Friday, January 18, 2013

What A Friend I Have In Joy

Picture a yard filled with flowers of every kind. Gardens at every corner of the house. It's a terribly warm day in Missouri, but here I am in the yard of my friend, Joy. I have always found her name to be the definition of her walk. Joy carries such a beauty. A beauty rare. It's as though her joy is contagious and her passion for life gives way to allow her Savior to shine through her every action.



Joy is my Sunday School teacher and on this day she has invited me over for lunch. A lunch in where I walk away with a new recipe for chicken salad and a truck filled with flowers to plant in my own summer yard.



I'm not sure when my relationship with Ms. Joy went from being my Sunday school teacher to my friend. It's as though it just blossomed. Maybe our love for the Lord connected us. She is not only my friend, but my sister in Christ. She has been my mentor for many years now. I look to her for my example to follow. I hope to one day become the woman she is today. Life has not always been easy for this woman of grace. But life has taught her a great many lessons. Lessons that she is now teaching me.



She is spunky and fun. She's quirky and beauty all wrapped up in one. She is retired now and even more busy than she was when she was working full time. Yes, she is the woman on a mission to share the love of Jesus. I think the Lord sees that she is a woman after a heart like His and He has opened door after door for her to shine Him through. If she sees you in Walmart, prepare yourself for a hug. She will take your hand and pray wherever you are at the moment. She refuses the bad things in life room where Jesus is waiting for a blessing. This is a woman completely filled with joy. If I had to describe Ms. Joy I would say she is a colorful garden of sprouting daffodils. She has a heart inviting. Yes, she is that friend you could sit with for hours and when your visit is over your already planning your next. She cares for people. I mean, she really cares.



In many ways I look to Ms. Joy with a daughter's eyes. When I have been absent from church it has always been Ms. Joy who is calling me. She isn't calling to question me with condemnation, but calling to simple let me know that I am missed. She gives encouragement through her words of wisdom. Inspiration through her own walk with the Lord.



What I love most is that she loves me just the way I am. She prays for me and intercedes when she knows I am walking a difficult road. She knows all about difficult roads. It's through her own life experiences that make her a wondrous teacher. She isn't perfect. Maybe that's where her beauty shines through. She is always excited to share the Lord. She is His willing vessel. She knows the meaning of grace and forgiveness. It is her own trials that has taught her great lessons that has lead to a great faith.



She has taught me to be humble in every situation. To pray before I speak. In fact, she has taught me to listen far more than I speak. She has taught me the value of having a quiet tongue. I don't have to speak my mind about every issue. If you know me, well, lets just say, I often speak up when I should be sitting down. My tongue tends to get me in trouble.



As women we have relationships that seem to take everything out of us. But then here is my friend who makes everything seem so easy. With Joy everything seems to flow. She has taught me to reach out and not allow fear to hold me back. My faith has grown because of the example she has given me. If there is one woman who has made an impact on my life it would be Ms. Joy.



She has helped me to see the good in every situation and to know the Lord is always in control. When I'm going through a difficult time she doesn't have to know every detail in order to pray for me. One lesson of value she is teaching me is that we go to church to worship. I am to go to church and be so focused on Jesus that no amount of junk that gets thrown my way can come between my worship with Him. Focus is an intentional action. If my focus is shifted off of Jesus I must make the choice to let it go and place my focus back on Him. She has taught me to let go of those issues that seem so big at the time. She reminds me that Jesus has a plan and purpose for me and it isn't to focus on things I cannot change. That's good stuff, isn't it?



When I'm spending time with Ms. Joy my heart is at ease. We can share our love for Jesus, we can laugh about silliness and we can take hands and pray. She has helped me come out of my comfort zone and reach out in ways that I would have never thought to do. I can make a difference in the life of another simply by praying for them.



Ms. Joy is a servant of the Lord. A child of the King. She has surrendered her life to Christ. All of it. She trusts Him. This is something I am learning still today. There are times I feel unworthy and she is quick to remind me that I am. I surrender pain and burdens to Jesus only to pick them up again. She is there to guide me to the cross and trust Him with everything.



This journey can at times be lonely. We can feel as though we are walking in the desert. Having a friendship with Ms. Joy has changed my life. She is a woman I am inspired by and one in whom I am inspired to become. A woman of God in every way. Giving every situation over to Him and seeking Him in all I do.



She has encouraged me to be present in His Word. To trust Him even when things don't seem to make sense. Yes, my relationship with Ms. Joy is build on the foundation of our love for Jesus. She is the woman who inspires me to become the best woman of God I can be. She has taught me to find strength in the Lord. In my weakness He can move me to become strong. My faith isn't something that just happens. It's intentional. My relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship I have.



These are qualities I hope to obtain as I grow with the Lord. Having a friend like Ms. Joy by my side creates in me a God chick who knows nothing is impossible when I am one with my Lord.



"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice."
Proverbs 27:9
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