“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” John 15:9-10 (ESV)
Miss Joy’s wrinkled hands cupped my chinher palm a reservoir for my tears. I walked down the hallways saying tearless goodbyes to 119 other residents, and yet my farewell with her released a levy of emotions.
The scattered pieces of my heart felt like they were blown about by the scurrying of nurses’ footsteps and doctors’ orders resounding off the walls of the nursing home.
It felt wrong to leave her alone, forsaken in this dark place.
Her family, or lack thereof, had rendered her anchorless; adrift in the lonely sea of a 120 bed facility. A drab place where my Activities Department team and I were brought in to dispel the dreariness. My job at “The Brick” would have been more bleak if not for Miss Joy and a few others.
I didn’t allow many details of this place to sink in further than the surface of my heart. Stories repeated ten times each day rolled off my back. Routines of medicine and meals and the wandering of hallways became mundane tasks. Yet one name, one person, chiseled deep into my heart: Miss Joy.
I perched on the edge of our goodbye, on the edge of her bed, hesitant to leave her. “Who’ll sit in the sunshine with you? Who’ll listen? Who’ll sing hymns with you?”
Worry wrung my heart. Visions of Miss Joy, alone … lonely … made my jaw tense and ache with pain for her. A square punch by sadness will do that to a girl.
But not her. Beautiful brown saucers brimmed with confidence. I waded in the refreshing waters of her eyes, rich pools of wisdom.
“I’ll be fine sugar … I’m never alone. Don’t you realize the One who created the sun sits with me? He listens always, hearing my prayers and needs. His presence is in the very praises we sing to Him. Child, we’re never alone.”
Tucked away from the world, Miss Joy changed mine. She lived tightly knit to the Vine. Abided in Jesus’ love through His Word and worship and prayer. Miss Joy dwelled in this truth:
Though abandoned by her earthly family, she rested in the knowledge that her Heavenly Father never would leave her. Indeed, He made a home in her so she could nestle in Him.
Her solid assurance lifted my chin, calmed my heart. The strength she found in the truth that Christ never leaves us left a lasting impression on me. I began looking for ways He was with me: by giving me the wisdom to hold my tongue, or helping me sleep at night, or steadying me when anxious.
Might we find hope in Him today as well? Curl up in His love by writing a Scripture verse on our heart. Lean into God‘s sure presence through lifting our voice in praise. Abide in His peace with a time of prayer … sharing and listening.
Christ is within us, before us, behind us. And as Miss Joy so confidently knew, He will never leave or forsake us. We’re never alone.
Do you have a Miss Joy in your life? Someone who lived out the Bible and helped you find comfort in Christ?
Reflect and Respond:
Spend time today in our dwelling place, Jesus, through studying of the Bible, worship and prayer.
Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (ESV)
- We’re all just a bunch of wanderers (grahamprkr.wordpress.com)
- Some more Strength for Today (runningredeemed.wordpress.com)
- Our Existential Need for Jesus (juicyecumenism.com)
- Jesus Christ Knows How You Feel! (spiritualsobriety.wordpress.com)
- Let us be Encouraged in our LORD! Amen! (deweymoede.wordpress.com)
- “The 14 I Will’s of Christ” (livingwatersoutreach.wordpress.com)
- My Choice: My love Supremely (or how to mess up crap) (christyrawls.com)
- Armed Forces Prayer (oxfordbible.wordpress.com)