My Journey to Joy

April 23, 2013

Songs for the Journey- Thought You’d Be Here

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Praying for friends with infertility who are waiting…and adoptive parents who are waiting…and children around the world who are waiting.



October 27, 2012

Vanessa on Empathy

Filed under: Notable Quotables,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Experiencing deep and wrenching pain qualifies you in a way that no book or course or degree could ever hope to do because the memory of your pain and the way you may have beat at the walls with your fists at night with tears burning the makeup off your cheeks and demanding that God tell you what the meaning of this cruel and horrible circumstance in your life was, gives you a unique insight and compassion that enables you to take hold of someone who is falling apart beside you and say ‘I’ve been there’  ~Vanessa

September 20, 2012


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

I have been so blessed!  There are so many good things in my life right now, that I can hardly take them all in!  I’m still writing in my gratitude journal, gift after gift after gift.  But I still hurt.  I hurt for people I care about.

I hurt for my friend E.  She has been so excited about finding an amazing surrogate in A.  She borrowed money, made plans, said prayers, sent gifts.  She had three and a half days to celebrate her baby’s life, then it was over.  Now she’s hurting, oh so much, and I’m hurting with her.

In my season of pain, that was the greatest gift anyone gave to me.

Another friend, H, is hurting physically.  All of the time.  I hurt with her, too.

M’s family is full of hurts, and she grieves and prays over them.  I do too.

Open arms leave the heart unprotected.”  ~Lizzie’s Mom  🙂

It costs to care.  I can’t take on the world’s burdens, but I want to be listening for who God will whisper on my heart.  In the midst of horrific pain, sometimes we need to be carried by someone who cares.  So many people have cared about me.

For unto whomever much is given, of him shall be much required… Luke 12:48

A few months ago, someone told me something that has been incredibly freeing: Sensitivity isn’t a bad thing.  Being a “sensitive person” is not weakness, it’s what makes it possible to care for others.  So all of those times that I apologized for my “thin skin,” pushed down feelings, or held back tears?  I have a different perspective now.  The next time someone tells me “You’re so sensitive” I’ll try to take it as a compliment.  Because that’s how God made me, and it’s the reason I can rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15

March 28, 2012

Contentment: On Endurance

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I was recently reminded about the difficulty of maintaining contentment while enduring trials.
Two years ago I was reading my bible while doing research for a devotional on spiritual deserts. Tears slowly dripped down my cheeks as I read…
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
~ Romans 5:3-5 (NLV)
Our life was full of stress and worry. Winter weather caused endless problems and the winter blues were hitting me hard. The economy caused my husband’s job to grow ever more challenging, and our finances soon followed. I experienced a number of health issues that caused me stress.
I was pretty much hanging on by a thread. I was angry and uninterested in my life. My habit was to get home from work and just sit on my couch and wallow in a funk. I was not myself and there did not seem to be an end in sight.
So I cried as I read that trials develop endurance and thought, “I’ve had enough of endurance. Enough. I don’t know how much more I can take. Surely some day there will be a reprieve. Enough, God, enough!
In my wiser moments, I could acknowledge that God had brought me joy in spite of – and even because of – my trials. I needed only to remember the past to see how God had used each problem.
Even when I’m armed with that knowledge, it can still be difficult to see past the junk that clutters and distracts me from God’s peace and contentment. Suffering tries its best to be a contentment stealer and it will succeed if I am not careful. Contentment is not an easy thing to attain and hold on to. It’s difficult and challenging. And being content doesn’t mean that life is perfect and problem free. Remember Paul, he had contentment in every situation – good and bad.
I notice in this passage in Romans that confident hope comes after trials, endurance, and character. This isn’t my favorite journey to take and I have experienced plenty of sorrow and failure, but it does have a purpose. Suffering does not have to be empty. It does not have to be in vain. If I endure, if I keep my focus on God and what he has done for me, I will not be disappointed.
Salvation allows us to have hope. Confident hope. A hope that does not disappoint. I’m not talking about a fleeting hope that focuses on the temporary, but about a hope found solely in God. Hope based on God’s love and sacrifice for us.
There is no room for discontent in that kind of hope!
I have a measure of contentment now that I did not have two years ago. My circumstances haven’t changed much since then, so what is different? The answer is a hard-fought change in my attitude with much prayer and correction from God. My ability to endure has grown. My character has matured. And most importantly, my relationship with God has deepened.
I can have confident hope while my husband’s job continues to be unstable year after year, and while dealing with long term infertility and the likelihood of being childless forever. Yes, I can have the confident hope of salvation in spite of all this (and more) because of God’s love and mercy.

March 27, 2012

Songs for the Journey- With Hope

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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March 14, 2012


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 11:00 AM
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This is for several dear friends, who are going through their own agony.  I love you, ladies, and I’m praying…


It has different names. Yours might have been cancer, affair, lost…mine was infertile.  I’m guessing it feels a lot the same.

At first, you think of it constantly, rolling it around in your head.  Examining it.  Looking for solutions, or a way out of this hurt.  Sometimes you talk about it, sometimes you don’t.  Sometimes you cry until you feel like your head will explode.  Sometimes you sit and stare, with dry eyes, feeling completely empty.  Depleted.  Hollow.

Forgetting it for a few moments, or even hours is wonderful…until you remember.  In that awful moment, it’s almost as if it hits you again, fresh, like the first time.  You grapple with thoughts of “did that really happen?”  It can take your breath away, and make you want to double over to somehow survive this onslaught in your own mind.

Then there are the triggers.  They’re everywhere!  I have a roll of return address labels that I bought years ago.  They say “W_____ Family.”  I don’t use them.  We’re almost out of the ones that say “Daniel & Holly.”  Today I opened the desk drawer to get a stamp, and it hit me again.  When I went to vote, a volunteer asked me where my other children were.  And I said: “I don’t have any children.  I’m just a nanny.”  Celebrations can be excruciating.  An innocent comment can tear a rip right across my heart.

And then there are the decisions.  You feel as if your world has collapsed.  You don’t know how to keep breathing.  And people want to know what your plans are.  And you wish you could just go to sleep and have someone take over your life and steer until all of this is over…

And you question yourself.  What could I have done differently?  Is this something that I’ve earned, that I deserve?  Is there something wrong with me that I’ve just never noticed all of my life?

And you question God.  How can He let this happen?  How can He ever “work this out for good?”  Where is He, and why can’t I feel Him?

And then, eventually, You see Him again.  And you remember what He did for you, and how He loves you.  Oh, how He loves!  And your friends learn how to help you.  Your vision broadens beyond this one hurt.  You begin to see beauty.  And slowly, oh, so slowly, you begin to taste hope again.  And now you know to savor it, as the beautiful thing that it is.  You’ll never take it for granted again.  And you live…

November 15, 2011


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:43 PM
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 Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep.  Romans 12:15

Tonight I am crying with a dear friend who has had an unthinkable disappointment.  I am so sorry for their pain, and so frustrated at the workings of our government’s children system.  And then I read:

Always be glad because of the Lord!  I will say it again: Be glad.  Philippians 4:4

Happy about this situation?  No way!  Still hoping for a different outcome?  You bet!  And praying for that to come soon…  But our God, He hasn’t changed.  (My friend believes this too, and I pray it will be a rich comfort.)

“…all things that are true of God  are true of Him no matter what is going on inside of us or in our lives.”  ~Stormie OMartian

Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.  With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

“We [often] neglect to thank God in the midst of whatever is happening (or not happening) to us…”  ~Stormie OMartian

He’s holding me.  He’s holding them.  He’s holding all of us.  And He hears us.  And, oh, I am thankful that He hears us.

Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand.  And this peace will control the way you think and feel.  Philippians 4:7

This is what I’m praying for my friend tonight.  God’s peace.  When it doesn’t make sense to feel peaceful.

“When we are fearful, apprehensive, worried, or terrified, the peace of God can restore us to calm, assured confidence.”  ~Stormie OMartian

I can’t take away my friend’s pain.  I can’t give them a sure answer of when or how things will be resolved for their family.  I can bring them before my “God, who gives peace, [and] will be with [them].”  Philippians 4:9b

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  Matthew 5:4 

Looking forward to their time of rejoicing and ours…

October 11, 2011

Songs for the Journey

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 8:48 AM
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July 26, 2011

Songs for the Journey

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 6:02 PM
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This song always strikes me one of two ways: either I cry and am so thankful for the message…or I get the giggles!  I would never have the nerve to perform this, but I really like it, just the same.

More Than I Can Bear

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