Archive for the ‘Spiritual Life’ Category

And Then There Were 9 —   Leave a comment

Psalm 146:9

5Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
7Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
8The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
9The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
I love this passage.
I love the mandate that can be read through the lines of this Scripture, balanced with the New Testament passages that tell us to GO – DO -SERVE-LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE-
PICK UP YOUR CROSS.
Because, God alone can, and does all of these things —
but sometimes He uses us,
through His power,
to accomplish His will —
AND HE GETS ALL THE GLORY!!
And WE get all the fun,
the stretching
the learning and growing
the faith building
the joy!
One of the best parts of foster care for us has been the wonderful spiritual growth that
has happened in us as we learn to minister and bless those children and the parents of those children who are involved with Social Services.
They are the ones who need help.
They are the ones who are oppressed, and yes, often from their own actions but sometimes not.
They are hungry and they are prisoners.
They are blind to many truths, especially that they are created in the image of God and valuable!
Many are bowed down and can’t see any hope for themselves or their children.
They are the strangers, often new to communities as they live transient lives,
moving from place to place.
They are the fatherless, motherless and widows.  Victims of  divorce or partners moving on
to the next hook-up or affair.  Children who have no parent alive or possible one
alive while the other is incarcerated.
They are needy — and through the years I have come to see…..
they look a lot like me.
It is the wonder of what God has done in my life and the changes that He has wrought in my stubborn mind and will that make me love those who are needy.  I see ALL the potential of who they can be and the glorious lives that they can have, if they follow Jesus as their Savior.
It has made my husband and I take risks —
Follow after God and obey Him even when it looks crazy–
And we are entering one of those seasons of caring for the needy, and their children
The house is full, to the brim!
The prayers are stepped up a notch and we are asking for lots of faith to fill us up.
And we are already experiencing the joy in the middle of the chaos-
And seeing God connect us with folks, and families who just need a Savior–
Just like me!

Posted September 24, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Foster Care, Spiritual Life

He Reigns — O YES HE DOES!   Leave a comment

Christ Arose Christ the LOrd is risen today 216-17 easter-sky-risen-still

Posted March 31, 2013 by joyfulhouse in Spiritual Life

Vacation???   Leave a comment

We left Wednesday in the early morning…. suburban full, but not to the brim as when we traveled with six children.  This time we have our two youngest daughters and the car seat with Miss S.  and baby paraphernalia filling the seat beside her car seat.  We made it off at a decent time for our annual trip to visit family in TN.  It was a few hours into the trip that Miss S coughed in a way that triggered concern to me right away.  She had been healthy for a couple of weeks, much to my delight… and I was hoping for good health for this trip so that my nights would not be consumed with being up with her more than our normal one or two middle of the night get-togethers.

We arrived on Wed. night late and took Miss S to the pediatrician on Thurs. morning.  Things did not improve as we had prayed and hoped and last night we spent hours praying over her as her fever rose higher and higher even with the tylenol.  As I sat rocking her in the night I was pursued by the thoughts of dismay that she had to get so sick, that this is our only vacation and here I am spending it with a very sick little girl and with very little rest or sleep.  I prayed and asked God to explain how this was His best for me this week.  I wish I could say that I received beautiful words of prose from my Heavenly Father, but that did not happen.  I did receive peace that He is with me and that rocking this little girl, praying over her immediate needs and for her future life were indeed His best plans for my life the last few nights.  In fact, that I was able to hear His voice in my tired mind at 1:00 in the morning was in itself a beautiful blessing.  This is not my way or desire of how to spend my vacation but God has a plan.  I may miss church tomorrow and I so love attending other churches, especially this one here in TN, but I will worship Jesus tomorrow here at the gram’s house with a sick little one wiping her little nose and telling her how much God loves her and has plans for her life as well.  It does not seem much like vacation at this time but God knows.

The words of this hymn have blessed me tonight —

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

On vacation — being blessed!

Joyce

Busy Week of Faith   Leave a comment

It has been quite the week here in Gills Rock, and quite the week of faith.
Our son Matthew had a flare up with a terrible illness he is fighting.  It ended up making him lose a lot of weight and the become weak in his strength.  It is an awful thing to watch one’s precious son suffer, or child for that matter.  This bout has lasted three weeks and last Wednesday it became apparent that it was time for the family to step in and help.  Rick, Annie, Melody and I all sat in the living room and joined in prayer for Matthew as we asked God to intervene on his behalf.  The whole family hardly slept on Wednesday as we prayed through the night for Matthew’s health.  Thursday morning I made his favorite soup, ham and potato and put homemade apple sauce and other foods together and packed the girls all up and we headed out to Green Bay.  The timing was perfect as we were trying to make the drive in-between snow storms.  We came into the second storm about 30 minutes from Matthew’s home and had to drive slowly on the icy snow covered roads and saw cars in the ditch as we drove.  I was so glad to get there and again was thanking the Lord for our old suburban which hauls through this northern weather, and also that my husband did not listen to me when I thought we should trade it in when we bought the Ford Edge in Dec..  He was correct in saying that all-wheel-drive is no match to the suburban and that trip down and the last few days of driving have proved it!  It also has room for all of our stuff and the baby paraphernalia that come along with a 13 month old!
 
On Friday, Mandy came up from Appleton and Uncle Randy came over and we had a wonderful time visiting with Matthew and encouraging him and getting him to smile.  Mandy is always good for that!  We cooked food and cleaned up and just practiced “being-with” which was what Matthew needed most of all.  God really spoke to me a lesson about helping those who are alone — there is a real need to go and “be-with” single folks when they are hurting or suffering so that they are not alone during those times.  I realized last week that God is showing me another way to love and mentor the single folks that He has put in our lives.  No need to come with an agenda, just some simple food and my bag of knitting or books to read and then just sit there and “be-with”.  Matthew has lovingly expressed to us all that this blessed him most.
 
Friday night Emily, Matthew’s girlfriend, came up and since we were there she spent the night so we could have more time together.  She was a blessing and as always our time of sharing together was sweet and wonderful.
 
We spent Thurs. and Fri. there with him and then headed north on Saturday to get little miss S to her visit with her parents.  As we left that morning, we gathered around Matthew and I laid hands on him and prayed over him and as I did little Miss S reached out her little hand and put it on Matthew’s shoulder — so precious!   She is learning to pray!
 
While there, Annie was picked up, along with dear friends Jean and Heather as they headed out to Honduras to work in an orphanage there.  
I asked God to give me extra faith for this time as I was praying for Matthew’s well being and then Annie’s as well.  God is good and He gave me such a gift of faith and peace to go with it.  Isn’t He just wonderful?  He always, always, gives me more than I asked for!  🙂
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We had a snow day last week and it was during the time when we had taken in a little boy who was abandoned.  He was three years old and such a precious little boy.  We are thankful that they found a family member to take him in and care for him as a safe family member is always better than foster care.  The other boy in the picture is also in foster care and lives with my good friend Heather.  We loved the snow and the fun and being snowbound for the day!
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Visiting at Matthew’s house.    I have to cover little Miss S’s face to keep her identity hidden per foster care rules.
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Annie and Heather heading out!
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Back at home, I started working on taxes in the office.  Little Miss S loves to help but she has also discovered our terrier is a fun toy and as she is walking better all the time she is starting to track the poor dog down and grab at Jazmin — which does not make Jazmin happy!   I discovered that the gate makes them the best of friends!
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Little Miss S baking Valentine’s Day cookies with Melody!
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Every Valentine’s Day Rick buys all of his girls (who are not married) flowers.  Of course I get a beautiful bouquet of roses as well!  These were Kristi’s flowers .  He is such a sweetheart-   The apple did not fall far from the tree as Matthew sent a beautiful big bouquet of roses to Emily as well!  I made Rick steak and shrimp, baked potatoes, salad and garlic bread for supper as my treat to him.  he enjoyed it very much.  He had worked all day at construction and then went and plowed for four hours so he was tired and the warm meal made him so happy.
Today — I have already prayed for Matthew and Annie.  Matthew called last night and said that he is doing a bit better and we are so thankful.  Annie called and although she got sick on Wednesday, she is doing better.  She is having a wonderful time!   I will spend the better part of  today in the office working on taxes and getting accounts in line.  I also need to wrap up the music for Sunday, iron some shirts for my husband and when then baby naps, work on some drawing and water color art with Melody for school.  I also hope to get the Christmas tree down!  I KNOW, this is a record.  We went to take it down last week but the door to our outside metal barn, where we store the Christmas stuff, was totally iced shut and even Rick could not get it open..   Maybe today!  Rick just doesn’t want me lighting up the tree so the neighbors driving by see that the tree is still up!!   What a riot!
Faith — beautiful gift from God according to His Word — it is what keeps a mother’s heart from breaking, over and over again, as we cry out to our God to work on behalf of our children.  There are many things that I am asking God to give me faith for right now and I am thankful beyond words that I can trust Him during this time, knowing that in His perfect timing all will be accomplished.  He is loving, kind, and always GOOD!
Blessed with faith today!
Joyce

Joy!   Leave a comment

Fall into winter is my favorite time of the year.  Cooler temps and vivid colors displayed out every window of our home and down every road I drive brings me great joy!

This tree is in the front corner of our front yard.  It is the tree where for the last six weeks tourist after tourist has stopped and taken pictures of themselves, families, couples  and solo pictures with the leaves from our tree for the backdrop.  We have had the same family Indian family, from India, take their family picture there for as many years as we can remember.  They all piled out of various mini-vans with three generations of family members and arranged themselves into various groups for a picture. The women are beautiful in their sarees of gorgeous colors and the children are so lovely with their beautiful dark eyes. We have often said that we would be wealthy if we had charged folks a dollar for every photo they took………. but that would not be fun!  It is so much nicer to watch and enjoy.  Last weekend a group stopped  by and a sweet husband kept setting his wife into the blazing orange leaves then running across the road to snap the picture, repeating the action over and over until the perfect picture was taken and he was satisfied!

This is our back four acres where our rental cottage, the Summer House is located.  The color and diversity in trees on that property make every season a delight and fall is the primo season of all.  So beautiful and peaceful.  Every day I try and walk back there to see the changes and take in the beauty.

This is the opposite side of the tree in our front yard, taken as we were heading somewhere in the evening and in seeing the sun filtering through, I had to take a picture.  My family waited patiently while I quickly grabbed  a few shots of our tree in all it’s glory!

Back to joy….  As a mother there have been many many times of my heart aching for my children, knowing that they are in need and there is nothing I can do but pray.  So I have prayed, my husband and I have prayed, others who love our children have prayed, and then we have learned to wait.  My husband is so much better at hearing from the Lord when it comes to being told to wait!  I praise the Lord for the man God gave me who helps me to be patient and keep praying….. and to wait.

We have had one specific prayer that we have prayed for quite some time, one among many that we pray daily over our children, but this one was big.  This one has come and gone through the last few years as sometimes things seemed better in this situation and then it would not be so.

In the process of this time, God taught me much about crying out to Him, trusting Him, having faith and finding my joy in Him and praising Him despite the circumstances.  As I am a worship leader, it is rather important that I praise with  a pure heart and God in His mercy taught me, again, about leading with a heart that is aching and also when to not lead and how acceptable it is to step down and worship in the congregation SO THAT I would be free to worship Him in all of the brokenness that I was experiencing.    Lest you think this was the first time of praying hard for something and going through this kind of season, let me tell you it was not but it is a chapter in our life which we are closing and so I rejoice today with GREAT joy at how God has answered our prayers.  It is so good to see prayers answered in one area so that our faith is encouraged to stay strong for the other areas which are still in need of prayer and waiting for the answers.

He has delivered, set free, is healing and restoring pieces of our lives in ways that are amazing.

He is great and greatly to be praised.

 

Today we rejoice with joy in the beauty of God, who He is and all that He has created.

Joy for His unfailing love and faithfulness.
Joy over His sovereignty in our lives today and in our future.

Joy for all the good things He has done and given.

O send out Your light and Your Truth and let them lead me.  Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.  Then I will go to the altar of God,    to God my exceeding joy  and on the harp (or piano!)  I will praise You.  O God My God!

Psalm 43:3-4

Blessed,

Joyce

Posted October 15, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Family, Spiritual Life

Let us Not Grow Weary……..   Leave a comment

And let us not grow weary of doing good,

for in due season we will reap IF we do not give up.

So then, as we have opportunity

let us do good to everyone

but especially those who are of the household of FAITH!

Galatians 6:9-10

        This was my reading this morning and it blessed me so much.  This verse has been given to me in the form of words from friends and strangers!  I have received cards and letters with this verse enclosed and even a mug and a Precious Moments figurine with this scripture on it —  I could take all of these gifts as a hint that I appear, well, WEARY!

         But, I know that this is not the case.  Although I can, and do at times, look tired and worn out and even discouraged, these Scriptures given to me are to remind me to keep going and to not get weary which is often the precursor to relinquishing the work and the battle at hand.  As many who read this blog are serving the Lord as wives and mothers, and also those who serve the Lord single at this time, we together must remember that we are ALL called to serve and do battle and fight for the good works that God has ordained for us to walk in.   This is where the weariness can get into our thoughts and minds.  Why?  Because most of the time the good works which we do reap the fruit after much time has gone by.  There are the moments of opportunity which come and go and are done in the moment, and then there are the good works God leads us to which are for the long haul, the l-o-n-g haul, and truthfully, some of which we will not know the fruit of until heaven.  Those are the works which can drag us down if we start to think of all the physical, emotional, and  financial sacrifices, let alone the  precious hours of time we have given to them.  I have been there so many times, and am there even now as I write this.

        So what is the secret to not giving up?   I think it is hope.  That beautiful place of knowing that God is Sovereign over us, that He is faithful and cares and that we can trust HE IS DOING A GOOD WORK IN US EVEN AS WE TARRY in the works we do.  We do good works because we LOVE Him so much, believing His promises that He will see to completion what He has started and that His heart is big and good and kind.  We have hope that fills our hearts with expectation and excites us for the next turn in the road, the next hill He is going to take us over and we LEARN to be thrilled at the unknown, knowing that it will all be good in God’s economy.  That these good works have purpose!

       As we do good works out of our love and worship of God, we are reminded that  in the process we are not only blessing other’s lives but God is also performing a work in our own hearts and reaping good fruit in our lives.  It delights me so to look back on where I was ten years ago and then see where God has put me, more like, who He has put me with, and then acknowledge that He indeed has worked out some new, good fruit in my life.   He, my loving God has not grown weary of me, and by human thought He would have every right to be weary of me—-  years ago!  His example makes me desire to carry on, knowing He will give the strength, wisdom, joy and patience to continue in the good works.

       I find it interesting that Paul writes — especially to those who are in the household of faith.  Wouldn’t you think that doing good works to our fellow Christians would be the easiest, and a no-brainer?  Evidently not!  One of the downfalls of my heart is putting expectations on others because I assume they “get it” when it comes to the Bible.  Sadly, due to lack of discipling in the Church there are many who do not understand God’s Word and are babes in the Lord.  My greatest good work that I can show toward them is grace, and then the willingness to walk alongside them in love and mentor them to maturity in the Lord.  Kindness to the family of God.  Wouldn’t the World take notice, or at least our communities if we were known for good works towards each other?  What if we were  blessing each other with words of kindness, help when needed, meals and caring for each others family members, loaning each other items as needed, giving to each other the material items as needed, and the list goes on?  I want to see the fruit of that kind of doing good works — with purpose– for the Gospel and God’s Kingdom!

Do not grow weary —

Keep hoping —

We will reap–

Do not give up–

DO  good works!

Blessed this morning-

Joyce

Posted October 1, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Family, Spiritual Life

Summer Pictures —   Leave a comment

 

Jeni and Jason with my mother —

 

Canning time —  Beans, beans, and more beans —  for which we are very thankful!

 

 

 

My beautiful mother in my front garden —  I owe my love of gardening to this woman although I will always with I had received more than a finger tip of her “green thumb” abilities!   🙂

 

 

 

 

Mandy and my mom

 

Saying goodbye to my mom.  We spent the night in Green Bay at Matthew’s house, went to church in the morning and then Mom flew out in the afternoon.  So much fun to be together and I am once again thankful that our son bought such a roomy home which enables us to be with him overnight without the least bit of feeling crowded!   Good job Matthew!

 

 

 

 

Picking beans in our wild garden!   Our college girl – as well as her sisters have a dreaded fear of snakes– hence the tall boots!

 

Beautiful girls!

 

Saying goodbye to Kristi the morning we headed out for VA.

 

What a precious picture — my husband loves his children so much and although it is hard to have his daughter Kristi so far from home, he has adjusted well!  They keep in touch via texting, especially during Packer games!

 

Dinner for four once again — except for the meat, all of the meal is from our garden — soooo  good.

 

 

August brought our dear friends from VA to visit — We all fell in love with Aaron, especially my sweet husband.

 

Did I mention that Aaron loved us too!

 

 

We love this family so much, they are precious and baby Aaron will be raised for the glory of the Lord and to know God for which we are very thankful.!

Did I mention we have been VERY busy!  August is crunch time — Work, College, getting our school plans up and running, enjoying guests, gardening and canning —   and to some degree trying to survive Door County at the height of it’s busy season well, let’s just say it has been very stressful.  But, as always, God enabled us to get through and to be honest, this was the hardest summer season we have ever had.  The fishing has been lean for a year but the restaurants need just as much as ever if not more for their orders.  The combination has been difficult for all the Commercial Fishermen in Door County.  Thankfully we have all worked together and bought from each other and shared the stress!  It had truly been a season of bearing each other’s burdens as Galatians tells us to do.

I am thankful that God has lead us and strengthened us and taught us to be diligent in our prayers and seeking Him.  There have not been great tides of overwhelming faith in this for us, but there has been an ever increasing step by step, sometimes crawling 🙂 walk of faith when it comes to our fishery.  It is not over as we head into our fall season when fishing is supposed to be at it’s peak, but as we know from last year can also be a season of failure.  And yet God provides — through other work and jobs and the gift of faith.  He is so good and we thank Him for meeting our needs.

I have more to tell and will in days to come —

School is started and the canning is still keeping me busy every week along with my cleaning jobs but there is much share.

Blessed today!

Joyce