beauty.  I am talking about Isaiah 61:3.  The literal translation of this verse means that God will take from me the ashes of mourning, also figuratively “worthlessness”, that I have on my head and will replace them with a crown, or head-dress/ornament/turban.  How cool is that?  And only God can do that.  There is no one else on this planet that has that kind of power or authority over sin and death.  I could accept the addiction and the hypertension as my inheritance or I can reject them and accept God’s plan for me.  So what does this plan look like?

I’ll let you know how that works itself out.