From One Thing to the Next

Today marks the 11th day in a row of a viral apocalypse in our house. (Blast that church nursery.) It started with Basye, then moved to Jase, then they both got new symptoms, then it hit me- hard. Chuck ended up having to take time off work to care for all of us, then my Mom came down to lend a much-needed hand. Thank God for both of them, or I'm convinced I would not be surviving. I still feel completely lousy, and the kids continue to deal with lingering symptoms, as well. It feels like we will never be healthy again. ELEVEN STRAIGHT DAYS!

Moving on. Chuck took Basye to several appointments on Friday. We are thrilled, and over-joyed to announce our Pweshy is officially graduated out of her helmet! That was a VERY unexpected surprise. Thank you Jesus! He gives the greatest gifts just when we need them!

Her beautiful, ROUND little head!

She's pretty excited to finally be FREE!

The day after Basye was freed from her helmet, Chuck took her to her Pediatric Ophthalmologist. I was under the impression she would be getting glasses. As it turns out she will actually be having EYE SURGERY on Thursday. =( My heart is pounding just typing those words. This was very unexpected news, especially during such an awful couple of weeks.

If you could please be praying for our girl- especially during her surgery on Thursday- that would be a great gift to us. Thanks so much.

First hair cut- getting ready for Uncle Johnny's wedding!

Gentle and Humble in Heart

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Billie Kahler, our guest blogger for today! Chuck and I first met Billie and her husband at church in the hallway picking up our kids. Then later Billie and I were apart of the same writing group! It is always a joy to connect with a fellow writer, and my privilege to share her post with you today! Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart, Billie!

Billie and her husband, Mark

In the quietness of the morning, I sit with my coffee in hand while anticipating my day.  It is my favorite time of the day.  Not because I have a special affection for mornings, but because it is the one time that I am able to savor 3 things I love: coffee, quietness, and Jesus. 
To be honest, there are times that I am weary and spiritually apprehensive during these quiet moments with God.  I know my heart’s true desire.  However, I also know that somewhere in my day the connection between my desire to radiate Christ and what I actually do becomes distorted. 

But that distortion, imperfection and brokenness is now where I see Jesus the most in my day.
I have not always had the ability to see Him in those moments.  Through trials and my own brokenness, my walk with Him has deepened and matured.  Perhaps, the best way to describe it is my expectations have shifted.

In the past, my expectation of seeing Jesus in my day would have been something close to emulating His perfection.  I had the false expectation that I was walking with Him throughout my day ONLY if my words were consistently encouraging, my reactions gentle, and my attitude righteous.  The reality was that no matter how hard I tried, I could not imitate these qualities 100% of the time.  I felt defeated at the end of every day. 
Recently, I had the opportunity to see Him in the midst of my own chaos.  I had come to my quiet time weary (something that happens quite often as a mother of four.)   I found this familiar passage:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30.
Though I came to this passage to lighten my heart, what jumped off the page at me was for I am gentle and humble in heart.  

Oh how that was my heart’s desire for that day: To be gentle and humble with my children.  Gentleness often eludes me (which is often why I feel weary and burdened.) 

My sincere prayer was “Jesus please allow me to display your gentle and humble spirit today.”

However, somewhere in my day my “humanness” took over.  And I blew it.  I spoke in a “not so gentle” tone to one of my children (fancy terminology for yelled). 
In the moments after my sin, I felt as though I was graveling at His feet.  But then His spirit spoke to me.  He reminded me of His word….: “for I am gentle and humble in heart.”

I knew exactly what He was asking me to do.
To humble myself before my child.  To admit my wrong, ask for forgiveness and not bring up this child’s “sassiness” that brought me to speak these “not so gentle words”. 

I would like to say that I immediately obeyed, but it is very difficult to be truly humble before your child.  At least it is for me.  His constant nudging finally led me to seek out the offended child and confess. 
As I walked away, it took a few moments to connect His presence in this moment. 

To be gentle and humble in spirit.
I was so busy focusing on how I missed the mark of gentleness, that I almost missed how He was still present even though I fell short.  Again. .

He has given me new eyes to see and a heart to understand that He is still working and walking with me during these imperfect moments. Because of His grace, He allowed me to display His humbleness.  He did answer my prayer to reflect Him…even if it was through my flawed humanity.   
I will never obtain perfection in my words, actions and attitude.  Not on this side of eternity.  However, I can pray for eyes to see His hand being outstretched to me in the moments that I stumble and fall.  I can ask for His redemption in my failing moments.

And I can know with confidence that Jesus is walking with me in every moment of every day.


Sunday morning brought shocking news. I found out through a friend about the passing of a guy from our youth group back when we lived and worked in Virginia. Joseph was a Sophomore when we first started working with the youth group, and we had the privilege of watching him graduate.

Joseph was nothing short of a stand up guy. If I had to pick a teenager I'd want my son to be like, Joseph would be at the top of a very tiny list. He was a gentleman through and through. He was a leader. He worked really hard, and could be counted on. He was respectful- the kind that opened doors, picked up trash off the floor, and reached out to younger students. His actions showed his love for Jesus.

I remember Joseph volunteering in the Awana program- serving the little kids with a smile on his face. He was admirable. I'd have been honored to have him work with my children. He was genuinely kind to even me- a lowly youth volunteer! He took the time to notice things about me, and was quick to share a kind word. He really was the sweetest. I remember one time he said, "I noticed you commented to every person who wrote 'Happy Birthday' on your Facebook page- you didn't just write the mass 'Thanks for all the birthday wishes guys!'." He observed that as something special, and let me know about it. I've always remember that comment for some reason. It was so kind.

Finding out about his sudden, unexpected death has impacted my heart in a way I never saw coming. It's not like we kept in contact on a regular basis, but I feel the loss of him. I ache for Joseph's family- his parents, little sister, and older brother. I ache for his fiancĂ© who lost the love of her life. You can see their engagement photo session here: They were a beautiful couple, ready to start the next chapter in their life together.

This loss sits in my heart. It occupies my thoughts. There's been this ball of emotional pain just sitting in my chest. How could this have happened? Why did God allow this? And why Joseph, of all people? He was only 22 years old. About to graduate from college. About to get married. He was apart of the military- a true honor to our country. I struggle to make sense of it all.

The beautiful hope and knowledge that Joseph is sitting at the feet of Jesus is the only comfort there is. The only comfort there can be. Joseph is with Jesus, but he is deeply missed on this earth.

Joseph & Katelin- Joseph's current FB profile picture

Who Is Full of Joy? Part 1

Welcome to Full of Joy! I’m so happy you stopped by. In all my ten years of blogging, I have yet to actually introduce myself. I’ve noticed other bloggers have intro posts, and love the idea.
So, Hey ALL! My name is Abigail. Yes, I like to be called Abigail. Since Joy is my middle name, and Abigail means, “Father’s source of joy”, the blog is aptly named Full of Joy. The irony being joy is not a natural component of my heart. My tendency is to worry and be afraid. As a kid I was scared of anything you can imagine! Since becoming an adult, I’ve learned to mask my fears, but they’re usually there scratching at the surface.

For the last several months I’ve been intensely working on overcoming anxiety. I believe as a follower of Christ I have the ability, through the power that raised Christ from the dead, to overcome ANYthing. It may take a lot of hard work, discipline, tireless effort, and outside help- but the victory is already mine through the blood of Jesus. Praise His holy name!

Some things that make me really HAPPY are Starbucks, coffee with flavored creamer, iced tea, a new outfit, burning candles, amazing worship music, the beach, writing something that really comes together, hysterically laughing with a close friend, Christmas, Summer, getting my hair done by the best hair dresser on the planet- Sharon, having a room decorated the way I dreamed, sweet wine in a pretty glass, reading a fabulous Christian-fiction novel, listening to Beth Moore- or better yet- seeing/hearing her live, my own chocolate chip cookies, brownies and ice cream, pizza every Friday night, shopping at Target, getting presents, and good TV shows- Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, Cheers, Frasier, Gilmore Girls, Love It or List It Too, Fixer Upper, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Everybody Loves Raymond, Ellen, and Full/Fuller House, to name a few!
Did I mention I'm crazy about Starbucks?
Being naturally introverted and shy, my parents and life has taught me how to step out of my shell, even when I feel really uncomfortable. I prefer to be home, and have to force myself to leave the house- even to go outside. I’m not a nature kind of girl. Going to the backyard and having grass itch my ankles is enough to send me straight back to the comfort of my living room. My motivation for being outdoors used to be the hope of a tan, but having numerous spots (painfully) removed off my skin, I now resort to SPF.

Let’s see, I don’t like games with large groups of people. I don’t like to be messy or to get wet. Raw vegetables, cream cheese, cheesecake, mayonnaise, mushrooms, and sour cream really gross me out. It really bothers me when people call me Abby. I like sleeping in a really cold room with lots of blankets. Purple has always been my favorite color. I thrive under organization- chaos makes me a crazy person. I do not like to travel. I’ve visited and lived in many states and countries, and ALWAYS just want to be in my own home. I enjoy hosting. I hate grocery shopping. I don’t like cooking, and LOVE eating out, but very rarely get to. Trader Joe’s rocked my world in a fabulous way, but we no longer live near one, and that makes my heart ache. I’m blind as a bat without contacts or glasses, and need to lose a few pounds this Spring and Summer.   
I live a full and free life. Jesus saved me from an eternity in Hell, and gave me a life worth living on a daily basis. Through Jesus I have purpose, meaning, security, hope, peace, redemption, and yes JOY.
Dear one, if you don’t know Jesus in a personal way- you can! I would be elated to share with you in person, over the phone, or in any way you wish- but here’s a little something to help guide you. Don’t go another second without knowing Jesus. He is the greatest love you will ever know.

Check out: Who is Full of Joy- Part 2 by clicking HERE.

Dear Priscilla- The Armor of God Book Review

Dear Priscilla,
If I could, I would invite you to my home for coffee and cake (a German tradition I’ve adopted from my hubs) midafternoon while my babies are (hopefully) napping sometime very soon. I would share with you how very important your Bible study, “The Armor of God” has been deep down in my soul these last several months. You have taught that my mind, will, emptions, and conscience are the sum of my soul (Pg. 71). Each of these levels have desperately needed protection from the enemy’s schemes, and you have taught me how to fight.

If you came over and sat at my table, I would tell you this. Thank you, Priscilla. Thank you for writing The Armor of God, and using it to teach me how to fight for freedom in my walk with Jesus on a very practical level.

The book started out with readers being instructed to write out the most difficult people, problems, and circumstances being faced. It was eye-opening, to say the least, to find out these dire situations were actually part of the enemy’s attack on my life.

Thank you Priscilla for helping me dig into Ephesians 6:10-19 in such a way I now actually feel equipped with the armor of God. I know how to put each piece on, and I’m able to recognize the importance of the helmet of salvation, all the way down to the shoes of peace. Writing out my own “Actionable Intel” each day was of huge importance to help me narrow down the specific message God was speaking. I have posted my Prayer Strategy cards all around the house, and carry them with me when I travel. They are an invaluable resource. To have Scripture up on the walls of our home alone carries power.

f you came over to my house for coffee and cake, I would hug you and probably burst into tears as I recounted story after story of the battles I’ve won in Jesus because of the weapons I’ve learned to fight with. I’ve been able to clearly see the enemy is real, but he is nothing compared to the Spirit who reigns within me. All glory to Jesus, for The Battle is already won.

Thank you Priscilla for writing a book God has used to help shape my soul to live a free, peaceful, and full life despite the waging war. Colossians 3:2-3, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  

With much love and gratefulness, Abigail

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations to my college Roomie- Amanda! We chose the winner the good 'ol fashion way- Jase picked her name out of the "hat" (bowl)! Thank you so much to ALL who participated- it means a whole lot. Roomie, a package will be coming your way!