Songs of Hope 2.0

Dear blogging family,

I’m in the process of revising my page Songs of Hope and am looking for some input from you. Whether it’s psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs, I’m looking to compile a list of powerful music to help comfort and give hope to others who are suffering.

Many of you have shared beautiful and uplifting songs with me in the past and I’d like to ask for personal favorites and “go-to” songs that I can include here along with my favorites.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

Much love,Viv 🎢🎹🎀

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With All Your Heart

God’s timing…….why am I always amazed at how the Lord gives my soul comfort at precisely the moment I need it? Sitting in the van today, TBI symptoms flaring and tears starting, the Lord directed me to my favorite bible verse via brother Ryan’s post, ‘In All Your Ways.

Proverbs 3:5-6 King James Version (KJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I was instantly quieted and comforted as I struggled to fight the intense nausea due to an overloaded brain. I went back over twenty years to my grocery store job at Winn Dixie. I remember cutting out of construction paper a red heart and writing out that verse (Proverbs 3:5) on it then taping it up on the glass partition separating me from my customers. My eyes often fell on those words over the long hours while I iced and decorated cakes. I used it to comfort myself in the early days of marriage, growing up in the marriage, and learning the ropes of life. But then, God used my red heart bible verse to encourage others…….others came and told me how it blessed them and gave them hope.

And that verse came back to me again today! Today God whispered to my heart lean not on your OWN understanding. How freeing is this? So completely freeing since I really don’t understand what’s going on in my life or why. I’m free to just trust that God knows and understands not me. His guidance and knowledge is the light that lights my path ahead. I can rest fully in His sovereign care while I have no answers.

He also whispered to my heart in ALL your ways. Not 50%, 75% or even 99%…….ALL of my heart given to the Lord in full surrender and trust. Trusting in His guidance and direction. Trusting in His provision and timing. Trusting that He will guide and direct me as I cry out to Him in a posture of full submission.

These verses from Proverbs are so very uplifting! I praise God for the blessing and gift of His word as He uses it to quiet my heart.

Much love,

Viv ❀

We Will Praise Him!

My heart has felt heavy lately. I’ve felt like my dog Molly’s stuffed moose “Gregory” with all the stuffing ripped out of him, one eye missing, and half of one antler gone, leaving nothing but a rag. Head injury and job loss just seem like too much.

But, after reading a chapter in Martha Peace’s book Damsels In Distress I was hit by so much conviction. Do I praise Him in the good times AND in the bad? Or just praise Him when all is well like my wayward heart was doing the last few days. She went on to mention how praising God in our trials because He is working them out for our good is something we can do as believers to glorify His name. If we go around all down in the mouth and slump shouldered that brings shame to our testimony as believers in Jesus. He deserves our praise in every storm we face no matter how hard or how scary or real they are. When we praise God, the world looks at us in wonder, and marvels at our faith in our Savior as we journey these valleys keeping our eyes on Him. They observe us steadfastly holding onto and clinging to Him while we sit at the foot of the cross in full surrender to His will. This brings glory, honor and praise to His awesome and majestic name.

Exodus 15:2 King James Version (KJV)

2 The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Jesus is with us in every storm. Every test or trial is from His loving hand and He carries us through them to refine us bringing forth gold. He could give us nothing but sunshine and lollipops but then we wouldn’t need Him and we wouldn’t mature. These trials give us the opportunity to showcase His grace, mercy, love, and strength.

Will you praise Him with me?

In the darkest hardest times, let us continue to praise Him with a thankful heart.

Much love,

Viv β€πŸ™Œ

Molly

Prayer Request

Beloved friends, some of you from the prayer group already know that my husband lost his job last week and I greatly appreciate the love and prayers being sent.

The company eliminated his entire team due to company cuts from low production. This news came as a shock to us and now we are dealing with job loss including the loss of medical insurance at the end of this month.

We have gone through this before in 2012. At that time, I had a few toddlers and a baby in diapers. Although my health was still good at that point (and I could just eat junk), I’m currently healing from a hard time of TBI and fatigue which requires more intentional care.

Please pray for my family as we face this new trial. Especially for wisdom and guidance which my husband needs as we seek God for His leading and direction.

God got us through seven months of unemployment before and I know He will get us through this again a second time around. (May I just say I wish we didn’t have to face this again?)😭

Nothing happens outside of God’s will and I’m trusting in His goodness, faithfulness and perfect plan for our lives. I do know that He will work all things together for our good because He promises so to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) During the seven month interim of unemployment we never went without food and God took care of our bills. Sometimes it was a friend pitching in or neighbor bringing groceries and quietly leaving canned goods on our deck. Sometimes it was people giving us odd jobs of chopping wood or farming that got us through. God provided for us then and I’m eager to watch Him at work again.

This past week we emptied out all our change and discovered we had over $80 in quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies! And I sold a pair of sneakers on Facebook Marketplace and got $20. It was amazing! πŸ˜ƒ He is working already. Actually, He’s never not working.

I’m reminding myself of my mama’s words to me, “One day at a time, Viv, one day at a time.”

Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

Much love,

Viv β€πŸ™

Patience

Learning to be patient through suffering is one of life’s lessons most of us would rather just skip over.

Teach me patience, O Lord

My soul is uneasy, distraught

Help me to wait, O Lord

This battle so long I’ve fought

Mold and shape me, O Lord

You are the Potter, I’m clay

I’m being remade, O Lord

Inwardly renewed each day

Guide and direct me, O Lord

My eyes greatly need your sight

Step after trembling step

With your wisdom be my light

Hold me up, O Lord

My spirit yearns for strength

Trials that persist

Give me faith unending length

Help me give it over, O Lord

Surrendering everything unto you

Nothing’s impossible ever!

Your LOVE, POWER, MERCY hold true.

Written by Vivian Joy, June 2019

My dear friend Ana and I have recently been discussing how the Lord’s been using our weak bodies to teach us patience. I struggle so much with an impatient attitude and need to constantly run to my heavenly Father for strength as I endure nearly 4 years of chronic fatigue and TBI. He is faithful in calming my spirit, while I wait on Him in hope. He is teaching me to abide in Him with a quieted spirit as a weaned child (Psalm 131:2).

Colossians 1: 9-11
9
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

In this school of being taught by pruning, I am grateful for His love, mercy, and compassion each and every moment, as I surrender to His will. Truly, His plan for my life is good (Romans 8:28) and His grace is sufficient. I’m asking God for wisdom in this and to show me patience with joyfulness as I wait on His timing for healing. He’s healed me so much already and I’m getting stronger but like a child waiting for Christmas, the anticipation of my healing gets greater and more intense as I slowly start to see progress and experience more good days. I want to dive in and unwrap my presents of healing now!

2 Corinthians 12:9 King James Version (KJV)

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


My mama once told me there are three ways we need to learn patience;

1) to be patient with ourselves

2) to be patient with others

3) to be patient with God (His timing)

Being patient is being more like Christ. How glad I am for God’s patience with me! I was just telling Mr. Sweeney the other day what an incredibly slow learner I am. In God’s classroom, I feel like the dunce most days but I’m so very grateful God always extends merciful patience with me as He instructs me through His word.

Please dear God, continue to show me how to wait on you in faith with a renewed spirit of patience.πŸ™πŸ’—

Much love,

Viv πŸ€—

Some Blogging Insights

Start a blog, they said. It will be fun, they said.

Although my experience as a blogger has been mostly positive, I do want to share two hidden discouragements I believe we bloggers are apt to stumble across from time to time. Quite possibly they may bruise us, and leave us feeling unsettled, and can make us question our approach to the whole blogosphere.

1) Judging our writing based on other’s interactions, responses, or likes.

Okay, this one is hard because we feel the need for postive feedback and comments yet that doesn’t mean we are good bloggers because our blog looks like it’s smoking hot after every post with loads of interactions. It may be your likes and followers are high momentarily, but that is a very subjective and can change in a gradual incline or decline. There are excellent blogs out there with tons of great information and writing styles which appear to be more dormant but looks can be deceiving. One of my favorite blogs, jumbledbrain.com, looks very quiet from a blogger’s viewpoint but she has risen to one of the top 30 blogs in the world with thousands of email subscribers. If people sign up for your blog through email because of finding you through internet social media, that is a very good indication your blog offers something they are looking for. Don’t be discouraged if sometimes your posts go mainly unnoticed. There are more highly trafficked days and times for blogging and sometimes just strategic timing can bring the most traffic to your blog. Write from your heart and be you. Keep those posts from going on too long. Sometimes great writers can write lengthy posts and most people just don’t have that kind of time. Put your blinders on, and remember to dig in and stay focused on your true purpose as a blogger. If you wrote your heart out and didn’t receive much feedback, remember, lots of people may read and enjoy your blog but never leave a comment. A lot of us are introverts and like to read and ingest what we read quietly.

2) Being yourself may lead to negative feedback.

Yes, we want feedback, as I mentioned above, but it’s tough when it’s not always postive. As a Christian blogger who bears her heart openly on WordPress, I’ve learned to realize that if I’m transparent, I need to willingly take the heat from others. I am more of a sensitive soul, so I can get a bit worked up when others find fault in me through my writing. Now, I can be safe and write from a strictly objective viewpoint but I believe my subjective, honest writings are more helpful to other people who are hurting and therefore I continue to write being fully aware that my openness may lead to open criticism. Do I need to have thicker skin? Absolutely! I have had to remind myself that although it hurts to receive negative feedback, I truly did bring it upon myself through my openness, so I have chosen to open the door to receiving criticism. It’s my choice to say what I say, so I must choose to live with the consequences too. I can play it safe and close myself off with mainly impersonal writings, but my personal mission as a blogger wouldn’t be as effective so I choose to be real. Since being real may mean being vulnerable to criticism, I definitely need to thicken my skin and look at it as battle wounds for the cause of Christ, knowing that He sees the intentions of my heart: seeking to help, bless, and uplift others who are hurting. Because most people generally like reading posts that they can relate to, I will continue to write from my heart in hopes to be a blessing.

I prayed before writing this post that it would be helpful to another blogger out there who may be new to blogging or facing the same challenges I have faced. I pray God blesses each and every one of you as you seek to write for whatever your blogging mission may be, and that your blogging experience is a deeply blessed and rewarding one.

With much love,

Viv βœπŸ™