Can I Come In?

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish

Devotion: When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

Try Laughter

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come . . .” Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

Do you ever have “one of those days?” You know what I’m talking about. When you can either laugh or cry or kick the dog so you choose to simply let life . . . be life.
My “one of those days” started off innocently enough: dinner with good friends followed by a Christian concert.
The menu included fresh spinach with oranges and sweet red onion vinaigrette, garlic chive mashed potatoes, green beans almandine, and (sigh) breast of chicken with a creamy tarragon sauce. I could barely contain myself as the dinner plate was placed in front of me.
The meal was excellent – especially the “creamy tarragon sauce.” Though none of us knew the ingredients, we decided that it didn’t really matter. Within about 10 minutes, I had changed my mind.
As we were waiting for the music group to be introduced, I suddenly felt my stomach begin to twist and turn and then do back flips . . . over and over and over. And just as suddenly it occurred to me that I needed to find a restroom right away. I excused myself from our table as quickly as I could and thankfully found the ladies room within seconds.
But the story doesn’t end there.
As I ran into the restroom, hoping to be alone, two elderly ladies were washing their hands and chatting. I shut the door to a stall at the farthest end of the room and prayed they would leave quickly but no such luck. Here is their conversation:
First lady: “Honey, let’s get going. I want to hear the singers.”
Second lady: “Just a minute. Let me wash my hands. Did you wash yours?”
First lady: “I don’t know. Did I?” (“Yes, you did!” I wanted to scream.)
Second lady: “Hhhhmmm. . . I don’t know either. What do you want to do?”
First lady: “Well, I guess I could wash them again. What do you think?”
Second lady: (long – very long pause) “Oh, go ahead and wash them again. I’ll do mine again, too. Germs are germs.”
They finally left – with really clean hands – and I was alone at last. Several minutes later I was able to leave the restroom, thankful that the ladies had finally left me alone but wondering what in the world had caused the disastrous dance in my stomach.
Hours later I found out. When I got home, I immediately looked up exactly what “tarragon” was on the internet. First I read it was an herb used in French cooking; okay, so far no problem there.
But the next sentence explained my stomach experience. “The scent and taste of tarragon is disliked by many garden pests.”
Good grief! What in the world did I have in my stomach? A tapeworm?
My point in sharing this “experience” with you is found in the last part of Proverbs 31:25, today’s Key Scripture: “she can laugh at the days to come.”
When you read about the Proverbs 31 woman, you learn that she was a chef, weight lifter, seamstress, small business owner, mother, and a woman with a sense of humor! Surely she had to have a lot of tough “one of those days” moments and yet she was able to see the humor in what was going on in her life.
We also live in a world where “stuff” is going to happen: a son loses his shoe and the bus is coming; your husband raises his left eyebrow when you walk out modeling your new outfit, and yes, your digestive track gets hit by something designed to annihilate a tapeworm.
By itself each of those instances is not a huge problem but when we allow them to collect in our minds and hearts, they will eventually explode and so will we.
We can choose to focus on the negative of the situation OR we can choose to take a deep breath, exhale and laugh.
See the humor in your son wearing a boot and tennis shoe as he walks toward the bus. Ignore the upturned eyebrow and change your outfit into a ratty bathrobe and a smile. And yes, even laugh (much later) at a digestive system that attacks when you least expect it.
The next time “one of those days” pops up, give the dog a break and try laughter!

Father, please help me to remember that laughter makes the large stuff small and keeps my focus off the things of the world and on you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Have you ever gotten upset over a small incident and then realized that you had added it to a long list of small incidents?

When something happens and you are tempted to snarl instead of smile, ask yourself whether what just happened will make any difference for eternity. Then take a deep breath and smile.

Proverbs 31:25 (NIV) “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come . . .”
Job 8:21 (NIV) “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

Matthew 6:34 (NIV) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
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Copyright 2010  Nancy E. Hughes