Tag Archives: Beloved Brother

Where Is Goodness & Joy?

Where is GoodnessThe other day I was talking with a friend that I had not talked to in a while. Knowing that she had been through a deep, horrible loss with the death of her beloved brother, I emailed her to let her know I was thinking of her and praying for her.

Through a series of emails, she made a statement to me that many of us often forget when the pain is overwhelming and the darkness has consumed our days.

She said:

“Goodness does still exist here, you just have to look real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real hard.”

Here, among many other things, is what I shared with her.

“Goodness is still here. The negative overshadows it. Hurt covers it. Pain hides it. Uncover the goodness!”

Pain, discouragement and disappointment can and often does bring isolation. Then the depression creeps in. When that happens, JOY is covered up and because you don’t “feel happy”, the negative emotions take over.

 

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, while Joy is undeniable faith in an almighty God, who has your best interest at heart. We may not always understand our pain, anguish or why we don’t seem to be reaping the goodness we’ve sowed, but we can claim great joy in the Lord as we walk through the hardships that lay ahead.

I’ve had several people tell me that the only reason I can be actively spreading joy the way I do is because things are good and/or that I’m just looking at the world through rose colored glasses.

When I speak of spreading the joy of the Lord “regardless of circumstances,” I speak from experience. Yes, I’m so blessed! Yes, my needs are met and many of my wants are met as well. Yes, I have a wonderful husband, 2 amazing kids and family that I adore. Yes, I have a job to pay the bills and to give support to Spreading Joy with. But yes…I do know pain, hurt and just how dark negativity can make things.

There have been times that I’ve looked up towards heaven and said “seriously???? Lord?? Really?”

There have been times that I’ve sobbed, not just cried, but poured out my heart to the Lord saying, “again??? Must we endure this again?”

There have been times when grief has so filled my heart with sadness that I simply couldn’t get out of bed.

There have been times when I’ve wondered… “when Lord? When will a positive answer to prayer come”

There are things on my “only GOD” prayer list that I look at and wonder can I muster up a grain of a mustard seed sized portion of faith for those needs.

There have been times that my hearts tells the Lord, “I’m sorry, Lord. I’ve completely failed you and I don’t have the wisdom to take the next step”

And as much as I try not to, there are those times when I whisper in my heart, “why Lord. Why? I simply don’t get it!”

 

But I can firmly stand on the Word of the Lord with Nehemiah 8:10 saying the joy of the LORD is my strength. Am I always happy? No, I’m not. But do I have joy through sorrow? Yes, I do.

So, how do we find the goodness and find joy that gets hidden during these horrid times in our lives?

We look for them, seek them, choose them and keep them.

  1. Look for the good. There is usually something good about each and every day. Trouble is our heart is so discouraged that it shuts its eyes to anything but the negative that surrounds the trouble. Uncover the joy that is waiting to be discovered.
  2. Use praise as a weapon. Being openly grateful about the blessings in our world will drive discouragement away. Don’t get me wrong, it may be a fight between your heart and mind, but it is worth it. Praise the hurt away. Sing until the clouds lift from over your heart.
  3. Laugh. I love laughing and sometimes, I laugh at the most inappropriate time, which tends to end up being funnier for those around me. When your heart is in despair, find your favorite cartoons, your favorite funny shows and watch them.
  4. Saturate your day with the Word of God. Listen to the Bible, read the Bible. Find some online preaching. We should be in God’s word daily anyway, but more so when we don’t “feel like it.”
  5. Pray! Surround yourself with the Comforter Himself. God knows your heart, empty it of the hurt that is filling it up and let God’s joy strengthen you.
  6. Do something for others. Don’t let negative feelings about how small “your something for others is” cloud your heart. Just do it. I’m telling you, and I’ll keep telling you – go and give a box of Little Debbie Cakes away or a pack of Reese’s Cups. The smiles will be unbelievable.
  7. Dig deep into your memory. On the days when the sorrow is so great due to a horrible loss and you are working your way through the pain of that particular event, do something powerful and REMEMBER something good, just for a few moments. I know this kind of day. Even though you have great peace and trust the Lord to carry you through, the pain is so great that you wonder how you’ll function. Use the memories of something awesome to remind your heart that “this too shall pass” and just how amazing God’s grace truly is.

 

This in no way is an exhaustive list, but it is things that I do and turn to time and time again.

I’ve been sending out a message on twitter for a while now. I will send it out almost daily as I know different people will see it at different times. It says

JOY…. Choose it today! Look for it today… Expect it TODAY!

 

In the middle of your discouragement, remember the joy is right there too. Your eyes are closed to it because sometimes it is just easier to see the darkness. But remember, even in the darkest night, all it takes is one flicker and that flicker can be seen for miles.

Uncover the goodness; don’t let it slip by you without you grabbing hold of it.

How do you uncover the goodness and joy that is within your reach?

Will you share some of what gets you through the dark times?

What verse or verses get you through?

Inspire someone by leaving a comment.

 

Marie Wikle the Founder and President of Spreading Joy Corporation wants to empower everyone to make a difference and give without guilt.
Here is a personal Warm Welcome to Spreading Joy. You’ll find links to interviews, no cost ways to make a difference and other things that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your heart.

We want to rise above the discouragement of high prices, the obstacle of dead ends and the disappointment of our comfort zone. We want to be the change that is so desperately needed.

Praying Hands

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you.”

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, “No …no …no …no.”

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late.”

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer’s hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,” but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands.”

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one – no one – – ever makes it alone!

~Source Unknown~