Joy comes in the morning

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist

Do you enjoy your journey? Some days the joy seems jumbled up among deadlines, duties, and doing things to keep it all going and make right decisions at home, work, church, community…! Staying closely connected to the Lord and loved ones can easily become endangered as we journey. This story stirs as rain pours outside in the wee hours of Oct. 1, 2015 and I sit cross-legged in my war room. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, GO – you will see big results!

I read in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul’s words as God stirred His heart to write, “Dear brothers…be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted…!”

I ponder and pray…writing down special requests, some in big letters. The rain pours as do tears as I pray for loved ones…same prayers over and over with faith God will answer them. Storms come in our minds that we must resist, even in prayer time. A storm brewed in my mind that I could have done more to help James when he was sick. Every person reading this – who has watched a loved one suffer and leave this world – understands the storm that can rage inside without warning. I knew my prayer room is where I needed to be this rainy morning when darkness enveloped my world. I prayed. I picked up a book, “Small Changes – BIG RESULTS,” and remembered reading it years ago. It opened to chapter 13 – Enjoy the Journey– (not by mistake)! I held it close to read the small print on the page He knew I needed this morning. “Your purpose may be clear and your passions pure, but the road between where you are now and journey’s end has some jarring potholes, dangerous curves, black ice, and surprise dead ends. For one thing, you will mess up along the way. Our imperfections and shortcomings sometimes temporarily distract us, divert us, detour us, or derail us on the journey. Another thing, life around us doesn’t always play out the way we expect, let alone the way we plan. Circumstances slip beyond our control.”

My tears dried as I thought of Saul (who become Paul) on his amazing life-changing, blinding, yet eye-opening journey. Paul had a rock solid inner strength independent of his circumstances. He had contentment even in the storm. I wrote down my children and grandchildren and sibling’s names and asked God to help me know how to help them on their journeys and not be a burden to them as I run the last laps of my race here. I asked God to help me be content whatever the circumstances. At 6:01 a.m., my cell phone rang in the den with me rushing to see who it was. I saw my son’s smiling face on my phone and joyfully said, “Hello, Clint, I’m so happy you called.”

Clint and I talked… with me back on the floor looking at the prayers and pictures pasted on the wall in my prayer closet…war room…the place where I commune with Christ. I couldn’t cover up the storm even though it was subsiding. A child and parent have that divine understanding when something is not well with our souls. I told Clint about the rain here as he said it was sunny and hot in Tampa, about the golf tournament having to be rescheduled and the problems of finding the right time, of Sam and Sue being sick and things being difficult at work, of MeMaw Fussell’s funeral this week, of Mom turning 90 today, and then he asked what was wrong again.

He sensed the storm inside my heart. The outburst of tears came without control as I confessed I didn’t know James was so sick…and felt more help could have been given by me, his wife, and those who gave medical care that dreadful day after Christmas when he so suddenly left us. I did not plan on pouring out all that on my son this morning, but it came like the storms do in our lives.

Clint was driving to meet his manager for a big day at work. Yet, he took time to talk to me with calm, common sense, loving words that calmed the storm inside his mother’s heart. Then, he said, “Let’s pray Mom”! And, oh, what a beautiful prayer-time we shared over the phone. My eyes were closed but my heart was opened and oh the joy that filled my soul as Clint prayed, not only for me, but for every family member and our friends who are going through storms, too.

As he prayed, the spirit in my heart and home shifted and I knew “surely the presence of the Lord” was in my little place (space) where I war in prayer and praise God for all the sunshine and even the storms He sends. For He brings us through the storms and GOOD can come from the bad we experience when we trust God’s plans for our lives according to His purpose.

I placed a check mark with praise to God for “Prayer Answered” beside the request I was writing at the very moment Clint called. Then, I rose up to write this story and send it to Barbara before deadline. There are some things we will always deal with in this world including deadlines, duties, and death. It is how we go through our storms that makes the difference in our happiness here and the hereafter. Storms will come and change our plans; yet, we have the power through Jesus Christ our Lord living inside our hearts to ride the storms out safely and truly be happy and content…whatever our circumstances.

The tears I cried, most of the night, over things that I cannot change and should not even go to that place where pity looms and the enemy loves to trap us when we ask “What if? Why didn’t I? Why did I? What should I do now? for such a time as this”…are dried up and with each word I have written in this message from our Lord who loves me and you enough to take us through the toughest storms…Joy cometh to my soul (as it can to yours) this morning! He promises that in His Word!

Before I end, please don’t let the sun set (well, today you won’t see it set but even though we can’t see it – it’s there) before you make things right in your heart with the Lord and your loved ones, and anyone you have aught (unforgiveness) in your heart against. Time is short and storms will come stronger and harder against us in the last days. We must war (being a war ship) – seeking ways to help others and serve our Lord while resisting the “pleasure ship” which shows trend and tendency to want things to be catered to our comfort and selfish wants… (which was powerfully shared at revival last night at Grove Park Baptist Church by Dr. Forte).

Before I hit send, my intentions were to write about rescheduling the Tim’s Gift Seven Year Celebration that was to be tonight and the Hope Project Golf Tournament which was to be held tomorrow at Coharie Country Club. There are many details that have to be worked out, like the food at Southern Style, the biscuits at McDonalds, the tea at BoJangles, the volunteers ready for duty, the players who might not be able to play on another day, the difficulty of finding another date not already booked, (we are all so overextended) and more importantly praying that people come and support the cause of Tim’s Gift (giving help and hope to people in need here at home – as my son, Cameron said so well…A Local Footprint) when we reschedule. I cannot fear these things but must face them and have faith it will all work out or my sound mind will be scattered.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The storm is causing many changes in plans that can bring problems instead of peace. Let us handle these changes with contentment instead of stress and enjoy our journey!

Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.

By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist

Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.

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