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The Joy of Listening

  Matthew 5:3-4 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” NIV In my devotions this week, I relate how God returned Joy to my life in various ways:  friendship, travel, nature, giving to others, and having a purpose. There are so many ways to experience the rich life God has intended for us and I pray these words of mine will help others who are seeking Joy in their life. I have gained a new perspective on joy this year as I mourn the …

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The Joy of Creation

      Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die.  A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal.  A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh.  A time to mourn and a time to dance.” Isolation is a natural response to suffering the loss of a loved one. It is difficult to concentrate which makes driving somewhat perilous. Frequent …

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The Joy of Renewal

      Psalms 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”   The first spring after my husband’s passing brought fresh reminders of my loss. His favorite past times were all around me. When our sons were young, Ken was a soccer coach. He embraced the game fully in spite of having never played it himself. When our grandchildren came along, he enjoyed the comfort of the sidelines as he watched our younger son coach his boys. Ken also loved baseball and was a pitcher for his high school team. …

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The Joy of Giving

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each person should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”   One of the things which has helped me become less self-centered and more charitable is to fashion embroidered items and give them away. I love to see how the creations emerge from a blank piece of cloth, giving shape and color to the design. I have sewn aprons, pillowcases, and items to frame. I love to see the delight in the faces of the people who receive the gift. During my …

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The Joy of Hope

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Everyone needs something to look forward to. Without a path, we wander aimlessly and without purpose. A friend once gave me a paper weight with a wise saying on it: “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” I keep that paper weight on my desk at home to remind me to always have a purpose, the one God has for me. After my husband passed away a …

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The Joy of Belonging

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” The Joy of Belonging When I was a child, I took comfort in knowing I was part of a family and that I was loved. Being the youngest of three, I had a unique perspective. I observed what my brother and sister could get away with and what actions would bring trouble. This knowledge helped most of the time. I also discovered quickly that I had to work harder to keep up. I looked, listened, and learned from …

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A Psalm for All the Days of Our Lives

    Are you old enough to remember the Florida Orange Growers TV commercial from the 70’s?  It featured folks of various ages and stages of life pausing in their day to drink a big glass of cold, refreshing orange juice and then declare: juice – It’s not just for breakfast anymore! That commercial came to mind as I studied Psalm 23. Inspired by the Floridians, let’s coin our own phrase: Psalm 23 – It’s not just for funerals anymore! (And it really never was!) While it my be the most-quoted passage for funerals, this poetic Psalm provides truth for every …

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Big Wave and Bigger Love

  Scripture: Psalms 107:1 – “Give thanks to the Lord; for he is good. His steadfast love endures forever”   Message: The same song of which the Israelites sang before they saw victory over their enemy is pictured within the Psalms (107, 118, and 136). Which for a side note; the book of Psalms has literally been a lifeline to me along the grief journey. The rays of emotions are noteworthy especially to anyone struggling. But within this particular Psalm one can gather that no one and no circumstance is too far out of God’s reach. There are about 6 different examples of people who have …

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God of Comfort

    God is the ultimate Comforter. No matter what we face in this life, He fully understands. Isn’t that a comfort in and of itself? In a world where we feel so misunderstood, the God of the Universe understands us, in and out, through and through. When my firstborn, eighteen-year-old, son passed away in a car accident, I was beyond desperate to find anyone who could understand my pain. Thankfully, some caring mutual friends linked me up with some other mammas who were walking out the unimaginable journey of child loss. God had comforted these woman, just as He …