I remember singing the song “I’ve got the joy down in my heart” as a child. Singing about joy is one thing. But how do we truly live lives filled with a deep, unshakable joy in the midst of difficult trials? Join me on Alisa’s blog Flourishing Today for a guest post I had the privilege to write for her ministry!
Do you remember playing the game “telephone” in elementary school? Everyone sits in a circle and a special “secret” is whispered into a child’s ear. The secret is passed around the circle, one whisper at a time, until everyone has heard the message. By the time the message has made it around the circle, usually the secret has been so distorted that it is hardly recognized by the one who began the game.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Baker, but we can’t allow you to withdraw from your account today.”
I stared at the bank teller in utter confusion as she handed me back my driver’s license. All I need is twenty bucks–I can’t have twenty dollars from my own account? I wondered in astonishment. I started to develop a sinking feeling in my stomach. Trying to retain my composure, (and grateful that no one was in line behind me), I asked her what the problem was.
When I was about three years old, my parents threw me the biggest birthday party of all time. Though the only part I actually remember from my party was a large, bearded magician standing in front of me as his “magic” dove pooped on our living room floor! The pictures of this birthday bash revealed dozens of friends and family, party hats, festive decorations, and loads of food. I’m sure it was every toddler’s dream, but it was definitely the last party my parents attempted on such a large scale!
“Christin, you are pretty, but it’s too bad that you’re black.”
Her words pierced my soul like a razor-sharp dagger. I was in Central America, thousands of miles from my home on a college study abroad program. The beauty of the tropical trees, vibrant flowers and sights of the city were so inviting. But at that moment I felt unwelcome. Unwanted. Utterly despised and rejected.
It was a bleak fall day, just weeks before Thanksgiving. I was in the first trimester of my fourth pregnancy, when I realized I was bleeding.
“Oh God, please.” I whispered.
A subsequent call to my OB landed me in the office that very afternoon. Hoping for the best and praying against the worst, I swallowed the huge lump in my throat and waited.
I have discovered that doing laundry can be a powerful opportunity to meet with God. He is with us in the washing, and present in the piles. The other day as I put in load of whites, I thought of the amazing description of Jesus’ clothing in the Gospel of Mark–a description that involves bleach. (I never realized bleach was actually in the Bible!) Imagine yourself as one of the privileged disciples–Peter, James or John. They were chosen by Jesus to accompany him on high mountain, and they would never forget the incredible sight they encountered.
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Prov 31:10
The other day I was perusing the children’s picture book section of our local library, searching for fun books to read with my kids. A woman walked by on the other side of the shelf near me, and I suddenly heard her snicker to herself.
On April 7, 2015, the beauty company Dove launched an advertising campaign called “Choose Beautiful” . Representatives from the organization set up campaigns in several countries across the globe. At each conference location, two signs were placed at the entrance of each door; one labeled “Average” and the other “Beautiful”.
Do you remember those Valentine’s parties you had in elementary school? I remember each student receiving a decorated paper bag, and we walked around the classroom dropping cards and candies into each other’s bags with great excitement. Most of the cards had funny cartoon characters, with silly messages like, “You’re sweet!” or the famous, “Be mine, Valentine!”