A Message in the Light

Jesus said, "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.
I provide plenty of light to live in."
John 8:12 MSG
December 15
Tis' the season for lights! This one caught me by surprise.
Walking into the bathroom of our Charlottesville hotel room, I cocked my head sideways to read the quote which lit up on the bathroom mirror.
"You know our practice at placing our guests at their ease."  
Thomas Jefferson

Ease is defined as "the absence of difficulty or effort."  I LOVE that!

Jesus is the Light of the World and he has come to be our ease.  There will not be an absence of difficulty or effort, but the load is lightened by allowing Jesus to walk through it with us.  Call upon His name.

Forever Home

Good-bye Nashville, we are heading to Virginia.

December 14
Twenty years ago my husband, our five sons and I drove away from Nashville, with me sobbing, as we left our first born at Vanderbilt University.  This weekend our daughter will pull away from that exact corner where Lowes Hotel sits and head on a new adventure.  They are leaving so much love behind, but trusting God is sending them on another great adventure and it's so much closer to family!

"I will bless you... and you will be a blessing to others." 
Genesis 12:2
Ann Voskamp wrote: "He will bless you-the God of invincible reliability, the God who has infinite resources, the God who is insistent love. You can always go ahead and breathe-He will bless."

This sweet couple thought they had purchased their forever home, but we all know that is in heaven! 
We also know there is a Body of Believers in Charlottesville, VA just waiting to welcome them in to fellowship and service to God.  And I know I can be there in 2 hours and 20 minutes to help at anytime.

"Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods. His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords. His love never quits.
Thank God who did it all!  His love never quits."
Psalm 136:1-3, 26 

The Greatest Gift

Our Minnesota grands visiting Santa.

Hope you get to crawl up in God's lap of love today.
December 13
Has anyone asked you what was one of your favorite Christmas gifts?
I remember the year I received skies and boots, another year a new tennis racket, and one year a new sled. As a child, one year I received a doll and a beauty parlor chair. It was so much fun putting rollers in that doll's hair...then out came the scissors for her first hair cut, but that hair never grew back and she wasn't much fun without long hair to brush.

We can't cut up or use up the gift of Jesus. It's the gift that keeps on giving into eternity. God's Word never grows old and unlike a novel we have read, we don't know the details of how it will end, but we do know life in heaven is a never ending story!

A Weary World

This Eiffel Tower lamp made me laugh!

December 12
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn!

She Reads Truth posted this:
"I love this line from the Christmas carol, "O Holy Night." The world was weary, tired, and broken.
Yet, when Christ was born, hope came alive!"

We've been weary in this floor refinishing phase at Shiloh, but we've seen Jesus in the kindness of others. Stopping by to drop something off at a friend's house she said, "Come in and let me make you some lunch." It was wonderful to eat without a mouthful of dust! Then she invited us to their neighborhood Christmas party, which was such a breath of fresh air for these weary workers. Another couple got us out of the mess and we went out to eat.  My walking buddy made us a fabulous dinner and we were able to walk to her home on a very snowy night.  The day which was probably the most discouraging, as I went to leave the house UPS delivered a box of Godiva chocolates from one of you Boojoyful readers. It was as if Jesus himself wrapped his arms around me and said, "I am with you, let's have chocolate!" The Body of Christ is unbelievable! A huge thank you to the feet of Christ!

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."
Galatians 6:9

Ann Voskamp blessed me too with her writing:
"Jesus doesn't show you the steps to get to heaven-Jesus is the steps to heaven.
 Jesus doesn't merely come down to show you the way up-Jesus comes down to make Himself into the Way to carry you up.
Jesus doesn't ultimately give you a how-to, because Christianity is ultimately about Who-to.
Every religion, every program, every self-help book is about steps you have to take.  Jesus is the only One who becomes the step-to-take you...He comes to us not in spite of our failings-but precisely because of them."

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

God's Timing

December 11
Oh my, this transformed Bucket List needs to seep deeply into my heart.
We are living in a mess, but it's no surprise to God.  We had hoped to have our floors refinished in November, but they got delayed until December 4th. Then the floor sander became sick..and on and on we go.  Nary a light, nor decoration is up, just a thick coating of dust covers the whole house and every nook and cranny. Sanding was to be done in one day, but it progressed into three.

While it makes me so sad and overwhelmed to think about putting Humpty Dumpty (the house) back together again, God has provided for us in a most gracious way through a dear couple who has given us their town home to stay in and it's less than two miles away. The same friend gave me the Advent book The Greatest Gift and it really ministered to me in these discouraging times.
The key verse yesterday was:

"Abraham called the place The Lord will provide.
Genesis 22:14
Ann Voskamp wrote:
"You don't need to climb mountains named I Will Perform.
 You don't need to climb mountains named I Will Produce.
 Every mountain that every Christian ever faces, the Lord levels with sufficient grace: The Lord Will Provide...Worry is belief gone wrong...Peace is belief that exhales."

Her challenge was to write 10 different ways God had provided that day. It wasn't even 8 o'clock when I did this.  God has provided:
1) A wonderful warm waterfront place for us to call home.
2) The most patient husband in the world to keep me calm.
3) Three Bible Studies to keep me in survival mode. God's Word is amazing.
4) An encouraging phone call from a friend I hadn't heard from in a long time and she said, God
    placed me on her heart with a message on endurance!  Bingo!
5) Hot tea on a cold, cold day
6) Painters to help with what I can't do.
7) A fabulous chiropractor to go to since I have sciatica
8) Prayer
9) Friends and a sweet daughter checking on us and inviting us for lunch/dinner.
10) A decadent box of Godiva Chocolates as a surprise gift from a friend.

Opening my laptop yesterday I saw the news of fires raging in California and people having to evacuate not knowing if the fires will reach their homes.  I thought, "Put on your big girl pants and give thanks. In God's timing you will get back in that house."

Peace with a Purpose

These are just a few of the Christmas lights at the Boar's Head Resort in Charlottesville.
The decorations and lights are beautiful.

"Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
 “I am the Light of the world; 
he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  
John 8:12
December 8

Peace:One dictionary defines it as freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.

Why do we desire peace?  It makes us feel better.  We want things to go as we planned. We forget God is up to good weaving things together!
A friend and I were talking recently about choices people close to us make which can seem inconsiderate, leaving a hurt in our heart. That "What about me!" expletive comes out.  She laughed out loud, as she said we must remember..."It's not about us!"

I'm having those feelings right now in the midst of a home improvement project. Paying big bucks for inconvenience after inconvenience and a lack of respect for my time and schedule.  Then somewhere recently I read:
"You need My peace each moment to accomplish My purposes in your life. Sometimes you are tempted to take shortcuts in order to reach your goals as quickly as possible. But if the shortcut requires turning your back on My peaceful Presence, you must choose the longer route. Walk with Me along paths of Peace; enjoy the journey in My Presence."

Whew, that's a doozie I need to post somewhere in my house!  Better yet, on my heart.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

Holiday Grief

A lamppost near the lake!
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Psalm 119:105 
December 7
The holidays stir up sweet memories and many of those memories relate to a loved one who is no longer here to celebrate with us. It can be a very difficult time of year.
A sweet friend of mine lost her husband last month, another lost her sister this week, for one friend this will be the first Christmas without her mother, while a couple others are approaching the anniversaries of the loss of their children.  Each of you has a story of longing, I feel sure.

Another friend eloquently email me on the topic of holiday grief:
"When I was a child I never thought of Christmas as a sad time until I was 16 and my 7 year old brother died following surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  Now, at Christmas even in the midst of the joy, I think of those I love who are no longer with me to celebrate. It is a joyous season and we wish everyone we love was around the Christmas table."

The girlfriend who lost her husband last month posted this song by The Piano Guys, on Facebook.  It is beautifully presented.  I hope it brings healing to you heart if you are hurting and affords you the opportunity to share a precious gift with someone you know who is experiencing grief.  Let's keep our hearts open and sensitive to the hurt that is around us.

"Grief, I've learned, is really just love. It's all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.  Grief is just love with no place to go."  Jamie Anderson