Shane had a wonderful lesson at Power Surge last night...the topic was Joy...not the old Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last kind of joy but the one that is strongest in the middle of the dark times, the storms of life. Our group discussed that peace had to be present first, then joy could be expressed. Not that we wanted the bad thing to happen, just that we acknowledged that it did and God was still in charge. The "emotion" of that fact was joy... we didn't have the power to influence the situation without faith in Jesus, and our power was from God in the form of prayer through Him.
Now you may be wondering why I have such a cute picture of Doug in the corner with a lesson of joy. Doug (an honorary member of our clan, btw) and his wife are living examples of joy. In the middle of really dark times in their lives they have exhibited the joy that the Father has given them in such sweet ways. Easy? They made it look that way (but also making sure everyone knew that their strength was from God). The picture was taken at Chili's and the basket on Doug's head (that is just too cute!) was from my grandson, K, who has Cystic Fibrosis. He had taken his left overs out of it and I had wiped it out and put it on K's head. We were all laughing (at least Mema, K, and sister Hannah were, their mom and dad were trying to teach manners) and passing the basket from head to head when it wound up on Doug, who was sitting behind us. K and Hannah stopped and looked petrified until Doug laughed. Then it was all fun and games!
I suddenly realized that the people at these tables, in the middle of Chilis, were exactly what joy was all about. K would go home to more treatments and meds and all the stuff that goes along with CF, yet the strength of God was flowing through him to laugh and love. His family, too, could stop for a moment and say "We have joy", as could Doug's. So my conclusion is profound: Because of Jesus we all have joy already inside of us, it is a fruit of His Spirit, but we know the strength of joy only when we consciencely acknowledge that we are growing in it and it in us. The world may say we have a lot of bad stuff happening, but God says we have a lot of joy growing, blooming and becoming more fruitful in all things and in the strength of it we can truly live a blessed life. So a big shout out to Shane for reminding us of joy, and for Doug for the object lesson, and a greater shout out to God who made it all possible.
So put a basket on your head and remind yourself of the joy you have! Hugs to all!