July 12, 2015

I Choose Joy - Guest blogger Suzie Downing

We are happy to have guest blogger, Suzie Downing on the blog today. Suzie is one of many American friends who follow Inscribe's blog. Welcome Suzie! 

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
            Philippians 4:4

Rejoice always...hmmmm...doesn't say anything about rejoicing when everything is going right. Rejoicing when I feel great. Rejoicing when it's easy. No, is says to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.

I wake at 4 a.m., tossing and turning, unable to sleep, worry beginning to slither its creeping tentacles into my over-thinking brain. Why do things seem so insurmountable in the wee hours of the morning? I get up and get my husband off to work, then settle in for my favourite time of day: rocking chair, feet up, lights out, hot coffee, the fire in the woodstove crackling, and quiet time with my Lord. Ahhhh....

Then a dark cloud begins to settle in. Why? My prayers feel stifled and stilted, as if they aren't going anywhere - certainly not to God. Why is this so hard and my mood going dark? At first light the dogs and I head out for a walk to shake this off.

Rain or shine, morning walks on the ranch usually brighten me up, but not today. I feed the horses and cows in the grey morning downpour, literally ankle deep in sucking mud and horse manure, and my dark mood deepens.

Finished, I walk back to the dogs and I am struck by their expectant faces, joy written all over them. Their full body wags communicate they anticipate my return. Tied to a fence post in the soggy grass to keep them out of pasture muck, the rain soaking their coats, they take no notice of their surroundings, but keep their eyes locked on me, absolutely thrilled at my return. Me, with my dark mood and grouchy outlook. Amazingly all they want is me and my praise and attention!

It strikes me then...isn't that just like God? He doesn't care if my mood is dark or if I'm having a bad day. He is there for me, His face brightening with love and anticipation when He sees me turning back to Him. All He wants is my undivided attention and praise. He is there, attentive and loving, just waiting to give me joy in Him. Wow, what a mood lifter!

As I continue my walk I hum a long forgotten childhood song:

"I've got that joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart (where?)
Down in my heart (where?)
Down in my heart,
I've got that joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart (where?)
Down in my heart to stay!"

I'm quite certain this joy I am feeling now won't stay; when something hard comes up, when busyness sets in, when I'm hurt by a perceived slight, I will once again let my attention be drawn away from Him, the giver of my joy, and allow the worries of the world to suck it away like a pit of quicksand.

My Lord wants me to rejoice in Him always, to make a conscience choice, no matter my circumstances or how I feel, and when I do, I will see that He has always been there, expectantly waiting, His face radiant with love, longing for me to find my comfort and joy in Him.

Bio: Suzie is a recently retired wife and grandmother living on a ranch in the coast range of Oregon. She has been married for 40 years, and has three sons and six grandchildren. For the first time in her married life she has time to write and reflect on the goodness of God and all He has given her. 


9 comments:

  1. I was enjoying your post, Suzie, but when you came to the Full-body Wag, I was hooked. It might be irreverent to think of God being that excited when I turn my eyes away from my worries and back to Him, but I can imagine the angels doing that! Loved this reminder. Thx.

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  2. Wonderful to have you on teh blog today Suzie. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. How often we can forget that He wants us to gaze on Him so He can 'fix' our problems. How loving and peaceful that is!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your joyful heart with us.

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  5. "Amazingly all they want is me and my praise and attention!" Thanks for reminding us of God's love for us and His desire to fellowship with us.

    Yes, too often I allow the stresses and pressures of life to rob me of His joy. It's a choice I have to make each day, often several times throughout the day.

    I'm glad you shared this guest post with us, Suzie :)

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  6. Your sensory images help us hear/see/feel/smell what's going on in your world that morning. Here is one excellent example" of your circumstances: "I feed the horses and cows in the grey morning downpour, literally ankle deep in sucking mud and horse manure, and my dark mood deepens." As a reader, I could almost feel the water running down my face, my hair in my mouth, and the manure and mud mixture sucking at my boots, trying to pull them off your feet. There isn't much in this grim morning that calls you to rejoice.

    And then you see your dogs so excited to see you coming toward them. We feel your mood shift. . . And you realize that God too is eager for you to spend time with him.

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  7. May God help you to use your time wisely, because the clock can tick quickly even during one's retirement.

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  8. I like how you took us from "ankle deep in sucking mud" to "finding comfort and joy in Him" by making the conscious choice to enjoy His attention toward us. Thank you Suzie.

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  9. Suzie, it sounds like you've been visiting my own world and thoughts. All the props are in place for joy, but sometimes joy eludes me. And I do what you do, turn my focus on God. Sometimes the sunshine comes back into my mind right away, and sometimes it doesn't. But I know that as creative types, we are more sensitive to our emotions and then I try to thank God that he made me that way. He is faithful to walk with us in everything. So glad to "meet" you, especially as a fellow American, Suzie!

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