Laughter really is good medicine

I had a very long season of dealing with a very over stimulated undiagnosed child of obsessive compulsive disorder. I was exhausted in those days dealing with his constant bathing, hand washing, organizing and anger issues when things in his organized world were disrupted.

He would become overly obsessed when something exciting was going to happen and he could not be calm while he waited. He would get more and more aggressive as the event drew closer. We would hide trips and visits from him until the moment we were heading for the door.

Somehow he had found out about an event  he was very excited about and had fit upon fit that day. Angry outbursts, throwing things, arguing, and tearing things up. I was fit to be tied. All of a sudden with my boys in the middle of the room arguing, I decided to laugh. The laugh was completely fake and forced but laugh I did. All three of my children stopped and stared at me as if I had grown four heads.

Then my laughter was no longer forced, their expression cracked me up. I laughed and laughed and my sons outburst no longer angered me. They thought it was great fun to see mom laughing and all three of them laughed too. We laughed and laughed until tears came from our eyes. The boys got rather silly and started getting wild and I laughed all the more. It was a good moment, dare I say a God moment. The joy was filling the room. The tension gone.

There are many moments when I want to cry that I now choose to  laugh. Not because I truly find the situation funny but because I know laughter will bring about joy. I am not denying the existance of the problem, for we deal with it eventually. But I am allowing myself the tools to be equipped to deal with these issues in peace. I am looking at the situation and saying “you are not as big as you think you are.”

Challenge this day my friend: Laugh, bring about the joy and let your situation know that you have taken good medicine to deal with it!

Proverbs 17:22-

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

I do it for them

Let me start this post by declaring, it is not about me. This post is to declare that it is about them. The people in my life that have to deal with the me. Regardless of what I am going through at any point in my life; I am called to be a blessing.

I wake up in the morning and I hurt. I mean I really hurt , everywhere. I am so tired and sick from hurting. Each day I make an effort to rise not for myself but for the lives of those I may touch that day. I often have to repent of my attitude and my frustrated grumblings, but when I am not in the moment, my heart is to bless others. I must rise above the moment. Right now it is a conscious effort, my goal is one day not have to ‘think’ or make the effort, that it will come naturally.

If I live in only the existence of my body or my circumstance I will fail miserably at this life because frankly many of those days just suck. I have recently gotten into the pattern when others ask how I am doing to be vague with my answer or declare that I am blessed. I do not wish to share that I hurt very often.  I do not feel I am being dishonest in anyway, I am always truthful with censorship. It is not encouraging, uplifting, or even pleasant for others to hear that I am doing crappy most days.

My poor family as much as I desire to bless them each day, hear my complaining and my mood swings as I deal with the blur. I have decided this day to make a stronger effort to not subject them to that.

I am taken back to a time in my life when I was sick years ago. I needed to step away from everything back then that was important to me. I felt like I had no ministry and was teetering on despair  and then I remembered…there is no room for despair when I am a child of God.

God lead me to writing letters of encouragement to strangers. Offering friendship and prayer. I was so blessed in this season. Joy bubbled forth like deposits of rain. I even formed friendships with people that wrote back. A very dear friend that has blessed me far more than I ever could possibly bless her, was one of my greatest rewards.

To this day no matter how cruddy I feel I am always blessed and get a measure of joy when I do for others. When I rise and bless the children’s day that I work with, help my father or mother, when I have a listening ear for my own children, when I make a great dinner for the family, stand on the worship team and sing, make it to a baby shower, or even as exhausting as it is, grocery shop for my men’s belly’s these things are seeds sown that reap joy in the harvest.

Everything that I do can be done for the Glory of God and to bless others and my reward of joy far outweighs living in my moment. He gives me the strength to rise each day and He gives me the leading on how to bless. The touching of lives is not done in my own power, for in myself there is none. It is all about digging deeper than the me factor.  Because the me could never be enough.

These moments end. The life that is full of struggle will  end. Yet the seeds and the measure of joy that we have sown, will just keep overflowing from the the life we have given into others.

Blessings this day my friends and remember, deposit the joy into the life of others.

Zachariah 4:6-

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

Influence

 

When the boys were small I found them playing church one day in their room. They had lined all their stuffed animals to face them.

One of the boys was being pastor Steve Tipton, the other was pretending to be their grandpa that we went to church with. While the third had his play music set and was worship pastor.

Peaking through the door I stood and watched them for awhile and thought they were so cute and turned and left them to their play undisturbed.

Little did I know this moment of play would cross my  mind years later and have me evaluating; Who is influencing my life? The boys looked up to these men in their lives so much they were imitating them and pretending to be just like them. They had been influenced. And to this day I still see the influence of great men and women that have crossed my sons lives.

A very strong part of walking in a life of joy is to not be dragged down by people that cut you down, constantly complain , or ignore your existence.  These people will be in your life, I often catch myself being one of them and apologize for it.

This influence is everywhere and can be a great danger to a walk with joy if it is not recognized.  I do not need to let them dictate my joy. I do not need to imitate them. I can evaluate who brings life to my life and let those people speak into it. I can and will choose to be like those people that have joy and grace and mercy. That are not full of hateful words or indifference.

Who is it that is influencing your day? If you can not get away from them because they are a integral part of your life, can you not choose to say, I refuse to be like them?

We truly are our own person, however, often who we are around is what we can become. Be aware of the sources that are influencing your joy. Be proactive in who you want to grow up to be. I for one have not grown up yet but I am working on it.

Stand up and laugh out loud and say; this day is mine and joy will fill this heart and those that bring about death instead of life to me will not be my influence.

 

It is time to laugh at myself

If You know what it is like to have one of those weeks where everything feels like it is going wrong and you are so bone weary tired you want to just sit and stare into space, then you understand how my week had been going on a day of venting all over the family.

I come in from work and wash my hands in the kitchen and there are no clean towels to dry my hands. I looked in the drawer, no towel. I looked on the counter, no towel. I looked in the dirty clothes, no towel.

That was all it took for me. I had washed all the towels the day before and my family is notorious for getting into them each time they dry their hands and leaving them on the counter. Then they take that same towel and wipe up sticky messes with no water and leave them there. I was so frustrated that the family strikes again that I yelled at each one of them over the towels. Each one of them declaring they did not touch the towels and me yelling back that they were lying or mistaken because the towels were gone once again. I even yelled at my loving hubby.

There is nothing more frustrating to me than feeling like all my hard work is for nothing. I know this is the life of having a family but it was discouraging non the less.

The next day I was making my lunch and let out a burst of laughter. There in my pantry was clean folded dish towels. Towels that I had hidden  from the family after I washed them. The very towels I was upset over.

Thank goodness I have a gracious family and most of what I fume about is forgiven the second it is off my lips.

I had to laugh this day because as I saw the towels, I visioned God rolling His eyes during my tantrum. I must be great entertainment for Him much of the time.

We all have these silly stories that when we look back at them we can laugh at ourselves. Laughter is good medicine. It brings joy to the soul. I could choose to be embarrassed by my lack of memory or my tantrum or I can choose to look at the silliness of it all and allow this day to bring me joy.

I have decided it is time to laugh at myself and not take this life so seriously.

Things are not always what they seem

The words things are not always what they seem keep running through my mind. Those words take me back to a crazy time in my life when my boys were small.

I was a stay at home mom that home schooled my three boys ages four, five and seven and babysat as many as four other children at a time. I was active in our church, going to rehearsals, bible studies, and practicing hospitality by hosting dinners for other families at least twice a week. It was a crazy busy time.

One morning I had no kids to babysit and I had just injured myself so I was laying in bed. I heard my boys up and roaming around but I just lay still as I could,  hoping they would not know I was awake.

As I was beginning to think my quietness was working, I heard in the other room something heavy drop and that noise was followed a few seconds later by a small voice saying, “It was not my fault!”

Let me tell you at that moment I was fuming. My precious quiet morning had been spoiled and they were in there clearly doing something that they should not be doing.

I threw the covers back and injured or not made it quickly to the living room my anger mounting. Grumbling to myself’ ‘ How dare they get into mischief. Is nothing I am teaching them sinking in? Can I not get a moments peace for anything? I am SO tired!”

As I come into the kitchen my anger was quickened by the sight before my eyes. The boys had gotten into the purple grape juice and somehow managed to spill it all over the table, the white  walls, their clothes. Purple grape juice was dripping onto the floor  from the table and even off the top of the dogs head and onto her paws as she lay there under the dripping. She looked at me with her pitiful eyes and an expression saying, “I didn’t do it.”

My top was ready to blow. I was about to yell at the boys about the mess they had made, about how grape juice stains  and how they were not to get into the grape juice without asking! When a voice in my heart that I knew well had spoken to me.

“Stop!”

So I did, I stopped right there in my tracks and  still fuming asked, “why?”

There it was again that voice and this time it said. “Look”

So I looked closer. With the mess in hand they hadn’t noticed me standing there. My five year old was handing my four year old a towel. The three of them were working together to clean the mess. Just as I thought this was the lesson I was to see, I saw it. They had three half pieces of bread sitting on the table and three cups among the puddles of grape juice. It was dawning on me that every lesson I was working so hard to teach them truly was sinking in. Some more slowly than others.

When the boys saw me, they smiled. ” Look mama, we are having communion!” said my five year old with pride.

Let me tell you my heart was bursting and suddenly I was struck by how damaging my fuming could have been to those tender hearts. They were not being malicious, or bad. They were taking a lesson that I had taught them and excited to use it at home. They were sharing with one another and taking care of one another and I almost crushed their spirit.

Years later as I look back, I can’t help but relate this to other areas in my life. How often do I rush in and want the mess cleaned up, without looking at what good is coming from that very mess? How often do I not hear that voice that I once so clearly heard that day?

Things are not only what they seem on the first examination. We do not always have the whole picture, only what is stirring us and making us uncomfortable for the moment.

This is my challenge to my friends this day. Reflect back on some of the most frustrating moments. Were there times when the frustrating moments were all you saw and  glimmers of hope, life, joy, friendship or an outcome you never expected overlooked?

Sometimes we want to barge ahead and name it, claim it, change it or pray it away and we forget to see the work that is really being done.

Things in this life, are definitely not always what they seem.

And thankfully if there truly is nothing there except a big old mess, we have the back up necessary to clean it up!

Dream and dream big!

So in my previous post I had listed the most recent things that have weighed me down. Reflecting back I can rejoice that in hind site those things that have brought pain have left me stronger.

I have found out who is the faithful in my life and have met new people to bless and encourage right where I am at.

I have learned how to stretch what income there is and what I can not afford to do.  I take a deep breath and realize what I had wanted didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things anyway. The banks will get their money eventually, or not.

I can not complain too much when I have a warm bed and food in my ever growing belly. There are so many people struggling with far greater battles then my own.

The danger is when we get wrapped up in our situation and it is all we focus on. We do not take our head above the water to see the things that are going right for us or the people that have come along and blessed us.

We need to take the time and energy to dream. Dreaming of our future of how things will be. Dreaming of what we want to see take shape in our life. This brings about hope. A person with no vision in their life will perish. They will stay exactly where they are at forever or sink even farther in their own personal despair.

As Eleanor Roosevelt has said ”The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

So today I challenge you with this my friends; Dream, and dream big! Share those dreams with me and I will believe in them with you. Or write them down and put check marks next to them as you achieve those dreams. If you need to start with little dreams as I did, that is okay as you reach them you can stretch your horizon.

Their was once a time when my dream could be no bigger than just lifting my head in the  morning and facing another day. Now I look at each day with joy and my dream is to bring that joy to others.

Your time of trudging along in the trenches will come to an end and a new sunrise with hope will be right there shining. You can take a deep breath and say, ” I knew you were coming, for your light was my dream.”

What am I doing here?

So what is it exactly I am doing here? What is my goal and expectation from blogging?

This past two years have been a battle. I could easily sink into despair at the thought of another day of pain. The economy has hit our family just as well as most others. We are no different and honestly have it better than many. However these changes have been hard to swallow.

We have lost medical insurance at the time of costly diagnosis, and an illness has left me unavailable for friends in my life and one by one they have disappeared. We had lost a third of our income and lived on credit cards adding to our medical debts. I have taken on a full time job that I am finding to be much more strenuous than I originally thought, leaving me tired and worn for my own family.

And while it may look like grumbling and groaning at first glance my writing isn’t about the situation we are in or have been in but it is a look at what I see in my future.  I see the smiles and the joys and the hand of God moving in our favor despite what my circumstances say.

I do not pretend to have all the answers and I do not find my opinions or experiences to be any more valuable than any others. I humbly offer myself for what ever it is worth to bring a prospective on situations that may have been overlooked or dare I say even shared.

I am here to offer hope not only to others in a time of frustration or hurt or pain, but as selfish as it may be,  to myself and my family as well. No matter what our circumstance I know that there is room for change. In the midst of sorrow there is a glimmer of hope. If we stop and pay attention and look for it we can find it.

If I can look into the faces of children that have suffered great tragedy far more damaging than anything I have ever come across and still see a smile grazing their lips, then I clearly see that there can be hope. There can be joy despite pain. I can base these facts not only on the word of God which I believe and base my life on but also the cycle of change and growth that  I see with my own eyes in the natural scheme of things.

There will always be a spring after the dark winter days. And while the season we are in may be dismal and your season may be far worse than mine and you see it not possibly getting any worse, we can rest assured that it will end.

As I look at the new buds on the trees, the flowers poking their heads above the hard and still frost covered ground I am reassured; Just as spring will always return, out of the dying broken heart there will come a new joy once again, if we let it.

In the waiting time of your season I pray that I am used to bring a smile to your lips, a hope to your heart. May it be a moment of sunshine on your tired face as you wait for the storm to be over.

For I am believing this very thing my friend; your season of pain will come to an end.