The Adulteress

I read this a few years ago and I thought I would share it here. I am not actually sure where it came from originally, but I absolutely love it.

 

“What are we going to do with this Jesus,” the chief priest asked the group. “He is going about healing people left and right. Everywhere I go the buzz is about Jesus. It’s Jesus this, and Jesus that. And the crowds are calling him the Messiah! Everyone knows that the Messiah will not come from Galilee. If we don’t get rid of him, we are going to have an insurrection on our hands.”

“And ever since the buzz about him multiplying a few loaves and fish to feed over 5,000 people has circulated, his followers have multiplied as well. He must be stopped.”

“I have an idea,” Lucius responded with a gleam in his eye. “I happen to know a certain married man who is sleeping with his mistress at this very moment. I happened to see him slink into her house last night.”

And as the hard-hearted Pharisees gathered round, a spiteful plan to trick Jesus began to unfold.

 

The sun was just peeking through the securely locked shutters of Morah’s bedroom window.  The predawn stillness was broken only by the songs of early rising birds floating on the breeze.  Morah was a tangle of sheets, arms and legs as the man she loved lay sleeping beside her.

“Oh, Zachariah,” she whispered as her fingertips brushed a stray lock of hair from his closed eyes.  “If only you weren’t married. I know this is wrong, but I love you so. And I have to believe you when you say you love me as well. We are risking our very lives with these frequent trysts.”

Morah’s musings were suddenly interrupted by a banging on the door.

“Open up!” the gruff voice demanded.

“Who is there?” Morah cried as she scrambled to find her robe.

“Open up or we’ll break the door down.”

“What’s all the commotion,” Zachariah mumbled as he groggily sat up in bed.  “What’s going on?”

Before Morah could even think to answer, the angry mob of religious men broke through the simple lock and into the lovers’ hideaway.

“What is the meaning of this?” Zachariah barked. “What do you think you are doing?”

“What do you think you are doing, my friend,” the Pharisee countered. “That is the real question here.”

“Morah, daughter of Omar, you are under arrest for adultery under the Law of Moses!” the moral police spat.  “Get dressed and come with me.”

The Pharisee tossed Morah her night robe, but failed to turn his head as she slipped her trembling frame from the cover of the sheets and into the thin cloak. He grabbed her by the arm and began dragging her to the door.

“Where are you taking me?” she cried.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” the Pharisee growled.

“What about Zachariah?” the youngest man of the group inquired.

“Just leave him,” the Pharisee replied.  “We don’t need him.”

“Why don’t you go back to your wife where you belong,” the Pharisee called over his shoulder as the group left the room. And with that, the conspiring mob continued their trek to the temple with the half-clad trembling woman in tow.

Two men flanked the weeping woman on either side, dragging her through the early morning hustle and bustle of the city. The bait was hooked, and now it was time to reel in the catch.

 

Like mice following the Pied Piper, a curious stream of townsfolk joined the parade.  Jesus was already teaching in the courtyard with a group gathered at his feet. As always, Jesus’ message and miracles drew large crowds. A distant rumble interrupted his gentle teaching as the angry mob and curious crowd approached. They marched right into the inner circle of the classroom and thrust the woman at the Master’s feet.

Morah’s unbound hair fell around her bare shoulders and fluttered in the early morning breeze.  Her shame-filled eyes stayed riveted on the earthen floor, refusing to meet Jesus’ gaze. Then one of the men pulled her to her feet and displayed her for all to see.

She didn’t need to look at the man before her. She recognized his voice. It was Jesus.

“Teacher,” the pious Pharisee began, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of  Moses commands us to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?”

Jesus didn’t look at the woman’s half-clad body as the others openly gawked. He looked into her soul.

 

Morah lifted her eyes and looked into the face of love.  What do I detect in his gaze? She thought to herself. It wasn’t contempt, disgust, or condemnation, but rather compassion, concern, and pure, unadulterated love. Somehow she knew that this was the look she had been searching for her entire life.

As Morah listened to the Pharisee’s question, she understood Jesus’ dilemma. If he set her free, the Pharisees would accuse him of ignoring the Law of Moses and deem him a heretic.  If he sentenced her to death by stoning, then his teachings of grace and forgiveness would be negated.

The religious leaders already held the stones in their clenched fists, anticipating his reply. Their hearts were as hard as the rocks they held in their hands. But rather than give a quick answer, Jesus moved his gaze from the trembling woman and stooped to the ground.  With his finger, the very hand of God-made-man, he began writing in the dirt.  A frigid chill swept through the Pharisees pious robes. Suddenly they felt the rawness of naked exposure as Jesus’ eyes looked up at each of them and without a word, uncloaked their sinful thoughts and desires. With one look from Jesus, they stood soul bare and more exposed than the half-dressed woman before them.

Everyone held their breath. The silence was deafening. The tension was palpable. Finally, Jesus rose and delivered the verdict.

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then Jesus squatted once again and continued to write.

 

One-by-one the Pharisees unclenched their fists, dropped the stones, and filtered through the crowd. The older men who had accumulated a longer list of sins turned to leave first, with the younger ones not far behind.

The remaining crowd listened closely as the drama continued to unfold.  After the last of the Pharisees cleared the scene, Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers?  Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she replied.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The woman turned to leave, but not before picking up a discarded stone to take with her.

“To remember,” she whispered

I hope that today I can remember… I cannot and should never judge another for their sins. I have enough of my own.

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My take on church…

I remember Sundays at my house growing up. We didn’t always go to church, but my mom tried to make sure we went as often as possible. And on the days that we did go to church, it was utter chaos in the morning.

Everyone (eight children, two adults) had to be dressed their very best, with Sunday shoes and fancy hair. The hair was a bit rough because older kids did younger kids hair and lots of fighting and “ouches” and winces commenced, followed by my parents raised voices and commands to “stop it,” “be still” and “hurry up.”

But why? Why put us through the torture of styling our hair? Why make sure we were wearing our best clothes?

Because if we were gonna go to church, we were gonna go lookin’ good!

It didn’t matter if we fought and screamed all the way to the parking lot… it didn’t matter if one or all of us had been beaten with a wire hanger that morning… it didn’t matter if we had been crying on our way out the door. When we walked through those church doors, we put on our plastic smiles and our fake laughs and we acted like the world was perfect.

“Good morning!” was said to everyone with a big smile.

“How are you?” The greeters always asked.

“Fine,” “Great,” “Doing well” were automated responses for all of us.

But it was all a lie. We were anything BUT fine. Our world was broken, our household was chaos, and fear and intimidation ruled our lives. My dad was a dry drunk who got his jollies by beating his kids. My mom was depressed and anxious and trying to do the best she could with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Somedays she barely left her bed. I was lonely and afraid all the time. My brothers and sisters varied between angry and fearful. Tears weren’t allowed in our home, so anger and sarcasm were the only ways we were allowed to show emotion. And we did. The fights we got into, the broken noses, the knives, the threats. It was like a war zone all the time.

And, as I have heard stories from some of the other kids that sat in the pews near us growing up, I have realized that their worlds were anything BUT fine as well.

But no one knew. We hid it all so well.

And that… That is why I have a tendency to question “The Church.” That is why I look at the way people LIVE as much as possible before I decide to follow them. That is why a church, any church, that is inwardly focused, has no appeal whatsoever to me.

Because when we get engrossed in the “church lifestyle,” it becomes so easy to put on a mask and pretend that things are good. It feels like that is the right thing. Because heaven forbid, anyone know that maybe things aren’t so easy right now.

What is it about the church that makes us feel like we have to show only our best faces? Shouldn’t it be the safe place? The place that Jesus was to his followers? Shouldn’t it be a place of grace and compassion and love, no matter what your life looks like?

I don’t recall Jesus saying “Go, clean yourself up before you talk to me” to the dirty, disheveled kids that followed him.

I don’t remember him telling the prostitute to go away because he couldn’t be seen with her as she washed his feet.

I don’t recall him telling the woman caught in adultery that she deserved the judgment that people were about to throw at her.

I never read about him telling the people who had no food that they “should have been more responsible.”

So WHY do we do that? Why do we cover up our lives and hide from God and others? Why are we still acting like Adam in the Garden of Eden, attempting to cover our nakedness with a fig leaf?

What is it about the church that makes us feel like we need designer clothes, shiny cars, and smiling faces in order to attend this masquerade ball every Sunday?

Why do we do it? Is it because we don’t want to appear weak?

Is it that we want to appear strong as the rock of Gibraltar even if a husband is beating us on a daily basis, or our son is being bullied at school, or your best friend was just informed she has 5 years to live, or you just discovered that you might not be around until your youngest turns 18?

So we walk through those doors, with all the burdens of the world hanging round our neck.

“How are you?”

“Fine, just fine.  Praise the Lord.” 

And the church becomes a stage, instead of a place to meet our God.

We play “Let’s Pretend,”  and the audience cheers for our performance, but the Director’s voice grows faint in the distance.

I love C.S. Lewis. In his book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, there is a scene that reveals what I think God wants for us. (If you haven’t read or watched The Chronicles of Narnia, you should.) In this particular scene, the White Witch has turned many of Narnia’s inhabitants to stone. Aslan, the king, the lion (representative of Christ to some) displays incredible courage as he braves the witches courtyard and gently breathes on each of the statues, bringing them back to life.

This is how the scene plays out.

“The courtyard looked no longer like a museum; it looked more like a zoo.  Creatures were running after Aslan and dancing around him till he was almost hidden in the crowd.  Instead of all that deadly white the courtyard was now a blaze of colors; glossy chestnut sides of centaurs, indigo horns of unicorns, dazzling plumage of birds, reddy-brown of foxes, dogs and satyrs, yellow stockings and crimson hoods of dwarfs; and the birch-girls in silver, and the beech-girls in fresh, transparent green, and the larch-girls in green so bright that it was almost yellow.  And instead of the deadly silence the whole place rang with the sound of happy roarings, braying, yelpings, barkings, squealings, cooings, neighings, stampings, shouts, hurrahs, songs and laughter.”

Amazing, isn’t it?

But unfortunately, it seems many of our churches are stone courtyards, with everyone attempting to blend in, trying to conform to the image that is expected of good, church-going people. Rather than trying to be who we were created to be, rather than finding the image of a good God in all of or individual quirks and follies, we attempt to be JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

And that leads to a very boring, very uninspiring world that cannot and will not ever draw anyone in. There is definitely no Magnetism in a lifestyle that does not accept others just exactly as they are. We were NOT created to be clones of one another. We were gloriously created to be colorful, wild, wonderful individuals. Real people. No masks. People on our own journeys. People with our very own purpose.

So, my challenge for you today is to allow yourself to be real. Allow the winds to blow the stone places away from your heart and mind and find just one thing, one moment, that feels authentic and totally you. Then take that moment and celebrate it with everything you have.

Because you, my friend are glorious and perfect and exactly who you should be, bumps, bruises, scars and all.

Much love,

Shannon Joy 

 

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Before I Die…

So, I have been thinking… probably too much because that’s what I do.
But as I go through the process of creating this beautiful life, I realize more and more what is or is not important.
And the important things really aren’t what I thought they were at all.
When I was in college, I was determined to be financially successful, to dress in the best clothing, wear high heels every day, earn the admiration and respect of all my peers, have a huge office to myself and own a beautiful home where I threw incredible fancy dress-up parties.
I fought for that vision for a few years. Then I decided to add a husband into the equation. Then kids came along. Then life really hit me, knocked me down, and tore me apart for a while.
But I kept going. I was determined to have the “things” that would make me happy. So determined, in fact, that I cut people out of my life if I thought they didn’t feed my material goals. And as I struggled and fought to gain these ever-elusive material possessions, I found myself losing out on the more important things, many of which I didn’t recognize until it was too late.
But at this stage in the game, I have begun to realize what I really want from my life. I want a life that sizzles. I want a life that makes me throw my head back and laugh out loud. I want a life of crinkles and creases and stretching and growth.
I don’t want to lay on my death bed and realize that my life was just a collection of meetings and errands and laundry and receipts and dirty dishes.
No, I want to eat all the good food, and belt out Disney songs at the top of my lungs, and wear twirly skirts, and laugh until I am out of breath and my stomach hurts. I want to paint the beauty I have found in the world and bring beauty to the places that are aching for it. I want to stomp through mud puddles in bare feet and dance in a meadow on a sunny day. I want to sleep long and hard on clean white sheets and throw open all my windows and enjoy the fresh air. I want to throw costume parties on a whim and wear a wig just because. I want to watch movies that make me cry and read books so good they make me forget that time exists. I want to be so raw, so honest and vulnerable that it hurts. I want to make people think, really think, about life, about their expectations and standards. I want to experience joy so fully that I can’t help jumping up and down. 
And I want my life, each and every day, to be made of magical moments and memories. I want a life so full that God himself has to belly laugh when he looks at me because he is so glad he gave life to someone who loves it this much.
I want my life to be a blessing. And I want to leave a legacy of joy and hope.
I want to be every single little bit of the Shannon that I was created to be. I want to squeeze every drop of life out while I am still living so there is nothing left to experience by the time I die. I want to be everything I can be and embrace all of me. The messy housekeeper, the eccentric artist, the dreamer, the writer, the boss, the mom, the emotional redhead, the lover, the fighter… all of it.
And when I die, I want my kids, my lover, my friends, and my family to say “wow, she really knew how to LIVE, didn’t she?”
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The Hunt…

“Where are they?” I muttered. I looked over to see if he had heard me as I dug frantically through my purse again. Still no luck.

I walked back over to his car and looked in the seat I had just left. I checked the console, the floorboards, checked under his seats. Nothing.

I could feel my frustration growing, and I knew my neck was probably turning red in embarrassment by now. I had to pull myself together. It wasn’t a big deal, right?

Maybe inside his house? We had been in there for a while earlier. I walked back in, attempting to retain my dignity. I looked at the couch where my purse had been. Even picked up the cushions. Nothing.

Headed to the kitchen. Sometimes I like to set things on a countertop because it feels more like home. Still nothing.

He asked me where I thought they might be. “I don’t know! I really thought they were in the side pocket of my purse!” I could hear the exhaustion and frustration in my voice now. I needed to leave before I had an irrational meltdown from being so incredibly tired.

I retraced my steps. Retraced them again. And a third time.

Still no luck.

Now I was embarrassed. How and why I do these things, I will never know. But it was way too late right now and I knew that I should be heading home. He looked tired. I was tired. I knew that he had to work at 6am and I was scheduled to go to the gym with a friend at 4:30am.

I went back to the car. Looked through the middle pocket of my purse. Dumped everything into the seat. Nothing. At this point, I am considering giving up.

I looked back through his car. Still nothing.

I walk back over to mine. Look down at my purse and think “Well, maybe I just didn’t dig hard enough.” So I reach into the first side pocket. Nothing. I reach in the other side pocket…

There they are. My monstrous key chain was in the pocket I thought it was THE WHOLE TIME.

keys

I just needed to dig a little deeper.

Just like life. Sometimes we search and search and search for something. A relationship, a career, our dream home, our perfect friendship. Thinking that the great things, the beautiful things must be over there somewhere, or maybe just far, far away. So we search. We look. And in our searching and striving, we tend to overlook. We tend to see the times our kids misbehave instead of realizing that they are awesome about 85% of the time. We choose to move to another romantic relationship instead of figuring out how to grow through challenges together. We despise our work instead of looking at it as an opportunity. We dream of fancy houses and forget to love and care for our current home. And we keep looking for people to treat us “just-so” if we are going to be friends instead of choosing to learn from different perspectives.

But in reality, what we are searching for is probably exactly where it should be, exactly where we just looked, or where we originally thought it was, just waiting for us to decide to dig a little deeper.

Let’s go deep.

Love ya’ll.

Shannon Joy

 

Posted in adventures, Advice, dreams, Family, Family Matters, Fashion, Feelings, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Health, memories, Mental Health, My daily life, Organization, parenting, Uncategorized, work | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Heart Stuff…

Man, sometimes I wonder how people do the emotions thing. I am generally pretty mellow, but not last week.

I got mad twice last week. Like, really mad. Like, raise my voice and cuss mad. Like, the mad I always said I would never be mad.

And it wasn’t even over big things. It was stupid little things that didn’t really mean anything.

And I sat and I stewed on it. I said things I shouldn’t have. To myself and the other parties involved.

But it didn’t take me very long to realize that I wasn’t mad at the situation. I wasn’t angry at another person either. In fact, there was only ONE direction I could point my anger.

I was mad at me. If I really wanted to own the emotions I was feeling, I had to admit to myself that I was frustrated, disappointed and bothered by me… by my choices. By my mistakes.

I was mad that my house was a mess, yes. Mad that my kids hadn’t done their chores. Mad that I was later than I wanted to be. Mad that I “had to” miss my workouts to do other things. Mad that my ex kept changing things.

But not one of those things usually bother me. So why this time?

I took a few moments to really ponder what was going on with me. Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up and I knew the only direction I was going was backwards if I didn’t check myself.

And I discovered that I was angry because I haven’t been true to myself recently. I haven’t been loving myself very well lately. I haven’t been doing the things I know make me happy lately. Instead, I have been giving more than I should, doing more than I should and losing myself in the process. I have been expecting others to give to me, to love me, and to fill me up the way I was working so hard to do that for other people.

But that is like knowing I have a hole in my gas can, hoping someone else will come alongside me and patch it as I walk down the road with it dripping a trail behind me. All the while, other people are walking along the same road, at their own speed, lighting  matches and throwing them into the wind. Sure, most of them won’t touch the gas, most will fly in other directions, but should one happen to hit MY leaky tank or a drop of gasoline…. BOOOM!

It is no longer a bunch of little drops of stinky gasoline. Instead, my entire world blows apart.

And that is what I had allowed to happen.

If I had been proactive in patching up the hole in the gas can, the matches other people were throwing would never have had the same impact. They couldn’t break through if I had taken the time to make the repairs necessary or care for my tank in the first place and ensure that everything was ship shape.

I know the importance of self-care. And no, I don’t mean just getting my nails done or taking a long bath, although those can be really nice.

For me, patching up the gas can means cleaning my house before it gets too messy for me to think. It means I need to make menus and go grocery shopping on my set day, no matter how fun other things seem. It means I need to prioritize my kids and their well-being over anyone and everyone else so that I know in my head that I am doing my best possible job. It means listening to my body when I am tired and going to sleep. It means knowing my limits. It means locking myself in my room so that I can get some time in to process my world. It means taking time to read. It means writing. Every single day. It means learning more about myself, learning that I am indeed loveable. It means asking for what I want. It means letting people know when they do something that hurts my feelings. It means standing up for myself. It means saying no. It means making every effort not to overthink things. It means structure. It means routine. It means discipline.

That is what makes my world go ’round. That is what makes me happy. No, not in the moment. In the moment, it never seems worth it. After all, they’re just little things… Maybe they can wait til tomorrow. It’s just too hard and I am too ______ (tired, emotional, busy, fill in the blank) at that moment.

But if you have known me any amount of time, you have heard me say that “the little things are the big things.” 

It’s the little things we do, or don’t do, that build a great big world around us. And if the little things are shaky or they don’t serve us or they hurt us, then our great big worldview becomes unstable and inaccurate. And even though feelings aren’t facts, we forget that when the little things make it look so overwhelming.

So, here I go again. Making myself. Becoming better. Putting first things first. One foot in front of the other. Learning to love me. So I can love the world and the people around me.

Because honestly, I can only love you as much as I am willing to love myself. And you will only love me as much as I let you.

Here’s to some lovin’, friends.

Shannon Joy

 

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Waiting…

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

I sit in this office waiting once again. Over the last few weeks, I have thought about this visit constantly. I hope for good news, but I am prepared if there is none.

And I am going to be completely honest with you. I don’t like to wait. No, to be COMPLETELY honest, I HATE waiting.

It doesn’t matter if I am waiting for the unquestionably late doctor to call my name, my kids to get ready to leave or a phone call that was supposed to come at a certain time. When I have to wait, I really don’t like it.  Few things are LESS enjoyable than standing in that agonizing place where all my hopes and dreams look so far away. The place where my longing meets the questions of “how?” and “when?” and “if?” they could ever possibly come true.

Ever been there?

Yeah. It’s not fun.

There are a few things I am waiting for in this season in my life. Big things. Huge. Life-changing, impactful things. Things that can determine my entire life-direction and my children’s destiny.

And I am waiting. Waiting for answers. Waiting for breakthroughs. Waiting on other people. I feel like I am constantly waiting right now. And its painful.

Waiting.

I don’t think I am alone in the discomfort that seems so deeply engrained alongside the process of waiting. As humans, I think it is categorically acceptable to despise waiting.

We want instant gratification. We want the hard things to be solved by dinner time. We want to move on and not have to think about it anymore.

Why is that? I mean, if you really look at it, it seems that doing absolutely nothing should be easy… But it’s not.

But no matter how long, or how hard, there is a blessing to be found in every wait. That is what I am learning. As uncomfortable as it is, as daunting as it seems, I hold on to the scripture that says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)

Waiting is like lifting weights. I recently started lifting as an alternative to running due to some health issues. And, oh-my-goodness, my muscles hurt ALL THE TIME. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that by working those muscles, by making them sore, I am creating the physical body that I want for myself. I am getting stronger and healthier and giving myself a better life, even though it feels so uncomfortable in that moment, or that day.

And, as challenging as I find waiting to be, I know that I am growing through it. I am getting stronger and healthier and creating a better life as I increase my patience and endurance. As I learn to hope in spite of what I see in front of me.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact, I think that anyone in my close circle could probably tell you that I have been grumpy and tired and overwhelmed lately. It’s been hard. It’s been a struggle.

I have been so tempted to let hope slip away into the night as the months have passed regarding one situation and the years in another… but still, I find myself here, waiting.

So many questions unanswered, so many dreams unfulfilled. I long for healing, growth, and freedom that I have yet to experience. And I constantly ponder and wish that life, that God, operated on my timetable instead of His own.

Yeah, I know… scripture says, ” But they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

It sounds incredible. Glorious. Powerful. Run and not grow weary? I would LOVE to do that. Walk and not faint? Where is that in my life?

No, my discontented heart finds it ever so difficult to wait.

But I am finally beginning to realize that in the seasons of waiting, the precious time of being still when I want to be anything but, that is when some of the biggest heart-work happens. It is only in the desert I can discover my endurance. It is only in the wilderness that my fortitude can be revealed. And it is in the quiet that I find myself, I find my God, and I find hope. The peace that comes from knowing all will be well in the end. And if things are not okay, it is not the end.

Rest. Rest is the answer.

Sometimes I want to work so hard, I want to force the hands of the people that control things, I want to push for the things I so ardently desire… but doing so has led me down some twisted paths. Paths that were dark and dreary and hard to handle because I took the quick option instead of the right option. And EVERY time I have ever done that, it has been the wrong option.

No, my own hard work and striving can never bring about the lasting change that I desire. It doesn’t matter how many times I see the doctor or call the attorney or yell at my kids.

 It is only love, patience, relationship, and acceptance that can truly change me. It is not about how much more I can do. It is about learning to be content in the waiting. Learning from the stillness. Listening. Resting. Learning how to be.

I am so good being busy. Working, working, working. Conquering every area of my life that I find unsatisfactory. But it is only when I rest that my thirsty soul is satiated. It is only when I choose to let peace in that balance is restored to my striving spirit.

Yes, waiting is difficult.

But waiting is where we grow roots. And the deeper we are rooted and grounded, the bigger and stronger we can be. It doesn’t matter if we are waiting on a clean bill of health, custody arrangements for our kids, a healthy love life, or a clear, fulfilling career path… when we wait, when we are patient and continue to do the things we are supposed to do (even when it is oh-so-hard), we will eventually see the growth that comes from it. And it may not show up exactly where or how we expect, but it will be there.

Today, I am choosing to be adventurously expectant. To think of the wait as the path to a new and exciting place. The preparation for the biggest journey of my life.

Expectant. Hopeful. Confident. Excited.

That’s what I want to be known for in my season of waiting.

If you don’t mind saying some prayers, several seasons of waiting are coming to a close for me in the next few weeks . I hope I have grown strong enough in the interim.

And now, the doctor is waiting on me.

Love you all,

Shannon Joy

 

 

 

 

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Flash Fiction Friday – Manchester

Chapter 1:

Birthdays are the best! I can’t wait to see her reaction when she sees her gift!

I never really thought about birthdays much until I had my own child, my wonderful little Lyla. But when I looked into those big blue eyes the first time, I knew that I would celebrate every day of her life the best I could. Now, birthdays are a bloody big deal. And it seems the older she gets, the better (and more expensive) the birthday.

She isn’t so little now. Thirteen tomorrow! I will officially have a teenager. Where has the time gone?

Growing up in the Midwestern United States, birthdays were just a normal day with cake for dessert that night. I came from a simple family with a simple life. It was a good life, but I always wanted more. When I left for college, my parents were disappointed at first. They thought I should take over the family farm, marry a local girl and raise my kids on the family land, just like the last five generations.

But wanderlust consumed me and I knew I had to get out from under the shadow of that tiny town. So, here I find myself, in beautiful Manchester, with my lovely little British bride and our incredible daughter. I never realized my law degree would lead to all of this, but I sit back at the end of every day thankful that it has. I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

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Chapter 2:

“Happy birthday, my not so little one!” I hold out the card and she snatches it, eagerly ripping it open to read what I’ve written inside.

“Oooh Pop, I can’t believe you got me tickets! She’s the best!!! I’m so excited!!! I just hafta phone Nancy and let her know!!!” She squealed like only a thirteen year old girl can.

“Go ahead, my girl. I’m glad you like the tickets.” I smile at her enthusiasm. Her long blond hair swishes behind her as she bounces away to make plans with her friends.

She has wanted to go to an Ariana Grande concert since the first time the artist was in the UK. I am glad I chose something she will enjoy so much. With her being just thirteen, I wasn’t sure about letting her go, but her mum said she would take her, so I bought the tickets. No regrets now! I don’t think I have seen her this thrilled about something before.

“I think she was a bit gobsmacked, my dear!” Julianne squeezes my hand as she plants a light kiss on my cheek. Her voice is low and she is smiling that gorgeous, slow smile that I fell in love with the first time I met her. Although she is always a bit reserved with her emotions, I can tell she is really happy to see our daughter so excited.

“I know you ladies will have fun. You are a brave woman to take three teenage girls to a concert!”

She chuckles, “It’ll be well worth it, James. You only get to make memories once.”

That’s one of the things I love most about her. She is always looking for a way to live a more memorable life. Always doing something for someone, be it a new charity, a stray animal or our daughter and her friends. I have never met anyone so unselfish and kind. She has made my life worthwhile. Even on the days when I miss home and my family, I can’t imagine missing out on this life that we have created here together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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