visions of joy

Visions of JOY!!!

“Now close your eyes, picture yourself walking along the shores of Lake Galilee. Imagine Jesus walking beside you, see the lake, hear the waves wash along the shore, and ask Jesus that question you want the answer to.” (this is all a bit paraphrased, as I don’t remember the exact wording…but I think you can get the picture)

Hmmm. What question did I have for Jesus? And why didn’t I feel like taking this very seriously? I was a bit skeptical, but then that isn’t a new reaction for me.

Okay, I will close my eyes.

Focus on the lake.

Where was Jesus?

He is skipping rocks! What? And smiling!! Doesn’t He take Himself seriously?

Alright, let’s skip rocks! I like skipping rocks!

Over the next few weeks, every time I met Jesus on the shores of the lake, we did something that was fun. We rolled down the hills, played tag, and lay on the grass and watched the clouds moving along.

Some of you might be wondering what I am talking about. How is it possible to even experience something like this? Sounds a bit hokey, right? I can tell you that it took a lot of convincing to get me to even try something like this.

I knew that God was always trying to get my attention, and talking to me, but I ignored Him most of the time. I only focused on Him when I wanted something from Him. It took me a long while, and quite a bit of surrender, to realize that all He really wanted from me was my time. He wanted to spend time with me and be my best friend. He wanted me to talk to Him like He really existed, and not treat Him like some magic genie-in-a-bottle, only to be shined up for a prayer answer. He wanted quality AND quantity time.

Wow. It was that simple. I just needed to close my eyes, quiet my own busyness, and listen.

He is FULL of JOY!!

He is FULL of LOVE!!

He filled me with PEACE, and the bitterness seemed to just disappear. I was able to relax, to get rid of my seriousness, and just laugh.

Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

Psalm 33:20 “We put our hope in the LORD.
He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.”

Psalm 30:11 “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy”

I needed this place of rest and joy, as the last 6 weeks or so I have been on a journey that is so different from what I am used to. On February 1st I was overcome with a burden for people lost in the world of porn, and for the lives that are affected by it. It was heavy, and the burden of interceding was almost overwhelming. My “normal” thoughts were full of wanting to rescue and “how can I help” emotion. I couldn’t sleep very well, and I paced in my house a lot. Every time I sat down to do something a bible verse would pop up, or some random thought process would take over. I knew that this wasn’t from me. How could it be? I am not an activist. I don’t voice my opinions in public, if anything I avoid anything that could be controversial. I like to be the jokester, and to make people laugh.

It has been hard! But SO wonderful! This burden is laced with hope. Hope because I know the answer. Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY answer. No matter what I do or say will make a difference if He doesn’t help. I can’t do anything without Him, and I don’t want to. And I know this is only the beginning of a brand new adventure, one filled with joy.

1 Peter 1:6-8, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”

So, I close my eyes, and go to the lake…and we skip rocks, roll down hills and laugh.

He brings JOY, HOPE and PEACE.

Nothing else can compare.

(Picture taken by saramaxwell on the Amalfi coast, in 2011!)