Take a joy ride with the wise, wacky Women of Faith! Those wild and wonderful women are at it again. Campaigning for a joy-filled outlook instead of a gloomy perspective on life, the Women of Faith crew has made thousands of women laugh, lighten up, and face the challenges of life with a smile. We Brake for Joy! Offers devotional readings to help you live your life with verve and style. Here are spirited perspectives on tackling the challenges of life, taking an honest look at what we all face as women every day -- and how we can add joy to our lives in spite of the problems we encounter. If the road feels rough and rocky and you think you're running out of gas, let these seasoned women of faith offer you a lift. We Brake for Joy! Will make you laugh, keep you smiling, and encourage your heart so you can get going again!
About the Author
Barbara Johnson was the founder of Spatula Ministries, a coauthor of various Women of Faith devotionals, and the author of numerous bestselling books, including Boomerang Joy, Living Somewhere between Estrogen and Death, and Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy.
Bárbara Johnson es fundadora de Spatula Ministries [Ministerios Espátula], organización sin fines de lucro creada para despegar con una espátula de amor a todos los padres que están incrustados contra el techo y encaminarlos hacia la recuperación. Bárbara y su esposo, Bill, viven en La Habra, California.
Marilyn Meberg is a captivating speaker, a coauthor of various Women of Faith devotionals, and the author of "I’d Rather Be Laughing and Choosing the Amusing." She lives in Frisco, TX.
Luci Swindoll is author of Celebrating Life and a co-author of various Women of Faith devotionals. She has served as a business executive of Mobil Oil Corporation and as vice president with Insight for Living. She lives in Frisco, Texas.
Luci Swindoll es conferenciante internacional y autora de numerosos libros. Su participación es destacada dentro del movimiento Women of Faith [Mujeres de Fe] donde desarrolla un ministerio activo. Anteriormente fue ejecutiva de Mobil Oil Corporation y vicepresidente de relaciones públicas de Insight for Living [Visión para Vivir]. Desde l992 reside en Frisco, Texas.
Sheila Walsh isthe creator of Children of Faith and the Gnoo Zoo, a ministry to children that communicates God's love for them. She is the author or co-author of several books including "Honestly", "Gifts for Your Soul", "Living Fearlessly", and "The Best Devotions of Sheila Walsh". As an accomplished musician, Sheila has recently released the CD "Love Falls Down". Sheila, her husband, and their son, live in Texas.
Thelma Wells is a popular author, speaker and businesswoman. As an African-American woman, Thelma was instrumental in bringing racial diversity to the Women of Faith conferences. Thelma has had her own television show, been an assistant vice president of a bank, and an inspirational public speaker/business consultant.
Thelma Wells es una conferencista popular de Women of Faith (Mujeres de fe) y presidenta de A Women of God Minsitries(Ministerios de una mujer de Dios) de Dallas, Texas. Ha recibido mas de doscientos galardones por participación cívica en la comunidad, en la iglesia y en la nación. Obtuvo el titulo de magisterio en el ministerio pastoral, y es autora de varios libros de éxito de venta. Thelma describe a su esposo, George, como su animador, sostenedor y mejor amigo. Tienen tres hijos y casado, diez nietos, y un bisnieto.
Read an Excerpt
We Brake for Joy!90 Devotions to Add Laughter, Fun, and Faith to Your Life
By Patsy Clairmont Barbara Johnson Marilyn Meberg Luci Swindoll Sheila Walsh Thelma Wells
ZondervanCopyright © 1998 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWHO DO YOU BE? Marilyn Meberg
* * *
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5
My grandson Ian bequeathed upon me a most unusual name when he was about fifteen months old. The name is "Maungya." We are unaware of its origins other than that it sprung from this little fellow's fertile mind.
I love the name. Lots of Grandmas, Grannys, and Nanas populate the world, but to my knowledge, there are no Maungyas. That name sets me apart, makes me unique. He calls his daddy's mother "Nana" and my daughter Beth's biological mother "Nana Sherry," but my designation is like no other. During my last visit, just the two of us were playing in his sandbox. I was sifting the sand through a sieve in an effort to eliminate the ground cover bark that had managed to get into the mix and annoyed me slightly.
My intensity for this task was intruded upon by an unexpected question from Ian. "Maungya, who do you be?"
Noting the seriousness of his big blue eyes, I felt compelled to answer the question seriously but found myself at a loss for words. Quoting Ephesians 1:4, that I was one chosen before the foundation of the world to "be," seemed a bit theological for the moment. Telling him that Jeremiah 1:5 says I was known even in the womb and designed to "be" also seemed a bit heavy.
I opted for saying, "Maungya is your grandma."
"I know," he said with slight irritation.
"And," I continued, realizing I hadn't answered well yet, "God made her to love you really, really big just like God loves Ian really, really big."
At this, Ian discontinued putting the bark back in the sandbox that I had managed to sift out and stared off into space. Quietly, he repeated, "Maungya loves Ian really, really big." After a few more seconds he said, "God loves Ian really, really big."
Seemingly satisfied, he said, "Yeah, yup," an expression he used to indicate agreement as well as finality on whatever subject is being discussed.
We then resumed our futile take-the-bark-out, put-the-bark-back activity with renewed camaraderie.
I, of course, have pondered this little exchange ever since. The question of "who do you be, who do I be" is foundational to all of us. We want and need to know who we are. I'm just a bit stunned that Ian is giving it thought already.
The question is asked in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, "Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle!" But, of course, for the believer, there need not be a puzzle. Referring back to Jeremiah 1:5, I learn who "I be."
To begin with, I was in God's mind before I was ever in the womb of my mother. The phrase, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" is mind-boggling. Specific attention, thought, and planning about me took place before God actually formed me in the womb. That implies I am much more than a cozy encounter between my parents nine months before I was born. No matter the circumstances surrounding my conception, I am a planned event.
Not only am I a planned event, I was "set apart," called or given to be a "prophet to the nations." I, like Jeremiah, have a specific task to do for God. We all have a specific task to do for God, and it was planned in his head before we were ever formed in the womb. That is an incredible truth!
Not only is my identity and calling known, but also Isaiah 43:1 says, "I have called you by name, you are mine" (RSV). I can't imagine God calling me "Maungya," but I do know that like that name, he considers me unique and set apart, and he calls me his own. I can't wait to tell all this to Ian in a few more years. I suppose by then there will be only bark in the sandbox.
* * *
"Lord Jesus, the knowledge that each of us is a unique, made-to-order creation whom you love, whom you call by name, and for whom you have a plan is security-producing. May we sink into that cushion of joyful peace and never forget 'whose we be.' Amen."
BRAND SPANKING NEW Patsy Clairmont
* * *
Put on the new self. Ephesians 4:24
When I stopped by my friends Gene and Ruthann Bell's home, I had no idea a miracle had just occurred on their premises. Ruthann proudly led me down their wooded lane and through the barn. Then she opened the large wooden door into the back barnyard. There, standing next to his stately mother, Mariah (a registered Morgan), was a wee colt.
Christened Huw (Welsh spelling for "Hugh" and named for the character Huw Morgan in How Green Was My Valley, a Welsh novel), the five-hour-old newborn teetered and tottered on his spindly legs. He eyed us with caution as he leaned in closer to his mom. Then, when Mariah moved into the open corral, the colt tried to scamper after her. His knobby legs kept tangling up on him. We laughed the kind of sweet laughter that comes from taking delight in the wonders of new life.
What pleasure I found in observing this bony bundle toddling, testing his unpolished prance, trying out his touchy brakes while never straying far from his mother. The colt instinctively knew to nuzzle in to her for nourishment, comfort, and protection.
Ever wish you could start over? Probably all of us have longed for another chance in some area of our lives. We wouldn't necessarily have done things differently, just more or perhaps less. For starters I wish I would have read more when I was in school (when I could still retain), and I wish I had griped less when I was a young mom.
The truth is we can't go back, only forward into uncharted territory. To sit in our sorrow would lead to misery. Although regret that leads to change is a dear friend, regret that leads to shame is a treacherous enemy.
So how do we live without allowing regret to rob us of our joy? How about this insight to prompt us on: "And lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).
Sometimes we are so certain we know something, when, dear sisters, we don't really. Know what I mean? There is no guarantee that if we had done a part of our lives differently things would end up any different. We have to trust the God of the universe who directs the outcome of all things that he will do that which ultimately needs to be done (in spite of us, if necessary).
I'm not suggesting we don't need to take responsibility for past mistakes or that we shouldn't learn to do things more honorably, for these are changes that lead to fresh beginnings. But I am saying many things are now out of our control but never his.
So next time you and I need something to lean on, let's make it the Lord. Then we can nuzzle in and receive what we need most-nourishment from his Word, comfort from his Spirit, and the protection of his presence.
Leaning in also offers us the benefit of no regrets and an opportunity to "put on the new self."
* * *
"Lord, thank you that as we lean into you for nourishment, comfort, and protection (fill 'er up), we then can enter into our fresh beginnings (new day, job, resolve) with enthusiasm. May it delight you, Lord, to see us toddle and sometimes prance in our efforts, and may it even cause you to throw back your head and laugh with sweet abandon. Amen."
DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT Luci Swindoll
* * *
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold -I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16
A hillbilly walked into a novelty store. He saw a shiny thermos and asked the clerk what it was. The clerk replied, "It's a thermos. It keeps cold things cold and hot things hot." The hillbilly was so impressed he bought one.
He couldn't wait to show it off to his friends. At work the next day, he didn't have to wait long before one of his peers asked him what that shiny thing was.
The hillbilly replied, "It's a thermos. It keeps cold things cold and hot things hot."
His coworker asked him, "Well, what do you have in it now?"
The hillbilly proudly replied, "A Popsicle and two cups of coffee!"
I'm with the hillbilly. I like cold things cold, and hot things hot with no in-between. I'm all or nothing. I know what I like and what I don't. As a Southerner, I can eat my weight in fried okra but don't feed me hominy. An as opera lover, I'd lay down my life for Puccini's music but deliver me from Alban Berg. As a moviegoer, give me a sit-on-the-edge-of-my-chair psychological thriller but do not make me wade through some sappy, boy-meets-girl, girl-wears-cute-clothes, boy-marries-girl, couple-has-baby. Please!
You don't have to agree with me. It's often more fun when you don't; it sparks great conversation. I've worked for years to develop these opinions, and they define me.
That's one thing I love about Marilyn. She has her own thoughts, states her preferences, holds to her convictions, and when we differ, she doesn't try to change my mind. She lets me be me.
For instance, I love the Old Country Buffet restaurant in Palm Desert (where we both live), but Marilyn loathes it. The food caters to home-style cooking, honors senior citizen discounts, and one can go back to the trough as often as desired. It's inexpensive, all-you-can-eat, come-as-you-are. My kind of place! But Marilyn? No, thanks! If I want to go there, I have to find another hillbilly. Marilyn's opinion doesn't keep me from going; it just keeps me from going with her.
I remember a friend in my bygone days who could never make up her mind.
I'd ask, "Want to go to dinner?"
"It doesn't matter," she would say.
"Okay, let's go out. Afterward, how 'bout a movie?"
"Whatever you say."
"What would you like to see?"
That drove me crazy! I didn't mind deciding, but I never had the chance to know her. Of course, she didn't know herself.
Our choices validate us. They tell us who we are and convey to others where we stand. By not having personal convictions, my friend lacked strength of character. She went through life neither hot nor cold.
This becomes a serious problem when you go beyond music, movies, or meals to important issues like faith. I'm talking about a mind-set, a disposition toward life wherein Jesus Christ is your center, his Word is your standard, and his way your choice.
God requires a person to make choices-to be hot or cold, to know what you believe and why. I'm not suggesting we hold stubbornly or unreasonably to our own opinions. However, when it comes to biblical convictions or spiritual truth, we must take a stand. Wisdom, peace, courage, and joy characterize the people I know who do.
* * *
"Father, help us make choices that please you. We don't want to be weak or stubborn. We want to be right on. Like you. Amen."
Excerpted from We Brake for Joy! by Patsy Clairmont Barbara Johnson Marilyn Meberg Luci Swindoll Sheila Walsh Thelma Wells Copyright © 1998 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsContents
Honk If You Giggled Today: Developing a Mirthful Mind-set
Dwayne's Day by Luci Swindoll
A Gift from the Scrap Pile by Barbara Johnson
How's the Weather? by Marilyn Meberg
Star Struck by Patsy Clairmont
The One with the White Legs by Sheila Walsh
Saying the Three Words by Thelma Wells
Monday Musings by Luci Swindoll
An Unusual Song by Marilyn Meberg
Pacified by Patsy Clairmont
Joy Cometh in the Mailbag by Barbara Johnson
Pit Stop Coming Up! by Sheila Walsh
Playful People by Marilyn Meberg
Tilt Steering: Seeing Life From a Different Angle
The Fabulous Feast by Sheila Walsh
Treasured Differences by Patsy Clairmont
Dot-to-Dot Living by Barbara Johnson
The Eyes of the Heart by Luci Swindoll
The Road to Glory Ain't Always Easy
By Thelma Wells
Party of Four by Marilyn Meberg
Friendly Skies by Patsy Clairmont
Fire! by Thelma Wells
Rude Awakening by Sheila Walsh
Five-Finger Exercise by Luci Swindoll
Bountiful Blessings by Barbara Johnson
On the Run by Marilyn Meberg
Listen to Your Heart by Thelma Wells
Up, Up and Away by Luci Swindoll
Shaggy Friends by Sheila Walsh
The Most Powerful Perfume by Barbara Johnson
First Impressions by Thelma Wells
Trekkin' Down the Road: Potholes? What Potholes?
Horsin' Around by Patsy Clairmont
I Like Smart Women by Thelma Wells
Sing Your Lungs Out, You're Family
By Sheila Walsh
Just for Fun by Marilyn Meberg
Mere Inconvenience or Major Catastrophe?
By Luci Swindoll
Encouraging Words by Barbara Johnson
Ah, Sweet Repose by Thelma Wells
Flirting with Danger by Luci Swindoll
Whittling in the Woods by Marilyn Meberg
Offshoot by Patsy Clairmont
Who Am I? by Luci Swindoll
Snoozin' by Thelma Well
Elevated by Patsy Clairmont
Miles of Smiles: The Joys of Good Car Companions
Drunk Without Drinking by Barbara Johnson
Two Are Better Than One by Luci Swindoll
Traveling Chums by Patsy Clairmont
Wherever I Am by Marilyn Meberg
What's Under Your Hood? by Sheila Walsh
Keep Patching by Luci Swindoll
Daddy Harrell and the Prayer Meetin'
By Thelma Wells
Where'd You Get Those Eyes? by Barbara Johnson
Companions You Can Count On by Sheila Walsh
Eating with Gladness by Marilyn Meberg
Uncle Brother by Thelma Wells
Surprise Package by Barbara Johnson
Kooky Coworkers by Thelma Wells
Little Reminders by Barbara Johnson
Enjoy the View by Sheila Walsh
Z-Z-Z by Patsy Clairmont
Wide Load (I Beg Your Pardon!): Stuff We Get to, Want to, Have to Lug Through Life
Jumping the Gun by Thelma Wells
Alive Again by Luci Swindoll
Anxiety over the Unseen by Marilyn Meberg
I Could Be a Great Christian if. . . by Sheila Walsh
W-W-J-D? L-O-V-E! by Barbara Johnson
Missing in Action by Patsy Clairmont
Harmony by Thelma Wells
Freedom for Nothing by Marilyn Meberg
Barking Up the Wrong Me by Patsy Clairmont
I Remember It Well by Luci Swindoll
Storm Warning by Sheila Walsh
Let's Face It by Marilyn Meberg
God's Mouthpiece by Thelma Wells
Say "Cheese" by Patsy Clairmont
Let Mama out of the Trunk by Sheila Walsh
Fill 'er Up: Refueling Your Soul
Who Do You Be? by Marilyn Meberg
Brand Spanking New by Patsy Clairmont
Don't Take My Word for It by Luci Swindoll
Delightfully Deceived by Barbara Johnson
Take a Flying Leap by Sheila Walsh
My Shepherd by Thelma Wells
Start Dreaming by Luci Swindoll
Prompted by Patsy Clairmont
Refuel Us Again by Sheila Walsh
A Quiet Life by Luci Swindoll
Listen and Love by Barbara Johnson
Sleepless in Eternity by Marilyn Meberg
Ticked by Patsy Clairmont
Name Droppers by Barbara Johnson
Daddy by Marilyn Meberg
Closet Living by Barbara Johnson
Coming Home by Sheila Walsh