Joyful! Joyful!

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” – Psalm 28:7*

In my closet I have an amazing number and variety of shoes that I have acquired over the years. Some of them are for use in the yard. Some are very specific for riding the motorcycle. Some are everyday work shoes. But some of them have a very special meaning and place in my heart – these are my party shoes! Whenever I put them on, whenever I look upon them, I am filled with good – even great! – memories and my spirit leaps with joy.

During this time of year, I can’t help but wonder if Mary felt that way when she found out she would be the mother of God? I don’t think so. Although we read in the first chapter of Luke, “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” I think her head recognized the difficulties that lay before her. I also believe she was able to find the strength of her faith in the faithfulness of God.

Have you ever been in that place where something seems insurmountable and yet, you are certain that God has determined your place in His greater plan? Several times in my life circumstances have threatened to overwhelm me and given me doubts that have crippled my spirit for a period of time. One of those times came when I was only twenty-two years old and just weeks away from getting married.

My husband-to-be and I had just spent a fun-filled weekend with his family at Disneyworld and were driving home when we fell asleep and crashed into a tree. I woke up with blood and glass in my eyes and my legs crushed under the collapsed dash of the car. As the paramedics worked to get us out of the car they realized that one of my legs was impaled and the ankle of my other leg was definitely broken. After x-rays and several other tests in the hospital I found out I had seven breaks in the right ankle and my left knee would need reconstructive surgery at a later date. (So much for me being able to dance at my own wedding!) The week after the cast came off I had further complications from the accident and spent another few days in the hospital. Finally, we were married and beginning our life together.

Life together for us started out full of the excitement of being newlyweds and the adventure of moving to a new home together. But we also found ourselves dealing with our share of problems, especially when my knee reconstruction surgery was completed only four months later. Plans for romantic dinners and dancing in nice clubs were put on hold as I learned how to walk again. Two years after this ordeal began, my hubby and I realized that the dreams we thought we wanted for our lives had been replaced by a sense of satisfaction in simpler things and new dreams were being born.

What in the world does all of this have to do with party shoes? Well, God shared a sign with me one afternoon shortly before my surgery and it has helped me so many times since then. While I was shopping that particular afternoon I came across a little porcelain figurine of a boy pulling a wagon with a little girl riding atop their belongings piled in the cart. She was holding a Bible and the title of that figurine was “Walking By Faith”. Wow! That piece so captured what had been happening in my life up to that point, and in the days since then.

So, now when I look on those party shoes – or any of my shoes, I can not help but be reminded of a young woman who held on to the faithfulness of her God and joyously surrendered herself to his plans for her life. And I pray that I can also walk with faith in the plans God has for my life, always being thankful for what He has given each of us. My heart can not help but dance for joy!

~ Rev. Pat


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