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Getting on my nerves!

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 in Blog | 17 comments

Are there people in your life who get on your nerves?  I imagine there are!

God made us each different and sometimes personalities clash.  As Christians, what are we to do when other people get on our nerves?  Have you ever thought about it?  Well, I’ve been thinking about it and God has led me to John 13:35:

Loving one another is the way the world knows we are Christians.  Sometimes I get caught up in worldly things and it is good for me to be reminded that God has standards.  He has given me His guidelines to live by.  He has told me how I should act.

We are NOT TO BE LIKE THE WORLD!  We are called to take the higher road…..and that includes in how we deal with people.

When people get on your nerves, it is hard to know what to do.  I would like to share with you some things I have found helpful when other people get on my nerves.  Here are a few tips:

1.  PRAY!  Pray for the person who is driving you crazy.  Ask God to bless that person.  Confess to God how you feel.  Tell Him what your issues are with that person and ask Him to help you!

2.  GET TO KNOW THAT PERSON!  Take a step towards getting to know the person who is getting on your nerves.  Ask them to go to lunch or find a few minutes to inquire about their life.  The more you learn about this person, the more opportunity you have to find common ground with them.  We all have a life story and you may be shocked about what you learn about their life.  You probably have more in common with them than you think!

3.  TAKE YOUR THOUGHTS CAPTIVE TO CHRIST!  When a negative thought crosses your mind about that person, confess it immediately and ask Christ to replace those ugly thoughts with more positive ones.  Quote scripture and keep your thoughts pleasing to God.  Don’t allow your mind to entertain negative thoughts about this person….guard your mind!

4.  DON’T GOSSIP!  Whew!  This can be hard.  When someone drives us nuts, we want to go “vent” to someone else.  We want someone else to help validate the way we feel.  Plain and simple—-DON’T DO IT!   If you have to, lock yourself in a room until the urge to gossip passes you by.  Trust me, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.  Gossiping and spreading ugly information about someone else only makes things worse AND it displeases God.  He hates this type of behavior (Proverbs 6:16-19).  Although it may feel “fun” at the time, it is wrong and we should not do it.

When it comes to dealing with people, we all know that sometimes, personalities clash.  Sometimes, we do not enjoy another person’s company.  Sometimes, people in our life get on our nerves.

As followers of Christ, let’s remember that we are called to love others and God’s Word tells us that love is patient and kind!

Let’s practice patience and kindness as we strive to love those people who drive us crazy.

Thanks for reading, my friends!  I hope you have a great weekend!

~ Joy

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I am going to run over your iPad with my car….

Posted by on Aug 13, 2017 in Blog | 3 comments

Sunday mornings can be tough for families.  Many times, Saturday has been filled with fun activities which can include staying up late.  When Sunday morning gets here, it can be hard to get out of bed.

So it was for the Greene family this morning.

As the rest of us were up, getting ready for church, Sam was still in the bed.  He was dead to the world.  Time was ticking and I was growing impatient because the Lord knows how much I hate to be late.

After I had called him FIVE times, Sam was still not downstairs.  He had let out an occasional grunt to let me know he heard me, but he was still dreaming away in his comfy bed.

When you’re trying to motivate a 12 year old boy to obey, you use whatever arsenal you can find in your brain at that moment.  Sometimes things come out of your mouth that you did not plan for.  It is also quite possible that sometimes as a Mom, I may overreact from time to time.

Have you ever seen those videos of parents who get so frustrated with their kids and their electronics that they destroy them (the electronics, not the kid)?  I saw a video several months ago of a Dad who was at the end of his rope with his son.  The Dad was so outdone by the amount of time his son spent on his gaming system, that he took the gaming system out into the yard and ran over it with his lawnmower.

I guess this video stuck in my mind as a possible new parenting technique.

When Sam did not respond to me for the fifth time this morning, I had reached my “nice Mom” limit!

I walked upstairs and with a very calm, cool and collected voice, I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “I have called you five times this morning.  If you do not get up, eat your breakfast, put your clothes on, brush your teeth, fix your hair and have your Bible in hand ready to go in 10 minutes, I am going to run over your iPad with my car…….good morning, sweetheart.”

Ok, let’s wait just a minute here.  In hindsight, I probably overreacted and could have thought of a more loving (and less destructive) way to get Sam out of bed, but it was effective. Sam got out of bed….and fast!  Plus, he accomplished everything I asked him to, with his Bible in hand ready to go to church, on time.

Now, I’m not advocating that we take our kids’ belongings and run over them with our cars, but I am advocating that we take seriously the role we have as parents to teach our kids to obey.  I think this is one of the most difficult things we deal with as   parents, because as human beings, our nature is to disobey.

We see this from the beginning of time with Adam and Eve.  They disobeyed God.

The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it.  ~Genesis 3:6

When we continue to look into the Bible, we see this same theme of disobedience with the Israelites.  I am reading through the Bible this year and I just get flat worn out with these Israelites.  Over and over, they did not listen to God.  In so many instances their hearts were not set on following Him.  In fact, they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years because they had not obeyed God, and they missed out on a BIG blessing because of it.

Might we take notice that there are consequences to disobeying God?

The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.  ~Joshua 5:6

God is always faithful and loyal to His people, but His people are not always faithful and loyal to Him.

Isn’t this still true of us, today?  We love God.  We believe in His son Jesus and we follow Him.  Yet, we struggle with doing what God tells us to do.  Too many times we do what we “feel” like doing instead of doing what God commands us to do.

As far as parenting goes, my encouragement to you today, my friend, is to not give up.  Whether it’s getting your child out of bed in the morning or dealing with things much more serious, parenting can wear you down.

As Moms, we make mistakes, but when you and I fall down, we must not stay down.  You and I will battle with our kids over their disobedience.  It is a battle we must fight, with love, as we obey God in our calling as Moms.

Remember, if a child will not obey a parent they CAN see, how will they ever obey a God they CANNOT see?

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’-which is the first commandment with a promise-‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” ~Ephesians 6:1-3

Just like God loves us and He promises to never leave us, our kids need to know how much we love them and how we will never leave them.  We may run over their iPads with our car, but we will always be there for them.

Thankful for you,

~Joy

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You are not called to trust everyone…

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Blog | 3 comments

This has been weighing on my heart all day and I have felt God urging me to write to you.  I just know someone needs this word of encouragement tonight.

I want to remind you my friend, that there are people in your life who want you to fail.

There are people who want you to quit chasing after God.  They want you to stop pursuing the calling God has placed into your heart.   

There are people in your life who do not want the best for you. In fact, they want the opposite.

How you respond to these people, matters.

God requires His children to do things outside of their comfort zones.  Living for Jesus is not the easy road.  It is the narrow road.  It is also the best road.  

When you examine God’s Word, you see God using the most unlikely people to do the most extraordinary things for His Kingdom. They did not do these amazing things because they were unusually gifted or talented, but because they trusted, and obeyed God. 

They walked by faith, not by what they saw in front of them. They believed God and they, too, had opposition facing them each step of the way.

My friend, you have a decision to make each day. Who’s voice are you going to listen to?

Are you going to listen to those people who tell you that you cannot do what God is calling you to do?   Are you going to listen to the people who question your motives and call you a fool?  

People may tell you, “it’s not possible,” or “you can never do that.”  

Do not listen to them.  

Instead, make the daily decision to stay focused on Jesus.  Stay connected to Him through prayer and reading your Bible.  Cling to Him and keep running your race with courage and perseverance.  

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
~Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart as you take each step of faith and BELIEVE that God will do what He says He will do!

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
~1 Thessalonians 5:24

YOU have a important race to run!  YOU have an incredible life to live!  Do not miss out on what God has planned for you.  Listen to the voice of God and go full steam ahead! 

Remember, we are called to love everyone.  We are not called to trust everyone.  May God give us the wisdom to know the difference.  

Grateful for you,
~ Joy

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The night I knocked out my front teeth…

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in Blog | 2 comments

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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