The 3rd session of the new bible study James: Mercy Triumphs stopped me in my tracks. Moore presents the biblical relationship between JOY (Greek: chara) and ANGUISH (Greek: thilipsis). She shares that Joy and Anguish can co-exist and both are experienced through relationships. I couldn’t agree more.

Each year I take the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to reflect on this new year transition. If ever there was a time when anguish and joy co-existed, it has been in my head and heart this week. I grieve the passing of what I know will never be again. I reflect, but I really grieve. I need to do this in order to reset my hard drive to make resolutions for the new year. It’s not a sad time, but certainly a time of not so few tears.

This I know…

1. Baby Girl will never know life just for herself ever again. In the new year she will give birth to her first child. This is when you get to know what it feels like to hold your very heart outside your body. Friends often ask, “Are you ready to be a Grandmother?”  I can’t say that I am.  Because I am in Mama-Mode.  I know that neither her body nor her heart will ever be the same.  How do you prepare your very “heart-outside-your-body” for such a time?

2.  We serve a God of the resurrection and He is still resurrecting dead places in our hearts if we’ll let Him.  Having experienced too often, and for too long, the wounds of  bullies, I now know what makes me such a target.  It doesn’t help that my vocation is one where selflessness, forgiveness, compassion, and restoration are at the forefront of our calling.  #1 Son says I say “I’m sorry” too much.  Maybe it’s because I think others need to hear it as much as I do.  One of the first things we teach preschoolers is to say, “I’m sorry,” when others are hurt.  I think this and taking a nap would make for a world and a church of less hurtful and less hurting people.

3.  When we are in the habit of being obedient with our finances of giving, saving, and sharing, God multiplies that which makes no sense at all.  Like everyone else in the country, we have been affected by economic instability.  Our Dave Ramsey DVDs and CDs have made their rounds this year in the Bull-Reilly-Peaden clan as reminders.  Speaking engagements, workshops, and the generosity of others have blessed our socks off.  Moderate weather has kept the power bills low and the answered prayer of “Lord, don’t let us need nor want anything today,” remind me that He is interested in numbers, too.

4.  It has been a Philippians year:

“For I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”  1:19

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  1:27

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” 2:1

“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”  3:18

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” 4:8

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”  4:20

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