My heart is so full this morning it’s about to burst!!
Full of joy for my friend Wes who found a new job. Full of joy for my friends Andy and Ginny who run an amazing camp in Iowa and lead a dedicated team of young people who love and serve children at East Iowa Bible Camp. Full of joy hearing about my oldest daughter Hannah’s summer serving at East Iowa Bible camp and seeing her in action for a few days. Full of joy that my younger daughter, Clara was able to serve at several ministries in New York this summer and LOVED it. Full of joy for my friends Charlie and Jennifer who enjoyed a free vacation at the beach with their family after 3 years of treatment for their son’s leukemia thanks to the ministry of Blue Skies. Full of joy for our friends Brian and Sarah who allowed my family to stay at their gorgeous home in Ohio where we were able to relax by the pool and spend time with many dear friends. Full of joy for so many incredible giving and prayer partners who have supported me and my family as we minister at New Hope Christian Church and serve families dealing with the serious illness of a child through Habitat for Hope. Full of joy for friends from Generation 2 Generation who took a team to Israel.
Now you may be reading this and thinking okay little Miss Pollyanna it’s time to take off those rose-colored glasses. The truth is I am well aware there is much yuckiness out there. As a matter of fact while my heart is filled with joy, it is also heavy laden and burdened with much sadness. Right now I could list out some very difficult circumstances my family and friends are facing personally. Right now I could talk about country after country where political turmoil, war, persecution, disease and poverty abound. I could tell you about several sweet families I know and love who have lost a beloved child due to illness. I could tell you about families whose child is battling serious illness. I could tell you about a young man who lives a half a mile from me who was driving with his girlfriend earlier this week when they were involved in a car accident. Now, her parents and friends are saying goodbye to her. And I could go on with more.
How do we deal with the sorrow that surrounds and envelopes and threatens to overwhelm us? What do we do when the darkness seems to overshadow the light?
Here’s some thoughts that come to mind. Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Read and pray through Psalms. Spend time outside soaking in the beauty of God’s creation. Listen to praise music. Get some rest. Smile and laugh. Serve someone. Count your blessings. Be generous with your resources and look for ways to give. Spend time with friends and family. Be an encourager to every single person you meet.
This summer I spent time reading the book of Philippians and it is packed full of advice.
Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS (not just when times are good) again I will say REJOICE. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Here’s some pictures of my girls that make me smile today even in the midst of yuckiness.