Sunday, January 24, 2010

Three simple words ~ Part 2

The plan was to share a little more about the title for my blog. However, as the week has progressed I have discovered it is important for me to remember why I started this blog and what the purpose for it is.

First of all, let me explain something about me... I am a Planner. I love lists, post-it notes and having a routine. I almost always have a plan A and usually a plan B for "just in case". It's just the way I work best- rules, lists, order and organization. That doesn't sound like I am a very fun person. But, I am also sometimes silly, love to laugh, and enjoy time with family and friends. I can be fun! Maybe soon I'll share a few pictures to prove it. :)

So anyways, at the beginning of last week I already had an outline for this blog post. And buddy I had a bunch of Bible verses about hope and joy all ready to go. It was a great list!

Then on Tuesday morning I woke up around 5:00am and started thinking about my blog. I felt the Lord reminding me this is not about having a Bible study. This is not to be about lists and rules and order. This is all about the next chapter in my life's story. It's the one after the chapter titled "Living with Grief".

This was confirmed later that day as I read a blog by Holley Gerth that I'm following. She has given us a 21-day challenge titled "The Rest of Your Story". That day her question for us asked: Are we a Princess, Procrastinator or Planner? She talked about letting the Lord lead us as we walk out our life story. The one He has already planned and designed for us. We are to know we can rest in Him and His love for us. No need to be the perfect princess, no need to be afraid and procrastinate and no need to have all the details planned out.

So I guess those three simple words - "Finding Hope & Joy" are simply the title of the next chapter of my life's story. And yes, I do have a list of ideas for future posts..... but I promise not to get too carried away with my planning. I am really going to try to allow this chapter to be one I enjoy one page at a time. Hope you will follow along and see where this takes me.

Three simple words ~ Part 1

Three simple words.... finding - hope - joy. Three little words that can have a lot of meaning. I didn't even realize how much meaning when I chose them for my blog's title.

On my way to church the first Sunday of 2010 I asked the Lord to speak to me during the church service. Speak through the worship music, the message or a friend. Let it be encouraging, insightful or correcting. How or what wasn't as important as just hearing something from the Lord.

I was almost there when the thought came to me that maybe I should give Him the whole day to say something. No, He is God and could certainly figure out how to speak to me on such short notice. Silly me. Another thought came as I pulled into the parking lot - who am I to give the Lord a time limit? No, I was seeking not demanding. Silly Satan.

As I walked in to church the worship team had just started the first song. The words being sung encouraged me. They reminded me the Lord is with me in the good and hard times. He will not let go of me. I will continue to trust Him.

During the worship time the leader read Psalm 71:14. "But as for me, I will always have hope, I will praise you more and more." The word "hope" stirred something in me. Yes, I will take a stand and praise the Lord because He is my hope!

The message that day was a recap of what the Lord had done during 2009 and the vision of where He was leading our church in 2010. I honestly didn't think I'd hear from the Lord during an informational type of message. Silly me.

The pastor read Psalm 51:10-12. "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." The last verse especially stirred a desire for renewed joy in my life. And again a commitment to take a stand and live totally for Jesus. These verses have become my prayer for 2010.

I had asked the Lord to speak to me and He did. He spoke to me in that hour in more than one way that all fits together. He reminded me that as I go through life He is with me no matter what life brings. He inspired me to take a firm stand and never give up - hope. He encouraged me to seek - finding. He planted a desire for - joy.

Another thing the pastor said that morning was we should "draw a picture" in our minds of what our lives could be like in 2010 and then Just Do It. This statement and challenge made me really think. As I thought about it, I became excited about the future and what the Lord wants to do in my life. I have always had a heart for hurting people and love to encourage others. During the past year I have been so blessed by some blogs I have been reading and was now thinking of starting my own blog.

So, I am going to - Just Do It! And do it with Hope & Joy, because He won't ever let me go and is leading the way!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I was thinking.....

I was thinking..... since I named my blog "Finding Hope & Joy" does that mean that I had lost my hope & joy? That is an odd thought for me, because I am usually happy and have a smile to share. I generally look for the positive, and if that can't be found, than the humorous in any given situation.

And the answer I came up with is..... yes, about 24 months ago I guess I did lose my hope and joy. I lost it to grief. On November 20, 2007 at about 2:00 in the afternoon my 25 year old son died suddenly and violently. I am so thankful that I got to be Kyle Matthew's mom for 25 years, six months and one day. He was a wonderful son and dearly loved. Perhaps, in future posts I will share with you more about his struggles and life.

I am sure I will share some about my journey with grief. I guess it is a journey. It sure isn't a choice. Not a partnership. It is something I am working through, navigating around and finding my way past. Finding my way back to hope and joy. So, yes, the word "journey" best describes it.

Now, getting back to my original thinking..... I did lose my hope and joy. The good news is that I am again finding hope and joy. There is healing in the journey. Next time I'll share a little more about "how" I chose the name for my blog. For now the question is answered of "why" and I'm on my way. I'm looking forward to the end of the journey when I'll see my Jesus face to face and get a hug from my dear son, Kyle. Miss those "Kyle hugs"!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Blogland" here I come.....

Welcome to my blog! I don't know if that statement surprises you, but it sure does me. I never thought I would enter "blogland". At least not as a blogger. I do enjoy reading other people's blogs. I have found them interesting, funny and even inspiring. However, I have tried journaling now and then over the years, but have never kept one going for long. And since blogging is online journaling I figured it wouldn't be much fun and a lot of effort.

After my best friend, Vera, read something I wrote for my homebased business she suggested that I try my hand at writing. "You wrote that? It was really good" she said. I guess I didn't look very convinced that it was anything special and probably looked a bit surprised. "At least pray about it?" she asked. I replied that I would and just so I didn't lie to my best friend I said a quick prayer.

A lot of my prayers over the next few weeks concerning life in general were me reminding the Lord how busy I am. How can I get some balance between family, work, church, my new business and have some time for me? How do I prioritize when everything seems like a priority? As far as this whole writing thing - well, I would share with Him my list. And I do love lists! Have you ever done that? You know, a list you give the Lord of the "whys" and "why nots". Well, my list consisted of things like - how I never was good at writing, what would I write about that would be of any interest, and how busy I already am. I admitted it would be neat to have a blog, but no, not me. I could not ever be as funny, or encouraging, or interesting as some of the other bloggers out there.

I love how the Lord just sits back and listens until I am all out of reasons. It's like I ask Him something and than tell Him all the reasons it cant' possibly work. He waits patiently until it's His turn. He lets me get it all out. Then He starts to work in me. He did answer me, but not right away and not all at once. Little by little over the next few months He let me know that I could do this. I so love how He leads - gently, patiently and lovingly.

So, ready or not "blogland" here I come. And I hope you will feel free to come by every now and than and see where He is leading me.