I Choose Joy

This weekend was really fun! We had the Oh Boy! Family Event Saturday and there was lots of laughter and fun. It filled my ‘cup’ and brought me and those who attended joy! Then Sunday we had prayer, community groups, free coffee with Naomi, worship… many opportunities to visit and chat with friends and families. I was in the beginning of the worship service and each song focused on joy! Joy has kind of become my life word, so that time of worship just filled me up! I went with the kids when we dismissed and we had a blast in the 4th and 5th grade classroom. Again, so much laughter. I love spending time with our kids. They are so cool and always bring a smile to my face. The sermon was all about joy as well. Then I had a nice lunch with my parents, and we headed to my house to bake my grandma’s famous Christmas cookies.  Safe to say this weekend filled my heart with joy!!
As we were preparing to bake the cookies, we heard a horrible crash from the other room. The cat had somehow knocked over the tree (I know most cats usually do this – but Cleo never has in the 10 years I’ve had her). As I rounded the corner I saw shattered glass everywhere. Thankfully the cat was ok. As I  began to put pieces together, I started to see what was broken. A few were not all that important – filler type pieces that held no particular value. But then I saw three that my sister had given me over the years. These were hand made, special sentimental value, and really meaningful to me. One she had signed and dated, a beautiful tall red angel that was a bell. One was a neat Santa with a swirled frosted glass beard that she had found on her travels somewhere. And one was a  Dakota Hiawatha angel that she had given me after she learned I really loved the legend/book as a child. These three were especially meaningful to me as there were many Christmases we were not together, and I didn’t know where she was. I would put them on the tree and pray that she was safe wherever she was. It helped me to feel close to her those Christmases. 
I of course burst into tears as I initially processed the loss of these ornaments, and then sucked it up and began cleaning. Thankfully my dad was there to help move all the heavy furniture and help get all the teeny tiny pieces vacuumed up. As we cleaned, my mind kept mulling over all those years, all the tears, all the prayers that had gone up on my sister’s behalf.  My heart was heavy and the tears just kept flowing. Then suddenly JOY unexplained washed over me! Because the realization hit me – those prayers have been answered! These objects that meant so much aren’t even needed anymore because – praise God – my sister is not only back in my life – she’s saved, she’s safe, and she’s healthy! What answers to years of prayer! What a reason to rejoice and be filled with joy! While I will miss those ornaments, I have the memories of when she gave them to me, and even better – I have her both in this life as my sister and in heaven as a Christian sister thanks to our salvation in Christ.
I encourage you to Choose Joy – If you haven’t heard the sermon yet, I encourage you to listen to it and process the questions. If you are saved, I challenge you to Choose Joy and be an example and a light to those around you. If you are not saved, and are looking for hope and joy this season, I encourage not to give up, to seek help from friends and family, and to join us at HFC – the door is open and the invitation stands. Come as you are, and come meet  the family; we’ve got a seat for you. And we can help you find and Choose Joy!
Many Blessings,
Pastor Sarah