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Opening God’s Gift of Laughter

31 Aug

Mary Poppins visited a hotel and asked the receptionist for room service. She selected Cauliflower Cheese for Silhouette - Mary Poppinsher dinner, and decided to go ahead and order breakfast in bed for the next morning, too ~ a couple of poached eggs.

The next morning, as she checked out, the same receptionist asked her if she slept well.

“Yes, thank you.” Mary replied.

“Food to your liking?” the receptionist asked.

“Well, I have to say that the cauliflower cheese was exceptional. I don’t think I have had better. Shame about the eggs, though,” Mary replied truthfully.

“We are always looking to improve our service and would value your opinion,” the receptionist said. So Mary scribbled a comment into the Guest Comments book as she checked out. Curious, the receptionist picked up the book to read Mary’s comment:

“Supercauliflowercheesebuteggswerequiteatrocious!” (1)

Pam came across a devotional from Crosswalk recently. It was written by Leslie Snyder and titled “Laughter.”  Snyder wrote, “One of our family’s favorite songs is from the musical Mary Poppins. ‘I Love to Laugh‘ is sprinkled with laughter and often begins a contagious wave of the giggles. The lyrics give a bit of insight into this silly gift of laughter:

“When things strike me as funny, I can’t hide it inside
And squeak – as the squeakelers do – I’ve got to let go with a ho-ho-ho… And a ha-ha-ha…too!

“We love to laugh Loud and long and clear
We love to laugh So ev’rybody can hear
The more you laugh The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee The more we’re a merrier we.” (2)

Have you seen that scene?” As Ed Wynn, Dick Van Dyke, and Julie Andrews sang with infectious laughter, I (Dawn) laughed along with them. Who wouldn’t?  There’s nothing like joy and laughter ~ and of all people, Christians should be most joyous.

Over the past year, since the release of our book, LOL with God, I’ve thought about laughter a lot.  I’ve also considered the emotions of Jesus many times. Pam and I noted in our book (on pp. 241-242 ~ “The Last Laugh”), that we thought Jesus wasn’t just “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3), but He Jesus' Angerwas flesh and blood (John 1:14). He displayed real human emotions like righteous anger (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 3:5) and sorrow (John 11:33-35).

Jesus felt things just like you and I do, but His emotions (unlike ours so often) were always based in His holy character; and, because of His dual nature, He didn’t see things as we see them.

As the Son of God, He grieved over things that we might miss, like His Jesus weepinganguish over the unbelief of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), or His unusual sense of “joy” that came with eternal perspective. The Bible says, “for the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus rejoiced in his impending death because He “saw” the resurrection ahead and what it would mean for you and me!

We wrote in LOL with God, “Jesus, though fully God, was also fully human. He was an extraordinary human, and we think He must have had wonderful moments of laughter as He walked this earth.”

Wise Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes 3:3, “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh,” and surely Jesus knew that scripture.

Lazarus & His Sisters

Joy at Lazarus' Resurrection!

I love to imagine the wide swing of emotions He had at the death and resurrection of His friend, Lazarus, all within a short period of time (John 11:1-44). Imagine His pained, sorrowful expression, hearing of Lazarus’ death, perhaps smiling at Martha’s confession of faith (v. 27), being moved with compassion by her sister Mary’s words, weeping over Lazarus (vv. 29-35), and then the joy there must have been in restoring Lazarus to his precious sisters.

Although there is no scripture that is specific in saying Jesus laughed, on several occasions in His ministry He showed that He had a sense of humor when He made funny comparisons. He talked about a splinter versus a beam (Matthew 7:4) and a gnat versus a camel (Matthew 23:24)

Jesus led a purposeful life, and no doubt part of His manifestation of the glory of God was to show the complete joy of a right relationship with the Father and the outworking of His will. For example, Jesus expressed great joy when Continue reading

Tough Mom Love

6 May

What did your mom teach you?

My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION… “Just wait until your father gets home.”

My Mother taught me LOGIC... “If you fall out off that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

My Mother taught me HUMOR… “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

My Mother taught me about JUSTICE… Some day you will have kids . . .

Being a mom is a blessed calling—and sometimes a tough one. Often we moms function on too Stressed Mommylittle sleep and too little in the checkbook. When a mom is under stress, she can sometimes look for ways to escape or numb the stress or pain: TV reality shows, drinking, pain killing medication, too much comfort food,  or we allow the stress to build until it erupts in anger onto our family. None of those options help lower stress, rather, they erode a mother’s life and will actually raise the stress and pain.

Good news!  God has a plan to help us moms out.  He can make us tougher than life and  stronger than whatever our kids might drag in the door (snake, bug or worse ~ a teenage bad attitude!)

Check out a few of the many promises God gives:

  • Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)
  • But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
  • The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save . . .  (Zeph 3:17)

This summer, we are running an LOL with God book club so you can have a SONsational summer. Women from all around the world are buying and committing to read the LOL with God devotional from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Click here to order LOL with God devotional or to learn more details so you and your friends can join us. (Sign up for free “Splash of Hope” ~  daily, quick,  and fun encouragements and ideas to help you LOL all summer.)

As a reminder that being a mom might be tough, but God can help us become tougher than life, here is a humorous video called “Tha Muthahood” from Anita Renfroe (who is a regular comedian for both Women of Faith and Good Morning America). Her parody is not a theological statement, rather some comic relief on our road to becoming “One Tough Mother” (a book by Pam’s friend, Julie Barnhill).

Note from Dawn:  Leave a comment about how your mom showed you tough love, and I will randomly pick one person to receive a copy of  One Tough Mother.

Remember, our kids might be strong willed, but our God is stronger! 

How Many White Socks Have You Washed?

14 Jan

White Sock AwardOne way to LOL is commit to celebrating everything you can possibly think of. My (Pam’s) “joy zone” team in my office gave me an Idea Award, because they saw in my husband’s Facebook post that I laughed at a sign which read, “I am not bossy; I just have better ideas.” He didn’t think it was a joke. He thought I really believed that! So the team gave me an award for my “great ideas.”

I have a line in my book Fantastic After 40, which shows that we women can get a little emotional as our kids leave the nest. When Brock was a senior in high school, I said to him, “Oh, Brock, this might be the last football game of yours I will ever be at (it wasn’t ~ he got a four-year scholarship to be a college QB, and now he is a football coach); then I said, “Oh, Brock, this might be the last Thanksgiving we are all together as a family, so will you bless dinner?” (It wasn’t the last family vacation ~ our family has enjoyed many memories together and the family keeps growing and adding new members, which just multiplies the fun.)

The most humorous response to all my “Oh, this might be the last . . .”  laments was on a day in the spring of Brock’s senior year. He was folding laundry and he picked up a white sock and said, “Mom, this might be the last white sock of mine you will ever fold! Want to fold my laundry?” (I didn’t fold it then ~ and it was definitely not the last white sock ever folded!)

Farrel Men in SunglassesHowever, recently I was celebrated for a landmark event.  Bill and I launched our last of three sons out of the nest! Robin, who is the “joy zone” manager, my prayer partner and best friend, gave me the “Last White Sock” award for successfully launching three amazing sons into the world. Many women would weep the day the nest empties, but to me, it is a wonderful day to celebrate God’s faithfulness, His victories, and His amazing provision for three men who have been raised to be wonderful world changers.

When the blues come knocking at your door, look for a way to turn that transition into a celebration. God believes in awards and celebrations.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

If you need some help managing mid-life, pick up Fantastic After 40. There are many LOL moments and lots of powerful advice on maximizing mid-life and keeping your joy.

Plan a LOL celebration ~ call some friends and hand out awards ~ because girls, we have all earned some!

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