Filled with Joy

“Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let
your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand”. Psalm 16:9-11

Reading King David’s words, you can picture his heart and body full of joy, you can hear his tongue singing praise. You can tell he feels more than happiness, that he is more than surviving the coincidences the every-day brings. In these two short sentences you understand the everlasting confidence David received from God and the companionship they share. When I think through times in my life that I’ve felt tremendous joy, it’s when I too have been in-step with God, trusting Him and following His lead. It’s the times when I know “God’s Got Me!”

“God’s Got Us!”
No doubt the most life-changing moment is from my family’s 2017 mission trip to Nicaragua (Juntos). I smile as I think of the hours spent bouncing on rickety school buses, riding over rough roads to experience the villager’s gratitude from our trenching and piping-in water for their community water pump. That clean water is essential to their health and longevity. Which is why I love that my family was baptized in Rio Villanueva, the muddy river cattle bathe in, so we can always remember how desperately we need God’s Living Water (Woman at the Well – John 4), and to have the confidence that God has our family’s salvation in His hands (Jesus’ Baptism Matthew 3:13-17).

“God’s All Over It!”
Becoming filled with the presence of God (John 14:16-17, Acts 1:4-5), the Holy Spirit will direct us on paths we didn’t expect, to outcomes even better than we can hope and allow us to hear directly from God. This is how the past year has been as I watch my husband invest in Fair Chance opportunities. Hiring people with felony records was never something he planned, but the labor shortage for his manufacturing company left him few options. I can still remember the face-time conversation we had while he was on an exploratory trip in South Carolina. He was glowing as he told me about the prison ministries one of his clients already had in place. He kept repeating “It is so good” and “I cannot explain how good it feels”. I motioned our son over to listen too. I remember our side comment that “the Holy Spirit is moving inside of Daddy”. Looking at the dates, it was just under a year after our November 24th 2017 Nicaragua baptism! I am so thankful to God for awakening this area of my husband’s life and for the huge steps the company has taken. Just a couple of weeks ago, he was on an economic panel and he shared the WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN of Fair Chance: employment benefits the employee (with a good paying job), the employer (with an engaged employee), the community (with a solid citizen, decreased recidivism) … and the fourth win for the family (having the parent home, stable work, resources building into them). (Redemption Ephesians 4:30-31).

“God’s Got This!”
God gave me the third Joy story when I started jotting down the first two. Our God is hilarious – it’s funny how His nudge made me giggle. My close friends know my prayer request is for God to put people in my life the He wants me to “Pursue!” for His Kingdom. Which might not sound funny to you yet, as you know I have a ministry of teenage girls as well as a women’s group. I’ve been struggling that my mom group has grown stagnant and more social than scriptural, and that life change isn’t apparent. It saddens me that as we grow in size, there is less vulnerability, since there is a lower level of trust in confidences being kept. So, when my church asked us to open our doors to invite more friends, I tightly pushed ours closed… and that’s when God started laughing (Proverbs 3:5-6). Slowly, six new members came to me through unseen side-entrances, with VIP access and bouncers (angels?) waving them forward with a wink while unhooking the red velvet roping to provide a “you are meant to be here” backstage entrance. When I connected the dots of my prayer request and His provision, I couldn’t help but Giggle and to receive the blessing of these six Believers as eternal friends. (Eternal Inheritance Romans 10:9-10, Hebrews 9:15, Philippians 3:20).

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days”. Psalm 90:14

Reader – I bet if you sit quietly and ask God to show you where He has brought joy in your life, you will quickly find memories too. I think we just forget to stop and connect the dots.

Each morning, He now pauses me through his creation. See, when we bought our home six-years ago, we discovered we are on the receiving side of some amazing sunrises! I am hooked. What a God-stop for me to find scripture that expresses how I feel about this gift in creation (the title sunrise picture is from journaling mornings on our rooftop in Nicaragua).

When we start our day with scripture, and song, and dedicating the day to God’s Glory, then we get to experience the joy, we get the pleasure to Enjoy! Ask Him. “God’s Got You!”

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