Sometimes our own situations make us question our God. Some days that negative self-talk sets in. We almost lose our hope, our sense of the goodness of God, or our will to ever engage in our world again.
Darlene was born in California but grew up in several states including California, Nebraska, Hawaii and Oregon. She has been married for 32 years to her wonderful husband Eric and they have two daughters. Lauren, who is married to DJ and Allie, who is married to Jesse. Allie and Jesse have two children, Jed and Riley. Darlene and her husband Eric have lived in Fresno for the past 25 years. Having their grand children close and being able to hang out with them is one of their greatest joys! They also take yearly mission trips to serve the Hill Tribe Villages in Northern Thailand. Another passion for them both is working with Fresno State Athletics helping to serve the medical needs of the student athletes and hosting monthly Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership meetings in their home. One of Darlene’s greatest privileges is to disciple young women.
Right before Christmas last year I wrote about Joy. I must admit that when I wrote that blog post, our family was in a state of joy – I mean the outward kind. Our youngest daughter and her family were doing well, we were looking forward to the marriage of our oldest daughter, we would all be together for Christmas, and my husband and I had celebrated 31 years of marriage. All was right with the world. It’s not that I did not have that deep abiding joy in Christ . . . I did. But admittedly, its easier when everything in your life is lining up. We had been through many things as a family where the abiding joy in Christ had been all we had, but now, everything was going great. We were in a mountain season! As a mom, I finally felt that our daughters were settled, that any struggles they had growing up had made them strong and ready to go through life, and I had that feeling of settling in. Of stability. Of peace. Of joy on many fronts.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary the mother of Jesus. Usually I think a little more about her during the Christmas season, but she has been on my mother heart a lot lately. As we went through the Easter Season this year I wondered what it would have been like to watch her as she watched her son on the cross and wonder if what He said was true. That He would raise up in 3 days. Did she embrace that hope? Or did she question it? As Easter gave way to thinking about Mother’s Day, I wondered what it would have been like to watch her son through his short “human” life. Did she understand the “fully human, fully God” thing? Was it as challenging to raise a “perfect Child” as it is to raise a “not-so-perfect” one? What about His siblings? Did they have trouble living up to the “perfect” Son? Was their jealousy? Did they understand His mission?
This story is for every person who dares to transform. For every person who understands that the first step is at the feet of our loving Father in heaven. To those who understand that we come just as we are, in need of His perfect love and forgiveness.
I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately. I love Christmas songs, and one of my favorites is “Joy To The World.” It seems like all Christmas songs, whether secular or spiritual, help to awaken that joyful feeling. But is the holiday season the only time we should be joyful?
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