Great Joy

I would love to share a picture with you.  The picture would be what joy looks like.  But that is challenging to capture in a photograph.  It is even more challenging for me since my camera went missing.

Of course, there are numerous devices which I own that I could use to take photographs.  I’m typing on one right now.  But for me the best options for achieving the perfect picture are found on my Nikon camera.  I love this camera.  We bought it before we went to Europe two years ago.  It has a wi-fi setting on it so I can move the pictures miraculously through the air from the camera to my iPad.

Since at any given time this camera may have priceless photographs on it, it falls into the category of things which I hide from burglars.  Recently there have been several break-ins in our area.  These usually occur during the daytime by means of a door being kicked in.  The thieves target empty houses.  At our house there is almost always somebody home, so I don’t worry too much about it.

Inevitably though, the house had to be emptied of people.  It was just a matter of time before we all had some place to go at the same time, leaving our driveway empty, which in my eyes was like posting a “Welcome” sign to hooligans.

So, I hide things.  Laptops, tablets, jewelry, cameras.  Usually I remember where I hide them.  Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I don’t even remember that I hide them, which brings me to my camera.

We had a family gathering and I went to get the camera.  Hum, I must have left it in the other room, I thought to myself.  Immediately that feeling of dread came over me.  I must have hidden my camera. I wonder where.

I spent the next several days ransacking my house, much like a burglar would have done only neater.  After three days I’d say my house was more organized than ever.  Drawers are clean, cupboards are orderly.  I would take a picture to show you only…..

I prayed that God would show me where my camera was hiding.  I prayed this several times.  I guess God wanted me to get my house organized.  Plus, God wanted to show me something about trust.  I needed to learn to trust Him more.  I could argue that the items I hide are items that are of sentimental value or, in the case of electronics, have things that are difficult to replace stored in them.  Financial records, pictures, the book I’m writing.  Good argument, but I still realized I had to trust all of that with God.

On Tuesday night I prayed before I went to bed.  I asked God to show me where the camera was the next day.  I didn’t want to pressure him, but I was spending a lot of time looking for it.  Hours.  Days.  I felt unproductive and frustrated.

The next day I continued my search, organizing along the way.  No camera.  That night Bob and I were packing things for our trip to Arlington National Cemetery.  It was time to place his father’s ashes there.  I had resigned to the fact that I would be using my phone to take pictures.

Earlier that day I took a flashlight and shined it in dark places in my house to see if that elusive camera in its black case was hiding in a corner or something.  This was to no avail.  For some reason I picked up that flashlight again, aimed it into a corner of my bedroom and voila – there was my camera!

I was giddy with excitement.  I grabbed Bob by the arms and did the dance of joy (a la Balki and Larry from the 1980s TV show Perfect Strangers).  I rejoiced.  I thanked God.  Bob looked at me like I was weird.  (That happens a lot.)  But he rejoiced with me, too.

God gently showed me that I need not fear or be crazy protective over anything that I think I need.  He will supply all my needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  Therefore, if I need something, anything, He will make sure that I have that.  I can trust him.

Then it hit me.  What great joy our Heavenly Father has when one of us who was lost is found.  The light of Jesus shined into the darkness that was my life and I was restored to my Heavenly Father through his shed blood.  Now that’s joy.  Even something to dance and shout about.



Perfect Strangers

Have you ever come across Perfect Strangers?  I’m not talking about the 1980s sitcom starring Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker as Balki and Larry.  I’m talking about day-to-day life.

Balki and Larry are cousins on the TV sitcom Perfect Strangers
Photo Credit:

Who are strangers?  Sesame Street tells us that “They’re the people that you meet when you’re walking down the street; they’re the people that you meet each day.”[1]  I’d like to introduce you to some of the strangers I have recently met.

1.  At church on Sunday I stopped to meet some new folks.  There were five of them – a young couple with a baby and a couple about my age (her parents).  Starting with the young man who was on the aisle, we introduced ourselves and then continued down the row ending with Kim and Andy.  This was a very friendly group.  They had big smiles on their faces, maybe a little bigger than what would be the norm.  Finally, Kim said, “I know you, Bonnie.  I’ve been to your house.”  Her daughter went to school with my daughter years ago.  Nothing like a little embarrassing moment to break the ice.

2.  On the cruise Bob and I went on back in August, we ended up seated at a table for twelve during dinner.  Two ladies who are sisters were sitting with us.  One, Gina, lives about three miles from me and the other lives in New York and is a teacher and author of Christian children’s books.  Her name is Tina Crayton.  You can check her books out at  I love meeting other Christians.  It’s like being introduced to a long-lost cousin.

3.  And then there’s Todd and Scott.  These two had literally missed the bus when we found them sitting by the Wekiva River one evening.  They had rented canoes up the river and somehow missed the van that was to take them back to their car at King’s Landing.  They assured us that they were fine, even though the van was supposed to pick them up at 5:30 and it was now 6:15.  We talked for a while and then decided to drive them to their car, which was about a 15 minute ride from there.

The Fearless Canoers

As they piled into the back of our car, they expressed their gratitude.  They asked what we do around here and I told them that we pick up strange guys along the road, give them a ride someplace and then lift their wallets off of them as we say goodbye; that is if we take them to their desired location at all – it varies.  This did not faze them one bit.  They informed us their wallets were in their car and were pretty much empty anyway.  We loved interacting with these two.  We even talked religion.  They said they didn’t care for organized religion.  I told them with all the mess in the world, I didn’t want any part of disorganized religion.  Organized religion isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

4.  Next there are some of you who are reading this right now.  When I started writing my blog I didn’t realize I would be making new friends.  Thank you to those of you who have never met me yet stop by and read this.

We all have to start out as strangers, you know.  So when was the last time you met a stranger who became a friend?  Or, in my case, re-met a friend.

[1] Sesame Street’s People in Your Neighborhood