A Fresh Perspective on Joy

Has God ever given you a fresh perspective on an issue that you have struggled with for, oh, decades? That is exactly what He has done for me in the past few weeks with the issue of joy, and I thought someone else might need to hear about it.

I’ve written before about my struggle with JOY. I simply do not always feel joy in my heart. I’m not talking about happiness, which is very fickle emotion. No, I’m talking about joy, which is not dependent on circumstances. You know, the-JOY-of-the-Lord-is-my-strength kind of joy. I just have not always felt it very often.

 

Fresh Perspective on Joy

 

 

This past month I have been reading the newest book by Max Lucado (see link below) entitled, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World. The book uses Philippians 4:4-8 as its anchor verses. We all know these verses. I’ve read them a million times in my almost 54 years, yet I have seen them with fresh eyes and a new perspective. May I give them to you and ask you to read them as if you had never read them before?

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

I would like to share two lessons with you that I have tucked deeply into my heart from my time in this Lucado book. The first is the crucial importance of thanksgiving. Paul admonishes us to present our requests to God by prayer and supplication, AND with THANKSGIVING. Y’all, I am so guilty of rushing to the asking part of prayer without first attending to the thanksgiving portion. If being thankful to God was not crucial to this issue of anxiety and peace, Paul would not have put it in.

So, how has being reminded of this changed me? Thanks for asking. Now when I pray I begin with thankfulness. And, before I voice any request, I begin with something pertaining to that request for which I am thankful. It might sound like this: Lord, I thank you that you have sustained my friend who is going through chemo thus far, and I ask you to continue to give him strength and encouragement. It’s really that easy and it has given me a shot of joy that I did not have previously.

The second lesson the Lord has taught me is perspective. In the book, Lucado talks about Paul and all that he endured in his life. Y’all, Paul did not have an easy life, yet Paul wrote the classic treatise on joy (the book of Philippians) from a dark, dank, critter infested hole in Roman ground. God pretty much smacked me upside the head and said, “Leah, if Paul could have joy in the midst of and after all he endured, surely you can find joy in the midst of your easy life.”

Well, what do you say to that? It is hard to continue to whine about a lack of joy when God puts it like that, isn’t it?

Anytime I share what the Lord is doing in my heart, it is in hope that you will find encouragement for your journey, as well. God will never leave His child like they are. His goal is to change us to look more and more CHRIST-LIKE. This is one way He is doing just that AND working out my OneWord2018 in my heart.

I hope you have a great day, friend. Oh, and I hope you are praying about attending the Come Away {retreat} 2018. Excitement is building and I am praying that God prompts the hearts of 9 beautiful, amazing women to attend Come Away. Are you one of those women? Click HERE to read how Come Away changed the life of one woman.

SDG/FCA!!!

 

This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

 

SaveSave

 

SaveSave

An Invitation to Hop Off the Merry-Go-Round

I don’t know about you, but all too often I find myself trapped on the merry-go-round of life, seeing the world as a spinning blur. You, too?

 

An Invitation to Hop Off the Merry-Go-Round

 

Good morning!

Today I want to take a few moments and encourage us all to bring the merry-go-round to a halt for a moment and look around us. But first, let me tell you what brought me to this point.

I am currently reading a book entitled Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy. In Roots & Sky, Purifoy chronicles the first year of the life of her family in a new-to-them home. There have been several passages from the book that have spoken intensely to my heart, and today I want to share one of them.

“We fool ourselves if we believe that life is the tedium of our to-do lists broken up by occasional highs, like a baby’s homecoming, and occasional lows, like that baby’s first terrifying trip to the emergency room. Everyday life is utterly extravagant. It is morning glories we did not plant. It is four children we did nothing to deserve. It is moonlight and starlight, rainbow-colored leaves and autumn rains. It is the shelter of trees, the songs of birds, and the enduring sight of a farmhouse on a hill. It is more beautiful than it needs to be. It is more meaningful than we can begin to comprehend.”

I will confess that quote hit me like a ton of bricks because I have a tendency to look at life as the tedium of my to-do list…everything running together, with occasional highs and lows. Rarely do I take the time to consider the everyday beauty of things that would not be considered a high, per se. The days I work as a pharmacist, I just pray to survive until quitting time. The days I am home doing my work as a bookkeeper and wife and author, I rarely slow down to consider the beauty within that day. Are you guilty of this, too? Please tell me I am not the only one?

Today is different. Today, right here with you, I want to consider the beauty that surrounds my life. AND, I want to encourage you to do the same. Here are a few of those beautiful, ordinary things:

  • the hummingbird that flies up to my office window and peers in at me
  • deer that wander and play in our front yard
  • the mountains that surround me and speak life into my soul
  • a husband that loves me unceasingly
  • a hosta, planted by my Mother, in the base of a tree that returns every year, reminding me of her love
  • a glorious sunset over the ocean
  • a hug from a friend at just the right time
  • the smell of freshly cut grass
  • the love of the most wonderful in-laws a girl could ask for
  • the privilege of entering God’s throne room any time I want and laying my requests before Him
  • baby birds in nests around my home

There is so much beauty in my life, and I want to be aware of it, every single day. I want to be thankful for it always.

Now, it is your turn. Hop off the merry-go-round for a moment and ponder the beauty of the ordinary in your life. I would love to hear what you see. Please share in the comments about your beautiful life.

Thank you for allowing me into your life today. I count it a high privilege when you read what the Lord gives me to write. I will be taking a bit of a break next week, but will have a post on Monday that you will not want to miss. It will contain a GIFT FOR YOU!! So, please check back on Monday. Have a lovely weekend!

The Loft ~ Living Thankful

Today is our final Loft gathering for the month of November. The Loft will be closed next week as we observe Thanksgiving. Today, I want to offer one final thing for which I am profoundly grateful.

 

0001-93092838

 

Please link up your post about being thankful using the linky at the bottom of this post.

 

#TheLoft

 

November Prompts: The month of November will be all about Thanksgiving and being thankful. Any post, picture, poem, song about thankfulness is what we are linking up in November.

NOTE: The Loft will be closed on November 25th so that we can celebrate Thanksgiving and spend time with family.

December Prompts: The Loft will have an abbreviated schedule during the month of December. We will gather here on December 2nd and 9th. Our prompt for those weeks will be Christmas. You may link up any Christmas related posts on those days. Then, The Loft will be closed for the remainder of December. We will re-open in January.   

I hope you will plan to join us each week at The Loft Link-Up.

Now, it is time to link-up!!

[inlinkz_linkup id=582367 mode=1]

The Loft ~ Living Thankful Part 2

Hello Wednesday! And, Hello Loft Friends!

Today we continue with our focus on thankfulness. Last week’s post seemed to resonate with folks, so today I will continue my list of things for which I am thankful.

God’s timing in our lives – He is never too early, never too late. He is always right on time.

 

Praying friends who stand in the gap

 

Sweet gifts that arrive unexpectedly

 

Missionaries who give devote lives to sharing the gospel of Jesus

 

Rain and sunshine

 

Restorative sleep

 

The way Scripture speaks to us individually and specifically

 

My education and training as a pharmacist – Yes, I complain about working as a pharmacist. No, it is not what I love to do. Yes, I am blessed to have a job that pays well.

 

My employers – I’m thankful for a place to work that is owned by Christians.

 

My in-laws, Charles and Betty Adams, who celebrate 60 years of marriage this year. A beautiful legacy!

 

I’m thankful that my parents, Wayne and Barbara Colwell, are safe in heaven with Jesus and no longer have to endure this mad, mad world.

 

Physicians, dentists, and other medical professionals who work to improve quality of life

 

What are you thankful for today? I hope you will link up your post on thankfulness this week using the linky at the end of this post.

 

#TheLoft

 

To Participate:

1. Be creative. We provide the prompt. You feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly prompt.

2. Listen twice as much. If you leave one link, visit two.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or hashtag in your post and social media so we can find each other.

4. Write like Jesus would write. We are a Christian link-up. Offensive or inappropriate posts will be deleted. No questions asked.

5. Be pertinent. Our heart is to build community and intimacy, and our means to do that is to build each link-up around a single prompt. Please make sure your post is on topic.

6. Link-Up. Each Wednesday morning at 5am EST, the link goes live, and for 6 glorious days you can link up your post on that week’s prompt. The linky will close at 5pm EST on Monday.

November Prompts: The month of November will be all about Thanksgiving and being thankful. Any post, picture, poem, song about thankfulness is what we are linking up in November.

NOTE: The Loft will be closed on November 25th so that we can celebrate Thanksgiving and spend time with family.

I hope you will plan to join us each week at The Loft Link-Up.

Now, it is time to link-up!!

[inlinkz_linkup id=580527 mode=1]

The Loft Link-Up ~ Living Thankful

Throughout the month of November our topic each week at The Loft will be THANKFULNESS. Any post on thankfulness will be a beautiful addition to our link-up this month.

Today, I want to offer a list of 20 things for which I am thankful. It is certainly not an exhaustive list, but just what hits my heart in the moment:

 That Jesus saved me and puts up with me

 

My husband…that he puts up with me

 

My health…I’ve always been blessed with good health and I do not take that for granted

 

Good jobs – Greg and I are extremely blessed

 

My Bible…I do not take for granted the fact that I have Bibles everywhere in my home. Some people have no access to Bibles.

 

My kids…Bree, Charlie, Parker, Coleson, Kalem, Emily, and so many more who I love and pray for on a regular basis

 

Bible study girls…oh what a blessing they are to me!

 

Indoor plumbing! Oh don’t look at me like that. You are thankful for indoor plumbing, too!

 

Autumn color and temperatures

 

Upcoming ministry opportunities – I will be speaking in Blairsville in November and December, and in LaGrange, Georgia in December!

 

My publisher, Warner Press, and my editor, Karen Rhodes

 

Godly mentors

 

My parents and grandparents

 

A Christian heritage – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc

 

Toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, running water and other items for personal hygiene

 

Good books – getting ready to begin reading Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel.

 

Ample food

 

Christian music

 

Opportunities to mentor

 

Redemption and do-overs – oh how I have needed these in my journey!

 

No doubt, I could go on and on. Perhaps I will dedicate another post here at The Loft to my list of things for which I am thankful.

I’m eager to read your post, friends, so link up using the linky at the bottom of my post. Have a wonderful day!

 

 

#TheLoft

 

To Participate:

1. Be creative. We provide the prompt. You feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly prompt.

2. Listen twice as much. If you leave one link, visit two.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or hashtag in your post and social media so we can find each other.

4. Write like Jesus would write. We are a Christian link-up. Offensive or inappropriate posts will be deleted. No questions asked.

5. Be pertinent. Our heart is to build community and intimacy, and our means to do that is to build each link-up around a single prompt. Please make sure your post is on topic.

6. Link-Up. Each Wednesday morning at 5am EST, the link goes live, and for 6 glorious days you can link up your post on that week’s prompt. The linky will close at 5pm EST on Monday.

 

 

 

November Prompts: The month of November will be all about Thanksgiving and being thankful. Any post, picture, poem, song about thankfulness is what we are linking up in November.

I hope you will plan to join us each week at The Loft Link-Up. 

Now, it is time to link-up!!

[inlinkz_linkup id=577826 mode=1]

Gettin’ My Praise On!

If I told you that I had a sure-fire way to amp up your prayer life, would you be willing to try it? Well, I’ve got it, and I shared it with you in this post. I’m choosing a different Psalm each day, and reading it with the goal of finding things for which I can praise my Jesus.

Recently, in Psalm 16 I found MUCH for which I can praise Him. Today, out of that Psalm, I offer you 4 reasons to praise Him.

psalm 16.5and6

 

 

 

 

God gives me the perfect portion.

I like to eat, but often my ‘eyes are bigger than my tummy’. That was my Mom’s way of saying that I put more on my plate than I can eat. When the table is spread with so many yummy foods, it is easy to take out more than we can eat.

In life, it is easy to allow our eyes to drift toward someone else’s ‘plate’.

She has more followers than I do.

Her speaking calendar is full and mine is not.

They have a nicer house than we do.

She always has the latest mobile device.

When my eyes and heart drift toward the portions that God gives other people, I fall into discontentment with my portion. In this Psalm, David tells us that whatever circumstances God has allowed into our lives is exactly what we need at that moment.

My lot is secure.

The Hebrew word for ‘lot’ means pebbles used for systematically making decisions, portion (thing assigned by casting lots). I like to think of it in this way. If God is casting lots in order to assign me circumstances in life, He is always going to roll a “double” for me. Whatever He allows will be for my good and His glory.
God sets boundaries that are for my good.

Boundaries are good. Everyone needs them, and God is the master boundary setter. He knows the big picture of our lives, and knows where the boundary lines need to be drawn. Whatever boundary lines God sets for me will be “in pleasant places”. God doesn’t set restrictive boundary lines just to see me squirm or be miserable. He sets boundary lines because He knows what is best for me and because He wants to see me take full advantage of the ‘delightful inheritance’ that He has for me.

I have an inheritance.

My inheritance is not only in heaven. Sometimes I forget that. Part of my inheritance….a very important part of it….is right here, right now. Having the Holy Spirit living inside of me to lead, guide, counsel, and teach me is the BOMB. He makes me wiser than I could ever be without Him. But you can only have the Holy Spirit if you have made Jesus the Lord of your life.

So, there you go. Four reasons to praise God today. Now, go get your praise on, friend!

Pin It on Pinterest