"Home is the resort of love, of joy, of peace, of plenty, Where supporting and supported, polish'd friends, And dear relations mingle into bliss!" James Thompson
"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that He is God Himself." Psalm 100 1-3a
I think that when the Lord leads me to another book contract, I am the one most blessed when I have to discipline myself to write it. I am in the midst of writing a book about cultivating joy in the midst of disappointments and I am learning so much. One thing I have been stuck with lately is that God mentions gladness and joy over and over again--especially in His presence. There are also many references to shouts of joy and joyful singing and all in all, a jolly good time. I also read that a joyful heart is good medicine and am becoming aware of the idea that when I am filled with God's Spirit and obedient to Him, I will walk with joy as a natural overflow of His presence in my life. Light and love and beauty and gladness will spill forth from my life as well as from my heart and deeds.
I just can't imagine how wonderful the celebration banquet is going to be in His presence when we are at the marriage supper of the bride of Christ to the Lamb of God. I see so clearly that God created food and color and music and love and when we bring these into the moments of life, we are showing His reality as much as when we teach theology. I have always celebrated Christmas with our children--especially because it is such a wonderful time and way to bring all sorts of people into our home. It also provided the anchors that make the hearts of the Clarksons tied together. Both of my boys have said they just can't wait to be "home" and they just can't wait to be together. I think that even as love covers a multitude of sin, as Peter so adeptly said, celebration covers a multitude of flaws.
I am a flawed individual, but my heart is full of love and somehow, celebration of life has made what I have to offer to my children and to the Lord palatable. Joy, however, is something we have to cultivate. It is out of a heart of thanksgiving and acknowledging God. It is out of a mom heart--that says, "I am so blessed to have you as my children, to have this husband, this home and to have this God who will be faithful to us."
But, I also love what God has allowed me to know about all of these things. Celebrating that knowledge by bringing others into my home to share my love and His and all of the wonderful ways He has led my path, brings joy to our home. Here's just a few shots from these wonderful friends and groups in my home this week. And I am off this morning to put another quiche into the oven for a brunch with friends who will also be working side by side with us to encourage the moms who will attend the Colorado conference. These precious ones deserve and need to be spoiled, so we will celebrate this morning!
A glam shot! My two sweet girls--Sarah and Joy--are in a wonderful company of Christian actors who are performing Scrooge 12 of 14 nights in a row and so each day they have to have to roll their hair into ringlets. They are having so much fun together.