In The Morning (Giveaway Winner Announcement)


Hi y’all! I owe you all a tremendous apology. I had said that I would be posting my next post with the contest winner on May 14th but I had no idea what was coming. Due to circumstances so far out of my control and beyond anything that I expected for that week I just could not post. Truly y’all did not want to read the things in my head over the last two weeks and it has taken me until now to clear my head enough to give you all something more than a jumbled mess.

Psalm 30:5b has been on my heart over the past few days. It says

“Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.”

“Joy comes in the morning”, huh? Well, two weeks full of mornings have happened and I haven’t fully located the illusive joy. Then I realized that the seven days that the Word says it took God to create the earth wasn’t OUR seven days but His so “the morning” probably isn’t in my time either. And because I think this is MY world instead of His I have ever so kindly mentioned to God that I feel like He needs to get it together and do things on my time because He takes too long.

Let me back up about 2 weeks. On Wednesday May 17th, my Dad left this earth and walked into eternity. He battled leukemia until his body said it was done.

Grief demands so much more of us than we are ever willing to give. It shatters even the hardest of exteriors and brings us to our knees.

I wish I could tell you that I immediately clung to God’s word and that made everything okay but I sadly didn’t. I had to circle back around. I was angry. I wanted joy in the morning and I wanted it instantaneously. I wanted to feel better and understand why the restoration that I long for won’t happen on earth. I wanted to know why God had put so many words on my heart that I wanted to say to Dad but I never could. Why all the words if I wasn’t given the chance to say them?!

We have all heard it, said it, experienced that we are all bound by space and time and even in our wildest attempts to understand it all we really understand very little. There will always be questions left unanswered, too many questions to list. Heaven is our hope for unanswered questions.

Joy, come in the morning.

As Zack told me today “Mom, joy in the morning is a choice”. Yes, it is but it’s also a process when we are dealing with deeper issues than a regular old bad day. After a rough day, when we choose to see the positive, we know that joy and peace will be waiting on us in the morning. But what about those situations that are not so easy?

I think the difference between the ability to choose joy and processing grief is reality. Knowing that the bad day is small and won’t have a large impact on the tomorrows. Whereas loss leaves a hole and forces you to search for a new reality. It can’t be immediately swept up into the dustpan and filed under “dealt with” because the holes of loss are vacancies that cannot be patched, mended, or filled. No matter how hard we try it is still there.

Memories soften the sharp edges loss leave, they make finding joy in the morning possible.

Now for the fun stuff!

The winner of the Choose Joy Signboard is….

 

 

 

 

Penny Wright!

Congratulations!

Please e-mail your address to graceandgigglesblog@yahoo.com

 

 

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T-Shirts In The Sand


Recently Jim and I were in the grocery store and I was wearing a t-shirt that ways “I Love My Husband”  and the girl at the checkout counter asked the super typical question of “did he make you wear that?”. Can I just tell y’all that if I had even a penny for every time I hear that I would be well on my way to paying off a week long cruise. It’s that often.

No, he didn’t make me wear it. In fact, the odds are pretty high that he didn’t even know what shirt I was wearing or if I was even wearing a shirt. Jim isn’t exactly known for being observant.

I told her that when your marriage has gone through all that we’ve put ours through you wear your I love my spouse t-shirts, tell your story, and pray someone, anyone, learns from your mistakes.

If this tee bought at a marriage event strikes up a conversation about loving your spouse well then the $20 was worth it. If our hard story causes someone to pause and consider their own marriage then the divorce was worth it.

No, I would not want to go back there. But yes, I do see the value in those years. Wisdom comes when we are experiencing life, not when we wait for life to experience us. Nothing gets better because we sat and consider things, we are meant to experience life and then tell others about it. Even the hard stuff. I would say especially the hard stuff.

In the Parable of the Three Servants (Matthew 25:14-30 GW) Jesus is comparing these three dudes that are given thousands of dollars by their master, right? The master was careful to give each servant what his ability would be able to handle so one was given 10 thousand dollars, the next 4 thousand dollars, and the last 2 thousand dollars.  The first two invested and doubled their money. The last hid his money in the sand and came back with the same amount, nothing gained or lost.

Well, what if we consider the money in a different way? What if we call the money our stories. God gives us each a life to live with plenty of lessons and circumstances. So the same three people are given a story the first goes out into the world and shares it far and wide…loud and God glorifying. The second also shares his story but on a smaller stage amongst those they know and love, still God glorifying. The third though never shared his story. My question is what if his story was the one that would have helped another person? What if him saying “You know, I really struggle with addiction.” or “I constantly fight the urge to look at porn.” or “I carry this shame from my divorce” or “I cheated my way to to the top and wish I had known the truth of what it would do to me a long time ago.”

When we bury our story and don’t trust others with it we are limiting the power God gave us to help each other. To point straight to Him and say “it was hard but to God be the glory.”

Lets not bury our testimonies but instead lets wear the t-shirts, say some hard stuff, and point the victories back to Him.

Snap the Crack

About a year ago on his walk home from school Noah was swinging his lunchbox around not paying attention to his surroundings he whacked it up against a tree. It didn’t break, but it did crack. I was able to pop the piece back together and though you could see the crack it still worked just fine for carrying his lunch. For some reasons passing understanding he stopped carrying a lunch box in exchange for a plastic bag so Jim is now using the cracked lunch box.

The crack is still visible but no one pays attention to it until it no longer held in the contents of the lunch. See, Jim had put a container of pickles in his lunch and apparently the lid was not on the pickle container securely because it leaked. If the lunchbox had been properly cared for it may have never had a crack that eventually caused a pickle juice mess in the bottom of Jim’s work bag.

So, why am I telling you this?

Well, that crack reminds me of past hurts. We snap ourselves back into place; seemingly unhurt, undamaged. But eventually our cracks start to ooze out the hurts and the pickle juice is everywhere! Oh, the mess our exposed cracks really do leave! Pickle juice leaves a residue that is sometimes sticky and slimy not to mention a very distinct and hard to get rid of odor.

Hurts are like that too. In an effort to hold in the hurts we say and do things out of pain and hurt that we may have never done to begin with. We speak from a place of pain. We lose a piece of ourselves by just snapping back together a crack rather than dealing with it. We need something more than a quick fix.

I know it seems like the easy thing to just brush yourself off and pretend that thing didn’t happen or that it didn’t hurt you, but it did. There is hope and there is better than the appearance of OK. 

One Sunday morning at church I saw a sweet friend of mine and asked her how she was. She sucked her self in and stood tall(or as tall as a 5ft tall person can), gave me a radiant smile that didn’t touch her eyes and said “I’m great”. Not buying it I said “It’s okay not to be great.” and to that she revealed a struggle she was going through. We sometimes need permission not to be great. It’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay for the crack to be visible.

So what do we do when we are not okay?

  1. Don’t hide it. Find someone you love and trust, who loves you enough to be a soft place to land, and share your heart with them.
  2. Pray. The Bible says we are His workmanship. He created us and He can restore us.
  3. Chocolate heals. Yes, I said it. Eat some chocolate in your favorite cozy time.
  4. Write out your pains. Put them down on a piece of paper not so you linger over them but that you physically release them.
  5. Take a walk. Now you’ve left them on the paper, get out and move. Shake it off. Breath deep. There is restorative power in a beautiful day with fresh air and seeing how alive the world is.

I am guilty of this too guys, but maybe we can learn this together. We’ll be in each other’s corner reminding each other that it’s okay to process and deal with the hurt.