The night I knocked out my front teeth…

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in Blog | 1 comment

When I was 11, I had a crush on a boy that lived nearby. Let’s just call him, Greg.

Greg was three years older than me and when you’re an 11-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy seems like the coolest person on the planet. I thought he was a super cute but he had never even noticed me.

One summer evening, my Mom and I were coming home from my piano lesson. It was getting dark and had rained earlier that day. When we pulled into the driveway, I could not believe my eyes! Greg was standing in my backyard!

Lucky me!

My Dad and Greg’s Dad were friends.   That evening, Greg and his Dad had stopped by to talk to my Dad about some farm equipment.

An important part of this story comes from the fact that I grew up on a farm where I spent most of my days outside. I had a rectangle-shaped trampoline in my back yard that I jumped on a lot and I was pretty good at doing flips.

You need to remember that this was back in the ‘80s when there was no such thing as a NET around a trampoline nor was there padding around the metal frame.

No sir! That is not the way we did things back then. Safety was not really that important.

Us ’80’s kids just got on that rectangle springy device and jumped and flipped and laughed.  Sometimes, we would fall off and smack ourselves right onto the ground. No worries, though. In our perseverance, we would get right back up and go at it again. It’s a wonder any of us survived the ‘80s!

Well, on this particular evening, when I saw Greg in my back yard, I quickly devised a plan.

As soon as my Mom parked the car, I told her that I needed to go talk to Daddy. I ran out to where they were standing, and in an effort to try to impress Greg, I said with confidence in my voice, “Hey—I can do flips on that trampoline over there. Want to see?”

He said, “ok”, so off we went. I got on the trampoline with complete self-assurance!

This was my chance!

As Greg stood on the ground in front of me, I started jumping. I put everything I had into that moment and jumped higher than ever. I wanted it to be the best flip I had ever done. When I felt the moment was right, I gave it all I had and I did my flip.

I flipped so fast and strong that I over-flipped.   My toes hit the damp trampoline mat and I lost control. My body flung forward right towards Greg. I let out a loud scream as my face fell towards the edge of the trampoline. My mouth hit the large green metal post that held the springs in place as my body did another flip over that bar. I landed flat on my back right where Greg was standing.

This was not the magical moment I had envisioned.

There I was, lying flat on the ground with Greg looking down on me. “Are you ok?” he asked with nervousness in his voice.

I was shocked, embarrassed and mortified about what just happened. I tried to salvage my pride by jumping up to my feet. I knew by the pain I felt in my mouth that something bad had happened to my teeth.

It was dark, so I could not tell if I was bleeding or not, so I got real close to Greg’s face, opened my mouth and said, “Is it bleeding?”

He did not answer me, but instead, just looked at me in horror. In a panic, I asked again, only this time, louder, “I said is it bleeding?” He looked at me like I was some kind of monster and said, “you might want to go inside.” I ran inside and looked in the mirror. It was a bad sight.

My two permanent front teeth were hanging by their roots and blood was everywhere.

Needless to say, the hope I had for Greg to fall in love with me that evening went right down the drain as I headed with my Mom and Dad for an emergency dental visit. Thankfully, and miraculously, the dentist was able to save my teeth.

My whole point of running out to see Greg that evening was because I liked him and I wanted to prove to him that he should like me too. I wanted to impress him with my skills and I wanted him to notice me.

My actions were driven by my pride.

God teaches us in His Word that we are to be humble, not prideful. We are to position ourselves rightly before Him and others. It is not a prideful spirit that brings honor, but instead, it is a humble spirit that obtains it! (Proverbs 29:23).

Plain and simple. God hates pride.

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. ~Proverbs 8:13

In almost every example of pride that we see in the Bible there is a link to failure, not success.   God resists those who are prideful, but he gives favor to those who are humble. (Proverbs 3:34)

My friend, don’t let your pride prevent you from living the life God intends for you to live. Humble yourself before Him. Humble yourself before others.  Consider their needs above your own. Forgive quickly.  Love deeply and serve Jesus wholeheartedly. Do not be motivated by impressing people.  Be motivated by the love and humility of Jesus.

That night back in 1985, I think I lived out Proverbs 16:18 which says: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”  I learned a big lesson through that experience.  Today, I am no longer doing flips on trampolines and I am keeping Micah 6:8 close to my heart.  “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Grateful for you!

~Joy

 

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When God Speaks at Wal-Mart

Posted by on Nov 12, 2016 in Blog | 4 comments

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

~Philippians 2:3-4

Did you catch how clear these verses are?  Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition.  Whew!  Now that convicts me!

I think most of us want to be patient and self-less people and in theory, we know these are attributes of followers of Christ.  This is not news to us, but I wonder if you, like me, ever struggle with actually living it out in your daily life?

Too many times I look out for my own personal interests instead of the interests of others.  It is as if MY time is more valuable than someone else’s time.

The other day, I stopped by Wal-Mart on my way home from work, just to pick up a few items.   I only needed THREE things.  Of course it was a Monday and of course it was getting close to 5:00 pm.  Looking back, I realize maybe this was not the best idea I had ever had, but regardless of my lack of judgment, there I was.

I was making great time zipping through the aisles UNTIL I went to checkout.  I made a quick pass through and examined the checkout lines.  The self-checkout line seemed to be a mile long.  I noticed a lady wearing strappy red shoes at the end of that line and I felt sorry for her.  I quickly went to find a faster, full-service line.

As I quickly pushed my buggy along the aisles, I found a checkout line with only one buggy in it!

SCORE!!!

I jumped in behind a young lady and her toddler and waited.  This lady’s buggy was full, but I felt sure it would go fast.

As I waited, I watched as the young lady in front of me was having trouble with her toddler misbehaving.  The toddler was picking up items and dropping them one by one.  I found myself getting irritated because it was slowing down the checkout process, but I remained positive and still felt sorry for the lady with the red strappy shoes in the one-mile self-checkout line.

As the young lady’s last items were scanned, I felt happiness in my heart until the young lady dug around in her purse and whipped out a stack of coupons.

I resisted from letting out a loud sigh of despair, but I could not hold back the look of disappointment that came to my face.

“Oh no,” I thought.  “Maybe the self-checkout line would have been quicker.”

The cashier started scanning each coupon and of course some of the coupons did not work.  Some were out of date.  Some were for products the young lady did not even purchase.  Some had restrictions on them.  One by one the coupons were scanned and I was relieved when the last one beeped with success.

Just as I thought it was almost my turn, the young lady scanned her credit card and wouldn’t you know it?  It would not work.  The cashier did not know what to do and said, “There must be a problem with the machine.”

INSERT MY FRUSTRATION!

After trying several times to get the card processed, the cashier had to call for the manager to come over and help.

As I looked up, the lady with the red strappy shoes (who was in the mile-long self check-out line) was exiting Wal-Mart with her paid items.  I mumbled under my breath and made a mental note to always choose the self-checkout line.

It was too late for me to change lines now.  I was stuck.  It had been a long day and I was busting at the seams to get home.  I was frustrated.  I was tired.  I just wanted to leave Wal-Mart.

It was then that I felt God’s Spirit speak to me.

Through my frustration and impatience, God reminded me of those verses in Philippians about valuing others more than myself.

My heart began to soften and my frustration faded.

As I watched the young lady struggle with her toddler, God reminded me about how hard life is.  He brought to my mind how difficult it was for me to complete a Wal-Mart shopping trip when my children were toddlers, and how being a Mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

As I watched the cashier desperately try to process the young lady’s credit card, God reminded me of my first cashier job in college.  I, too, felt insecure when something went wrong with the credit card machine.  I thought back to the time I meant to charge a customer $15.00 but instead, I charged them $150.00.  I was so nervous as I called my manager over to help me correct my mistake.

Right there in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, God convicted me about my attitude and He reminded me of the importance of showing compassion, patience and kindness.

When I finally did get to checkout with my three items, the sweet cashier told me it had been a hard day for her and that she was sorry it took so long.  She also told me she was new as a cashier and was still learning.  I smiled and said, “It’s no problem.  I’ve been there too.”

I believe one of the biggest “proofs” of our faith is how we treat other people.  When we get frustrated, complain or mumble, we do not please God.  What pleases Him is when we use kindness and patience with others.  He is pleased when we put someone else’s needs above our own.

The truth is, I had a bad attitude and was in too big of a hurry that day in Wal-Mart.  I am grateful the God of the Universe spoke to me and reminded me of His Truth.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where your patience is running thin, I hope you think about these verses in Philippians.  I hope your heart softens and you show the love of Christ in that situation….even if you’re in the middle of Wal-Mart!

~Joy

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
~Colossians 3:12

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Make a Memory!

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Blog | 2 comments

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Fall is in the air and it thrills my soul! It is my favorite time of year as I love the cooler temperatures, the colorful trees, and the smell of pumpkin spice.

This is the time of year when I pull out my crockpot and make chili beans, vegetable soup, homemade chicken and noodles and all of those warm, “feel good” one-pot meals.  

I sip hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows), wear wool socks, thick sweaters and boots! OH yes—fall is the most wonderful time of the year, for me.

Some of my most favorite memories are centered around the fall season. Memories of family get-togethers, camping trips, pumpkin patches and snuggling on the couch with those I love on a cool October morning.  

What about you?

What comes to your mind when you think about the fall season?

I worked at Union University (in Jackson, TN) for three years and my Dean, Dr. Sheila Mitchell, would make a statement from time to time. We would be talking about an upcoming conference or a family vacation and she would say “while you’re there, make a memory.”

Dean Mitchell is one of those people who lives her life to the fullest! She has wisdom to know that life is precious and the moments we have are gifts from God. She is quick to tell you that there is always something to be grateful for and that life is too short to be miserable.

Why focus on what’s wrong with your life when you can have a heart of thankfulness and focus on what is right with your life?

Dean Mitchell lives with purpose. Not only does she live her life to please God, but she also lives her life to serve others. She plans creative way to make special moments with her family, friends and those around her. It might be an evening boat ride on the lake with her husband, or a special tea party with her granddaughter.

She knows how to love other people well and she works hard at making special moments with them. When those special moments come, Dean Mitchell fully embraces the moment. She doesn’t just let it slip away unnoticed. She soaks in all in and takes a snapshot in her mind that she tucks away as a treasured memory.

You and I have a role to play in making our life count.

God created you and me for a reason. He has kingdom work for us to do and He has good things in store for us!

It is easy for us to feel weighed down with the many responsibilities we have.

We need to clean our house, do the laundry, pay the bills, go to work and the list goes on. But, we also need to invest in our marriages, plan special outings with our children, show love to a friend in need, serve someone in need and take time to soak in the beauty of God’s creation.

There is much more to life than just the work we need to do.

Be determined this fall season to make special memories.

It is serving others that brings about the most joy so do your part to create special moments with your family, friends and those around you.

This fall season, start a new family tradition. Take your kids on a fun adventure. Serve at a local ministry. Plan a weekend getaway with your husband.

Put energy and time into planning something special as you love those around you.

As your special moments unfold, I hope you will stop and thank God for His goodness. I hope you will stop and soak it all in. I hope you will stop, take a snapshot in your mind of all God has done and “make a memory” that will last a lifetime.

So glad you stopped by!

~Joy

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.   ~Psalm 7:17

 

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