The Joy of Jesus in Children

I touch my grandson’s glowing face and when I look into his eyes, I see Jesus. His innocence and his lack of pretense are the characteristics of living truth. The light that sparkles and flickers from within those bright blue orbs is the glow of self-existence, the reflection of the great I am. I feel his unique, pure essence and marvel at this rare treasure that God has placed in my temporary care. I tremble.  I remember the day I first held his father, in same utter amazement; but with much less understanding of my intended purpose, as mother. Parenting was the grand experiment of my life. I entered into it expecting to mold the small person I once carried inside me and then, held in my arms but by parenting, I was re-molded.  Though my adult children will have to undo many of my parenting mistakes, as they learn to parent themselves, nothing they taught me will ever need be undone.

My children, including my grandchildren, are the joy of my life. They are the blessing and sometimes, the blessing disguised as a curse that has brought me closer to God than any other experience in my life. Through them God gives me His perspective on myself and a better understanding of the power of the parent-child relationship. Through my children, God has taught me to love more unconditionally than I could ever learn to love, without them. Raising my children taught me my strengths and my limits. By the sacrifices I’ve made for them, I’ve been humbled.  By balancing myself between my overwhelming desire to protect them and at the same time, allow them their free choice, (along with the consequences of them) I’ve come to know the suffering God has endured, as a consequence of my sin. Longsuffering is the long-term commitment of a loving parent to their beloved child. When my children suffer, even by their mistakes, I suffer too. I will suffer with them and for them, until their suffering ends. When they are doing well and are happy, I rejoice! I release them, in love, and as they live their lives, I wait for them to return, in hopes of happy reunion.

In the eyes of children I see Jesus and caring for them re-shapes my inner woman, making me more like Him.

Take time to care for the children God places in your life and be blessed, as your heart overflows with eternal joy.

“As you do for the least of these among you, you do also, for me.” ~~~Jesus~~~~


From Wrath to Joy: The Transformation of an Angry Pam

Children should honor their parents and I believe all children want to do so. However, when parents behave in ways that are dishonorable and harmful to the child, those children are provoked, filled with anger, and rebel. Abuse causes children to act out in wrath, with destructive behavior of their own. I was such a child and by the end of my childhood, I was angry most of the time. Most of my rage was turned inward and my most destructive acts were committed against myself but I at times, targeted others too. I was mad at the world and so far in denial about the abuse I’d survived as a child that I didn’t even understand why. My anger seemed to come out of nowhere and I thought there had to be something wrong with my brain.  I felt a lot of guilt over not being able to control how I felt and that added to the shame I carried over things done to me as well as, things I had done. In church, I was taught that all human anger was wrong and there were times I doubted the validity of my standing with God.  I felt helpless in the face of my anger but in the person of Jesus, I found the guidance I needed to transform my wrath into joy.

I went years without understanding myself as a victim of childhood abuse and I couldn’t heal from my anger until I understood and accepted that fact. I didn’t like thinking of myself as a victim. It made me feel weak and foolish; but I was only a child, I was weak and foolish and adults in my life took advantage of that. My first steps of transformation from wrathful to joyful came with accepting the truth about me and my childhood. I also, began to look to the Bible for myself, in order to see what God’s Word teaches about anger, as opposed to what I’d been taught. Immediately, I saw that both God the Father and Jesus the Son were sometimes angry, even wrathful. I also, noticed that their anger was directed at abuses against God. I soon came to understand it was okay to be mad at those things that make God angry and it was okay to be angry, even wrathful about the sins committed against me as a child. I was comforted to know that my being abused made God angry too. What wasn’t okay was for me to act out in blind, destructive, anger. I began to understand that God gave me anger for a purpose and a part of that purpose was using my righteous anger to help heal the emotional, psychological, and spiritual wounds that a childhood of abuse created in me. My righteous anger enabled me to stand up to the abuse and discard the misappropriated guilt and shame that I had carried for decades. The end of that process brought me to a point of being able to forgive my parents (though our relationship hasn’t been restored as they need to do their part to receive my forgiveness) and finally, let go of the rage that was provoked in me as a child. I’d tried to force forgiveness so many times in the past but I couldn’t simply, choose to do so. Forgiveness is a process and using my God-given anger to stand up to protect myself (as that ability was taken from me early) and heal myself, enabled me to die to those offences, once and for all, and rise to live again. There are no short-cuts to forgiveness and true forgiveness isn’t cheap.

Next to receiving Christ, there is no more joyful moment than the one when I could say, “It is finished” and walk away from the destruction of my childhood, fully transformed from broken wrathful-child to a restored joyful-woman, in Christ. How thankful I am for the joy I have in Jesus!


Joy for the Broken and Abused

Most Christian teaching focuses on dealing with the sins, the abuses that each of us commits against God, others, and ourselves. No spiritual, emotional, or relational healing can take place when a person denies the truth about their behavior and the only behavior we have any control over is our own. However it is also, important to heal from the abuses committed against us because often, our abusive behavior is rooted in them.  The forgiveness we receive from Jesus is immediate but complete cleansing from sin is a process. To truly, be free from sin, it isn’t enough to change outward behaviors; the cause of harmful behavior must be dug out by the roots. For those of us who were victimized by abuse as children, it requires facing the truth about what happened to us along with the wrong messages about ourselves and how we relate to others that abuse taught us.

I was an abused child and I started out in life as a very broken woman. Jesus met me at the lowest point in my life and by putting my hand in His, through faith, I was lifted from the deep pit where He found me. I’m not talking about a six-foot ditch but a near bottomless pit that I had no hope of emerging from on my own. Though, I was immediately rescued, the ride to the top is a long one and I’m not quite there yet. I was shattered by the crimes committed against me in childhood and my thinking so damaged that I couldn’t even recognize them as crimes. I thought I was bad and deserved the things that happened to me. I thought it was my fault and I spent many decades of my life as a Christian trying to find forgiveness for things I hadn’t done. Outwardly, I changed sinful habits but the wounds that caused me to develop those habits in the first place, remained unhealed and denied.

I’ve never heard very much Christian teaching aimed at healing victims of child abuse and when I suddenly, came to the realization that I was such a victim, I was at loss in knowing what I should do about it. The Bible doesn’t specifically, addresses “child abuse” and as I looked for a character in the Bible to reference I suddenly, realized that Jesus is the fellow-abuse-victim of the Bible. He much more than I suffered for no other reason than He was innocent and an easy target for abuse. He was good and that made Him the target of evil. He was abused to death and people still verbally abuse Him today. It is in the person of Jesus that I find what I need to heal from abuses committed against me, as well as those I’ve committed. In Him I find hope, validation, and guidance in a pattern to follow of how I should be in the world. No matter how broken and defeated I became after a childhood of abuse, no matter the abuses committed against me as an adult or the abuses I’ve committed in return, in Jesus I have resurrection power. I have the strength to rise and live again. By my faith in Jesus, I continue to overcome and I look forward to the day when I will be completely free from abuse; and sin won’t be remembered anymore. I was shattered but my faith in Jesus is making me whole. My joy increases as I become more complete and realize more fully, the woman I am intended to be. No one is beyond the saving grace of Jesus.

Joyfully Embracing the Diversity of God’s People

There exists among believers in Christ and non-believers, an expectation that all believers should believe the same way. To those from outside the Christian faith, Christianity seems chaotic, with denominations disagreeing on most everything.  It can even appear that what Christians like to do best is argue about the Bible and spend endless hours in theological debate.  As a believer, I have also, been confused by this phenomena. I’ve been drawn into it too. Those inside the church often blame false teachers, as groups gather around the men and women who teach the Bible in a way that agrees with them. Each group claims correct doctrine and take doctrinal stands against one another. When those wars pass, navel-gazing begins and the war continues within the group because the truth is, no two people can agree on everything the Bible teaches. When the division ends, the result is often, “we holy four and no more” or people give up on church entirely. Mostly, this is because Christians aren’t God and none of us has a perfect grasp of scripture but that doesn’t keep us from deluding ourselves into believing that our current understanding of the Truth is absolute. It also, doesn’t keep us from judging a brother or sister, who is still growing in the faith as we are, as false because they see things a bit differently.  No wonder the world thinks Christians are crazy, we are. When it comes to the Christian faith, there is no organized religion because we are an unorganized mess. This isn’t a new condition. The church was a mess from its founding and that’s exactly the way God wants it to be.

Luke 12:51-53 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. ~~~Jesus~~~

This division isn’t due to family dysfunction. This division is caused by Jesus. In verse 49 of the same book and chapter, Jesus says, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Fire is destructive and division does act as fire within the church. So, why would Jesus want to do this? Especially, why cause division within the family of God? It is because God doesn’t want us to rule over one another, through religion. God wants to rule us individually, through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus went toe-to-toe with the religious leaders of His day, for this very reason. The Pharisees in particular, inserted themselves between the people and God and used God’s Word to rule over them. Their actions kept the people from looking directly to God for themselves. When Jesus came to save us, there was no longer any need for religious mediation because faith in Jesus restores each believer to a direct relationship with God.  Pharisees are alive and well today. Their titles have changed and they promote different religions but there are still those religious leaders who wish to steal God’s power for themselves, by seeking to mediate between believers and God. There are even those lay-persons, who use Biblical teachings for personal power and gain. Division is part of a refining process that exposes those who claim the name of Jesus with false intent and reveals those of genuine faith in Christ.

Understanding that division is an intended part of church life leaves us with the question of how to respond. There are other scriptures that teach on the unity of the faith and also, that it is by the love of members of the church for one another, that non-believers are drawn to faith. Arguing and confusion keeps people away. We aren’t to fight, back-bite, and claw one another. We are to love even our enemies but we are to especially, love those who are a part of the household of faith. Love is the key to unity in the church. We will never unite over what we believe but only, in Who we believe. There is unity only, in our common faith in the person of Jesus; and to get along we must choose to embrace one another in love. Not with human love that is of mere affection but with godly love as described by Paul in, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge it will pass away.

I know there are some who will take an exception with how I understand what Jesus intends by bringing division rather than peace. That’s okay. I choose to love you, anyway. By choosing to love those who don’t agree with me and may even decided to part from my company, I maintain my joy. May God grant me the strength to do so until we all grow into the unity of the faith that is Christ Jesus.

The Joy in Writing about Jesus

I love to write and though I enjoy writing about many subjects, I like writing about Jesus best. He is my closest friend and my hope in writing is to introduce Him to others, who need such a friend. He inspires, encourages, and comforts, like no other.  He’s always available when I need Him and the quality of His friendship never wavers. Jesus always meets me in the nitty-gritty of life and leads me to a better place. No matter what kind of mistakes I make, or how often I repeat them, Jesus never gives up on me. When I suffer, He understands because He suffered while living in this world too. In Jesus, I find validation and never judgment.  Jesus doesn’t criticize and weigh me down with my faults; He admonishes, encourages, and edifies me. By knowing Jesus, I’ve become a better version of myself. The acceptance He’s given me has taught me to accept myself and love myself, in the same way He loves me. Jesus loves me so much that He gave His life to save mine.  He reached out to me personally, when I was at my most hopeless point in life and very unlovable, to save my life. He did this when all others, including myself, were through with me. He revealed Himself to me, washed me, clothed me in white, and gave me a new life with purpose.

I write about Jesus because it gives me great joy.  When I write about Jesus, with the intent of giving others hope and inspiration, I also, receive hope and inspiration. As I sit down in His presence to write, the Holy Spirit speaks to me and gives me the words I need to hear, as I share them with all who may need to read what Jesus whispers in my ear.

I write because I am compelled to write and share the most powerful experience of my life, my relationship with Jesus, who not only saved my life but also, took me in and made me a part of His family. His Father is now, my Father too. He is the dad I’ve always needed and His children are all my brothers and sisters. Jesus meets all of my spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. He does the same for all who become a part of His family.

Jesus is my joy, my hope, my life, and my all. The words I write are an expression of the love He’s given me that I give back to Him, and offer to all, who might choose to believe.

Magnifying Joy by Keeping It Real

I have eternal joy in Jesus but I am also, somewhat of a mourning dove. I know sickness, pain, sorrow, and grief very well. If I want to gripe, it isn’t hard to find something to complain about. Death is also, a close acquaintance of mine. I greet him every morning, in the form of physical infirmity and in the daily tussle with him, just to survive. If I am called to sell a Christian religion, I’m not a very good choice as a sales rep. I don’t have a lot of material success. I don’t have a perfect family. I’m not a perfect wife, mother, or grandmother. I don’t have an extraordinary career. I think of myself as average but I may be deluding myself and actually, not even meet that mark of human measurement. I’m not happy and positive, all of the time. I laugh, I cry, I get angry (sometimes, I’ve even melted down) and no amount of religious practice ever changed any of this about me.  If my joy were dependent upon the circumstances of my life and practice of my religion, then I would be joyless.  By modern society’s standards, I’m not anything special and probably, have nothing much to offer, at all.

I’m nothing more than an old woman who’s been in love with Jesus for a long time. There is nothing about me that is highly valued by this world but in Jesus, I am God’s child and this is the heart of my joy. Because of Him, I am joyful and in me, that joy has become more valuable over time because of the harsh struggles I’ve survived and overcome because of Jesus in my life. I have lived through many dark days but they are becoming nothing more than a shadow, which enhances the light who is Jesus guiding me. By my humble state and Jesus living in my heart through faith, I magnify Jesus because nothing about me is deserving of what I enjoy in Him. Since God had mercy on me, I know there is no one outside the reach of that mercy.

I’m not young anymore and my body is fully engaged in the process of decay, called aging. Getting old isn’t fun, it’s painful. However, I face it with joy because”as I decrease, He increases”. The weaker I become, the more I need Jesus, and what should destroy me only, makes my faith stronger. Someday, my mourning will end. Until then, I take up my cross every day and struggle toward my final stand on earth. I will face that old enemy, Death, one last time; and because Jesus conquered him, my body will be destroyed but my spirit will return to God. When it is finished, I will know fully, abundant life and not even remember Death. On that day, my joy will become glory.


Joy Never Fails, Even When I’m Sad

Truly, Jesus lives in my heart, by faith but Pam still lives here too. I’m not like Jesus and that is why I so desperately need Him. I am a joyful Christian but sometimes, I am sad.  In fact, I have lost many days, months, and even years of my life to depression. I know sadness, sorrow, and grief very well.

I have experienced every aspect of depression, as I have suffered from depression caused by disease, situational depression, and the most daunting of all, depression due to childhood abuse trauma. I even feel a little depressed in reaction to writing about my struggle with depression.  There is a marked difference in how I carried my depression before I met Jesus and began my journey of faith and hard work to conquer depression, after Jesus became the focus of my life. Before I knew Jesus, I saw death as the solution to my pain and even succeeded in killing myself at eighteen years old. God wasn’t done with me, though and paramedics brought me back from clinical death. When I woke up, still alive, I cried because all I wanted was an end to my emotional pain. The only permanent cure I could understand, at that time, was death. My pain was so intense that I didn’t want to feel anything, anymore.

Jesus was revealed to me about one year later. I first believed in Jesus when I was nineteen. It was as if a light bulb flashed on and I began to see life as a solution to my problems. I remained sad but was no longer, hopeless. I had a new attitude. I still had a lot of problems because death ruled my life, for my entire childhood. I had to overcome drug addiction and other self-destructive behaviors. My thinking at that time was completely upside down to the right-thinking that is taught in the Bible. God took me from a very self-centered world view to a much healthier, Christ- centered world view, through my study of scripture. Over the course of many years, my thinking has been rewired and that process continues today. I don’t think the way God thinks and when I go with my own faulty thinking, it isn’t long before I end up in the proverbial ditch. I need God’s guidance, as much today as I did 36 years ago.

Jesus enabled me to overcome my self-destructive habits and develop a new understanding of how I should behave in the world. During that time, I began to view God as my perfect, Heavenly Father, Who never abused me or let me down.  My childhood in Christ was very different from the childhood I knew before I was reborn in spirit. My first experiences in life, left me with some deeply imbedded wrong thinking about myself and how I should relate to others.  This was the heart of my depression related to trauma. God was faithful to take me through a process of self-confrontation that ended in my understanding that depression was my way of escaping the overwhelming pain of my traumatic past. It was my form of denial and by facing the truth about what happened to me, I learned to control my depression instead of it controlling me.  Truth freed me from the need to withdraw into a dark cave of overwhelming, debilitating depression.

Sometimes, I still have days when I feel depressed but it doesn’t last long. Now, I know the truth of why I feel the emotional pain that I sometimes, still feel. If my low-thyroid is acting up, or my blood-sugar is unregulated, I adjust my medication and diet. I found the root causes of my depression and it was my faith in Jesus that gave me the strength, will, and guidance to do so. Jesus doesn’t live only in me but also, in the hearts and minds of many good people of faith. He sent those people to me, at just the right moment. I will never be happy about the time I lost to depression but God has worked it to my good. Because of this experience, I know there is no place I can go and not find Jesus there. Even if I go down to the grave, He is there to comfort, strengthen, and guide me. He will raise me to live again. God directs all of my paths through Jesus Christ. Whatever suffering I experience, in this world, that causes death in me, Jesus is faithful to fill with Him-self.  Jesus is the joy that lights up the emotional darkness that tries so hard to swallow me.

The Joy in Overcoming Evil with Good

There really is joy in serving Jesus and there is great joy in learning to overcome evil with good.  Jesus teaches us to love our enemies.  He says we are to pray for them and bless them. This is a shocking idea that goes against human nature. It is normal and natural to defend one’s self against an enemy, by returning evil with an even greater evil; or by doing what is natural to me, running away and hiding. No one wants to live under a threat to their well-being and the idea of giving our enemy what he doesn’t deserve , hurts  human pride and could also, be downright dangerous!  From the human perspective, this teaching makes no sense at all. Understanding the principle of overcoming evil with good, comes by viewing it from God’s perspective; the perspective that is available to all who believe and follow Jesus.

It is easy to misunderstand the intended outcome of Jesus’ command “to love your enemies”. For many years I accepted the common notion that if I loved someone, no matter what they did to me, love would eventually, change them. My life’s experience has taught me otherwise. Sometimes, love does make a difference in someone’s life but only if their hearts are open to receiving love. There are people in this world with hearts so hardened by evil that they have closed themselves off to love and are immune to it.  Even though such people seem to be beyond hope and aren’t likely to change no matter how well I treat them, I’m still commanded to love them. By doing so, I am changed. When I make the choice to retaliate against my enemy, I have become more like my enemy. When I choose to love my enemy, I am becoming more like Jesus. God is working in my life to transform me, not those enemies who choose to deny Him.

Only those who belong to Jesus can rightly understand His teachings because they are from God’s perspective. The Bible must be spiritually discerned because God is Spirit. Jesus’ teachings are for the good of those who belong to Him and have been spiritually reborn through faith in Him.  When I choose to obey Jesus, by loving and blessing my enemies, I receive the greater blessing.  My enemy may enjoy some temporary benefit by my obedient action but the benefit I receive is of eternal value. When I obey Jesus, the enemy finds no foothold in me. I experience transformation and become more of the woman I am intended to be; by becoming more like Jesus I also, become more Pam. There is no joy like the joy of overcoming the evil that threatens to destroy me from within, by the power of goodness.  Even though my enemies without continue to commit evil against me, I have the victory. Even if an enemy should kill me, I will not die because my life is hidden in Christ; and no one can remove me from God’s hand. I need not fear my enemies because there is no safer place to be than in Jesus. When God is for me, no one can stand against me and God is on my side, when I submit to Christ.

I experience joy when the evil in me is subdued through obedience to Christ Jesus. It is a taste of what it will be like when I no longer have to battle the evil within me. I also, look forward to the day when evil is vanquished, as every knee bends and every tongue confesses Jesus as Lord.  All enemies will vanish! That day will be the fulfillment of joy!


Why Joy Is Inexpressible

I’ve been a Christian for over thirty years now but I am still learning who God is, what His plans are for my life and also, for all humankind. I can’t even begin to contemplate His plans for the universe He created and whatever, may lie beyond that creation. Simply put, I am small and God is beyond my comprehension. The more I know of Him, the better I understand my own ignorance. Yet, what I am able to know fills me to overflowing, with a feeling that is more than an emotion of happiness. I am unable to truly express this feeling that is more than a feeling and I must settle for meagerly expressing it as joy.

The joy my faith in Jesus blesses me with, can’t be destroyed by pain, sorrow, or grief. Bitterness can’t establish itself in the face of joy. That doesn’t mean I don’t experience pain or get angry when offended, I do. I am a human being. However, whatever suffering I endure, in the end, produces more joy as God demonstrates His faithfulness to me in guiding me through every situation.  Whatever is set against me with the possibility of personal destruction only, serves to make me stronger in my faith.  This experience of joy in my life is also, beyond my ability to fully comprehend or express.

The greatest blessing of faith in Jesus is that I’m not required to fully understand God. There are no degrees to be earned, in order to become a practicing follower of Christ. What I do understand, I am required to obey; but obedience to Jesus isn’t a burden.  Obedience in Christ is true freedom.  By it, my capacity for experiencing the joy of knowing Jesus is greatly increased. Joy is living daily, in the presence of God, while enjoying the kind of fellowship that needs very few words. Jesus lives in me and I live in Him. Nothing can change that fact and therefore, there is nothing that can destroy my joy. The best expression of the joy I have in knowing Jesus is simply, to live it…and enjoy!

Eternal Joy In A Mortal World

Life is a constant struggle. True, some have easier lives than others but no one is able to completely evade suffering. Every day, everything breathing, wakes up to the challenge of obtaining what is necessary to live one more day. No matter how much material wealth or relationships we gather, our next breath isn’t assured.  Everything we work to gain is also, fleeting and no matter what we gain, we must someday, let it go. This is true also, of our relationships and even of ourselves. Every step taken on this journey we call life, is taken beneath the shadow of death. Whether rich or poor, weak or strong, death is the equalizer of all human beings. No matter how grandiose the human race has become, our final fate seems to be no different from any other living creature.  Yet, within the heart of every person, there exists the idea of eternity. A common human hope for life free of death and therefore, outside the constraints of time. This common hope, when nurtured by faith in Jesus, is the spiritual well-spring of eternal joy that sustains the believer, even while living in a mortal world.

True joy, of eternal quality, can’t be found in the material world. It is spiritual and is spiritually received. It isn’t earned and it isn’t achieved by any religious practice. It is a gift from God and is a product of the gift of eternal life that only, Jesus offers to all who believe in Him. Joy is the strength of the believer and provides the endurance necessary, to survive the storms of life. I’m not speaking of worldly success or power but instead, the strength to maintain personal integrity and not be overcome by that shadow of death that seeks dominion over all. Even though I live in a material body that will someday, be destroyed by death, Jesus lives in me. My hope is in Him and in all that is part of the unseen, eternal world. God is Spirit. God is Love, God is Life. The joy in me is the living water that Jesus promised so long ago and just as death has no power over God, nothing death threatens me with can destroy the joy that faith in Jesus has produced in me.

The purpose of this blog is to share what the indestructible joy I have in Jesus means to me and how it has strengthened me during all of the struggles of my life. Jesus is the passion of my life and I wish to express that passion, by giving Him the credit for all that is good in me. There is no friend like Jesus and I am very blessed to be able to call Him my friend. I would not still be alive without Him. The shadow of death would have consumed all of me, long ago: but because He lives, I live too and the joy of eternal life bubbles up within me and over-flows. My desire is for none to perish but for all to experience this same eternal joy!