How to Expose Shadowed JOY

Shadowed JOYIn less time than it took to prepare the morning coffee, the sun’s light traveled 92.96 million miles in eight minutes and twenty seconds. When I returned to my red chair, my favorite spot of reading and conversation with God, I noticed the early morning sunrays cast long shadows through the window.

Darkness and long shadows obscured the hand embroidered JOY on the mini quilt. I cupped my mug of liquid mercy and watched as shadows surrounded the word JOY.  I peered with strange fascination as light and shadows danced across the 16x16-wall quilt. The sun stretched higher and the waltz changed patterns. Will the JOY be completely overshadowed by darkness? I pondered. However, what I truly wondered was if my JOY be completely overshadowed by darkness.

Will my JOY be completely overshadowed by darkness?

This mini wall quilt is one of my favorite quilting projects. Utilizing scraps from left over previous sewing projects, I pieced together this simple mini quilt and hand embroidered JOY in red to accent my favorite color.

My heart has been exceedingly heavy this week.  When the Realtor plunged the FOR SALE sign into the dry earth, I felt the sign puncture my already broken heart. I’d been expecting and preparing for this day for over six months, but nothing could prepare me for the surge of emotions.  I thanked the Realtor, walked into the house, threw myself on my son’s bed and wailed.

 

JOY. Sometimes darkness casts long shadows in an attempt to hide our joy, but God’s light and our praise helps to expose JOY! - April White Click To Tweet

“Worship like the things you’ve been believing God for are on the other side of your praise.”- Pastor John Gray.

 

JOYMy heart is still heavy, but it is saturated in praise.  God is slowly pushing back the grief and darkness and exposing the JOY.

Dear friends, is something shadowing your joy? I pray for Christ to give you the strength to hold on and praise Him, while He pushes back the darkness to expose your joy.

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”(Nehemiah 8:10)

Blessings to you,

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.  *Images courtesy of author.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Personal Declarations and Self-Encouragement

alarm-clock-pixabayDoes your morning routine include encouraging yourself? We each have a morning routine and today I will share with you a glimpse into mine. Before my feet hit the floor, I recite this personal declaration and prayer:

 

Lord, I love you.

Lord, I trust you.

Lord, I trust your plan.

Lord, I trust your provision.

Lord, I trust your unfailing Sovereign timing.

Amen.

 

When my heart is  heavy with discouragement I encourage myself by reciting these truths aloud:

Lord, you are a good, good Father.

Lord, I am loved by you.

You are faithful and able to complete to good work you started in me.

You have chosen me and will not reject me.

You call me by name.

You are jealous for me.

I am yours Lord, now do as you promised.

Amen.

God does not have grandchildren. Some things you need to learn for yourself. Click To Tweet

Going Deeper

My personal declarations and self-encouragement truths are directly from Scripture. I encourage you today to dig a little deeper and read these passages:

Proverbs 3:5-6Do as you Promised Verse

Psalm 143:8

Genesis 22 (emphasis on verses 13-14)

Jeremiah 29:11

Lamentations 3:25-26

Philippians 1:6

Isaiah 41:9-10

Isaiah 43:1

Exodus 34:14

1 Chronicles 17:23

Years ago, I was thrilled to watch my favorite woman of God, Priscilla Shirer speak at Thomas Road Baptist Church. From the third row, I clearly recall her saying, “God does not have grandchildren, only children. Some things you need to learn for yourself.”

TRUST with bench 2016I challenge you seek God’s Word for yourself and create your own personal declarations. We all have bad days which is why it’s crucial to encourage one another daily. But, sometimes we need to encourage our self in the Lord.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.

*Images courtesy of author and Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Eat Cake: Remembering & Celebrating Answered Prayers

Celebrate “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11)

Cheerful sunflowers in decorated Mason jars serve as the centerpiece for today’s anniversary dinner.  A chocolate cake with homemade peanut butter frosting begs my attention.  I scrape the side of the baking dish, and savor the flavor.

Four years ago, I prayed a big audacious impossible prayer. Four year ago today, God answered that prayer.  Today is my day to celebrate this monumental occasion with my God, a special day just between him and me.

I am anxiously awaiting my family to return home from school and soccer practice so we can dive into dinner and this cake!

 “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, KJV)Celebrate Eat Cake

As Christ followers, we celebrate the obvious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Do we remember to celebrate the personal days of answered prayers? August 23rd is my own personal day of celebration. Today is a day to celebrate! Today is a day to eat cake!

How do you celebrate the anniversaries of answered prayers? Do you have a special date that you celebrate? If so please share.

~April Dawn White

* All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway unless otherwise noted. *Images courtesy of author.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

 

Buoyant Joy

Bass boat Smith Mountain Lake“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

Bass boats skim across the lake, a rooster tail of water rockets into the air. Spring yawns as petioles stretch open uncurling their true purpose. The leaves are on full display today narrowing my view of the main channel. In the center of my view, a “No Wake” buoy bobs as the bass boats disturb its quiet resting place.

This buoyant channel maker captivates my attention. It never sinks. Waves toss the buoy to and fro kissing the water, always returning to its upright position.sunset water buoy Pixabay

“Joy is not mere happiness. Nor does joy spring from a life of ease, comfort, or peaceful circumstances. Joy is the soul’s buoyant response to a God of promise, presence, and power.”–Susan Lenzkes

Buoy: noun/  a floating object anchored in water to mark something (as a channel)

Buoy: verb/ to mark by a buoy, to keep afloat, to raise the spirits of

Buoyancy: noun/ the power of a fluid to exert an upward force on a body placed in it, resilience of spirit.

Buoyant joy is a by-product of resilient faith. Click To Tweet

It does not guarantee the absence of a storm; rather it guarantees the ability to bounce back.

A buoy is anchored in water with the purpose of marking the main channel. Our faith and joy are anchored to His living water.  We serve as channel markers, guiding those in the midst of the storm to stay on course, encouraging others as we bob along.

Even though thick fog impedes my future, I know the One to whom I’m anchored. Knowing I will bounce back because He is the God over the storm assufog dock Pixabayres me “It is well with my soul.”

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of author or Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Joy is the Serious Business of Heaven

daisies-Joy is the serious buisnes of heaven quoteThe word joy is found in the Scriptures two hundred and forty two times! C.S. Lewis was correct when he stated, “JOY is the serious business of heaven.” 

James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt.” (James 1:2-8, NIV)

Facing trials and suffering is serious business!  Scripture reminds us to consider it pure joy, because our faith will produce perseverance, maturity, and wisdom. I’m not sugar coating circumstances, it’s hard. But on those days when choosing to see the joy amidst the pain seems impossible, dig in and find joy.

Today, I found joy in the this photograph of daisies, my favorite flower. It reminds me that not all seasons will be dreary and “joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

~April Dawn White

This image is my Freebie Friday gift to you. Feel free to download, print, and share this image on your blog or social media. Please keep the image intake with my website watermark visible.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

You Can’t Out Give God!

Andrew gave all that he had.
The Wade Family Christmas is a large affair, with a gathering of over one hundred, our clan mostly dressed in Wranglers and boots, gather at a local reception hall. Each year, our extended family chooses a family in need. Often we donate food and firewood, and money. This year my parents, and the kids and I packed up our firewood to give to a family member going through a difficult time. After dinner, the monarch of the family announced another collection would be used to purchase new dentures recently lost at the nursing home.
            A few days later, I discover money and a note on the kitchen counter. I counted the money and read the note from Andrew: “New teeth.” I called Andrew into the kitchen to explain. He said, “Well, it’s not a lot, but it’s all the money I have, except for Wal-Mart gift cards. You can’t buy new teeth with a Wal-Mart gift card can you? We know two people who need new teeth and I want them to have my money. I have teeth. Everyone needs teeth, mom.” I cried. I lifted my head to the heavens and thanked the Good Lord above for this boy!
            We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, my sister and her children. After the presents were opened, my mom announced she had one more gift to give. She handed Andrew a crisp twenty-dollar bill and said, “Andrew, I heard about you giving all your money away to help buy new teeth for Wilton. This is for you!”  Andrew’s eyes lit up with excitement, and then he spoke, “But Grandma, this is too much. I only gave away $18 not $20.” She smiled at her only grandson and said, “No, you keep it!” From across the living room cluttered with wrapping paper, I asked “Andrew, what is it I always say about giving?” With a huge grin, he erupted, “YOU CAN’T OUT GIVE GOD!” It’s true; we can never out give God! In fact, the Bible says to test God on this subject.
Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
(Malachi 3:10 NIV)
            I received many treasured gifts this Christmas. However, the most treasured gift was watching Andrew walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s nudge to give; then watching his face light up when he received back more than he gave. That’s how God works. You can’t out give God!


~April 
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