Joy ~ Special Delivery (Part 3 of 10)

Read and potentially memorize Habakkuk 3:18.

*This story is enhanced if you pre-read “Too Important to Ever Forget.”*

Little Lila was a bit smaller than the other 6 year old girls on her soccer team. But what she lacked in intimidation she made up for in effort. With pigtails flying in the air, she skipped around the field even when she didn’t know where to find the ball. Lila’s family provided quite a cheering section all lined up in camping chairs on the sidelines. Mom and Dad sat side-by-side wearing team t-shirts with diet-cokes in hand. Jenna, the eldest of the four kids, but just 13 years old, did not understand the value of soccer. Her world revolved around art and she passed the time at the game creating another contribution to her portfolio. Mason, the next in line, loved the game of soccer most when he played but less when he watched. His portable game system kept him busy during the time-outs. The youngest, Samuel, had his own chair but sitting was not his skill. At 4 years old, he had not quite learned the art of entertaining himself. He shuffled about from one family member to another, being met with different levels of patience.

When the soccer game ended, the family packed up their gear with the precision of a scout troop and loaded the SUV. Lila’s coach circled the girls for a last minute speech before letting the girls leave the field. He knew he was on thin ice with every mom waiting for their daughter. Soccer demanded a great deal from these young ladies, but the coach feared a game on Mother’s Day afternoon might have put him in the doghouse. He led the final cheer and sent his young teammates to hug their moms. Lila had good intentions of hugging her mother, but she was distracted by the excitement of leftover doughnuts she brought for her team. If she spread out the left-over doughnuts and ate just one per day they could last the week!

Dad’s voice rose above the family clamor on the ride home. “Listen kids, I’m ordering pizza when we get to the house. Who wants what?” Even though Dad knew the response, it never kept him from asking. Secretly, he longed for the day when pizza could have another topping besides alfredo cheese. The SUV pulled into the garage and Jenna helped Samuel out of his seat. Mom sent Lila to the shower. Mason transferred to the more sophisticated game system in the family room and Dad looked on the fridge for the pizza delivery phone number.

The family was brought back together with the sound of the doorbell. Sam was the first to reach the front door. Mason opened the door to find the pizza man with pie in hand, “Special delivery for someone special like you!” And he lowered the pizza to Sam’s eagerly waiting eyes and hands. Dad paid the man, took the pizza from Sam and went to the kitchen counter. Dad commanded the kids sit at the table as he placed two slices on two paper plates. To their surprise, he handed one to mom and kept one for himself. As he placed the remaining on the table he announced that he and mom would be eating in the car on their way to get ice cream. “I’m taking mom to get her favorite dessert for a Mother’s Day treat. Jenna, you’re in charge. We’ll be back in few.” Mom grabbed her purse as Dad grabbed the keys and they left without fanfare as the kids focused on dinner.

Jenna, feeling responsible, was trying to equally distribute remaining pieces of cheese pizza. Lila, with hair still wet from the shower, was the first to recognize the lack of Mother’s Day celebration. “We should do something nice for mom.” A wide range of suggestions flew around the table and then Jenna, in dramatic Jenna fashion, flung her arms in the air and declared her wonderful suggestion.

“Let’s make mom a night shirt! We’ll decorate one of Dad’s t-shirts! Mason, quite naturally questioned the suggestion but Jenna was persistent. She picked up Samuel, now standing in his chair, sat him down again and looked to Mason with a pointed finger. “Keep Sam in his seat until I get back.” Mason, now in charge, began to wipe Sam’s face and hands and asked Lila if she wanted her last piece of pizza as he picked it up and took a bite. Fortunately, Lila was done. Mason brought the kitchen trash can to the edge of the table and it was cleared in a couple of passes with his arm, pizza box and all.

Jenna returned to the kitchen table with a large white t-shirt in one hand and a permanent marker in the other. She smoothed out the t-shirt and wrote in bubble letters, “Hugs 2 last all night.” After she traced her open hand on each side of the t-shirt, she instructed each child to place their open hands on different places on the shirt as she traced. (Younger children are not permitted to use permanent markers.) Jenna beamed with the thought that their hand prints would hug mom while she slept.

Mason, not to be outdone, claimed an assignment. “I’ll do decorations.” But there were no balloons. No streamers. No party hats. What could he do? Mason went to each bathroom and claimed every roll of toilet paper in the house. He went to the garage and located the duct-tape. Then Mason went to work in the kitchen. He

taped down one end of paper to a kitchen chair and tossed the other over the ceiling light fixture. Back and forth, over cabinets, around appliances, taped to walls and draped over pictures. Mason thought it looked just like new fallen snow. He was so impressed with his glorious masterpiece of white. And as the available supply was about to run out, Mason wrapped the remaining white streamers around his head creating a party hat turban secured with a final touch of duct tape.

Lila was deeply concerned about cake. Every party, even Mother’s Day, needed a cake. She asked Jenna, working feverishly on the night shirt, “Jenna, do Mother’s Day cakes have candles?” Jenna replied with claimed authority, “Every party cake has candles.” Lila was worried. They couldn’t bake a cake. They didn’t have birthday candles. What could they use? Lila’s eyes fixed upon the left-over doughnut box on the kitchen counter. She squealed with delight as she ran through the kitchen, grabbed the box and darted into the formal dining room. Her smile took up her whole face as she put her idea into place. She stood on one of the grand dining room chairs as she reached for the tall, beautiful single candle stick in the center of the table. Carefully, meticulously, gingerly, she took a single doughnut and threaded it over the long candle. And then another, and another until the full length of the candle was doughnut heaven. She looked at her doughnut tower cake and wondered how she could move it. Would Dad let her light it when they came home?

Sam watched the bevy of activity swirl around him. Jenna, Mason, and Lila were all working with such excitement. He shuffled from one sibling to another, being met with different levels of patience. He was mostly interested in helping Mason with the toilet paper. Mason, concerned with Sam’s ability to artistically toss the roll, tried to find something else appropriate for Sam to do. “Sammy,” Mason questioned, “Why don’t you make mom a card or something? She would really like that!”

And that was all the suggestion Samuel needed. He ran to his dad’s office and grabbed a piece of paper from the printer and sprinted to his room to fetch a blue crayon. Sam knew the alphabet, but he loved picture sentences the best and he imagined his finished masterpiece. “U (picture of a nose) (picture of an eye) (a heart) U.”

Sam lay in the middle of the family room floor and crafted his card. But the nose was much more difficult than he imagined. The nose on his card looked nothing like a nose and Sam was crushed. He complained to Lila, who was busy with a doughnut cake tower. Mason was certain that he didn’t know how to draw a nose and Jenna said she could help when the t-shirt was complete. Sam decided to throw away his messed-up card and try one more time with another piece of paper. And then the sound of the garage door stopped everyone in their tracks.

Each kid ran to the door as Mom came in. And Lila was the first to lead the family in a rendition of “Happy Mother’s Day” to the tune of “Happy Birthday.” Dad smiled, added his voice, and Sam stood on his tiptoes as he held out the last note. Mother gazed at her white home with her hands on her face. Jenna, filled with the joy of giving, thrust the night shirt in front of mom just as mom lunged forward to catch the doughnut tower teetering in Lila’s hands. Lila licked her fingers then clasped her hands behind her back as she beamed with the joy of her gift. Mason joyfully leapt up and down until his party hat turban transferred from his head to mom’s.

Dad, overwhelmed with the blessings of his joyful family, silently wondered if toilet paper decorations were recyclable or if he needed to run to the store. Mom’s heart swelled as she surveyed her party.

Sam panicked. The card was not done! He ran, re-examined the first attempt out of the trash, and put it back in the can. His eyes began to well up with tears. Then he saw the pizza box in the trash beside his card attempt. Sam held the empty box in his hands and remembered when it arrived at his front door. He ran toward his mother, tossed the box on the ground and stepped right in the center of the cardboard in front of his mom. “Special delivery for someone special like you!” Sammy joyfully opened his arms as wide as he could, closed his eyes and puckered his lips. . . waiting. Mom lowered herself with her new TP turban sliding forward, with one hand holding her night-shirt and the other holding her doughnut cake, she wrapped her arms around Sam and received his special delivery kiss on her cheek. Dad, Jenna, Mason, and Lila joined the group hug and mom smiled both inside and out.

Pure joy is a gift that comes when we love enthusiastically and experience being deeply loved. It is not to be confused with just laughter, which might be a reflection of humor; however, it may be accompanied by laughter. It is not to be confused with happiness, which might be a temporary high from an excellent doughnut tower cake; however, it may be accompanied by happiness. Joy – the Biblical Fruit of joy – comes from the Holy Spirit when we recognize how much we are loved by God and we desire to sanctify ourselves with overwhelming love for others. This kind of joy shapes how we look at the world. It changes our perspective of what is important and what is trivial. It modifies our actions, our tongues and our motivations. It inspires creative love and rejoices through experienced love. 

This is too important to ever forget. Joy is a gift from love. It is the Fruit from the Holy Spirit that God showers upon people who comprehend who they are as a child of God and how they are called to live in this world. You were born to experience joy and to offer joy to a devastated world.

Today, more than any other day, choose joy as your demeanor. Share joy, repeatedly and enthusiastically. May this string elicit a breath prayer every time you see it. May your prayer remind you that joy is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is yours to seek, experience and share.

Be challenged. And then be ready to be blessed by joy. 

Tie a string around your second finger and may it remind you of the power of joy.

 

Choose a breath prayer and memorize. Here are three examples for your consideration:

    1. “Holy Spirit, fill me with joy. Use me to inspire joy.”
    2. “May the seed of joy in me, bear Fruit of joy around me.”
    3. “As I rest in the Holy Spirit, joy rests in me.”

Repeat this prayer to yourself every time you glance at the string around your finger.

Say it. . .maybe 20 times today.

Mean it when you say it at least 5 times.

Change what you are doing to reflect this prayer at least once, today.

May this spiritual discipline today, bring you closer to God and closer to the person God hopes you will become.

 

Take time to reflect, journal, pray.

In the opening welcome and introduction to this website, I shared the Scripture that inspired this online adventure, I Tim 6:20. This text is also the origination of the name; “Sacred Chatter.” However, my intent is not to be a singular voice. I invite your voice to be a part of the “chat” and I base this on another of my favorite Scriptures: Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I am considering how I can provoke love and good deeds in places beyond where I live. This is my attempt to enter into a Hebrews 10 conversation with you over social media.digitally. Now, I am interested in your feedback. Consider what provoking you can provide with your own Sacred Chatter.

What’s important to you? What really matters?

Add your voice in Sacred Chatter.

Love is ours to provoke. Good deeds are ours to sew.

That the wisdom of Hebrews 10 may flourish and grow.

Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’re potential mediums for the Hebrews 10 plan.

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