Relationships

Getting on my nerves!

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 in Blog, Relationships | 19 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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You are not called to trust everyone…

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Blog, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 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, Growing Closer to God, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 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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Make a Memory!

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Blog, Family, Growing Closer to God, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 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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It will be the best you’ve ever had!

Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Blog, Family, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 4 comments

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Ocean Isle Beach (OIB) is a quiet, family beach community where folks drive their golf carts on the roads and where life seems to slow down a bit.  It’s a small quaint place that Bryan and I enjoyed taking our children to when they were younger.

OIB is home to one of the sweetest ice cream shops around that serves the most delicious homemade strawberry ice cream.  I mean to tell you, it is yummmmmmy!

Years ago, my cousin Adam, and his family, vacationed with us at OIB for a week of fun and sun!  As we prepared for our trip down to the coast, I told Adam and Candace about the things we could do at OIB.  Of course, I mentioned this fabulous ice cream shop and the delicious strawberry ice cream.  I remember telling Adam it would be the best strawberry ice cream he had ever had!

Sure enough, while on our trip, we made our way to the ice cream shop and out of all the flavors available, Adam chose strawberry.  Smart choice!

I just knew he would love it as much as I did, so I paid attention as he took his first bite.  His expression was not as joyful as I had hoped it would be.  I wanted him to tell me how fabulous this strawberry ice cream was, but instead, he just told me it was good.  (Insert shock!)

GOOD?  What did he mean, good?  It is fantastic!

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Here we are—back in 2009!

Adam and I have laughed about this strawberry ice cream story many times since that OIB trip.  When we talk about it, he jokingly says, “Joy, you over-promised and under-delivered.”

What about you?  Have you ever over-promised and under-delivered?

Maybe it wasn’t about how wonderful a flavor of ice cream was, but maybe you told someone you were going to do something and then you did not do it.  Maybe you told a friend you would be somewhere and something came up so you were unable to go.  Maybe a coworker asked you to pray for them and you said you would, but then you forgot.

Maybe like me you have had good intentions and you really wanted to stick to a commitment that you made, but life got in the way and you backed out of your commitment, letting someone else down.

From time to time, we break promises.  We don’t follow through.  We are not true to our word.

We over-promise and under-deliver.

It happens to us all.

Lately, God has been reminding me of how important it is for me to do what I say I am going to do!  He has been reminding me that I should be careful not to overcommit myself to things I do not plan to stick to!

He has been reminding me that I should be a person of my word and that my integrity is vital to my walk with Him.

Talk is cheap!  Living out my faith takes action!

Jesus emphasizes this point through the parable of two sons:

 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’  “’I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.  ~Matthew 21:31a

The first son did not agree to go work, but he changed his mind later (another version says he repented), and he went to work.  The second son said he would go to work, but then he did not go.

Which son pleased the father?

When you and I fail to keep our word, it affects our trustworthiness.  It causes people to lose respect for us.

It also affects our friendships.  Friendships are typically based on trust and it’s almost impossible to trust someone who does not keep their word.

My friend, you and I need to be people who are trustworthy.  We carry the name of Christ.  We are to be like Him!

People should be able to count on us!  When we say we are going to do something, we should not need five reminders to do it!  If we say we are going to do it, then we need to do it!

You and I are human and of course none of us are perfect, but that does not give us an excuse to repeatedly not follow through on our commitments.

God’s Word is clear that our words matter!  We are accountable for our words—all of them!

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”  ~Matthew 12:26

Let’s be ever-more cautious to be a person of our word.  When we make a commitment to do something, let’s be determined to stick to it!

Well, I know you have a craving for a delicious scoop (or two) of strawberry ice cream!  If you get the chance, make the drive down to Ocean Isle Beach and enjoy some at the local ice cream shop!  Regardless of what my cousin Adam thinks, there’s a good chance it will be the best strawberry ice cream you’ve ever had!   🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

~Joy

For more about keeping your word, check out this link:  https://www.openbible.info/topics/keeping_your_word

 

 

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The Christmas Hairdryer!

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in Blog, Family, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 3 comments

The Christmas Hairdryer

Every Christmas, as I gather with family, the story of the Christmas hairdryer emerges.

You see, when I was little girl, my Dad, sister and I went to buy my Mom a Christmas gift. My Dad is such a great guy, but this particular year, he was a little behind on buying my Mom’s Christmas gift. It was Christmas Eve and off we went to the department store in town.

Interestingly, my Mom rode with us. Once my Dad parked the car, my Mom stayed inside the car while my Dad, sister and I went into the store to pick out a gift that expressed our devout appreciation and love for her.

I was four years old and my sister was nine. We did not know what a young wife and mother would want for Christmas so my Dad decided on a hairdryer.

You know, something practical and useful!

We purchased the hairdryer and I was beaming with excitement! I was so happy about this gift that I was about to bust! I thought a hairdryer was the most glorious gift ever decided upon and I could not wait to see the joy on my Mother’s face when she opened it on Christmas morning!

I was so elated that in fact, I could not wait until Christmas morning!

As my Dad carried the hairdryer in the plastic shopping bag to the car to put it in the trunk, I ran and jumped in the back seat. My Mom was still sitting patiently in the front seat of the car.

Before I could even get the door shut, I was overcome with delight and said, “Mama, we bought you a gift. I can’t tell you what we got you, but I’ll give you one hint.” My Mom’s eyes were wide with anticipation as she waited for my hint. Then I proudly said,

“It’s something you dry your hair with.”

Around Christmastime, this story resurfaces in our family. We enjoy a good laugh about that Christmas Eve, but do you know what really makes me smile? The fact that I still remember the joy I felt in my heart over the Christmas hairdryer.

It did not matter to me that it was a hairdryer. What mattered to me was that we had a special gift for my Mom. I loved her so much and I could not wait to give it to her!

When I think a little more deeply about the gift of the Christmas hairdryer, God nudges my heart about the most special gift He gave over 2,000 years ago in His son, Jesus. My heart is convicted because sometimes the weight of the world feels like it is on my shoulders and I lose my perspective about what really matters in this life.

I wonder if you ever feel that way?

Do you sometimes feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? Do you sometimes worry about your life and forget that God is in control?

Do you ever find that you have lost your excitement about your faith?

It’s normal to feel that way from time to time. The important thing is that you do not settle for being in a spiritual slump.

The important thing is that you find the courage to confess your sins, repent and get back on track with God!

As we begin 2016, let’s be diligent to spend more time in prayer, more time reading our Bibles and more time serving others. It won’t happen just because we want it to happen. Like all relationships, our relationship with God takes work!

We can have great intentions but not make any progress because we do not implement a plan. We need to implement spiritual disciplines into our lives that grow us closer to God.

We need to seek after Him with all of our heart!

Here are a few ideas that I have found helpful:

  • Go to bed 30 minutes early or get up 30 minutes earlier than normal so you can study your Bible and pray.
  • Pick a Bible reading plan and stick with it. You don’t have to read the Bible cover to cover in just one year (although that is a great goal to have). Pick a plan that works well for you.
  • Download a Bible podcast or Bible App (like the daily audio bible https://dailyaudiobible.com). Set a time and listen everyday.
  • Start praying with your family or change up your family prayer time to go deeper into God’s Word.
  • Start a “joy jar”. A joy jar is an empty jar you can decorate and place in a prominent place in your home. On a regular basis, have your family write down moments of “joy” where God has answered prayers throughout the year.
  • Memorize scripture. You can use simple 3 x 5 note cards. Write down one verse a week and start memorizing. I have found that posting the verse in my car is a great way for me to memorize scripture. Read and study the verse over and over throughout the week. You’ll be amazed at all the scripture you can memorize in a year.
  • Join a Bible study at your church or at a friend’s church. Plugging in at your local church is so important for your spiritual growth.
  • Get your mind off of your problems and invest in others. Get busy serving!
  • When you feel discouraged, stop and count your blessings!

As a little girl, I was thrilled about the Christmas hairdryer gift, but you know what? As followers of Christ, you and I know the GREATEST gift of all, Jesus!

Sometimes we don’t feel as excited to share Jesus as we once did. This often happens because we get too caught up in the cares of this world. We lose our perspective and drift away from God.

The good news is that we serve a gracious God and we can come back to Him!

Do you want a closer relationship with God? You can have it! You need the right perspective, a plan, and perseverance!

Be determined to make 2016 a year of dramatic spiritual growth!

Grateful for you!
~Joy

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

-Jeremiah 29:13

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