Five minute Friday – joy

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photo 28Because crying constantly throughout the day was exhausting

I needed a new hobby

A fresh focus

Something to bring a measure of joy over circumstances

Transcending struggle and sorrow

“I want a dog,” I tearfully told my husband.

And he knew I was serious.

We drove 800 miles to meet a four-legged 27 pound corgi/cattle dog thanks to an amazing program called Canine CellMates.

The wag of his tail, the jaunty way he carried his frame.

A dog that should for all practical purposes not be alive

Rescued in every way

Oliver Winslow1896954_10152767953028018_25996553_n

A stray near death, he spent seven weeks in the hospital re-  covering from his injuries

And then three months in Fulton County jail working with a handler who rehabilitated this forsaken boy

Oliver Winslow

Put sunshine back in my heart

A gift from the Creator, a sign of joy and pleasure from the Lord

An adorable, affectionate display of hope and redemption5-minute-friday-1

I began to smile and laugh again.

What does joy look like to you today? Special props to Five minute Friday for this happy word prompt!

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Going through the valley

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Sometimes there’s more going on in a picture then you might realize. These precious people have offered me support in ways I never could have imagined. I love them beyond words. The Hubs isn’t in the picture but I love that man with all my heart.

Sometimes when I look at other people’s facebooks and blogs, I think to myself, “those people sure are having a great time. They all look so happy. It doesn’t look like they have any problems.” Huh.

I can further surmise that those people always have a clean house, plenty of extra money, no significant struggles. Can you relate? Have you ever done the same thing?

Recently an acquaintance of mine posted a picture of her family. Had she not mentioned that her daughter had nearly barricaded herself in her bedroom just moments prior, I would have had no idea. Everyone had  fashioned lovely smiles, they looked perfect. Behind the scenes though, it had been a different story.

I was at another gathering and a godly woman I greatly admire shared how she had completely lost her temper with her children. She had become so frustrated, she shattered a plate on the ground. I would have never expected.

I don’t enjoy knowing people are struggling but sometimes it can help me feel better about my circumstances.

To say that I have been in great emotional struggle for the last several months would be a major understatement. If not for the LORD, the Hubs and my olive shoots, it might not be an exaggeration to say that my blog might not be the only thing that didn’t exist.

Foggy places

Foggy places

The only way I can write this is because God has been moving mountains. The dense patches of fog I experienced when going to and from Chicago in October were emblematic for what it’s been like for me personally. With great reluctance, I have been examining painful parts of my past I really wanted to ignore. It wasn’t like I just woke up one day and decided it was time to tackle this junk. Trust me. It’s been a messy process.

I have literally been clinging to Jesus uncertain of the path He was taking me on. Had I been given the option, I would have gladly retreated and not seen my way out of the mire. The valley has been deep and treacherous.

The LORD has been my strength and my shield. He is seeing me through the darkness. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an archaeologist. It intrigued me to imagine unearthing hidden artifacts. In order to get to the treasure though, archeologists dig and sift. They bend over the dusty ground and tediously rummage through the worthless in the hopes of discovery. I never pursued that career option but I’ve been doing spiritual and emotional archeology. At times when I was unable to see what was before me and tremendous, horrible anxiety gripped every part of my being, the LORD granted me courage to move through it all. My husband and my olive shoots offered me unconditional love when it would have been easier to not walk alongside me. With the help of a Biblical counselor, my pastor and others, there has been restoration and promise.

Today at church during our prayer time, I publicly thanked the LORD for what My Holy One has been doing. We attend a very small church, we don’t handle snakes or do anything weird. It is a real and honest place full of sincere, imperfect people. I feel safe there in every way. I couldn’t stop the tears even though it was slightly embarrassing. Crying and praying out loud require concentration! I know personally what Psalm 31:8 means. The LORD did not give me into the hands of the enemy but set my feet in a spacious place.

I pray that this post encourages someone who might be going through the same thing. I send you my love and support.