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by heartland guest author, Marsha Marks
I love the Bible verse from the 23rd Psalm that says, “He restores my soul.” If you’ve ever restored furniture you know how much work is involved, how much sanding (and sometimes gluing back together) is involved to restore the piece to way it looked when the creator first set it out from his shop. I like to think of God like that, as the great restorer of me, restoring the parts of me that other people have damaged or kicked in or bruised.
When I was a child, about 4 years old, my mom (who was a just a teenager) married a man who was into destroying souls by abusing little children. I was one of those children. When I was 9 years old, I finally told a teacher what was going on. I would have told sooner, but he had taken me to the garage and skinned my pet bunny alive in front of me. Then he told me he would do the same to my baby sister if I ever told on him. He held up my 4-month-old baby sister, who was screaming her head off. So, I kept quiet to protect her.
But, when I was 9 I told anyway. The teacher at school told the principal and they called a conference with my parents (this was long ago — now they would call county aid,) and at that conference the stepfather from hell said I was lying… that I told tall tales for attention. But, after that conference, he never touched me again.
However, as I grew into an adult, the fear that I had developed because of his abuse stayed with me, stuffed down into a place that I was afraid to visit, until I was 43 and he died. I went to a therapist then because as soon as I heard of his death a song began to play in my head. I recognized that the song was being sung in the voice I had as a little child: “Ding dong the witch is dead, the wicked witch, the wicked witch. Ding dong the wicked witch is dead.” I told the therapist everything — and then I showed the therapist some of my cartoon drawings. I showed him four cartoon characters and told him they were based on different people in my life, like my sisters etc. He said, “I think they are all you.” And in that moment, I knew he was right. I knew when I was 9 years old (and had finally stopped the bad guy from hurting me), that my personality wasn’t whole, like it is now; it was fragmented into four distinct characters: one very strong character who was a protector, one sweet character, one popular character, and one character that loved the law and loved enforcing it.
The therapist helped me to see that I was a victim when I was a child, but that my tragedy was not my identity. I continued to write for and draw my cartoon characters all the rest of my adult life, and all the while I was growing in my faith in God.
But one thing in my faith bothered me. I could understand how God could work all things together for good, and that he allowed some awful things – but I could not understand how he could work what had been done to me as a child together for good. How could he possibly use child abuse so bad that my little personality had to split to handle the stress? I had no idea. Then recently my first book of cartoon characters came out. People are telling me they are blessed by these characters, and I’m thinking, maybe — just maybe — when God restores my soul, he recycles all the damage into something good.
You be the judge. You can download my eBook based on these characters at Amazon.com: Lambu looks at the Bible. Click the blue title “Lambu Looks at the Bible, by Marsha Marks” below the hearts at the top of this web page (right above this post) to see samples from the book. Enjoy! ♥
Written by Catherine Fruisen.
In recent years—for the past decade, give or take—I had to write.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that I wanted to be an author, or that I enjoyed the craft, or felt a duty to exercise some kind of God-given talent. Perhaps little bits of those motives were present from time to time, but if so, they were pure fantasy. No. I mean, I literally had to write. I typed pages and pages, entire books that I could never share with anyone because they were about deeply personal stuff: bad, stupid things done in real families, and how all of that mess affected the people I love and, ultimately, me. I had to get it out.
Apparently my experience was not unique. In her book Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott shared an author friend’s description of the phenomenon: “It’s not like you don’t have a choice, because you do—you can either type or die.”
She went on to say, “writing is, for some of us, the latch that keeps the door of the pen closed, keeps those crazy ravenous dogs contained.”
An apt description, to be sure.
Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors. In many ways, she is my very favorite. She is hilarious, which I love, and she understands that life is a mix of beauty and horse poo—a reality she accepts without trying to recolor the bad parts with pithiness. In other words, she is wise. Our life stories are similar (but different), so I can relate and still find her fascinating. Most importantly, she writes about her faith with an honesty that I find refreshing. Her stuff is too raw for Lifeway—don’t look for Anne Lamott in any Christian bookstore. For a long time I considered the oversight a scandalous shame, but I have come to realize that the typical Lifeway shopper is not a member of this best-selling author’s target audience. She writes about her faith for people who would never go near the place, and that is good, because who else does that? Precious few.
Here’s the thing: It’s been a tumultuous year for me. My family moved a thousand miles north, and simultaneously my work load was stacked higher than I could see. My mind was filled to capacity with to-do lists, including the overwhelming tasks of helping my soft-spoken eleven-year-old son get settled in a new home/new city/new school, finding a new church (which I naively assumed would be easy—#amateur!), and meeting a hefty barrage of book deadlines, which, in addition to illustration, included writing assignments. Ha ha. (Future post: “God’s Sense of Humor,” or, “Praying Jabez for Your Business: What’s That You Say About Broadening My Horizons?”)
Recently, as things began to settle, I noticed an abject lack of barking between my ears. The hellhounds that formerly tormented my brain were gone. I wondered where they were, and, expectantly—drumming my fingers on the kitchen table, shooting anxious glances left and right—when they would return. So far, there has been no sign of them, and frankly I am giving up hope. But it’s okay. After the initial shock of their departure wore off I was hit by the realization that I don’t miss them. Nope, not at all. Fare thee well, hounds from hell.
In the resulting quiet I am able to notice, w-a-a-a-a-y down in the deepest part of my soul, a tiny, trembling sprout of desire. My former need to get it all out—to rat out the psychopaths and bullies, to analyze all of the crazy I see in myself and everyone around me—is being replaced by an as-yet timid desire to write for the people I used to know and still love: the atheists and actors and New-Agers, the agnostics and the hedonists and those beautiful, hell-bent alcoholic writers. And, God, the artists. They are my people, and I can’t go to my grave without making some kind of effort on their behalf.
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. ~ Philippians 1:9-11, The Message
Annie, it seems, understood from the start how to put legs on this passage. Not me. I have to figure it out.
by baaaaa.com sitemaster Catherine Fruisen (a.k.a. the rotund bald guy pulling the levers behind this site’s curtain), an illustrator who lives with her husband and awesome little boy amid dairy farms in upstate New York
Hey everybody. (Big smile. Bigger wave.) It’s me, Catherine, the one who thought up this blog two years ago and has been maintaining and promoting it for the past year and a half. (Straightens skirt, tucks fallen tress behind unusually obtrusive, elf-like ear.) I have an announcement:
baaaaa.com is moving in a new direction.
There are several good and valid reasons for the change. The only one that I will share is the simplest to explain: my personal schedule has changed. I am out of time.
Henceforth I will share ownership of baaaaa.com with four friends—Katie Mulder, Margie Miller, Jean Foster Akin, and Vikki Carr de los Reyes—all of whom are excellent writers. (I am totally riding on their shirt tails; it’s an understanding between us.) We will take turns posting on a rotating schedule, with the occasional guest post (by Margo James and others, t.b.a.) thrown in when one of us inevitably can’t make her deadline.
Readers, thank you. We hope you’ll stick with us. And WRITERS—you marvelous, wonderful people—thank you for all of your completely voluntary contributions. Thanks for putting up with my editing, my barbaric 800-word limit, and my—ahem— *scheduling errors* (big smile coupled with nervous chuckling). Special thanks to Kimberly Shorter who helped get the site going, and to my friend “Nueva Luz” who risked life and limb to share his story here. And Brett Wilkes, volunteer editor-in-chief—THANK YOU!
You’ve all been so good to me.
by Kristi Huseby, friend of God, aspiring writer, proud mom.
I walked in from our garage into the kitchen and immediately smelled something awful! It was permeating the whole house. I figured it was either coming from the garbage or the refrigerator. I checked the trash and didn’t find anything too smelly in there. My next exploration led me to the fridge. It was full at the time and it took some sorting out to find the culprit!
We had a nice science experiment going on in our refrigerator with a few spoonfuls of refried beans. I couldn’t believe that such a little amount of food could cause such a great stink in our house!
Smell is a powerful thing. A small whiff of an odor or fragrance can take you back to a memory from long ago — your Grandmother’s perfume, laundry hung on the line to dry, bread baking in the oven.
The Bible talks about the aroma of a believer, a captive of Jesus Christ. Look at 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”
Have you ever stopped to consider what kind of a smell you are giving off? Is it a sweet fragrance of surrender to Jesus Christ or an acrid repugnant odor of sin hidden in your heart?
Holding onto our sin is like carrying around a big smelly bag of trash. We get used to carrying that bag and it actually feels good at times, we feel justified in our attitudes and our behaviors. We don’t even realize that that big bag of trash is causing us to stumble and fall and to miss out on so much more that God wants to give us.
How easy and comfortable it is to wallow in our sin, to justify it and excuse it while never realizing that it is weighing us down, tripping us up and holding us captive.
I have found that in my own life, when I allow sin to take root that it quickly takes over and I need to surrender to Jesus Christ and allow Him to dig it out and expel that odorous sin from my life.
Just as a refrigerator cannot rid itself of its own smelly contents, we cannot clean up our life on our own. We need a Savior to rescue us from our depravity, our foolishness and show us where we need to go — that Savior is Jesus Christ.
Have you given over your bag of trash to your Savior? Have you surrendered those areas in your life that are holding you back from wholeheartedly following Jesus? What’s stopping you?
Exchange that smelly bag of trash for the fragrant aroma of following Jesus – I guarantee you won’t miss it!
By Dawn M. Hamsher, drama girl and writer who lives for coffee, chocolate, and Jesus.
On all my Christmas cards last year I wrote: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…” (Romans 15:13). This passage has special meaning to me right now as my teenage daughter struggles with the hard questions of faith. Recently after youth group, she asked me:
- How do you really know there is a God?
- How do you know Christianity is the right faith? I don’t want to die and find out I picked the wrong one.
- Was Jesus a real person? How do you know for sure?
- Is it documented anywhere besides the Bible that Jesus did miracles?
Inside I was ecstatic. She was asking questions that I never dreamed of contemplating at her age, but how to answer her? I took a deep breath and before I opened my mouth, I prayed, “Lord, give me the words.”
First, I told her that no one disputes Jesus lived and performed miracles, not even the Jews who lived back then. Then, I told her that I couldn’t answer all of her questions, but that I know that Jesus is real and alive.
“How do you know?” she asked.
“Because I have a personal relationship with him; because he has answered prayers and given me signs,” I said.
I told her of specific experiences that had strengthened my faith.
- The time God opened my eyes and showed me the man I was dating was to be my husband, the one God had planned for me (and this was at the time I was contemplating breaking up with him).
- The time it was pouring rain and I was driving my family in it. The rain was so bad that I couldn’t see. I prayed for God to protect us. Immediately, I felt God’s presence. I became calm and we made it safely to our destination.
- The time I worked on a women’s retreat curriculum. I had done all the research, but nothing would come together. I was so frustrated that I finally turned to God for help and then everything changed. God guided me step-by-step until the curriculum was complete. It turned out perfect and just what the women needed.
- The time when I asked God if he wanted me to direct the church play again for that year (even though I didn’t want to do it). I felt God’s hand of blessing on the play and on me, so I did it. God blessed my obedience by filling me with joy and by lifting some of the normal stresses that I had dealt with in past productions.
God has shown me through these (and more) encounters that He is real and He is willing to be a part of my life if I let him. After sharing my personal experiences, I suggested my daughter to take her questions directly to God. Even Job in the Bible who trusted God completely still questioned God about the things that were happening to him. My daughter could also trust God and he would answer her.
As I said my prayers that night, I prayed that with time and experiences, my daughter would know beyond a doubt that God is God and that Jesus is Lord of all. I prayed that she would someday have “the joy and peace in believing,” as I do.
Dawn M. Hamsher lives in Pennsylvania. She works in the IT field, but has a passion for writing and drama ministries. You can connect with her on her blogs, The Write Soil and 1st Writes, or on Twitter.
A young boy lies huddled in his bed at night, shaking with fear over the shadows in his room. Finally he calls out, “Daddy! Come quick! There’s a monster in my closet!” The boy’s father, tired of this nighttime ritual, calls back, “God is everywhere and He loves you, son!” The boy replies, “Yes, I know, but right now I need a God with skin on ‘im!”
The Bible tells us that God is love, and when we are hurting, Christians remind us of this. But does this knowledge help when our child is sick with cancer, or our spouse has left us for another, or we are terribly ill, deeply depressed, or miserable with a loneliness that no one knows about? Does this help when the Body of Christ is silent in our sorrow? Not all of God’s children emote and weep openly and feel comfortable “bothering” others with their problems. Many quietly endure, and are often overlooked by others, and feel terribly alone. In the deepest places of anguish and pain and fear, when we have not even the strength to lift up our eyes, or to believe anything, anything at all, how do we see the One who cares for us, how do we sense His presence?
I was attending a church for six years with my husband, and it seemed God frequently placed me in relationships with women who had troubles. Encouraging others came easy to me — I hated to see people hurting.
But then I became quite ill. I started missing church, and after a few Sundays, a couple of people asked my husband where I was. He explained I was sick and having a very difficult time of it. Each Sunday after that, someone would tell him to “give her our love,” and to “call if you need anything.” With no insurance and only my husband’s income, the options for a treatment (as well as the regularity of office visits) were limited. It took nine and a half months for the doctor to discover an answer for me. Then I began the long process of recovery, but by that point I was an empty shell, severely depressed, physically depleted, and feeling as if God had abandoned us. You see, not once in 9 and 1/2 months did I receive a card, a phone call, or a visit from any member of my church. Not once. I didn’t know what we had done to offend God. Exhausted from being so sick for so long, and disheartened by the lack of support from our church family, I started back to church. I was polite, but I stopped engaging people beyond “good morning” and the expected pleasantries. I wasn’t going to be hurt again. I avoided anyone with any hint of problems in her own life, figuring she could fend for herself — I certainly had.
Another church, another time: I lost a baby to miscarriage. We did not run to the church and weep openly during a church service or call the prayer chain. But the second Sunday we missed church, three different women called me, and I told them I’d lost a baby.
A little while later, the phone rang. “Don’t even think of trying to make dinner for the next two weeks,” a woman from church told me. “We’ve made arrangements and we have it covered.”
“Oh, no,” I said, feeling uncomfortable about inconveniencing them, “that’s okay…”
She stopped me. “Jean,” she said. “Allow us to be blessed by blessing you.”
That very night, a woman from church brought us a hot meal. She had five homeschooled children, but, like many of the women with children at home and family obligations, she joined the group of women who took turns for the next two weeks making sure my husband I were cared for, encouraged, and loved. These women didn’t think it was enough to say, “Sorry to hear about your loss. Call if you need anything,” because THAT IS NEVER ENOUGH! These women were GOD WITH SKIN ON HIM. They were the comforting hand of God to me and my husband and toddler, they were His gentle caring voice; they were the manifestation of His love — just as He has designed all of us to be for each other. I did not become bitter over our loss, I recovered and joined my sisters to make sure other people would never have to feel the pain of going through life’s trials alone. That’s what the Body of Christ engenders in its members — or what it should engender: love, and a belief that GOD CARES, that He shows His care THROUGH His people, but only when they are obedient to Him. This is love in the flesh. God’s love lived out in the Body of Christ, God with skin on Him.
By SueAnn Porter, writer, wife and mom and owner of a very spoiled dog named Bailey.
My 18-year-old son recently left home to attend college. I was more concerned about what he needed than he was. I was constantly asking him, “Do you need towels, sheets, or soap? Do you have enough toothpaste?” He would roll his eyes at me. I knew I had to let him go.
I had several other friends whose kids were going off to college and leaving home for the first time. They shared with me that they were struggling to “let go.” I was glad I was not the only one.
As a mom, I have a built-in instinct to take care of my son, and that is a necessary part of bringing him up. But now, I have to trust God, and let him go. I still pray for my son, of course, but God wants my son to develop his own relationship with Him.
I came across an interesting verse in scripture:
Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth. ~ Samuel 4:4
I have heard this story preached before: “The nurse picks up the baby and drops him, and he becomes lame.” But look more closely: Mephibosheth was not a baby—he was five years old! Most five-year-olds can run faster than most adults I know. She meant well, but she should have just grabbed his hand, and run with him. The nurse turned Mephibosheth into a cripple because she tried to do for him what he needed to do for himself.
I thought about this and realized that I have to let my son “run his own race.” Of course, I can stand by and cheer him on, but I can’t carry him. I don’t want to cripple him so that he cannot face the challenges that life throws at him.
Growing up is uncomfortable, and we make mistakes. If he forgets to do his homework, or forgets to study for a test, he will have to learn to be more organized for the next time. If I continue to oversee his work, I will deprive him of developing the skills he needs in later life. In a sense, I would be crippling him.
God does the same with me. Although He is always with me, leading and guiding me, He doesn’t do things that I should be doing myself. Jesus promised us, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
God walks beside us in our tribulation. We should do the same for our adult children.
By Taryn R. Hutchison. Moonlighting writer and full-time administrative assistant. Former missionary/adventure magnet.
This time last year, Chester had no hope. He despaired of life.
Now his heart sings with joy indescribable. His life matters.
I first met Chester at Christmastime. My husband and I joined fifty others to sing carols at the place Chester lived.
That place was San Quentin State Penitentiary. As we caroled, our voices transformed into something holy. The words, “His redeeming grace,” bounced off the rotunda walls and through the open window of Condemned Row to sink into needy hearts.
My own heart remembered that, but for the grace of God, I would be condemned, too. No better than these criminals, I’ve had the opportunity to know God through a relationship with His Son. His righteousness exchanged for my sin and I am free.
Chester (not his real name) has lived at San Quentin for close to 20 years. My husband, Steve, got to know him well through weekly visits. Chester asked me to write his story.
He knew he messed up. Serving a 50-year-to-life sentence makes that abundantly clear.
But in prison, Chester met Jesus Christ and gave his life to Him. He firmly believes that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1.) Set free on the inside, he wants a chance to prove that he is a new creation.
Chester was incarcerated on the Three Strikes Law, stealing a total of $500 during his three robberies. His punishment, and its consequences, outweighs his crime.
Once convicted, his wife divorced him and denied him access to their baby daughter, now a young adult. Undaunted, he wrote his daughter weekly, filling journals now in her possession. He wanted her to know her father loves her; to teach her about following Jesus and not his own bad choices.
He mailed these books to friends for safekeeping, friends who recognized the name of their waitress and asked if she would like to read words penned just for her. She devoured the first volume and wrote to her dad. Her letters have been a healing balm to Chester’s raw heart. But they’ve also caused him to feel afresh what he has missed.
Then the unthinkable happened. Chester was raped in prison.
Chester wrote us last Christmas with no hope of ever getting out. No hope of anything changing for the better.
The last year has left me severely depressed – a couple of times on suicide watch. I have reached my end! At one time, I was certain of God’s presence in and throughout my life. Now, after being raped, I do not know. Steve, I used to believe God to be just. What am I to think now?
We heard his cry and we prayed. We joined our voices with others to lift up Chester to the One who came to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives.
This Christmas, Chester’s letter brought a different tone. What changed? Chester now sees purpose in his life. He glimpsed the good God intended to bring out of the bad.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20.
Chester helped get prison reform overwhelmingly passed in California. The life-sentence-carrying Third Strike now must be for a serious or violent crime.
I sure have had some rough days. Now I see how God is using me. Courts are writing inmates informing them of their departure. Yes, now I see. God spoke to me, “Yes, Chester, I am letting you out of prison, but I needed you to help reform this law because many of my kids are in prison.” For God SO loved the world!
Brother Steve, I was moved to repent because of my narrow, narrow vision. Thinking it’s all about me. You should see the faces of the guys. Many for the first time in years have Hope and Joy! My heart is so full! God is good!
Yes, He is good. His intentions for us are good.
Click here to order Taryn’s Book, We Wait You.
by Barry Pearman, a pastor inspiring mental health through spiritual formation and soul talk.
Ham off the bone, barbequed salmon, cold salads of various design, cheesecake, brandy snaps, trifle, and ice cream with strawberries fresh from my garden.
This was my Christmas lunch, all with the background noise of laughter as children jumped in the swimming pool. Such is Christmas here in Southern Hemisphere New Zealand.
It is summertime here and everyone is in holiday mode. Relaxing, eating too much, reading, and kicking back while nibbling away on Christmas Day leftovers.
For many Kiwis it is holiday time at the beach. So they leave, supposedly, the rat-race life of the city and jam the highways to the beach campsite, hopefully reserved many months beforehand.
Setting up their tent they reconnect with fellow holiday-makers they haven’t seen since last year. Conversations form around what has happened in the year. Tent pegs are shared and air bed leaks fixed by that guy who brings everything just in case.
Everyone is in the same boat of heat, sleeplessness, dust, noise, and gallons of sunblock that must be applied.
There is, however, a new guy camping with you these Christmas holidays. No one has seen him before, and he hitchhiked into the campgrounds with only a small backpack. He set up his rather primitive-looking tent right in the middle of everyone. Then he started to mingle amongst everyone. Just chatting, exchanging Christmas stories and getting to know each person really well.
The kids just love him. He seems very attractive to the childlike in nature. The children jump over him, climb on his lap, make sand castles and swim with him. Parents are suspicious of this newcomer. Gossip whispers through the campsite — perhaps he has just been released from prison, perhaps he is a sex offender and is grooming our children for abuse. Someone relates how they saw him swimming once and noticed lots of scars on his body as if he had been in a fight.
Walls of fear are slowly built, children warned not to go near. Relationships turn sour and Jesus is left alone, once again, in a garden of tears.
The Apostle John, in his Christmas card, writes this:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14
The original word for ‘dwelling’ refers to a ‘tabernacle or tent.’ Jesus, as such, set up tent amongst us. He sojourned with us, ate, drank, slept, and stubbed his toe with us. John calls the reader back to the tenting existence of the desert where God set up a tent in the nation of Israel’s midst.
Christmas is a time to remember Jesus, who set up tent among us. He became one of us, experienced our reality, and loved in spite of hate.
Questions to consider and leave a comment about:
- If a stranger walked into your camping ground and set up tent, how would you treat him, honestly? Fear, welcome, suspicion, openness? Why?
- How do you welcome the stranger Jesus into your life today? Does he cause a ‘stir’ in your community?
Barry Pearman lives in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a pastor and writer and blogs about spiritual formation and soul talk for mental health. You can connect with him on his blog Turning the Page and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
by Brett R. Wilkes, curious reader, loyal friend, student of the magic of writing.
When I was seven years old, I rode in the back seat as my mom drove around our two-traffic-light rural town. We were on our way home from picking up all the items we needed for a Samaritan’s Purse shoebox. You know, the ones they deliver to kids in poorer situations worldwide at the Christmas season, filled with gifts ranging from toiletries to toys. I riffled through the bag, looking at what we bought. I was interrupted by a sensation that immediately exited my throat in the form of a statement that was really a question to my mom, “I feel really good right now.”
What was this feeling?
I was thinking about the boy who would get this little stuffed-animal bear somewhere a few thousand miles away. And the yoyo, which he could learn to do tricks with. The bubbles that would mesmerize all the younger kids around him and be popped by their fists and fingertips. Somehow, thinking merely about the unknown boy’s future glee when he did open his gift made a buoyant energy and sensation well up in my gut, and it really did make a visceral impression in a warm, even life-breathing imagination.
My mom told me that really good feeling was joy. Joy, at someone else’s joy, enabled by our giving.
Giving is almost a drug — and I will not be trying to talk down anyone who’s addicted, because generosity in wealth, in time, in love, in attention, in everything I have, is the top way to bring joy not only to myself, but also to others! My joy brings joy to the counterparts of my “giving” — which really didn’t seem like giving at all. It was so simple. But it left this great big idea of potent joy on my mind, it beamed warming rays onto my soul, and it stuck with me as the simplest great way to create joy, and to make my human family happy. In doing so, too, to love. And to love people I’d never even met, never would, and didn’t particularly have to care for. The warmth in my belly propelled me way above the call of “duty” to a passion for giving and its joy-bearing for all involved.
All of this, from filling a shoe box for a stranger.
“Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on.” ~ Luke 12:33, The Message