Tag Archives: joy

Glorious Unfolding


Glorious Unfolding by Susan Browder

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

Deuteronomy 31:6 has been Jacob’s favorite bible verse for many years now.  It has been put on t-shirts and bracelets to support him through his injury.  As I look back in my journal on day 44, I see that our prayers were for his right side to get stronger, vision to improve, brain to heal (short term memory, processing, retaining new information), speech to improve, his right side of his face to correct, and to pass the swallow test that he has failed 2 times already.  I also have my praises written down in my journal.

Jacob raises arm



The praises are that his right arm is moving, smiling, walking better with a cane and assistance, speech improving, and going to the game room with his brother, Nick.


The next day, day 45, we got a huge praise.  Jacob passed the swallow test.  He got to EAT!  At this time he was able to eat soft foods and on a pureed diet.  After all of this excitement, we were told something that pumped us up even more.  The doctor walked in and said, “Get ready and start making all necessary arrangements for care because y’all are going home in 3 days!”  I was excited and terrified at the same time.  In my mind I was excited to get Jacob home, but then I wondered why we were being sent home?  Was it because they had done all they could do for Jacob and this is it?  I marched myself down to the conference room and busted up in there crying.  My words were something like this.  “So when you tell me that you are sending us home, what you are really saying is that this is as good as Jacob is going to get, so here you go!”  As I kept crying and rambling at what a huge error in judgement they were making and how wrong they were, the nurse looked up at me and said, “I think you misunderstand, so please let us explain.”  The doctor then said, ”We are only sending him home because you and your family are capable of caring for him.  We see how you all push him and do not cut him any slack.  We know that you all will continue to help him get better.”  As I look at them very embarrassed and say, “Oh….”  What else could I say? So I smiled and quietly backed out of the room.

Day 48 finally came.  So many nurses and doctors came by to see us off.  Jacob was dressed in his western button down, belt buckle, and cowboy boots.  We left in a wheelchair and with a cane.  Walking out of Jacob’s hospital room, I turned for one last look at our life for the past 48 days and it all flashed in my mind of what we all had been through.  My heart was so full.  I felt so grateful to God more at this time for letting me take my son home.

“The Lord is greater than the giants you face.” 1 John 4:4  

The ride home was bitter sweet.  Jacob just stared out the window and was so peaceful.  As we turned down our street, we see a small crowd and a big sign that said, “Welcome Home Jacob.”  As we get inside and start unpacking, I see many things that my friends have done.


I walked into a clean house and food for us.  Sweet friends had loaned us a shower chair, a food puree, and a bed rail.

As things settled down for the day, Jacob started feeling like he was finally at home.  Whatever he asked for, he got.  His first day home, he asked for a milkshake probably around 5 times.  He got it.  For supper, he asked for crab legs.  He got pureed crab legs.  That night he asked for a Reese’s Cup, so Nicky pureed his first Reese’s.

As we put Jacob in his bed this night, I scan the room seeing the IV pump, the feeding pump machine, the bed rails up, and all of the medicine bottles, and even though I am overwhelmed, all I can think in this moment is that I am his mama and I am not going to stop until every tube, pill, puree machine, shower bench, speech therapist, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Doctor, Neurologist, wheelchair and cane is gone and until God restores Jacob the way he made him.

“For this child I have prayed.” 1 Samuel 1:27

Counting My Blessing,

Susan Browder

Come to the Water

#dailydevotions #letyourheartbefound


Come to the River

Do you thirst for more?   Let your heart be found.  And thirst no more.

May you devotions today bring you a thirst for more  of the living water which comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. 

(picture today was taken by Annie Jones)

Joseph Strong Silent



Are there any strong silent people in your life?  These people say very little.  At times, they seem almost invisible except for an occasional moment. I believe Joseph may have been such a man.

“And Joseph, her(Mary) husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.  But when he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1: 18-25 NAS)

We have looked at the several of the lives in the Christmas story this month. We have seen the hope of Israel from Zacharias, Simeon, Anna, Elizabeth, Mary, the shepherds and the angels.   We have seen the joy of each person and how one little baby impacted the world.  We have seen fear, anxiety and amazing comfort come to each person as they fulfill the role God had given them.

Today, we want to see Joseph’s story.  Not one word is recorded in scripture that Joseph ever said!  We are told that he is a righteous man.  We know he knew Jewish law because he knew what would happen to Mary if anyone found that she was pregnant. He must have been like most men, a processor.  He had to process what Mary was telling him.  He must have spent hours in anguish going through scenarios of what he should do, could do, or would do.  I see Joseph as a young but mature man who is looking so forward to his new life and now is thrown a curve that changes his view of his life forever.  We never know the twists and turns in life that can come fast and furious like a tornado that picks us up and spins us and sets us down in new and unrecognizable places.  We are stunned, angry, disoriented and terrified at what might be next. Joseph must have felt that way.

When the dust settled and Joseph had made his decision, he moved forward without looking back.  He took Mary to be his wife. He protected her.  He covered her with grace instead of shame. He took the child to raise as his own.  He taught Jesus the skills he knew, carpentry.

He gave him a home.  He lived out his faith before Jesus.

I have had a quiet, background, processing man in my life for 50 years. Sometimes it is very frustrating but he has loved me, protected me and shared his life with me. Life was hard for Joseph and Mary.  The times and the cultures were hard, difficult and I am sure scary with the Romans always breathing terror. But God!  God protected them as he does us.  God guided them, he directed them to the right places and he provided for them.

The very Son of God who had given up all the riches of heaven was living in their home!  Yet they experience sorrow, suffering, pain, fear as well as exceeding great joy.  What joy must have been in their hearts as they watched Jesus grow up.  Knowing all the time, they had been given the privilege and responsibility to raise this child.  The child who sits at His Father’s right hand even today is interceding for us.

Scripture says Mary treasured all these things in her heart.  It never mentions Joseph heart.  I just know in my heart that Joseph treasured and pondered many things in his heart also.  He might have been a background man, quiet, gracious, loving and strong but I believe Joseph accomplished a life well lived and in the kingdom of God.  I like to believe Joseph holds a special place beside the son he raised.

We may never realize the influence we have in the lives of those around us.  So many times we are wrapped up in the fast paced life we live that we forget there are background people, invisible maybe to us at times but never to the eye of our loving heavenly father and His Son who gave His life that we might have eternal life.

Look around today and find those who quietly stay in the background supporting  and loving others. It is the season for loving and giving.  If you have a Joseph in your life, let them know you see them.  Michael Card’s song “Joseph’s Song” is a beautiful reminder of what Joseph’s thoughts might have been.


Michael Card  Joseph’s Song

Journey to Earth -9 mos




Psalm 139:13-18
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

As I try to imagine Jesus giving up his heavenly home and becoming a single “seed of woman” (egg) plus a XY chromosome (sex comes from the Father), because this IS a virgin birth, to be joined together in an overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and then dividing and differentiating into systems and over nine months becoming “like as we are”– literally a human body:   I am awed!   (Hebrews 2:9-10,16-17)  The Creator becoming created.  Going from roaming the galaxies to the confines of a fist-sized uterus He created.  He snuggles under His mother’s heart;  the first sounds he would hear would be the constant thump of “(I) Love you” the heart beats out.  His own heart began to beat out “(I) Love YOU!”  just three short weeks after conception and would beat between 700 million to 1.5 billion times in his life, pounding out the “(I) LOVE YOU” He came to prove.   All this planned before the foundation of the world.  (I Peter 1:20)

Oh, you want to know how I know it was just an egg and an XY chromosome?  Scripture tells us in Luke 1:34-35,  “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.  (John 1:13-14)  No sperm, but a male child is to be born.  We know this because He was circumcised on His 8th day.     24 Chromosomes?  If my genetics class memory serves me correctly.  23 chromosomes with one being XX chromosome (girl) from Mary and the sex chromosome given by God is the XY chromosome. (Luke 3:38)   The blood of King David, from the tribe of Judah, (Luke 3:23) flowing through His servant heart.  Parthenogenesis:  birth without fertilization.  Miraculous.  A total God thing.


Son of God, by Michael W. Smith

This was the sign every virgin in Israel had been waiting for:  hoping she would be the chosen one.   Isaiah 7:14 was a scripture known by all: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”   God with us in the flesh.  Coming into the world like every other person after the fall of man in the Garden, through a woman with pain.  Dependent.  Fragile.  Needing to grow, develop, learn, and seek fellowship with God. (Luke 2:40, 52; Luke 3:23) Without the Holy Spirit, needing the Holy Spirit.  He was just like us!  (Genesis 3:15-16)

Jesus, the Lamb of God, perfect Lamb of God, sequestered in the womb 280 days.  Immersed in amniotic fluid.  Tethered by a cord required to provide nourishment and whisk away waste.  Stretching tiny limbs to make room for majesty.  Eyes opening and closing in total darkness.  Ears pressed listening to Mary’s muffled hum of a lullaby.   Hands and feet forming for the express purpose of being pinned to a cross.  Skin stretching to be ripped to ribbons.  A face forming to be pummeled into an unrecognizable state.  A forehead wrinkled to receive thorns.  A heart pulsing blood to be poured out on an altar.    Was He already sensing the pain He would feel as He raced toward His last day even while entombed in a womb?

This time out is a priceless gift to humanity!  Jesus gave up so much!  He gave up His throne. (John 1:1-2)  He left His Father and He left His Spirit behind.  He, like us, had to search out His Father.  He would come kicking and screaming into a cold, dark cave used as a barn, because no one would open a door, to be wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid down to sleep in a dirty cattle trough.  Entrusted to a teenage mother and a stepfather.  He left His creativity, (John 1:10) His heavenly angel army, His magnificent white steed, and all the riches of Heaven.  (Hebrews 1:2)  Why?  Why would He and His Father plan this before the foundation of the world?  “God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but He has now revealed Him to you in these last days.”  (I Peter 1:20 NIV)  He came for you and for me!  The exact number of days He would walk this footstool (Isaiah 66:1) of His was planned out down to the nano second.  He did not linger one minute longer than necessary to complete the task He came to perform.  As long as He was on earth He was confined!   Confined by space.  Confined by time.  Confined by energy.  Confined by rules.   Confined by poverty.   Confined by shackles.  Confined by nails.  Confined by love.  Immanuel.  GOD WITH US!

Amazing Grace.


Michael Card Immanuel

Immersed in Grace

Yvonne Jones




Surprised by Joy

Surprised by Joy

It was such a quiet moment
No one even noticed
Yet I was immersed in such joy
An understanding of a deep peace

The world did not stop
Conversations around me continued
but I knew that in that moment
I had been surprised by my Heavenly Father!

To tell you the details would not impress you.
I knew God was looking out for me.
It was the calm assurance that God was watching over his child.  
Sometimes we take for granted the blessings that come our way.


A special sunrise that burst forth from behind the morning sky with rays that stream from heaven to earth.   It was a reminder that one day we will see Jesus burst forth from the eastern sky with a shout and the voice of a trumpet.

What brings that quiet, calm joy to your heart?

Maybe it is music that calms you and brings joy to your spirit.

Beethoven’s Ninth symphony is one familiar to us all.  Such a gift from someone who by the end of his life could not hear but wrote music with such complexities that evokes deep emotions. For some just listening to great classical music will calm anxieties and lower blood pressure.  

(Flash mob: Ode to Joy by Beethoven)

Maybe it is a newborn that sleeps quietly in your arms.

Maybe it is a word of encouragement that has come unexpectedly.

“Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance.  In Your name they rejoice all day long.  And in Your righteousness they are exalted.  For You are the glory of their strength.” Psalms 89:15 NKJV

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

Father I thank you for quiet moments when you surprise us with unexpected blessings. In your word, you tell us to “consider the lilies how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”  I ask, Father, you to help us to trust you to take care of things in our lives.  Then, remind us to be thankful and praise you for all things, great or small.

O Lord Jesus, help us watch expectantly for your surprises of joy that calm our fears and bring a peace and quiet rest.

Wash over us Father with joy unspeakable.  All we are comes from your love.  

(Joy Unspeakable-Todd Agnew)