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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Please Don't Go


Stop right there,

Please take a breath,

I know this road is hard

But don’t let it lead to death…



You’ve got people right here,

Standing by your side,

Please let us in the walls,

I know you’re trying to hide.



These demons aren’t new,

I’ve been there too,

But try to dismiss the lies,

And cling to what is True.



You are made in God’s image

And utterly adored,

If we understood even a bit of God’s love,

We’d be totally floored. 



So please, I beg you,

Please don’t go this way,

I know you won’t believe me,

But it’s best for the world if you stay



Can we get through this together?

Would that be okay…

If you and I were buddies

Who pressed each other forward each day?



For we all need friendship,

Love and forgiveness displayed,

That when the storms raged and the waves got high,

When the world seemingly left, someone stayed. 



Let’s press onward and forward,

Let’s together look God’s way,

For though this broken road is hard,

He walks it with us every day. 


Joy Lynn

Monday, September 18, 2017

How Do I Know?







How do I know?  (September 17, 2017)



You’ve heard it in the stories of old

No matter where in the world you go,

Stories of creation and a worldwide flood,

These stories passed down by generational blood.



You’ve seen it through God’s perfect Son, Jesus Christ,

Who lived a perfect life despite the strife, (Hebrews 14:5; 1 Peter 2:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Performing miracles and offering His blood for salvation, (Hebrews 10:10)

To a broken and sinful human nation.



Not only in life but also in death

He gave every ounce of blood and His very last breath,

But just three days later He rose from the grave, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Conquering sin and death, and proving He alone has the power to save.  (1 Corinthians 15:57)



After His resurrection, His followers did not simply sit on a perch,

For “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,”

They spoke the Truth and preached repentance,

And for that, so many faced a death sentence.



But now let’s bring it home to how this faith is my own,

Before I went my own way but now God sits on the throne

For His ways are best and His promises are sure,

The Holy Spirit’s leading is what makes me secure. 



Ultimately it is by faith that we are saved, (Romans 2:8-9)

For it was to sin that we were enslaved, (Romans 6:20-23)

But Jesus died on the cross and His blood covers our sin, (Romans 4:25)

And when we trust in His grace, He comes and lives within. 



So next time I’m asked, “how do I know?”

It’s not just because the Bible tells me so…

For His work is evident from the dawning of creation, (Romans 1:20)

And my faith in Jesus Christ is my eternal foundation.  



Joy Lynn

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Storms Brewing


I see the dark clouds rolling in,

They swallow up the view,

On every speck of the horizon,

The blue turns to a grey hue. 



I sit on a figurative island,

There is no place to run,

This storm will surely swallow me,

I can only pray for a returning sun.



I’ve walked this life long enough

To know these storms come and go.

God’s light shines bright in the darkest of nights,

Even when it feels like I’m in the midst of a black hole.



So may I rest in Your promises,

May I be anchored in Your love,

Help me find peace in the waves wake,

And keep my eyes on You above.


Joy Lynn

Monday, August 21, 2017

Seasons Change


Seasons change

Summer to Fall

Winter to Spring

You hold them all



Writing a story

Each chapter a gift

Storyline weaves through

Even if characters shift



We plan for forever

But sometimes it ends

The lessons and memories though

Through the story transcend



It was not in vain

Though the season has changed

Forever will be cherished

The lessons and challenges exchanged



So don’t doubt your part

In the pages of my heart

Though one season has come to an end

It allows another to start



As I flip back through the pages

Venturing down memory lane

I see the tears and trials

But I also see the gain



So may I be thankful

For the role this chapter played

The value and the depth of which

I’d never seek to trade



May I experience peace

For I trust the Author of the story

That though change is never easy

That He’s using it for His glory



May the season ahead

Continue to shape and mold

And point my little piece of the world to Him

As my story continues to unfold


Joy Lynn

Monday, August 14, 2017

Just a Closer Walk with Him


A woman of God

Decades of faith

Dedication and service

Wisdom and grace

Displayed in your life

Not lost in your death

For your life always demonstrated

An intimate walk with Him



So now you are even closer

In heaven’s embrace

That day which you longed for

Now you see Him face to face

May our memories forever linger

To remember and hold dear

And take comfort in the solace that because of our salvation

We will once again be near



Joy Lynn

Dedicated to two lovely women, TH and MM. Thank you for the lives you lived and your faith lived out for the world to see.  <3

Friday, June 16, 2017

Life is All About Choices

"Life’s all about choices” is one of the mottos of my boss.  He has said it so often, his students know it’s coming and can finish the sentence.  It may be a motto but it’s so true.  You make a choice literally millions of times a day, some consciously and many unconsciously.  You may weigh heavy what you want to eat for a meal but you may not give a single contemplated thought on where to place your foot for the next literal step you take.



Recently, three areas of life stood out to me as areas where it would be highly useful to pre-decide rather than wait til spur of the moment.  By pre-decide, I mean, to make a choice and commit to it now so that down the road, when distraction or hard times come, you have already made the choice and can hopefully stick with it. 

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Area 1:  Study God’s Word

I grew up in a Christian home and spent quite a bit of time in church activity and being taught the Word.  That said, I didn’t truly make my faith personal until I was 18 years old but at least I had years of background knowledge and people pouring the Word in to me.   In the last 12 years, I have gone about studying the Bible numerous ways but I certainly have not been as dedicated as I wish I was at it, reading it every day, for instance.  That said, I can see how important God’s Word is and have been challenged to make that time in God’s Word a priority, not just because God wants to use it to shape me, but more so because He wants me to know Him.  To know that He is Savior, Judge, Healer, Redeemer and Friend.  Honestly, sometimes when I fall into depression pits, He seems so far away and this is where Bible study is so vital.  If I dig into His Word in the light, it will be the Light that shines in my dark (Psalm 119:105). 



Joshua 1:8

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”




2 Timothy 3:14-17

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

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Area 2:  Gratitude

Gratitude is an attitude and one I wish to have more of in my life but often I am reactionary in displaying it rather than wearing it as a perspective.  I have heard it encouraged for people to keep a thankfulness journal.  I have kept one on and off but I generally keep it when I am low and am trying to look up.  Now, that’s not a bad thing, but I was encouraged this week by someone who made the choice to keep a thankfulness journal daily no matter where they were emotionally.  Their reasoning was this:  If I am consistent in taking in all that God is doing and being thankful when things are good, I will be more quick to remember God’s love and faithfulness in the hard times and struggle. 



1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”



Psalm 136:1

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”



Colossians 3:15-17

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

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Area 3:  Boundaries

In Christian circles, I’d guess that boundaries are most often talked about in context of dating relationships.  Some of my friends committed themselves to not kiss until they were engaged and some, even waiting until marriage.  Boundaries, be it physical or otherwise, should be pre-decided ahead of time in order to have your conviction to lean on when temptation comes.  Beyond the scope of dating, boundaries are useful in many situations to try to fend off dependency.  Boundaries are good when in a relationship with a friend, family member or acquaintance that could take advantage of you or vice versa.  Boundaries are useful in social settings when peer pressure can steer you all sorts of directions if you have no stance on the topic.  Boundaries are essential in career and/or ministry, so that you don’t burn out.  Boundaries are wise in finances in order to be good stewards of what God has provided to you.  There are at least a handful of pre-decisions I have made for myself so that in the event that the decision is difficult for me because of circumstance, I’ve already made the right decision for myself. 



Psalm 16:5-9

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.”

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Life is all about choices and I’ve made a lot of really bad ones in my life.  I’m a wretched sinner when all the facades fade away but luckily, I don’t have to be eternally known as that.  The most important choice I ever made was believing in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.  Acts 16:31 says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”  I know I am a sinner and that sin would separate me from the holiness of God but through Jesus, God offers forgiveness and payment for that sin, so that I can be made new in Him here on this earth and enjoy a new body with Him in my eternal home. 



So what kind of choices have you made?  Where will they lead? 



And for my own accountability, anyone who is reading this, feel free to drop me a line anytime to ask what I am learning, what I am thankful for or how my boundaries are standing to help keep me in line and my eyes fixed on Him.



Until next time,

In Christ,

Joy Lynn

Friday, June 9, 2017

Love, Even When It Hurts

Dealing with your own grief or walking with someone else through theirs is hard because there is no real right and lots of potential wrongs to be done in those fresh raw moments of coping and every person is different.




"Grief is like a bathing suit. It fits every person differently. Some hang out a bit here, some a bit there. Some shouldn't leave the house with it showing, and others make it look fabulous. Some grieve privately, never inviting another soul in. You might never know how they really feel; you might start to think they have checked out or are callous and coldhearted. Others do it openly, blogging as therapy, sharing their tears because it feels cathartic, because they need to grieve in community.



How is anyone to know what to do, how to help, how to survive? Some of the brokenhearted feel hurt if you don't ask after them, if you don't acknowledge their loss or their crisis. Others never want you to mention it, as if speaking of the lost loved one acknowledges the fact that he or she won't come back...."

- from Kate Merrick's "And Still She Laughs"




What a whirlwind of hyper conscientiousness on both the part of the grieved and the comforter. I've been on all sides.

·         I've been the griever closed like a clam shell and I've also been the griever open in my writing and seeking to share. And sometimes that switch shifts from one day to the next. My poor friends....

·         I have also tried to be the comforter, trying to discern if this is a moment to push in or to back off, and either way, tread lightly in case I made the wrong choice and need to U-turn.




All that said, I wish we'd all try to be a good friend to each other and assume the best of intentions from each other, even when it hurts. Sometimes as a comforter, you'll push in and get whipped back but please don't run. Respect space but be just on the perimeter so they know you are still there when they are ready rather than feel like they are all alone. And for those who grieve, know that people will say pocket clich├ęs, quote misapplied verses, and hand out  overtly positive phrases, and right now you may not want to hear them, but see their good intentions and acknowledge their effort. They are doing all they know how in that moment to try to show support, love and care....they may not be doing it "right" but see their heart of compassion.




So, to both the griever and the comforter, my challenge is this...Love each other when it is uncomfortable...Love, even when it hurts.



2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”



Until next time,

In Christ,

Joy

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Forgiven and Free


Proverbs 17:28
"Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent."





Forgiven and Free (May 18, 2017)

As the accusations run rampant,

I stand guilty as charged,

Laying awake in the middle of the night,

Being assaulted by a barrage,

Of words I wish I never said,

But cannot simply draw back in.

In the midst of the shame and brokenness revealed,

I hear Your promise whisper in the still...

"Forgiven and free,"

That's what You said to me,

Though I stumble and fall,

You're still holding me.

"Make amends and move forward,

For this is not the end,

Remember it is often in your brokenness

Where My work begins again.

Claim My promises and rest my dear,

For you are, indeed, forgiven and free."



Joy Chambers


Lamentations 3:22-23
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness."



1 John 1:9

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."



Romans 8:1

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Jesus Christ."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mountain High


I sit under the gazebo,

Way up on the mountain top,

I take in the view,

The crisp fresh air,

And wish time would just stop.



I know this won’t last forever,

I’d be lucky to stay a few more days,

For with depression etched in my veins,

The valley is more often my home,

Wandering through an endless maze.



But in the valley You are there,

With every turn and hidden snare,

You never left me, always near,

And when I do begin to fear,

I still remain within Your care.



So whether mountain high or valley low,

May I find myself knowing peace,

Because I never lost hope,

Have experienced joy in faith,

And know the promises of Your love never cease. 



Joy Lynn

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cairn

"I will bring these heavy burdens to the foot of the cross and here, I will build a cairn because I know in this place and in these request, God will do a great thing."




-Joy Lynn

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Little Miss Independent

Earlier this week, I had the treat of hanging out with a friend and her four kiddos of varying ages with the youngest being 2.  On both Monday and Tuesday when out and about with the family, I found myself, often unconsciously, keeping a closer eye on Little Miss Independent.  She knew it and I could tell she wasn’t too keen on the idea of me tracing her steps or holding on to her hood in the middle of a ski slope just to keep her in my perimeter and be able to grab her if I needed to.  Often if I wasn’t super close, she would play just fine on her own but still, I’d find myself checking in, blocking entries or calling her back more often than pleased her and she let me know.  It wasn’t often, but every once in a while, the situation came where I had to scoop her up into my arms and she’d scream and often her mom was near and so she’d cry for mom and be somewhat-content to be held by her mother for all of 3.2 seconds before begging to be put back down again. 



So when all the moments are added together, there were many a times where she’d be content if I just stayed busy with my own thing while she did hers all on her own but sometimes there was glimmers of her inviting me in.  This one moment I remember vividly, we were down in the toy section and the rest of the family was going to go upstairs to the rest of the store so I was content to stay down with Little Miss and let her play while they explored but when she heard everyone was going upstairs, she was determined to go too.  I hung back a few moments to make sure the youngest son began heading for the stairs and Little Miss looked back and waited for me.  I kind of had my hand out as my body was leaned back craning my neck to look for the boy and she reached for my hand and began walking towards the stairs.  She does stairs just fine these days but she held my hand up each step til she reached the top and then that moment was done.  When she is allowed to reach out and interact on her own terms, she was so stinkin sweet about it.



I haven’t been able to shake that event off in the last few days.  It makes me wonder if that’s how we can treat and see God.  God sees and knows all but we don’t always welcome His “lurking” and don’t want His protection or guidance.  We can play just fine on our own and protect ourselves as need be, or so we think.  Then there are those moments when life hits you hard and lets you down, that God so clearly scoops you up and holds you together and yet all you can do is say, “….but I want my mommy.”  I guess depending on who you are, it may not be a mom but you can fill in the blank with whatever you feel like will be the key to happiness.  But even if you finally got that one thing you wanted, you’d still not be happy and want to continue living life grasping for the next best thing. 



But how sweet a moment, when the God who has been there all along, is invited in personally by us.  When it is not seen as Him scooping us but instead us reaching up and out to Him.  Though many times we have ignored His advice, shrugged off His comforting arms, and run away from His protective stance, He is still faithful and oh so willing, to step in when we cry out to Him needing Him the most.  How cold and distant that kind of rejection would feel to us humans, and yet He steps in, quick to forgive, to protect and to heal as we come on our own accord. 


Lord, please change my heart from being a Little Miss Independent to one that seeks comfort, protection and guidance from You. 



Joy Lynn

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Oh Death


The darkness creeps

Beneath our feet

Never know when it will grasp and cling

Filled waiting rooms

Shuffling and stuttering to feel fine

Waiting to hear if it was finally time

Bright hospital rooms

Muffled cries

Whispers of last goodbyes



But sometimes the setting is less serene

Sometimes in the middle of busy things

Over the railing of a bridge

In the grasp of a knot

At the tip of a knife

Or the sound of a shot

It’s the end of a life

With the victim calling the shots

Nobody saw it coming but we all feel the loss



Death it comes

And swallows up time

Never ready to say goodbye

Whether you saw it coming

Or it took you by surprise

It’s something you don’t want to look in the eye

For in it holds the breath of time

And invincibility lays aside

All because of the harsh passing of time



As lives pass on by

Eternity is in sight

Where will you go when you’re due?

Sin has us marred and destined for death

But where, oh death, is your victory?

Where, death, is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55)

It was nailed to the cross at Calvary

If only you’d just believe and receive

Victory through Christ our King (1 Corinthians 15:57)



Joy Lynn

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Scars Tell A Story

Scars Tell A Story


White picket fences
Lofty facades
Painted shutters
Seeking applause 

As you knock on the door
It slowly cracks
You wonder how many doors
This mansion packs

Step inside
What do you see?
Everything in the entry
Kept nice and clean

Sit on the couch
Creaks underneath
Plastic protection
Acts as a shielding sheet

Everything’s lovely
But nothing is real
Fashionably designed
For public appeal

You begin to inquire
Question your host
Do you even live here
Or are you a ghost?

With a glimmer in their eye
The dam begins to break
They walk down the dark hall
With tears running down their face

With a single-edge razor blade
Straight to the skin
They scrape off the make up
To reveal what’s within 

“In the darkest of rooms
This mansion holds
The deepest of pain
No one can ever know

It’s locked in the closet
Kept out of sight
No air to breathe
No access to light

The pain, it festers
The bitterness grows
It zaps all strength
And it takes its toll

The wounds lay open
Though nobody knows
Though healing is sought
The tension just grows

I want to know freedom
But I lost the key
To the door that holds
The deepest part of me”

So freedom is sought
A Light in view
To chase out the darkness
To see things a new

The journey will be long
Vision will have to be renewed
Moment by moment
Remembering His mercies are new (Lamentations 3:22-23)

And though the wounds hurt now
They will eventually be scars
Which show that both
Hurt and healing are ours 

Joy Lynn

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Rip Me Apart


If I could talk to my mom, I’d let her know how much she has missed.  Since 2003, I have graduated from high school, university and Bible institute.  I have served a number of years and positions at different Christian camps.  I have taken countless road and plane trips across country.  I have studied and now get to work in the field of education.  My faith has grown and has literally taken me places I’d never thought I’d go.  Not only has life carried on for me but also for my extended family.  My dad got remarried in 2012 and with that grafted in a new family with “kids” (who are now all adults).  Some of my cousins have gotten married and my aunts and uncles become grandparents and so on.  Life went on.



But inside, not every day, all the time, but from time to time, I struggle with my place in it. 

I am very thankful that my Dad is extremely happy and has a wife who adores him and takes care of him.  Being so far away, I am thankful he has people in house to take care and look out for him and keep him busy with life events and such.  I am thankful he is not alone. 

I am also tremendously thankful that my mom resides in Heaven and gets to enjoy intense fellowship with her Lord and Savior.  In life, she walked with Him as best she could as He lived inside of her, but now she gets to enjoy entirely dwelling with Him.  She is in no pain, she sheds no tears (Revelation 21:4), and she dances as she always wanted to do, in fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) and light (Revelation 22:5). 



Tomorrow would have been my mom’s 66th birthday but instead of us celebrating that here, she is in Heaven celebrating round the throne as she has been doing for 13 plus years.  As much comfort as Heaven brings me and knowing that I will see her again because of our mutual faith in Jesus Christ, I loathe how jealous I am of it all.  As much as I reflect on all that she has missed, she is not looking down regretting it because she is looking up, as she always did, focused on God.  How long, O Lord, will I grieve?  How long, O God, will I be jealous of how my parents have both found joy while I, Joy, walk alone?  Lord, I know that You have not abandoned me.  I am forever grateful for the family and friends you have surrounded me with.  But I know this heart of discontent has crippled me.  I know the bitter jealousy will ruin me.  Help me to find Your freedom, comfort and healing.  Not because people step in and try harder, but because my contentment has to come from You alone.  Lord, I know this in my head and heart but my thick skull and thicker walls have proven hard to penetrate.  But I know You can pierce hearts (Hebrews 4:12).  Lord, rip me apart if that’s what it must be, so that I can finally find healing. 


Joy Lynn