Joceline's Posts, {Faith}

But God…

Written By: Joceline Sweeney

Every spring as the snow finally melts off and the fresh grass is awakened, I can be overcome with fear. The smell of the sweet crisp air blowing in from the open windows sadly stirs me. Why at such a time of newness and growth would fear and sorrow creep up on me?

Many years ago, as a growing family my husband and I were looking to purchase our first home. There were not very many on the real estate market and in our price range, so when we found one, we acted quickly. In a whirlwind of paper work, packing tissue and cardboard boxes our moving day arrived. It was the perfect time to take the next step together as a family, spring had sprung and it was going to be great. We busied ourselves unpacking and began to turn the house into our own home sweet home.  The first week was terrifically exhausting and wonderful, but as Friday rolled around it came to a sorrowful screeching halt.  Exactly One week after our moving day, my husband came home from work with some bad news. He had just received a lay-off notice from his job, not just him but hundreds of others workers as well. We both spiraled into fearfulness. How could this happen? What were we going to do? Were we going to lose the house we felt the Lord called us to buy? Why Lord? Why?

But God!

After those two words some of you probably expected to read that everything worked out for us and that my husband got called back to work right away and we were happy! No, it was a very difficult year for us. I shed more tears than I should have. Worried way more than I should have. In the midst of life’s storms it is really hard to see what’s going on. It is so easy to get caught up trying to figure it all out. I remember saying to God “whatever it is you are trying to teach me just hurry up and do it… I’m tired!” We had so little money that the first Christmas we had in our own home we now call “Our poor Christmas” It was a year of wandering sadness. Right down to the last week before no more money would be coming in, panic began to take over. Where would we live? How would I tell my daughters?  How would we survive? The circumstances were almost unbelievable!  Things that had never happened were happening. The office my husband was to write a new career test at, was on strike! I had never heard of them striking before! I went into our bedroom so my girls wouldn’t see me and I shouted to the Lord in sheer desperation and said “Is this what you wanted? I am complete broken and defeated? I have nothing left!!! “I cried until I could cry no more, when I finally picked myself up of the floor, I remembered feeling a strange sense of renewed hope.

 

But God… through His faithfulness carried us, He never abandoned us. We prayed harder than we ever had before and God faithfully answered. It wasn’t always what we were expecting but He never faltered. He was faithful. We never went without.

Now when this time of year rolls around and the spring newness surrounds me, I choose not to fear but to instead remember God’s faithfulness. Allowing the sweet spring breeze to wash over me, not with sadness but with a heart full of hope and gratefulness.

Until Next Time,

~Joceline

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Joceline's Posts, {Love}

{Love} A Little

Written By: Joceline Sweeney

When my girls were younger and still often times, even as they are now already 18, 15 and 11, I can still be overcome by some serious mom guilt.  As I sneak into their rooms before I go to bed and check on them (yes I still check to see if they’re breathing. I know right?)

I can so be overcome with pain as I recall the day we may have had.  The many NO’s I gave them for no reason when a yes would have been just as easy.  Unfit words spoken, shortness and all around just a day that I hope we don’t repeat together again.  It can be so disheartening.

As I have crawled into bed many a times weary from the day, a day that would not put me in the running for a mother of the year award.  I have to remind myself that even though some of my mothering may have been a train wreck I was still there… a little.

A little as I help my sweet youngest daughter brush her hair into a pony tail, telling her how much she has grown and how proud I am of her.

A little when I stop to tell my incredibly creative middle daughter what a beautiful job she has done on yet another wonderful creation.

A little when I sit down at my computer to write my words down for this blog to show my passionate oldest daughter how I believe in the importance of the work God has called her to.

A little when I made their favorite meal.

A little when I didn’t get frustrated when we had to review the same concept in school until it was mastered.

A little when I kiss their dad, even though they act like it’s awful to see.

A little when I call to make a doctor’s appointment.

A little when I wink at them and smile with my eyes.

At the end of the day if you are climbing into bed with a heavy heart, with some mom guilt, friendship guilt or daughter guilt, remember… when you are there a little, those moments will add up to be a lot… a little at a time.

Until Next Time,

~Joceline

 

Joceline's Posts, {Worth}

{Worth} All For You

Written By: Joceline Sweeney

What a day to ponder our worth? Good Friday.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

If you struggle with feeling like you are not worth it, like so many of us do, today of all days you can stand firm that you are worth everything.  God the creator of the universe sent His only son to die on the cross so that YOU could have eternal life with Him.  Jesus hung on that cross for YOU.  He thought of YOU when He cried out His last words “It is finished.”  The work He had come to do for YOU was finished on the cross.  He paid the debt for your sins, you could have never paid it on your own.  He paid it so that your life could be made whole.  If you don’t think your worth it, stand on the truth that Jesus saw you even while you were still a sinner and felt you were worth the pain and agony He suffered to make you new.  He looks at you with such love and admiration, you are a treasure.

It can be so easy to tear ourselves down, but really who are we hurting?  In these times try to remind yourself that your words are not only hurting you but you are basically calling God a failure.  May I remind you as I said earlier “The creator of the Universe” the one who knew you while you were still a secret even from your parents, thinks you are marvellous!

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

They cannot be numbered!

Psalms 139:13-17

 

His thought are precious toward you.  They cannot be numbered!!!   Start today on Good Friday, the day God gave everything He had just for YOU, remind yourself how He really feels about you even when you struggle to see yourselves that way.

To Him YOU are completely worth it.

Until Next Time,

~Joceline

 

Joceline's Posts

{Testimony} Joceline

Written By: Joceline Sweeney

As I have looked back on my life, I honestly didn’t feel that I had much of a testimony, but as I began to think about what I was going to write for today the Lord showed me that I do have a beautiful story.

His grace and His protection.

My story with Jesus began on a simple afternoon, I think it was a Tuesday.  My family had just started to attend a church regularly and that past Sunday a salvation message was given to us little people.  I was extremely shy and didn’t really know what to do, but that’s okay because the Lord knew how He wanted our story to start.  In such a way that I would remember it for the rest of my life.  I didn’t know if we even had a Bible in the house yet, but I knew we had a story book that my mom read to us every night before bed that had pictures of Jesus in it.  So I grabbed that big story book climbed onto the coffee table in our living room.  I clutched the book close to my heart, closed my eyes and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and come live inside of me.  I know that I really had no idea what that even meant, but when I opened my eyes after my sweet little prayer, even at such a young age, I felt alive!  I was no longer alone.  His grace and His protection were now with me each step of the way, all the days of my life.

I never really did anything terribly bad, my dad even joked on my wedding day that I was pretty much a model child.  I was a rule follower, minus the one time I lied to my parents, I didn’t disobey.  So I don’t have a terrific story of God’s redemption, but mine is of His grace and protection.  God has watched over me so carefully that even when I wanted something that really wasn’t’ that bad or wrong, He knew what was better for me.  He kept me from myself.  From friends who weren’t evil, but who wouldn’t have encouraged my walk with Him.  To relationships that weren’t wrong but not the one He had planned.  He knew what my heart could handle.  He kept me for Himself.  So I encourage you today to look upon your life, if you too were saved at a young age and don’t really feel you have much of a story, I’m here to tell you, yours may be a story of His grace and His protection. So rejoice and don’t be afraid to share it!

Until Next Time,

~Joceline

Joceline's Posts, {Love}

{Love} So You Want to Be in Love?

Written By: Joceline Sweeney

I was amongst the last of my friends to embark on a dating relationship, and I was only 17 ½ years old when I met my husband to be.  Mind you I was one of the youngest in our group, but it felt like everyone was dating and I was still waiting!!  Instead of sulking and being jealous, I began to notice their relationships.

I began to watch their interactions, my likes and dislikes of the way they spoke to each other.  I watched how they treated each other, such as if he opened the doors for her and if she was thankful for his thoughtfulness.  I paid attention to how they worshipped together in church, did they really listen during the service or were they too involved with each other.  This was in no way to be critical of their relationship, all I knew was someday soon I would be in one when the Lord sent someone special my way, and I wanted to be ready.  I wanted to learn as much as I could before my day came.  I really began to see what I wanted from a friendship that could turn into something more.  It was in these years that I formulated what I wanted my future relationship to look like.

I began to pray for my future boyfriend, whomever he would be.  I knew that I didn’t want to date many people so I asked the Lord to keep me and protect me.

I purposed that right from the start I would never hide anything from my parents as I wanted my relationship to be one that was cause for rejoicing, not secrets.

I had realized that I didn’t like long distance relationships, but even as much as I didn’t care for one, the Lord knew how precious a time that would be for me!  That’s how my friendship began with the man I would someday marry.  It was a beautiful time of really getting to know each other as we talked for hours upon hours on the phone (after seven o’clock because that’s when it was a cheaper calling time!)  Some of our sweetest moments were experienced on the handset of my then corded telephone.  Oh and the letters, I loved when I received an envelope in the mail with his return address on it!  It was a very happy day indeed.

So as you see not every idea I had formulated in my mind turned out exactly as I “wanted” but they did in fact turn out just as God had planned.  When it was my turn, I felt ready.

So you want to be in love?  Don’t “waste” your time waiting… watch, listen, learn and pray!

Until Next Time,

~Joceline

 

 

 

Joceline's Posts, {Life}

{Life} You Don’t Really Have To.

Written By: Joceline Sweeney

I have had a shift in my mind some years ago.  I would often look with dread at the various chores I would have to do around the house as a wife, and homeschooling mom of three.  To be honest I would sometimes be very put off by some of the chores I was required to do.  Laundry would be one of them, as it is a perpetual job that literally is never done.  From picking up clothes on the floor; I would grumble that this was ridiculous and why couldn’t anybody just pick it up off the floor or better yet just put it in the hamper in the first place!  To when the dryer bell would go off and I was usually in the middle of yet another household responsibility that needed my attention, so I’d have to stop that to go fold another pile of laundry, because if left it would wrinkle and the clothes would look worse than the crumpled pile I had just washed!!!

I certainly needed an attitude adjustment when it came to this area of my life.

So I prayed…

Funny how God is even interested in laundry.

He spoke to me “You know, you don’t really have to do laundry.”  I was really thrilled that the Lord was agreeing with me and that He saw it my way.  Until He said clearly, “You get too.”  Wait am I hearing that correctly…I get too?!?  The Lord went on to reveal to me that, yes it was a privilege because I had been blessed with a beautiful family whom I had the honour to take care of.  From a hard working husband who comes home exhausted because he’s just put in, yet another twelve hour shift, or has just come back from a fire, where he was at all night and now was too depleted to even put his clothes in the hamper.  The only thing he had strength left to do was fall into bed for a few hours before he’d have to get up and do it again.  God clearly spoke that those many pairs of socks, pants and shirts that our girls go through every single day was a perfect reminder of my blessings.

So I changed my perspective about laundry and I even took it a step further… Pray while doing laundry.

While folding socks I pray that the Lord would guide their steps. Keeping them on the path toward His Glory.  Encompassing them in His protection.

While folding their pants, I pray that the Lord would protect their purity.  That He would keep them unto Himself.  That they would choose a lifestyle that is honouring to Him.

While folding their shirts I pray that the world’s dirt would not enter their hearts.  That they would hide God’s word so deep that nothing would taint it.  That the fiery darts that they would encounter would not penetrate them.

Colossians 3:23-

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people.”

What area of your life do you need a shift in?  Perhaps an attitude adjustment?  My suggestion is to pray, but be ready because our God is a God of clarity and He will tell you like it is!   Are you ready?

 

Until Next Time,
~Joceline

Joceline's Posts, {Worth}

{Worth} What Do I Have to Give?

Written By:  Joceline Sweeney

As this Valentine’s has come and gone, my mind was again transported to my grade two class Valentine’s Day party.  I have loved holiday theme things for a very long time and being this young was no exception.  I was so excited to hand out my beautiful valentine’s cards, one to each of my classmates, written to them personally by name, by me.

The time for the exchange had finally come, as we all jumped to rush around and begin filling each other’s desks with lovely red and pink papers some with dinosaurs on them, others with Holly Hobbie, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of the other girls in class begin to hand hers out.  Only she didn’t just have Valentine’s cards, she had a beautiful red foil wrapped chocolate heart attached to each one of her Valentine’s.  I suddenly felt the excitement of handing mine out completely fizzle, no longer did mine feel special, and they now felt small, inadequate…unworthy.  Mine didn’t have a beautiful red shiny delicious chocolate attached, it was just a simple piece of paper.  Before I had seen hers mine seemed enough, but not after.

Almost every Valentine’s after that I asked my mom if I too could attach a red foiled wrapped chocolate heart to each one of my Valentine’s.  Somehow I thought that this would make mine just as special as hers.

How often do we feel that way in “real “life?  We can get so caught up at looking at what we have to offer, we compare ourselves to others, we can often feel so small, inadequate, unworthy?

When we look at what we have to offer up for the Kingdom of God, and we look around at those making a big impact but we only have a small circle of friends we influence.

How often we can feel “What do I have to give?”

Today look at your hands, your life, your talents and at what God has placed in them for you to give, even if it’s as simple as a smile to a stranger.

If that’s what God has called you to give,  then give it well.

 

Until Next Time,

~Joceline