Splashes of Joy in the Mud Puddles of Life

Today's devotion comes to us from Linda Babcock.  Did you have siblings growing up?  Linda did; three brothers!  Family life will certainly teach us many lessons.  Linda's devotion today is about how her family life taught her the very important skill of finding joy in the midst of challenge.  Enjoy!

Blessings,
Reverend Dave


_________________________

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness…Create in me a pure heart, O God.” Psalm 51:7-8,10

I have three younger brothers.  When they were little, they used to play cowboys and Indians in the back yard, or pretend they were out hunting with our Pop Pop.  One day, when my middle brother was five or six, he was playing outside and had his toy rifle aimed at the trees to stalk some birds.  As he tracked through the yard with his eyes in the sky, all of a sudden, the ground gave way underneath him – and just like in a cartoon, he fell down into a hole; but, as he fell, the rifle in his hands stopped the fall as it held fast across the top of the hole.  And a good thing, too – he was up to his armpits in the cesspool!

After a lot of screaming and hollering, he got Mom’s attention (or maybe one of the other boys ran toward the house to tattle on him!)  Mom blocked the door so he couldn’t get back in the house.  There he stood oozing slime and stinking to the high heavens.  Mom proceeded to make him strip down to his birthday suit on the back steps and hosed him (and his pile of stinky stuff) off before he was escorted into the house and up to the bathroom for a serious scrubbing.

Sometimes when we fall into life’s mud puddles (or cesspools), someone has to help us climb out – or pull us out kicking and screaming!  And, usually, even if we are thoroughly “hosed off,” bits of mud still cling to us in the hidden places of our hearts – the places only God can see.  Sometimes, we need to be scrubbed so hard it really hurts and leaves us raw and tender for a long time.  We need reminders of God’s promises to get us through those “mud puddle moments.”

Sometimes, when we try looking up to find splashes of joy in the midst of challenges, we lose our footing.  That’s when we need to remember the scriptures God gave us for those times.  Psalm 55:16-17 says, “But I call to God and the Lord saves me.  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice…Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.”  Psalm 121:3 says, “He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber.”  (I guess my brother was trusting THIS promise that morning!)

How do we find those splashes of joy that we need when we keep falling in mud puddles? Always, always remember how God washes us and cleans us up, no matter what.  His love rinses away the residue we pick up trying to protect ourselves from life’s messy circumstances.  When He is finished with us, we are shining and ready to reflect God’s love to others.  God’s covering of grace is enough for any problem we may think we have. We are put in community to show that love and joy to one another.

- Linda Babcock
 
Prayer:
Lord, thank you for reminding me that you are love, you bring us joy and gladness, and you made us to share your love and joy generously with others, no matter what their circumstances or ours might be.  Amen

No Comments


Recent

Archive

 2021

Categories

no categories

Tags

100 Bill Anger Authentic Bible Body of Christ Brigantine Beach Broken world COVID Centered Changed Charlie Brown Child of God Chosen people Christian Education Comfortable Denominations Dimock PA Discipleship Discipline Doubt Faith Following Jesus Generosity Gifts of the Spirit Giving God at work God is Love God's Glory God's call God's creation God's economy God's face God's first words God's leading God's light God's love God's plan God's presence God's story God's timing God's voice God's ways God's way God's will be done God's will God's word God\'s Glory God\'s face God\'s first words God\'s leading God\'s light God\'s love God\'s presence God\'s story God\'s will be done God\'s will God\'s word God\\\'s leading God\\\'s love God\\\'s story God\\\\\\\'s love God\\\\\\\'s story God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s story Godhead God Grandparents Day Grandparents Hands and feet of Jesus Hearing God Holiness Holy Spirit Jealous Jesus Loves Me Jesus is Lord Jesus the healer Jesus John Wesley Justice Kingdom life Kingdom of God Knowing God Laughter Light of the world Living Word Lord and God Lord Love One Another Made new Mesa Newness of life Norms Obey PPE Peanuts Psalm 130 Psalm 91 Radical Transformation Recreate Refreshed Rock Sabbath Sanctified Satan Saul Savior Seeing God Shalom Soulmate Spirit of God Standing before God Stumbling Sunday School Testify The Church The Gospel of Jesus Christ The Great Commission The family of God The new people of God The people of God Transformation Trinity Truth in love Truth Unconditional love VBS Values Voice of God Weary Worship Written word abundance action affirmation air anchor answered prayer anxiety arguing arguments armor ask God asking God assurance attentive awe b r e a t h e baptism be ready be strong believe birds born again born from above bread of life bright broken call to ministry calm camp meeting caretakers celebrate character children of God choice choir choosing church comfort commandments community compassion confession conversation with God creation decision defending God dependent depression depths devotions direction discouraged disney distractions diversity divided do no harm dream big dream empowered enjoy equality eternal life evangelism evidence examine excuses expectations expecting God experience failure faint faithful fear fellowship finding God finding Jesus focus follow through forgiveness free from sin free will freedom gathered giving God the glory goals godly good neighbor good news good works grace grief grieving guidance happiness hard hate healing helpless help hide and seek holy living holy hope humility hunger ice cream image of God infinite worth injustice intentional intercesor intervene intimate joy justify knowing Jesus knowledge learning letting go life in the Kingdom life lightning light listening living together living looking for God love God love neighbor love of God love self love loving God loving Jesus loving others mature meaning meditate meditation mercy ministry miracles miserable mission mistakes motivation murmuration music neighbors new begging new life ocean olympics overcome overflowing partnering pass it on pay no attention peace persecuting Jesus perseverance persistence power praise pray big pray for students prayer praying predestination prepare priorities proclaim promises of God pure purity purpose real deal reconciliation recreated redeeming redeem refining refuge rejection rejoice relationship remember repent rescue response rest resurrection revelation righteousness risk rules sacrifice salvation sanctification scarcity school scripture searching seeking God self-assessment self-care selfish selfless servant servent service set apart share shine brightly shine simple simplicity simplify sinners sinner sin solitude spending time with Jesus spiritual disciplines spiritual exercises spiritual gifts spiritual growth spiritual health spirituality start over status quo stewardship steward storms stress struggle students success suffering teaching temptation test thankfulness thanksgiving the great commandments the sky the unknown thunder time with God tired together transfiguration troubles trust in God trust understanding unexpected united methodist church value victory vision waiting on God walking with God wear out welcome wisdom witness wonder worries worry your story