Monday, June 22, 2009

Such Joy!

Well, I did it. Over the last year or so, I've had several friends suggest that I begin a blog. My typical reaction was a smile and "Hmmm, maybe. One day." Well, one day is TODAY. I was finally goaded into it by my little sister, and her excitement over her own blog ( You see, I love writing. It makes my soul sing. Marge, on the other hand is creative with her hands. She paints, scrapbooks, & cooks. When she shared with me how gratifying her blog, and more importantly, the friends she's made through it, is to her, I was compelled, and "Such Joy" was re-born.

Let me explain. A few years ago, I worked as the Executive Ministry Assistant at the (then) Waco Regional Baptist Network. One of my responsibilities was to encourage and create community among the Ministry Assistants (Church Secretaries) in the Network. I did that with what was basically a blog...a once or twice weekly email entitled "Such Joy!" For some time, I'd signed most of my emails, both personal and business, with "Such Joy" as a closing. It ("Such Joy") had become something of a philosophy of life for me.

Isaiah 61:1-3 is a passage of scripture that holds great meaning in my life. I would even say it is my "life verse" keeps me true and focused on my calling as a Christ Follower. The quote below is from the New International Version:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."

To comfort those who mourn and bind up the brokenhearted, this is part of my calling in Christ. To do so, I must first embrace "The oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" myself. Life is complicated...the oil of gladness and garment ("mantle" in NASB - a covering) of praise help me to properly frame the daily grind. Flat tires, kids with bad attitudes, empty bank accounts, health issues. You know, the daily grind. Like oil, gladness lubricates my days. Gladness in my position in Christ, in recognizing the abundant blessings of my life, gets me though the sticky parts of my life. The garment, the mantle, of praise covers me. Worshiping my Savior envelopes me, consumes me. It keeps me focused on Him, rather than drowning in my own despair.

Planted by the Lord,
for the display of HIS splendor.