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Offer Joy: 31 Days to Full

                         
Offer Joy: 31 Days to Full

Day four of my challenge to offer joy for one thing or many things every day of October.  Brrr. Its cold and October just rolled in.  Yikes. 
Today I was rethinking the perks of living farther south. 

Today as I slipped on my boots for the first time this Autumn and put jackets on all the kiddies I smiled.  I love the way boots feel.  I love my feet being totally warm.  This Autumn snuck up on me.  It felt like summer wasn’t over and now it’s gone and if the early chill is any omen, summer is for sure gone.  (I hope there are some Indian Summer days). 
Seasons always do that.  You are in the thick of Spring and May melts into steaming  puddles of June humidity.  And you really had not noticed.
Growth is like that, most of the time.

One day you catch yourself staring wide eyed at your child and realize that some kind of metamorphic growth has occurred within the past month.  They are so much more grown up.  And it is all of a sudden, right beneath your nose.

You step on the scale and realize all those extra bites here and second helpings there have finally added up…all of a sudden.

Growth can be oh so quiet.

Today I had the pleasure of spending long hours with a dear friend of mine.  Three years ago our friendship started as I meekly asked her in the midst of her freshly lost mother-despair if we could ‘hang out’?  I really did not think I had much to offer her and honestly I didn’t.  I had two toddlers, a littered mini van and a listening ear.  What would a seventeen year old really gain from our Wednesday afternoons together?
Fast forward three years of teenage turbulence and trials that come from no parents in her picture and now before me sat a woman who is blossoming. 
She’s grown.
She’s moved past self pity to action.  She filled out and I scouted out so many job applications and we both were worn down and asking why?
She is now working two jobs and making it.  She’s happier.  She’s confident.
She knows she’s growing.  And we both cannot help but smile about it.
We know her mama is smiling wide by Jesus’ side as she sees her baby girl grow wings and start to fly.

me and my decade younger friend :) 


Growth often times tests our patience and perseverance by refusing to yield results right away.  It requires tenacity from us.  It requires faith.  Faith to show up, faith to do even when the results and the crops yield basically zero to our human eyes.

It reminds me of that beautiful promise of growth found in Philippians.   
A promise to grip in the precipices of life and NEVER LET GO. 
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I don’t know about you but I desperately need this.  I need to know that the God who made me and saved me is still the faithful Gardner tending my soul. 

That one day all this slow growth will reap a harvest.

I’ve come to realize that inside growth usually shows up to others before you know about it.  Just like those extra pounds or your kids six inch spike.
You barely notice until someone else notices it for you. You ponder their observations, reflect, and smile

“Yes, I guess you’re right.  I have changed.  I’ve grown.” 

Lastly, I thought about the guarantee of this passage today.  That if a good work was planted deep in your soul it will be carried out.  Jesus will see His garden through.  
A name I had not thought of for oh so long flitted through my mind today.  A face from the past.  Its been over a decade since I've seen her almond eyes and beautiful smile.  I remember kneeling beside my bed and praying that God would help me as she asked seemingly randomly into the lamplight if I would pray with her.  She was ready to give her heart to Jesus.  We had not been speaking of it so I was totally taken back in surprise.  I remember silently muttering to God, "Please help me not to mess this up."
She gently and humbly prayed with me and joy filled her eyes. 
I have no idea where she is, what she has done, or where she is going but as I think back to that life altering and eternity changing moment I rest in the promise of this verse.  That real faith will bear fruit.  It's a guarantee.  We aren't left hanging by God.  
Wherever she is now I know, He who began a good work in her will complete  it.


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