Life is full of joys

FOOTSTEPS IN FAITH

My life has been full of joys. Of course, there were instances and periods of difficulties, but I chose to see those times as preparation for blessings and joy.

The joys in my childhood were the simple joys of family, nature and simple lifestyle. Growing up on a small daily farm nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont, I experienced the change of seasons, each season with its own challenges and joys. Springtime with its warming climate, new growth of greening and flowers invited me to enjoy making mudpies and splashing in the run-off of thawing snow.

Summertime saw me either taking care of our farm animals, helping Mom in our vegetable garden, or exploring the nearby woodlands. Autumn was resplendent with the leaves turning into rainbow colors. And winter saw us learning how to ski between days of shoveling snow to make paths from the house to the garage where we kept our car.

Summer always saw me trying to learn different skills. Mom had me take swimming lessons in a local pond but I never advanced beyond the basics. She tried to teach me sewing but sewing and I were a bit incompatible. However we discovered that cooking and baking were my forte!

Summer activities also included attending our church-sponsored Christian camps for several weeks where my faith in God flourished with the songs and community activities. At one of these Christian camps we visited several nearby churches to observe the altar details.

It was at one of these small churches that I had my first encounter with Jesus. Although the church was small, at the back of the altar, it featured a larger-than-life stained-glass window of Jesus knocking at a door. The door had no door knob. Our guide explained that it represented the door to our heart, the door to our life; we needed to open the door so Jesus could enter.

During meditation as I gazed at the awesome stained-glass window, suddenly the sun came out of the clouds (it was a very cloudy day) and a sunbeam shone directly through Jesus’ face directly to and on me. I felt Jesus’ eyes looking straight at me and silently asking me, “Do you love me? Will you open the door to your heart?” Warmth enveloped me, tears ran down my face, and my heart expanded as I whispered “Yes, Lord.” A long time passed as we lovingly gazed at each other. (In reality, it was only moments!) I can still remember His searching gaze!

This moment with Jesus filled the rest of the summer with joy. Not only that summer, but the joy has remained a treasured moment in my memory until now.

Many years passed, I married and came to the Philippines. Several years later I received a package from my Mom. It was a picture of Jesus knocking at the door. I cried in joy! I had the picture framed and it remains one of my favorite treasures until now.

The joys of that childhood experience. The joys of gifts. So many joys and blessings! Thank You Lord!