Archive for the ‘My Writings’ Category

Ever faithful and true   Leave a comment

The sky is clear but for a soft glow

and the dark silhouette of mountains and trees

reflecting back still images I see

while walking the path along the still lake

I lift my eyes to a twilight sky

feeling grateful, for it’s been a good day

My heart rejoices, and I silently pray

How great is Your name, ever faithful and true

all that I need or ever hope to be

I need only to trust in You.

_________________


Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Road to recovery…and beyond   8 comments

“Lord, don’t let him die. Give him the will to live, for you.”

This was my prayer as I stood by my husband’s bedside in the hospital that night. I was in shock. Why, Lord? Why did he do this to himself? Why did he think he had no other way? Where was his faith that you would help him overcome the illness of deep depression and anxiety he suffered with? Didn’t he believe we would find answers, get some help? But, his condition only grew worse with little hope of ever getting the help needed.

There comes a time in our lives when a personal crisis hits us so hard that the sudden impact knocks us off our track, and a dark force comes against us rearing its ugly head and we feel backed into a corner.

My husband suffers with anxiety and depression that manifested itself this last summer. Whether or not there were clues we could have seen coming in time to ward off two suicide attempts on his life within two months it was not apparent until almost too late. There was little comfort that in both attempts he was unsuccessful, the first from an overdose of medications and the second one when he cut his wrists. He lived through each because of the power of prayer from our friends and family, and because God was not letting him go.  This kind of crisis was something new, foreign to us both. We sought the help from doctors and professionals, made appointments, ran tests and did everything to find the cause or answers to why he suffered from something he’d never experienced before. I watched him helplessly spiral down into despair and hopelessness as I cried out to God with desperation and help for him to have the will to live, and to overcome the horrible, inflicting disease of mental illness.

Throughout his time spent in three different hospitals he was on a 24 hour round the clock watch and care through August, and into Sept., 2017. When he was discharged from a second psychiatric facility we had numerous follow-up appointments and more tests to set up, and he was put on several medications to help ward off the anxiety and depression, improve his sleep deprivation problem, and stabilize his blood pressure.

As we have worked to get back to a ‘new normal’ we take one step at a time, one day at a time. What we are most thankful for is the grace and mercy of a forgiving, loving God who understands our hurts, our pain, cries with us, and watches over us 24/7 each day and night. We’ve been on a journey I never expected to take, but we are taking it together.

His father and grandparents also suffered with mental illness, which has made this harder to bear as studies have shown it to be an inherited disease. But, no matter what brought this all on God allowed it to use for His glory, that we would believe in the impossible as we sought a miracle. God gives us life. and every day is a gift, another opportunity to make it better than the day before. We choose to not waste them on worry or being anxious over things we have no control because we know who holds our tomorrows.

As God’s children, we hold that promise of hope, the power of Christ’s shed blood and redemption for our sins. And, by the virtue and power granted us through the Holy Spirit, we are a new creature in Him. Each day is a new day. And today belongs to us now.

In I Peter 5:7 & 10, it says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Vs. 10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted October 4, 2017 by Joyce in Faith, My Writings

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A New Season in Life


Like tiny bits of crinkled paper

leaves fall, scattering in all directions

chased by the wind, scorched by the sun,

some caught on rocks, some gather in piles.

Trees grow more bare day by day;

exposed and stripped branches cannot hide

what found refuge through summer’s heat.

A season ends, and another begins.

I welcome the changing times of life,

each day a gift like the leaves that scatter

one upon the other like the passing of time.

I pray there not be a day go by

that I fail to bare my soul to Thee, 

and thank you, God for what you’ve given me.

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

A new page

A moment gone, I’ll not look back

what is too painful, I cannot forget,

but life grants us another day,

a new season, a renewing gift of time.

 I can only hope and pray

we count each worthy, one step forward,

 and wish them to stay,

but only with God’s help

will we make strides together,

while writing a new page of our lives

   one we’ll wish to be remembered.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted September 14, 2017 by Joyce in My Writings, Poems, poetry

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God gave me a rose

I needed just a sign

that God turned not away

disappointed in His child

for what we could not hide,

or dwell on what went wrong.

We would choose to now move forward

not look back on Why or How,

or think upon the long

days of waiting you’d come around

as we stood by in silent sadness;

yet hanging onto hope

that you’d make it through the days

 and your life we prayed to keep,

while God standing watch over you amidst your fear.

 He returned to you your life,

and assured us that in spite of what he did allow

He’s not yet through with you, and here.

He never really left, but gave us just some space.

 How precious every moment, every day of our lives,

like the rose, the sign I needed

  to know He’s always there, and with us day and night.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

Succumbing

 

A flower that blooms in the spring, and 

produces through a season if warmed by the sun, 

  watered by the heavens if nurtured will bring

beauty for the times when the trials of life

weigh me down so my soul can’t sing,

and for the bee for which it must have

that succulent nectar to live and thrive

 will grow weary too, lie listless, weak and die.

So, it is like that in life,

and like the flower and the bee

when our days we cannot number,

each and every one known to God

we have no guarantee. But still, I often wonder

over the day when I too shall slumber,

but until that time, I’ll give all I have

to Him who guards my quaking steps,

and steadies me when I fall,

 for I know that in all I do

it is with Him that I do all.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

 

Hanging by a thread

I photographed the (second and present) jumping rope here at the jump site just off the walking trail at the Big Thompson River, Loveland, Co. The kids still use the rope and jumping site and have for years. To my knowledge there has not been a serious accident or one reported with the kids using the rope and jump site, but the dangers from the river during flood stage is real and has resulted in deaths, from the devastating flood of 2013.

 

“It’s just what kids do,” grownups said when kids met up at the river during the hot summer months, jumping into the water from the old rope that hung between two trees.

But, once again, the river rose higher, and the current ran faster through the Big Thompson from the rain with little letup. It could be a clear flowing stream at its lowest point, a murky green at its deepest, or a raging menace at its worst. Today, it was the latter. Yet, they paid little attention to the warning signs posted, ‘High water. Dangerous current. Potential for flash flooding.’

“Will this work? I found it in the garage.” Shawn asked, holding up a spool of plied rope.

“It isn’t going to be as good as the old one, but it might.” Nathan said.

“I bet that old rope was at least an inch thick. I wonder what happened to it.” Danny said.

“Don’t know. Maybe someone took it down. Or maybe it broke off and washed away in the flood.” Nathan replied.

The wooden ladder rungs were still there, nailed to the side of one tree allowing the kids to climb up and jump into the water from the top. Nathan climbed up one side, tied a length of rope around the tree and threw the other end over to Shawn, waiting on the other tree. He caught the rope, pulled it taut, tied that end, and each boy secured their side with double knots. Danny stood below with a longer section of rope and threw the loose end over. They tied it off, then made knots for hand holds.

“Done. Let’s try it out.” Danny said.

They took turns launching themselves out over the water. Long enough to jump to either side they grabbed the rope, swung out and landed on the opposite bank. Then, they dove off the trees lunging at the one swinging from the rope. They played the game of, ‘Catch me if you can,’ when Danny caught hold, hanging onto Shawn, but neither saw the loosened knots tied at the trees, or noticed the fraying threads on the rope, straining under their weight.

“Dudes. Stop! Get off! The rope…it’s…loose!” Nathan yelled, but they did not hear.

A tree branch cracked. The frayed rope snapped, and Shawn and Danny tumbled into the water. Their sounds and yells were not heard above the roar of the river as they were swept downstream.

It had been a month since the accident. Nathan stared down at the still water. He kept seeing Shawn and Danny as they fought against the current that threatened to swallow them up.

A park ranger walked over. “Your friends almost died that day, Nathan. If they hadn’t found that broken tree limb to latch onto they might not have made it out safely.”

Nathan nodded. “I know.”

“Using good common sense to make right choices is a better way to learn a lesson, don’t you think?”

“Yes, sir.”

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Footnotes:  The above story is a work of fiction, but the following scripture verses seemed appropriate to share in emphasizing the truth or lesson illustrated in the story above. Proverbs 8:34-36 on wisdom- “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and draws forth and obtains favor from the Lord. But he who misses me or sins against me wrongs and injures himself, all who hate me love and court death.”

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