Finding Joy

Well, the freight train to Christmas morning is pushing fast down the tracks, and I was pretty certain that all of my ducks were finally in a row.  It was the type of row that was even alphabetized and arranged from biggest to smallest, because that’s how my OCD likes things to be.  I even made a last minute venture into Walmart, because LAND HO!  Apparently we needed wrapping paper and scotch tape to make this Christmas complete.  I even breathed a sigh of relief and thought, “Well played, Mama.  It’s only the 23rd, and you’re sitting pretty, with a mountain of gifts piled like a Jenga game in the closet.”  I made plans to put my pajamas on early (and by early, I might have meant NOON), and get some wrapping done.

And that’s when I remembered that the gift I ordered for my three-year-old niece was apparently on back order or something, and it never made it to my front door, via the friendly Fed Ex man.  I guess this pretty much means that I’m going back out into all the crazy again tomorrow, to look at Frozen princesses, because WAY TO MESS UP MY FEELINGS OF FINISHING CHRISTMAS ON TIME, MINI BODEN!

And then Hubs texted me snapshots from how things were going at his office today.  Apparently, he and his co-workers have teamed up against a lone prankster in their office, to insure that he realized that paybacks are often difficult:

10818321_939479912743953_6503707105991564782_o IMG_3302That’s a line of garbage bags, which was eventually wrapped in 83,000 pounds of duct tape.  Hubs and a couple of guys SECURED a co-worker in his own office, and completely parked him in outside.  Obviously, with these JIM-AND-DWIGHT-SCHRUTE-FROM-THE-OFFICE shenanigans going down, the call for IT help on legitimately crashed servers was low.

jim-and-dwight2-mine enhanced-8350-1414713533-13(Yes, I want to add an apostrophe to that.)

(I can’t help myself.)

Oh!  And I left Small Town, USA for Smaller Town, USA (some thirty miles down the interstate) at precisely 7:15 this morning, to pick up the boy.  He had spent the last four days at his friend Ben’s ranch.  He has moved cattle and fed livestock; he has been involved in a six-man Air Soft Gun War and survived; he has slept approximately eight hours TOTAL in the past four days.  He came back to us with enough dirt beneath his fingernails to build an adobe house with, but this mama was glad to have him back home.

IMG_3300And yes.  I guess I’m finally back to writing new blog posts, because all seven parts of our adoption story have aired, once again, and thank you for bearing with me, while I did that.  It just felt like the right time of the year to rerun the story, because I thought that someone might need to be reminded of miracles.

Especially me.

Because, honest to goodness, I thought if I heard about one more person receiving a cancer diagnosis this year, I was going to rip my hair out by the roots.  And that’s exactly when, six days ago, I learned that one of my high school friends was just diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer, and listen:  I.  AM OVER.  CANCER.  And I may have told that to Jesus, and questioned his reasoning, and asked Him a few times if He even really cared about people down here, who were dealing with such monumental health problems, because WHY DEDE, WHEN SHE HAS FIVE KIDS AND LOVES THE LORD TO BITS??!

And then I pretty much realized that I was sassing Jesus, so I apologized profusely.  Then I called my friend, DeDe, and I just said, “I’m so sorry.”  And then I burst into tears, because that makes five people who are relatively quite close to me who have been battling cancer in the past few months, and I can’t take it any longer.

And then… THEN!  DeDe told me, “You know what?  I don’t want you crying for me.  Right now, I am resting comfortably and confidently in Jesus’ hands, and I know that I will be restored to good health and completely healed.  This is just something that He has me going through right now, and Stage 3 doesn’t mean anything to Jesus.  I know that I’m going to come out of this just fine and be healthy enough to spend years yet raising those five kids of mine!  I still have joy!”

So I had my little lesson in faith, because my darling friend DeDe has it, EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF HER OWN GIANT HEALTH CRISIS.  There she was, reassuring me that Jesus had this, when it should have been ME doing the reassuring.

It was good for me to reread my own posts about the miracle of Thing 2’s adoption this past week, too, because I needed to be reminded of just how big Jesus is, and how YES HE DOES STILL LIKE TO THROW OUT REALLY GOOD  MIRACLES TO UNDESERVING FOLKS.

After that, our good friend, Gabe, posted a little devotional on his Facebook page that talked about having joy.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people'” (Luke 2:10).

If you have ever been in a place where you have lost hope, then you understand how pointless and even maddening it is when people tell you that you should be happy or joyous. The difficulty in feeling joy is that joy is not something that we manufacture from within ourselves. Joy needs an outside source; joy needs a reason for its existence. In the next verse, the angel provides the source for the Joy that the shepherds were to expect and the Joy that we can experience:

“Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

The Joy, the GREAT JOY, that we are beneficiaries of, comes not because “a” child is born but because our SAVIOR, our CHRIST has come for us.

Apparently DeDe has already figured that out.  And if you’d like to pray for her, I know she’d love to have you do it.

So, my wish for you this Christmas is that you would experience GREAT JOY, no matter what your circumstances are.

Even if you’re locked in your own office, with a homemade rope of garbage bags and duct tape.

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