Monday Musings

Hello!

I took a break for a couple of weeks and am back, bringing you a Monday morning special. The Alliance of Baptists is a group of people, churches and ministry partners passionate about social justice, ecumenism and life together. At their recent event, Alan H. Green (actor and singer with a long repertoire on Broadway and Law & Order, or course) sang this gorgeous song written by Andrew Osenga and Andrew Peterson. It was written ten or so years ago, but this song really fits 2020. I think we might need to hear it today. “After the Last Tear Falls” is hope-filled and full of lyrics to ponder. Please take a listen and let me know what you think! Happy Monday, Beloved child of God. ~Laurel

After the Last Tear Falls – click for video

Lyrics:

After the last tear falls, after the last secret’s told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves and the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that’s just too hardThere is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is loveAfter the last disgrace, after the last lie to save some face
After the last brutal jab from a poison tongue
After the last dirty politician, after the last meal down at the mission
After the last lonely night in prisonThere is love
Love, love, love

After the last tear falls there is love... And in the end, the end is  oceans and oceans of love and love again We… | Ocean quotes, Special words,  Praise and worship


There is love
Love, love, love
There is loveAnd in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales’Cause after the last plan fails, after the last siren wails
After the last young husband sails off to join the war
After the last, this marriage is over
After the last young girl’s innocence is stolen
After the last years of silence that won’t let a heart openThere is love
Love, love, love
There is loveAnd in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

‘Cause after the last tear falls there is love

Friday Five, wk11: Say, What?

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin  Channing Brown

Happy Friday!

Say, What?: When you’re recently self-diagnosed with Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome

Isaiah 1:17 | Lisa Hall-Wilson | Flickr
Isaiah 1:17

With all of the anti-racism efforts I’m learning about, how do I not say the wrong thing to a person of color?

Disclaimer: It’s clear from the photo on the right that I’m a white millennial woman with non-earned privileges beyond my comprehension. As you read this, also know that I’m a human like you, trying to lean into the most justice-minded, love-exuding, authentic version of who God created each of us to be. If my words irk you, please forgive me and send me a private message to chat and teach/share.

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin  Channing Brown

Recently, our church’s book group has formed on Zoom, discussing Austin Channing Brown’s book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In a World Made for Whiteness. As with any {good} book focused on anti-racism and one person’s {powerful, enlightening} perspective, the text forces any white reader to face their privilege, perspective, and gives many opportunities of learning {including blindspots, areas of absolute ignorance to change, and other many things white people need to ponder}.

And it’s uncomfortable and challenging, and there’s a reason Brene Brown threw the book across the room the first time she read it. {You can hear her podcast with Channing Brown here: https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-austin-channing-brown-on-im-still-here-black-dignity-in-a-world-made-for-whiteness/ }

Several white church members have mentioned to me, after reading some of this book, that they don’t know what to say {to people of color}. Maybe nothing I say is good enough. And I just don’t want to cause more harm or hate toward Black individuals and other people of color than already exists. I get that. I’m a pastor…”don’t mess it up for anyone” is not only a phrase of sarcasm, it’s a serious daily mantra. I also understand that we need to keep reading…

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - Woolly's Statement

Austin {I’m calling her Austin because I so wish we were friends, ha.} ‘encourages white people hoping to be allies to “take advantage of the resources that already exist” rather than rely on people of color to help. “Whenever I go give talks and workshops, I tell people of color before you entertain a conversation with a white person about race, I need you to send them an essay or a book or a YouTube clip or something that proves that they really want to have this conversation. Give them a resource, see if they consume the resource. If they do, now you can have a conversation about the resource, as opposed to having a conversation about internal thoughts and experiences that you might not be ready to share.”‘

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/i-am-still-here-author-austin-channing-brown-reflects-memoirs-success-1301731

And, for people of color (BIPOC–Black, Indigenous, People of Color) reading this book, Channing Brown has this message:

“Every single line I read through the lens of a Black woman or a woman of color picking up this book deciding that she’s going to read a book about race and deciding how every single line would make her feel. I needed to affirm women of color because that’s what I struggled with,” she says. “I remember struggling to name what I felt like was happening, to name the dynamic, the language, struggling to talk about not belonging … It was really important to me to try to wrap the language around our experience, honestly, so you don’t have to again. So that the next time you have a white person who is like, ‘Can you help me?’ all you have to do is whip out this book and slide it across the table and be like, ‘Yup, read that.'”

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/i-am-still-here-author-austin-channing-brown-reflects-memoirs-success-1301731

So how can I learn to be anti-racist as a white person, while also not muting myself in the process?

  • Read, read, read, read, read and read some more.” My 7th grade Texas History teacher said this every day, and Mrs. Billingsley was so right. Keep reading, let’s keep learning–together and individually. There are books, articles, podcasts, videos, movies, TV shows, children’s guides and a ton of other incredible resources out there for all people. {Message me for a short list or visit this page.} And let’s respectfully discuss what we’ve heard and what we’ve learned.
20 Best Books About Anti-Racism - Anti-Racist Reading List
  • Be a Friend. Most all people already know how to do this! Authentically build friendships with people. Expect that each person you come into contact with has something to teach you and that you have something to share with them, too. Remain authentic, respectful, and kindly curious. Respect each other’s boundaries and clearly communicate. Genuinely say sorry when you’ve said the wrong thing and learn from it. It’s simple! Great lessons will come out of your interactions, plus some deep connections as children of God, too. (And, let’s face it, you can never have too many friends.)
  • Get over yourself. Ha, that sounds harsh, but sometimes I am the biggest boulder in my own way of becoming a better human. My fear of making mistakes or saying the wrong thing, my insecurities keep me from building relationships, especially with people who I perceive will not like or judge me. Ever happen to you? (See Channing Brown’s quote image above.)
    • A certain English teacher friend gave a great analogy of this the other day: if all of her Hungarian students were so scared of making a mistake that they never tried to speak English in class, what good would that do? They truly will NOT learn English if they don’t open their mouths and try saying the words. The same is true with anti-racism. If I don’t try to change my thought process and behaviors to work toward a more just world, maybe I’m being part of the problem! ALL voices MUST speak up…in your own authentic way…staying vulnerable…and we must trust our guts to guide us. (Guts=God and such)
Let's talk about anti-racism: things I never understood (Part 1) + Acts  17:26 Bible Verse Coloring Page


Who is she to say all of this? I realize that any time a person speaks out, there is risk involved. I am naturally one who takes risks yet agonize over the possibility of hurting others. The topic of antiracism is full of deep feelings, and sometimes we have to look at Jesus, throw our hands up, and admit, “Yes, Jesus took risks for the Gospel every day.” I have to stop standing still on the conveyer belt (see above quote by Dr. Tatum), turn around, and move in the opposite direction. Sometimes my moving is a crawl-a snail’s pace-as I am learning and struggling through a book or discussion, and other times I feel bold enough to bolt!

Wherever you are on the conveyer belt, look to the truth in your beliefs and experiences that have always guided you in all other areas of your life. Just as Jesus was my steady rock as a child, so He is today in these new spaces for me. I lean on Him heavily in the confusing, exasperating moments. And I trust that, when people of color speak out from their experiences of pain and anguish, Jesus calls me to listen and take the individuals’ stories very seriously. I hope you are able to find your pace on the conveyer belt, too, even as it changes over time. This is a part of being human, beloved by the God who invented love itself.

1 Corinthians 12:13: “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” … But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.”

See also Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our
image, according to our likeness.”
  1. Check-in: How would you describe your current life season? What are your thoughts and feelings about antiracism and the 2020 movement in this time? (Either write down your thoughts or share with a trusted one.)
  2. Action/Inaction: What are some ways you can seek to discover the tension of following Christ’s lead to call for justice, while figuring out what you as an individual should do at the same time? What do you need to do to share this with God?
  3. Time with God: God, thank you for the freedom to be authentically me around you. Help me to embrace the changes that truly hurt, while also actively looking for the miracles and grateful moments of this life. Give me wisdom to discover the growth and hope of this time, even if there are particular trials and difficulties right now. Guide me in your gift of life and joy. In Your Son, Jesus’, name we pray, Amen.

I thank God for this opportunity to spend 5 minutes of your valuable time with you. May we stay in touch with our own pace on the antiracism conveyer belt. There is always hope!

~Laurel

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or  his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can  learn to hate,

Friday Five, wk10: Grieving and Grateful

Happy Friday!

Grieving and Grateful:

Is is possible to be grateful in the midst of deep grief?

Grief is such a wild thing, a live wire that can be still on the ground for months and -all of a sudden- it picks up momentum and sparks fly everywhere, forever changing everything in its path. The Year 2020 has been full of grief–cancelled plans and dreams, fear of the unknown, anxiety over all of life’s sudden changes. Even the way we buy groceries has drastically changed, not to even mention our schedules, relationships and perspectives on life. And I’m just talking about the outside forces that have swooped in and affected all of us globally; I’m not even mentioning whatever personal battle we are enduring in our own individual lives, within our small circles of family and friends, within our own hearts and minds. Grief.

Is there space in this deep pool of grief to float to the top and feel grateful?

I know, this is a strange question. For whatever reason (I’ll blame my wise grandmother), I always connect grief with gratefulness. To be clear, I’m rarely grateful for the emotional breakdown that happens as soon as I reach my car in the hospital parking lot. It is not a habit to thank God for the agonizing pain or puddle of tears that have left my face red and my spirit wounded. However, choosing to go through grief (rather than tiptoe around it) gives us a golden opportunity to feel the weight of both the pain and the immense thankfulness to God for this life.

Think about your age today. How many days have you been breathing on this planet? (use a calculator, if needed…no judgment) Those total days of your Earthly life are thousands of days of miracles of your existence. You are a miracle! The thousands of little-big things that must go right each day for your body and soul to function are absolutely incredible. As a child, I thought that the older I got, the wiser I would be. Ha, I’m not so convinced. What I am sure of, however, is that the older I get, the more precious I realize life to truly be. (English teachers, please forgive my grammar.)

So how can I take a sorrowful situation, feel all of the grief, and yet also find gratefulness?

Let’s go back to that “breakdown in the hospital parking lot” scenario. You know, hypothetically. We are sobbing, we have received horrible news about a loved one and we are all alone. Here is the grateful among the grief, in thoughts:

  • I am SO overcome with sorrow! My voice is making strange, gutteral sounds while my eyes are leaking tears. Wow, I don’t get to totally free myself of emotions like this, uninhibited, very often. I’m grateful for my privacy right now. This is a safe place.
  • This car is so quiet, even though I’m surrounded by other vehicles and literally hundreds of people in the hospital across the street. I am by myself, yet I am not alone. Many others are enduring their own health mountains right now. We are a sort of community here.
  • Wearing this COVID mask is truly soaking up all of these tears. I hate wearing a mask, but I realize it is on my face at an opportune time–more privacy and instant tissues to soak up my sorrow. Bonus!
  • I hear my breath–in and out, in and out. And I’m still breathing. I see the glimmer of the sunshine peeking out through these concrete walls, and I know there is a day out there that I need to be a part of. I’ll give myself a few moments to release the tears, and then I’ll join the world again.
  • I can’t imagine anything other than this horrendous pain, but I know that there are people in my life whom I love and need to share in supporting right now. We will grieve together, and we will-somehow-get through this. One foot in front of the other. I’m grateful for past experiences that have proven the strength of my own self and others around me.
  • God, I’m so upset. I don’t know what to do. And yet, here I am, talking to You. I’m mad, disappointed, full of sorrow, in pain, confused, tired, and I want to direct a lot of this at You. And I know you’re listening, so thanks. I can be mad at you and also love you at the same time; our longtime relationship has proven this time and again. Thank you for the growing roots under my feet of your steadfast love, and the tree of strength that you’re letting me lean on right now.

Those are a lot of thoughts in a 5-minute span! And, yet, it’s an example of walking through the dark tunnel of grief while seeking some sort of gratitude along the way. The gratitude sometimes looks like 3 things: choosing hope, choosing to embrace the pain, and choosing to feel all of the feelings because avoiding only makes it harder in the long run.

No one wants to grieve. Yet, grief is an inevitable part of life, as change happens and relationships evolve. Whatever is labeled as grief in your spirit today, may you authentically feel the deep pain and also lean into the deep gratitude that can be found, too. Who knew I’d be grateful for my thick, hot face mask in a horrible moment??? These little things can bring us back to reality, to the hope that tomorrow is a new day, and to God’s promise to always be present with us in our pain, pleasure, and all of the parts in-between.


This life is truly a gift.

John 16:22 “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

  1. Check-in: How would you describe your current life season? Where do you experience grief and gratitude in this time? (Either write down your thoughts or share with a trusted one.)
  2. Action/Inaction: What are some ways you can seek to discover the tension of grieving and also seeking gratitude at the same time? What do you need to do to share this with God?
  3. Time with God: God, thank you for the freedom to grieve around you. Help me to embrace the changes that truly hurt, while also actively looking for the miracles and grateful moments of this life. Give me wisdom to discover the growth and hope of this time, even if there are particular trials and difficulties right now. Guide me in your gift of life and joy. In Your Son, Jesus’, name we pray, Amen.

I thank God for this opportunity to spend 5 minutes of your valuable time with you. May we stay in touch with our own grief and gratitude.

~Laurel

Friday Five, wk9: Gravity

Happy Friday!

Gravity:

Do we ever fully experience the full gravity or weight of a situation?

Stephen Hawking Quote: “It's the gravity that shapes the large ...

Think of a monumental season in your life (it could be now!)–a time that would forever change your life. I remember the day I walked into the kitchen–at 18 years old–and told my parents that I really wanted to study music in college and wanted to move 2,000 miles by myself to make it happen. I was visibly shaking and so nervous; being an only child, you just don’t want to mess up parenting for your parents a significant portion of the time. (Of course, I was focused on myself then, too.) I knew that conversation would change my course, certainly change my relationship with my parents, and it would be the first time I made such a bold statement. No matter how they responded and what I ended up doing, my life was forever changed in that one conversation.

Perhaps you’ve had a similar conversation, as a student or as the parent. Maybe the season you are thinking of was with a career change, falling in love with your partner, or even a grueling season of pain and grief. These seasons certainly shape us but don’t have to fully define us, either. My question:

If you knew the full gravity/weight of the situation, would you have embraced it like you did?

How can we ever fully know how a season will affect the rest of our lives? Well, we aren’t God, so we can’t. However, we can try to embrace it in a way that allows us to live and love more deeply. If I had any idea how scary it would be to move across the country and not know soul while still a teenager, I might not have done it. But, because of this one big move, it gave me the confidence later to move across the country a few more times, fall in love, embrace ministry as a vocation and other big and small moments that are a part of my story. How much of your story is full of these big and small moments, too? These important seasons that built up your wisdom and confidence to embrace the next adventure or life challenge? So many, I presume.

John Mayer wrote a song called “Gravity,” as a time capsule song, one that defines his life of simply trying to avoid falling down and messing up. I look at gravity more through the lens of how much our choices and actions really matter. How do you see it?

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face ...


This life is a gift, and it is one full of seasons–ones we are grateful for every second of, and others that we can’t wait to complete and move on. As we look to each season, may we put effort into being aware how this time affects our own lives, as well as the lives of others around us.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

  1. Check-in: How would you describe your current life season? How can you embrace the gravity of it more? Where do you see hope and joy in this time? (Either write down your thoughts or share with a trusted one.)
  2. Action/Inaction: What are some ways you can seek to discover the importance of this life season in the path of your legacy? What do you need to do to share this with God?
  3. Time with God: God, thank you for the freedom to think about the gift of this life and the gravity of this season. Give me wisdom to discover the growth and hope of this time, even if there are particular trials and difficulties right now. Guide me in your gift of life and joy. In Your Son, Jesus’, name we pray, Amen.

I thank God for this opportunity to spend 5 minutes of your precious time with you. As we remember the victims, families and communities directly affected by 9/11, may we embrace care and love for our neighbor.

~Laurel

13 Thoughtful Quotes to Remember 9/11 | SUCCESS

Friday Five, wk8: Silence

Happy Friday!

The Sounds of Silence

Have you experienced silence today (or ever)?

Silence: A Tool For Deeper Conversations | The Achievement Centre

Take 60 seconds and turn off any noisemaking devices, and simply sit in silence for 60 seconds………(go ahead)……..and observe your surroundings…

How was it? What did you notice? Go ahead and jot down or mentally make a list of the things you observed in those mere 60 seconds. Here are mine:

  • clock ticking
  • stale air
  • dog barking in the neighborhood
  • sound of rug underneath my feet
  • cars driving by
  • smell of this morning’s coffee
  • bright sunlight creating shadows on the walls
  • slight ringing in my ears
  • sound of my body inhaling/exhaling slightly deeper breaths

Silence is used by God and by people throughout the Bible.

In Psalm 62:5-6, the poet declares, “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from God. Only God is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.” Ecclesiastes 9:17 states, “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Silence cleanses our minds, hearts and perspectives to focus on what God is directing us to. We all know that many things and people compete for our attention; silence clears out all of the “noise” to let us refocus our priorities. (This excerpt from Fr. Richard Rohr takes some of the mystery out of silence and highlights its practicality.) This silent or contemplative practice of time and prayer with God takes practice–we can’t all be monks overnight! But as a practice, it is an invaluable tool we can add to our spiritual toolkit. And by “spiritual,” I mean “surviving the most stressful Monday ever” tool. You know, chocolate and silence are pretty important to thrive.

60 seconds for a Week

If contemplative practice is new for you, try an app on your phone (like Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer) that has soothing music and a timer to keep you focused. Start with one minute a day for one week. Then, like exercise, you can gradually increase your time to a few minutes a day, then 10, then 15, or whatever works for your life. I promise, once it becomes a habit, you might crave it (like coffee, ha). It is time you have set aside to tell God that you think God is important and a priority in your life. You are taking control of your time while also relinquishing control to God. If you’re able, journal or jot down a few thoughts or observations that come in during these times of silence. (I use a Google doc that is getting longer by the week, but it’s easy to access from anywhere.) Some people even think of one word to describe their mood or silent time with God, and they write that word in their calendar’s daily box.

Matthew 6:6 (ESV) - Matthew 6:6 ESV - But when you pray, go into ...


If silence or meditation makes you a bit uneasy, keep in mind that God’s people have been practicing it for thousands of years. Even Jesus stepped away on many occasions to go off and pray to His God (and the disciples sometimes napped…oops).

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about [meditate on] these things.”

Psalm 49:3 “My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding..”

Psalm 49:3 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

  1. Check-in: Where are you experiencing silence? How can you embrace it more often? (Either write down your thoughts or share with a trusted one.)
  2. Action/Inaction: What are some ways you can seek to discover silence and connection with God this weekend? What is one thing you can set aside to provide space for silence?
  3. TIme with God: God, thank you for the freedom to spend silent time with you. You have given me the gift of a mind and a heart that always have capacity for me to discover and embrace. Open my eyes to surprising and thought-provoking places to experience silence, as I continue to seek Your wisdom and guidance. In Your Son, Jesus’, name we pray, Amen.

I thank God for this opportunity to spend 5 minutes of your precious time with you. Happy weekend!!

~Laurel

Friday Five, wk7: Laughter

Happy Friday!

Laughter: The Best Medicine

Have you laughed today?

I’m not talking about a little chuckle or internal giggle when reading a comic strip or hearing a funny joke. Have you REALLY laughed lately, the kind of deep laugh that makes your stomach hurt and tears pop out of your eyes?

120 Inspirational Quotes About Laughter

Laughter is life. Okay, life is life. And laughter gives meaning and purpose to our lives by letting us step back from our stresses and worries and. just. be. When we laugh at a funny movie or at a friend’s story, we connect on a level that is holy and healing. We try to catch our breath, and sometimes we can’t control the sounds or length of the laughter. What a blessing!

Where do you find humor? How about Isaiah 55?

The Most Wasted Of All Days Is One Without Laughter Pictures ...

I know, I know…it’s obvious for a pastor to play “the Bible card.” In this case, I think it applies really well. Scripture in the Bible can be difficult to directly relate to our daily lives in clear, concise ways. In this case, it’s pretty easy because Isaiah chapter 55 encourages each of us to embrace what we really need and also let go of things weighing us down. When we do those things, we are filled with joy and laughter (verse 12), as well as walking through life with peace (Insert deep breath and slowing heart rate). It gives meaning to our lives and gives us the breathing room to laugh until tears stream down. Let’s break down some of this chapter, with my notes in parentheses:

Invitation to the Thirsty – Isaiah 55

55 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; (Feeling empty and spent? Allow yourself to go and ask me -God- and others for help.)
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! (Feel like a failure or like you’re not enough? Share this with Me. Devour the love I have for you.)
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. (Ask for help, embrace that we don’t have to go it alone. And eat something. = ) )
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? (What is not worth your time, energy or money? Cancel that subscription, delete that phone contact, remove that social media app from your phone. Say “no” to something that depletes you and “yes” to something that excites/scares you.)
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. (How are you living your legacy? What can you change in your schedule that aligns more with what you value and who you want to be in 5 years? Embrace these!)
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. (Take 5-10 minutes each day to sit in silence and truly listen to Me. Those few minutes will add so much value to your other 23.9 hours of the day. Breathe deeply and cherish our sacred daily time together.)
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. (I promise to be active in your life daily, as I have always been. Pay attention, and remember my covenant with you and many others before you.)
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. (I promoted David-an imperfect, beloved person-to advocate for My people. So, too, I have given you a platform to advocate for my people and to stand up against injustice.)
Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
(Wake up every morning expecting to be surprised by joy. Embrace this adventure of life, for I -God- am preparing you daily to be my hands and feet on this earth. I am equipping you for the great work of love.)

12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; (When you remember My covenant, you will be assured of your call from Me. Life will be hard at times, but you will not doubt who has sent you and the importance of the work you are doing. You will even laugh…a lot! Because this life is to be embraced with love and with joy; you are a miracle, and you are so loved. Allow Me to lead you in peace and without the heavy yolk thrust upon you.)
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (All of Creation is Mine, and you are a part of this wild world. Look around, listen deeply, and you will then feel more connected to all of My Creation. Stop and smell those roses, devour the homemade bread and smile at a stranger.)
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. (When you embrace this life and your call from Me, new growth and great changes will come.)
This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever. (All of this is to give glory to Me -God- and to My Son, Jesus the Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit wind surrounding you. This is the essence of life and the joy/laughter of each day. Amen.)

A version of Isaiah 55 in song by one of my favorite songwriters, Sufjan Stevens:

Luke 6:21: “God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now for in due time you will laugh.”

Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

John 15:11: “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”

  1. Check-in: Where are you experiencing laughter? How can you embrace it more often? (Either write down your thoughts or share with a trusted one.)
  2. Action/Inaction: What are some ways you can seek to discover laughter and joy this weekend? What is one thing you can cancel/release to provide space to feel joy?
  3. TIme with God: God, thank you for the freedom to laugh. You have given me the gift of a mind and a heart that always have capacity for me to discover and embrace. Open my eyes to surprising and thought-provoking places to experience joy, as I continue to seek Your wisdom and guidance. In Your Son, Jesus’, name we pray, Amen.

I thank God for this opportunity to spend 5 minutes of your precious time with you. Go forth with laughter!

~Laurel

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