Earlier this week I had the opportunity to see Dr. Mary Neal on a talk show. She is the author of "To Heaven and Back" which tells the story of her near death experience and journey to Heaven. Also appearing on the show was Colton Burpo, who was the young boy who shares his story of his similar experience when he was four years old and his visit to Heaven. Both stories are quite comforting. If you have a chance to read Colton's story, Heaven is for Real is a sweet little book. Both books are available on Kindle.
I have been particularly enjoying Dr. Neal's book. She shares some rather interesting insights about her time on the other side and the profound abundance of God's love for us. What really caught my attention last night as I read is that Dr. Neal points out how often the Bible mentions joy and that we should live joyful lives. This was a big thought for me and I have spent a lot of time reflecting on it today.
This has been a particularly difficult year for me, so I had to think about how to put this more into practice. I tried to think of the most joyful person that I know, and realized my lesson came to me in the personhood of a small, gray dog. Liesl is pretty much the most joyful, blissful, happiest being that I know. I then reflected a bit further and thought that things do not always go her way, she does not always get what she wants, sometimes she is lonely, every once in a while she feels the pain of a bee sting or a burr caught in her paw. However, she remains a happy, smiley, bright eyed little dog no matter how her day is going. This made me think further that Liesl always trusts me to take care of her needs, sometimes her wants, to provide her comfort and remove something causing her pain. These are the same things for which I place my trust in God. He has always, always, always provided for my needs, some of the things that I thought I wanted (thank goodness He always knew best), and has always given me comfort. Yet I am not always joyful, because if things do not go the way I think that they should when I think they should, I tend to get frustrated and/or bummed out. I tend to postpone joy for the days where things are going my way.
This is a bit of a shift for me. Living joyfully every day. I thought about how I could do this. Again, I thought of my furry teacher and how she does it. I believe it means being totally in the moment. Being totally present with those I love. Being grateful for all of my blessings. I also believe that it means trusting entirely in God, that He knows best for me. He has a much better plan for me than what I dream for myself. In just writing this I already feel my spirit lifting and feel the spark of joy. Dr. Neal also shares in her book that each of us are always surrounded by angels and just this thought alone makes me feel comforted and happy.
I have a share for those that have been praying for our miniature schnauzer friend, Reggie. His momma emailed me today to let me know how he is. First of all, God is good and has answered our prayer that Reggie does not have renal failure. However, it appears from some testing that he may have the adrenal form of Cushing's as well as some really high blood pressure. He still has some more testing to go and is not feeling very well. His momma is sick with worry. If you could, please continue to pray for Reggie, his momma and the veterinarians treating him. Reggie is such an adorable little guy. Thank you very much for including him in your prayer petitions.