The Power of Looking Up

Hello precious and positive friends.  Looking forward to seeing you this week at Positive Woman Connection.  Tuesday at Prestonwood Country Club, Wed at Cottonwood Creek.  Our lesson is about the beauty Christ brings to our lives.  If you have ever wondered, “Am I beautiful?” You will be reassured as you hear this lesson from Colossians. See you soon.

Here’s a devotional thought to encourage you.

Missionary David Miner Stern was plunged into deep grief at the death of his young daughter. Try as he might, David could not seem to get over his great sorrow, even though he was a Christian and knew of the Lord’s care. In his depression, he visited his daughter’s grave every day. He had a walking stick that he used to touch the mound of dirt over her casket, and somehow this seemed to give him a small measure of comfort, as it made him feel as though he had some slight contact with her. The oppression of his grief was so severe that he feared he must give up his role as a missionary. But God in his gracious way brought him relief.

One day as he stood over the grave, David suddenly realized how wrong it was for him to fix his attention on the dead body of his daughter. The Holy Spirit began to impress on his mind what Jesus said to the thief as he was dying on the cross: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”11 The truth of the passage began to transform the way he was thinking and he started repeating the words “with Christ in paradise” over and over again as he walked home.

His mind opened up to the blessed reality of his daughter being with Jesus. He asked himself, “What more could I want for a loved one than this?” This comforting thought allowed him to resume his missionary duties with joy. Instead of dwelling on his daughter in the grave, he pictured her safe in the presence of Jesus.

By God’s grace and power, we, too, can see our circumstances in a different way. It’s time to let go of that old dream and walk hand in hand with the Lord into a new and different place. With our eyes looking up, we are able to catch a glimpse of a new and better dream. Most importantly as we look to Christ, we are reminded of his great and comforting love, which can soothe the pain and give us strength to move forward.

This blog is an excerpt from my book Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive (Simon and Schuster). The story of David Stern came from Roy B. Zuck, comp., Speakers Quote Book (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1997), 180.

The Happiest Place on Earth

Red Carpet Welcome at Joni & Friends Camp

In my opinion, there’s no happier place on earth than Joni and Friends Family camp. 

The special needs campers are truly happy. Yes, they define the term “happy campers.”

The camp counselors are filled with joy as they serve the campers.

The parents and siblings of the campers are quite honestly blissful as they are offered the rare opportunity to relax and enjoy enriching fellowship and camp activities. 

Joni and Friends camp is a ministry outreach of Joni EarecksonTada, who herself is a quadriplegic since a diving accident when she was a teenager.  She wanted to create a place where families can take a vacation and enjoy the beauty of camp, while their family members with special needs are lovingly cared for by the camp counselors.  I visited one of these camps in southeast Texas this past weekend, and I must admit the joyful memories will linger in my heart for a long time.

Love abounds at the Joni and Friends family camp. All pretense is gone and in its place is a sweet innocence, a genuine care for others and a bountiful supply of serving hearts. I was particularly impressed by the camp counselors whose compassionate and upbeat attitudes looked past the outward appearances and touched the souls of the campers with the love of Christ.

Human perfection is highly over rated.  In a culture that seems to elevate the bright and beautiful, I was reminded of the beauty of simplicity and the power of sincere love.  Most importantly I was reminded that it is our imperfections that keep us aware of our need for God and for each other.  Our weaknesses and challenges point us toward a perfect God and build the anticipation for the day when we will have a glorious new body in Heaven.  Until that day, let us learn from our special friends to focus on what really matters in life – loving God and loving others.  

Please pray for Joni as she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is now undergoing treatment.  For updates you can read her blog at: