At The Cottage Background

Thursday, August 26, 2010


"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." 
Job 8:21

Life.... it can be extremely funny if we let it.
I wish I was better at letting it.
I like to believe that God loves to laugh. And I hope to believe that He loves when we laugh even more.
My life recently hasn't been very funny. But we have had definite moments of funniness.
I am so thankful for those moments.
They are what keeps me going.
What I draw from when I need to be reminded that  life doesn't need to be taken so seriously sometimes.

Today is one of those days.
I should, in the worlds view and perspective, be in some state of worry or concern.
There are a lot of things to be concerned about.
Things that should worry me.
But not today.
Not for me.
And I believe with all my heart that this is a gift from my Heavenly Father.
He knows the things that can and do weigh me down.
He is fully aware of my frame and how weak I am.
But I also know that he has commanded me to not allow the things of this world to burden and weigh on me as it so often does.
And yes. I believe that He wants me to laugh.
To remember that He is God.
And because of that truth, I can allow myself to rest assured that He has it all under control.
That I can let go for a moment.
That I can breath in and let it all go.

We were never meant to carry our "stuff".
He has not asked us to do any of "this" on our own.
We have always been meant to do life with Him. Not separate from Him.
It is when I walk away muttering, "I got this God." , that everything begins to unravel.
My peace.
My hope.
And most importantly my joy.
Satan wants to rob me of it all.
Get me focused on what is so wrong, so disruptive in my life that I miss what the purpose may be in the midst of the place that I find myself.

I have this mental picture of a girl with her foot stuck in the middle of a rock climb.
With one foot planted and the other stuck mid step, about chest high, unable to get her foot out of the crag without a little help.
That is me so often.
And trust me, so many times I just crumble in a pool of my own tears. Weary, and worn out from trying to un-stick myself. Whining and complaining about my predicament. 
But then there are those moments.... when it registers what I probably look like in that scene, foot stuck up in the air, grunting with my futile effort, red faced, sweat dripping. Probably wearing a dirty t-shirt, plaid shorts (my idea of what walking shorts look like), bandanna wrapped ponytail, with a comical look of frustration on my face..... and I just start laughing.
And I can hear it.... with a smile in His voice..."Can I help you with that?"
How often would I save myself a lot of grief if I would just let Him help me.
My situation may not change. 
I may remain stuck for a little while....while He is working all the details out, that I find comfort in the knowing that He knows that I'm stuck... and that He will get me out of it, eventually. 
It eases the moment just a bit. 
If I let it.
Like everything else, I can choose it.
So much in life is not a laughing matter.
But I hope that even in those serious moments that we can hope to find the joyful moments.
The moments worth smiling for.
Allowing the peace of God to sooth and sink in so that we can gain a different perspective.

I used to tell my daughter, when she was much younger, in moments when she would be indignant about a particular situation, or mess up.....
"Honey, you have to learn to laugh at yourself. Don't take life so seriously. Let go a little."
She used to scrunch up her small face, wrinkle her nose, and scowl at me.
I wasn't helping is what she was thinking at that moment.
She is a deep person by nature. Therefore it takes effort to make light of the big things.
We re-visited this topic just the other day.... now years later, finding her a young woman and not the little girl of so long ago.
"You know Mom, when you used to tell me.....?"
Yeah, I remembered.
"I'm so glad that you have taught me to laugh at myself."
I should have blinked right then. I am proud to say, that I did not. I just stayed very still and waited for the words I needed her to say....
"I am learning that I have to do that more often."
I didn't tell her in that moment... but she has more than she thinks.
I have seen it.
And I have seen the huge amounts of growth that she has allowed to happen in her life.
It has come painfully.
Sometimes excruciatingly so.
For both of us.
But woven in and out of those moments I see the notes of laughter.
Rising up above the cloudiness.... floating and swirling like the most beautiful music.

I love to laugh.
And I love it even more to watch my children laughing.
Hearing the sound. Each one unique. Each sound beautiful.
How can we think that God doesn't feel the same way about all of us?
That moment of carefree emotion....
The kind that makes you feel like swinging your arms out wide and circling around and around.
Giddy..... forgetting for a second that you often choose to carry your load instead of letting Him carry it for you.

"Jesus answered them, "Do you finally believe? In fact, you're about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."
John 16:33 The Message Bible

It's right there.
For all to see.
It's all covered.
All of it.
Nothing left that He can't handle or do.

But joy, true joy, is only found at His feet.
By basking in His presence.
By filling up my lungs with His scent and not the scent of my worry, concern, and anxiousness.
I breath that stuff a lot. And it does nothing good for me.
It usually makes me cough and sputter. Grabbing at my chest in pain.
It is full of the gunk and junk that doesn't have a place in my life.
His air is pure and light.
And it is what I know that I should be taking in. Not the stuff that I usually do.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:30 The Message Bible

I want to choose to allow Him into every area of my life.
The tough and not so tough things.
And I am praying today that I can laugh more than I worry.
That I trust more than I wonder.
That I can lean into Him, with all my weight.... letting Him absorb everything that I carry and hold.
Letting Him hold me...... hold it all.
And as I have found today, that laughing is much more fun than worrying.
The pain that comes with a side splitting burst of laughter is so much more preferable than the pain that wrack's me when I am crying and fearful.

I have to decide first how I am going to respond.... how I want to deal with whatever it is placed in front of me.
I want to smile. I want to say, "God.... You have this right?"
I know that circumstances are not always easy.
Believe me..... I know.
But in any given circumstance the truth that God can handle whatever we may face, and that He is with us every step of the way, doesn't ever change.
And it is because of this truth that we can change how we look at those things, and with what perspective we allow ourselves to adopt in the midst of them.

There are those people that I have watched walk out their lives in the midst of tough circumstances, with God's truth and dignity, that I have the most respect for.
There is nothing false or fabricated about them.
They don't pretend to have it all figured out... or that it doesn't hurt.
But they do walk out what they profess to believe. 
Dedicating  all that they do and say to the One they are choosing to live for.
Their character remains the same. 
Unchanging in the face of difficulty.

I want to be that kind of person.
I know I may have a ways to go.
Some days I feel closer and others not so much.
But I have hope.
Because I know who it is I truly serve.
My circumstance does not diminish Who God is or His power and ability to overcome it.

So..... today I am choosing to laugh.
I am choosing to smile and find the "funny" in my circumstances of the moment.
And I am fighting hard to hold onto the truths of the only One who offers me the only escape worth taking.
I realize that it is a matter of perspective.
It always has been.
His or ours.
Today.... I choose His.

...until another tomorrow.


"She is clothed with strength and dignity; 
       she can laugh at the days to come.
 She speaks with wisdom,
       and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:25,26


  1. Funny I looked over as I was reading and plastered on our wipe board our last verse we were to memorize in bible was Matthew 11:28-30. I got so burned out the last few weeks we never memorized it. It sat here waiting for me to read and I look at it a few times...guilt that I neglected to memories it with the girls.

    I had a hard summer.

    That verse has been there all summer...didn’t move. I read it with guilt. The message version is beautiful. I see it was the medicine I never took all summer. I think im changing the version and we will have it written in our heart.

    I can’t remember the last time I laughed. I’m ready for a change! I don’t ever laugh at me I just cry. I can’t get a picture of Jesus laughing. I allowed my dignity to be ripped away. Thank-you for reminding me He laughs and I can hope to too soon.

  2. Oh Noelle... If you could only see me the next day after writing this. And even a few days after. Talk about being tested by what you testify to. :) As I prepared for my daughter to have surgery with my heart in my throat. I, just like you, probably cry way more than I laugh. Question more than I know I should trust.I need to be reminded too. ALL the time. And He does. Hang in there my friend.
    "Hard" has been the definition of our life the last century. I can whole heartedly sympathize. As I write, He is speaking it to me. Just so you know. :)
    You are not alone. I am so thankful and humbled by our Heavenly Father. That He has brought me another friend. He is faithful Noelle. So faithful.
    I am praying that His love will permeate your every situation.
    God bless you lady.
    And thank you for sharing your heart with me. You have moved me beyond words.