"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

Remember and Pray

When I was 12 years old, I remember my mom moving closer to the radio that sat on top of the refrigerator in our small stucco house in O’Neill, Nebraska.  I remember her looking worried and with all of the wisdom my tViet Namwelve years would allow, I asked, “What’s the matter, Mommy?  War?”  She said it looked like it could be and she shook her head.  I could see the heaviness on her shoulders.  That was in 1954 and the beginning of the Viet Nam War.  I 1960, my sweetheart enlisted and never came back to me.

Some days in our lives stand out.  Who can forget November 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated and then Martin Luther King in April 4, 1968; followed closely by Robert Kennedy the President’s brother on June 5, 1968.  Those were difficult and upsetting times.

world trade centerWe are now in a new era of man’s inhumanity to man.  On September 11, 2001 we saw the fall of the Twin Towers in New York City and now the recent attack on Paris November 13, 2015.  Israel, too,  has been suffering for a long time.  The Kurds are lined up and killed for their faith in ways too horrible to describe.

My heart aches as I consider the pain many in Paris feel today.  My thoughts and prayers are with them.  It is important to remember that we are not immune, as our government continues to invite the enemy to our shores.

The Lord gives us remedy in the Scriptures.  As we ponder these days, let us obey this directive.  He is more than able to set everything right in a matter of days IF we trust Him.

if my people

The Gift of God’s Love

A little over a year ago, I made the gut wrenching decision to place my dear husband, of almost 35 years, in a nursing home.  My friend, Lisa, had spent every spare moment helping me care for him, but he had failed to the point that he took more time and strength that we had.  It was a difficult year.

Joe had pretty well lost the ability to speak clearly and was totally bound to his wheel chair.  My birthday is November 11 and I knew that the he would not be surprising me this year.  He had always made a big deal out of my special day.  His love made me feel like a princess.

Birthday morning came, and I went to spend time with Joe and feed him lunch.  When I walked in, he was in the middle of the room in his wheel chair, holding the most beautiful bouquet of red roses I have ever seen.  He held them up to me with a lively sparkle in his twinkling blue eyes.  He smiled as I reached for them.  I leaned down and lovingly kissed him.  I was surprised and so thankful. roses I looked up at Lisa and knew she was the source of my blessing.

Joe then handed me a card.  Due to the ravages of the Parkinson’s disease, he had scrawled the smallest signature ever on the bottom of a lovely verse.  With tears in my eyes, I kissed him again and reached out and squeezed Lisa’s hand.  Friends such as Lisa fill the world with God’s amazing love.  I will never forget.

Lisa loved Joe.  Once she asked him to marry her and he said yes.  I asked them what they were going to do about me.  They assured me I could stay. It was our special joke.  When we would introduce ourselves to people, I would say this is Joe and I am his wife and Lisa is his girl friend.  Some people were scandalized, but I knew it was just God’s love that we shared.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Joe left for heaven in January.  As my birthday arrives this year, I think back to the best gift I have ever received.  The memories are filled with a tinge of sadness and abundant joy as I recall how proud Joe was to be able to bless me with the beautiful flowers.  For Joe the blessing didn’t need to be understood, only deeply felt.

I love you Lisa.  Thanks for my best birthday ever.Thanks

One Way – Revisited

After my last post, I got some very good advice from a friend of mine.  She said that instead of creating vignettes of teaching parables that I should use incidents from own life. At first I objected, but I could see her point.  In truth, this blog is called “Old Lady Brady’s Joy Journey” and I need to tell of all the joys and heartaches that I have experienced and the lessons that I have learned.  So here goes:

This is a rewrite of One Way – the Only Way.

In my ‘wild childNYC‘ and ‘free spirit’ years, I met a handsome man with sparkling blue eyes and white hair.  I was 38 years old and I had been divorced for 7 years. He too was divorced and we were both looking for answers to life.  We met at a ‘New Age’ meditation workshop in New York City.

I saw him across the room and watched as he took a seat on the aisle.  So as not to be obvious, I sat on the aisle across from him.  That was in January, 1980, and we were married by the end of March.  We moved back to my home in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska.  Needless to say, the New Age movement in Omaha was not nearly as appealing as it was in New York City.

Much to my chagrin, Joe wasn’t satisfied and began listening to Christian radio.  I liked being able to chart my own course and felt that God just had many different ways to reach people all over the world – like Buddhism, Islam, Shinto and so much more.  I was content to embrace them all or to embrace none of them.  Joe was not.

He began to take me to meetings by a young man named Andrew Wommack. We would pretend to be Christians because he gave away his cassette teaching tapes.  Joe loved free stuff!  We would sing along, raise our hands and listen to the preacher.  As soon as the meeting was over, Joe would take his grocery sack and fill it with one tape from each pile.

He would then listen to the teachings and tell me what they said.  He would convince me to listen to some of them and I told him that they were nice and if I just substituted a word here and there, it would fit into my New Age philosophy.

One night we were debating the merits of Christianity and New Age.  We had been up most of the night in deep discussion.  Joe had gotten out of bed and was standing by the door when a realization hit me!  ‘You are taking this Jesus thing all together too seriously!’  ‘That’s right, I am!! And  I don’t care if you do or not!” his frustration showed.

I was shocked.  I talked to all my friends and one in particular who said, ‘Go ahead, it doesn’t matter.  All religion is the same.”  But somehow I just knew that wasn’t true.

One night, on my way home, I listened on the radio and heard an old-time tent evangelist named Schambach address the difference between the Muslim faith and Christianity.  He said that the Muslims go to Mecca to see the remains of Mohammed, but Christians go to Jerusalem to see an empty tomb, ‘because Jesus is Alive!!’  He then demonstrated that there is power in the name of Jesus by healing a blind man and a deaf-mute in the name of Jesus.  But when he turned to the man who couldn’t walk and commanded him to rise and walk in the name of Mohammad, nothing happened.  But then he turned and said, “In Jesus name, Arise!” and he did.

In the process of his presentation, the evangelist’s voice was replaced with the sweet voice of God.  I knew it was Him and I began to weep.  I said over and over again, “I’m sorry Jesus, I just didn’t know, I just didn’t know!”

This isn't us - but you get the idea.

This isn’t us – but you get the idea.

When I got home, Joe wanted to know if I had heard the program and with tears streaming down my face, I said that I had.  His face was filled with joy as he embraced me and welcomed me home.  I was not only in my earthly home, but now I had a heavenly home as well.

There is only one way – Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

 

One Way – the Only Way

Patrick was suddenly aware of the beautiful woman with crystal blue eyes and chestnut-brown hair.  She was stunning.  She was gracious and approachable.  People seemed to enjoy her presence.  He wanted to win her but had no idea how to do it.  He decided to go out and win the hearts of other women.  He felt that somehow, in this manner, he would learn to win the heart of his loved one.  He became a man of some reputation leaving a trail of broken hearts across the city.  Finally, he felt he was ready.

He had studied about her and knew where she would be.  He arranged to be there and to meet her.  He used all of the methods he had used in winning the affections of the other women.  She looked at him with tears brimming in those crystal-clear blue eyes and said, “Patrick, I saw you long ago and loved you.  I have watched as you have pursued other women and it broke my heart.  Now you come to me with all your experience and it means nothing to me.  All I ever wanted was you.  The way to my heart was clear.  You had only to come to me and I would have received you and loved you.”

Patrick’s face showed his dismay.  “Do you mean that you have wanted me all this time?”  “Yes, I have longed for you.”  Patrick asked, “Is it too late?”  “Dear Patrick, since you have found that there is only one way to my heart and that is to come to me and accept my love, I freely give it and forgive you all your previous efforts. ”

Today’s Lesson:

This is the way of our great God. He has provided one way – only one way – into His Presence.  He sees us pursuing false gods and his heart breaks. He knows that the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that there is more than one way to Him.

There is only one way and it is through the shed blood of Jesus.  He is the Doorway to Father God.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to God, except through Jesus.

All we have to do is stop our self-effort and our self-focus and turn to Him.  He sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay the price for all of our sin.  He made it possible for any one of us, regardless of our past choices or beliefs, to come to Him.  The only qualification is that we accept what Jesus has done for us.  As we turn to Jesus, He provides us everything we need for life and godliness.  He loves us and wants to spend time with us.  He wants us to fall in love with Him and fulfill our destiny.

He knew that we needed Him and so He didn’t make it complicated.  He didn’t give a different way to one group of people and another way to another group.  He knew it needed to be simple and so He provided only one way.

The enemy likes to bring doubt and confusion.  He wants us to question everything.  Satan’s desire is to keep us off-balance and away from the One Way, Jesus.  He wants you to think Jesus is just an enlightened teacher or a prophet, but He doesn’t want you to know Him and the power of His blood.  But Jesus is not enlightened – He is the Light!  Jesus is not just a prophet – He is King of Kings and the Lord of lords!  Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  He is God!!!

Today, He is inviting you to come to Him.  He is waiting.  Just tell Him that you want to know Him and ask Him to make Himself real to you.  I assure you that He will.

My silence for the last two years as a blogger was because my husband of 35 years had  become very ill and moved to heaven in January. I served as his caregiver and blogging was the last thing on my agenda.  Because I haven’t posted for a very long time, I lost the rights to joyousbells.com.  

Welcome to Old Lady Brady’s Joy Journey (oldladybradysjoyjourney.com).  I trust that our time together will be filled with love and joy.  So  let’s begin:

cropped-grass-and-sky.jpg

I have watched as Joe’s illness caused me concern, turning into stress and frustration.  I attended my sweet husband as he failed.  I tried to give him healthy food, vitamins, herbs and anything else that he would allow.  I prayed and I became desperate.  I would get unhappy with God and He would remind me that He had given us both everything that we needed for life and godliness.  Joe also  knew that but he was so deep in the flow of the disease that it had a firm grip on him.  I watched helpless with a broken heart.

During this time, I was blessed with a church family that came alongside.  One of my sisters in Christ became a care-giver with me.  She taught me so much.  My pastor and the men in the church encouraged me and when the final days came, they took the night watches for me as Joe struggled to let go of this life and move into the amazing heavenly realm.

Joe had Parkinson’s Disease for seven years and in September he fell and broke his hip.  As with so many people who have failing health, this was the beginning of the end.  He was in the hospitall for surgery, then to rehab and home health care; ultimately moving into a nursing home with hospice.

His home going was wonderful.  The atmosphere in the room was filled with the sweet aroma of heaven and stayed with me as I lay in bed with him for the last time.  It was the sweet assurance that all was okay.  The atmosphere shifted some but it never completely left the room until Joe stepped over.

I miss him but I would not wish him back.  He is free and in the loving arms of His heavenly family.  I will  join him one day.  Until then, I have work to do.  I have the joy of spending time intimately with my heavenly Father and my Big Brother, Jesus and being grateful to the Holy Spirit as He navigates me through each day.

I am beginning my new life doing what I love.  I am writing again.  Stay tuned as I will be an active blogger.  Thank you for following me in the past.  I hope that you stay with me on the Joy Journey.

Joe - in happier days.

Joe – in happier days.

coasterWhy do we think that we have to feel something or it isn’t real?  Feelings are fickle and we even buy them by riding on roller coasters or going to scary movies.

Morris Albert wrote:

Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.
Teardrops rolling down on my face,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.

You know that within the year he met another woman that caused him to forget the feelings that he had for her in the first place.

We do this with God too.  I didn’t feel anything so it must not be real.  Or I can’t see Him and I only believe what I see.  You can’t see the wind but you can feel it – does that mess with you?

We can’t see God and so some dismiss Him out of hand.  But He is more real than anything that we see or feel orHoly Spirit understand.  He witnesses to us in the Autumn colors, the Spring flower, the majestic mountains and the snow flakes.  It is beyond random chance that these miracles could happen.

Open your heart and allow the Spirit of God to bring change and I promise that in time, the feeling will follow!

What hurts??  It hurts when people whom I hoped would be my counselors and mentors turn to criticism and disciplinarianpoint out the things that I know, all too well, need change in my life.  These are things that I have spoken to the Lord about and He assures me in His love that He is dealing with them.

It is not the job of anyone on earth to beat us until we change.  The love of God is rich and pure and never beats us.

angry windIt is like the old story of the wind and the sun.  The wind bet the sun that it could get the man walking down the road take off his coat.  The sun said go ahead.

The harder the wind blew and beat against the man, the tighter the coat was pulled around him.  After hurricane force winds, the man was sheltered near a building and still in his coat.

Then the sun said, “Now it is my turn.”  He shone down on the man and warmed the air and the atmman and sunosphere with his soft rays and soon the man took off his coat and stopped to enjoy the warmth.

Let us let God our loving heavenly Father do His job through the loving brightness of His Son change us into His image.

Trust the Holy Spirit to do the job.  He is more than able.

%d bloggers like this: