A couple days ago I was walking down our long dirt road– contemplating a few ideas about the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness, and what brings us happiness, can be fleeting. But, joy, on the other hand, is “the fruit of the Spirit” in our lives. Right? Anyway, the technicalities of these words were on my mind and I tried to picture the difference between the two.
Fast forward to… this afternoon. Today I saw my picture.
It started with a trip not too far away to a village called Kasanga. There lives this wonderful, amazing, lady. Let me give you a short and snappy bio.
Beatrice had 10 children, and is now widowed with four of her children now dead. Some by illness. Recently one daughter and a grandchild was hit on the side of the road by a car and killed. Her niece was murdered and her husband is dead.
In spite of her life of tragedy and poverty, she only seems to have love to give back to the world. Beatrice has taken in 11 orphan children that have been abandoned, or whose parents have died, and raises them with all the love and care as she does her own. Some families here at Riverside have built her a house and do what they can to help supply her with some food and formula for the babies. But she’s doing the hard work!
She told me about one night, well after dark, she was lying in her bed when she felt the presence of someone in her room. Her doors had been locked so she thought someone broke in. She asked who was there. No answer. Just the stare of eyes looking at her. She asked, “are you a demon?” The answer this time was a silent nod.
She laid the baby down beside her that she was cuddling and dropped to the floor on her knees. As soon as she called out the name of JESUS, the demon vanished.
In these villages, if someone is mad at, or jealous of you, they will send a spell or curse to your home. But this woman knew the power of the Devil was no match with God on her side.
Allen and Pauline distributed some clothes and shoes they brought for the children. Each one was so happy! My children loved playing with hers. They held hands, ran around chasing chickens. Took turns holding baby chicks. I worried a little about one chick Sienna claimed. That was her baby and she wasn’t going to let it go! Hopefully it recovered from any love-induced hypoxia it received.
So from Beatrice’s house we walked through the tall grassy trail to her neighbors. The home of a couple who are also caring for a group of orphans. The mother to two of the children just recently died. The other children were just recently abandoned. I had met some of the children on our last visit, and got some things to bring back.
Now I have to tell you, when I was shopping for their clothes, I didn’t know about the other children that would be added to the family, but did my best to guess sizes and match gender styles.
I didn’t know those details… but God did! And each outfit I pulled out of the bag fit one of the children perfectly. I kept squealing with each outfit success. There were just enough clothes for each child to have 1 new outfit that fit them just right. That is all but the baby, but Pauline had one for him, so it’s all good. 🙂 And when I looked at their faces light up… my heart did a sommer-sault.
Their joy made mine double.
Maybe happiness is the mood you are in. And maybe joy is the result of allowing God’s love being accepted in your heart and letting that love flow out to others through your attitude and actions. And when you see that love bring them joy– maybe that’s when you get a double dose–of joy!
What do you think?