I have a friend who is 72 years old, and even with her highest heels on she can only be measured at a whopping 5 feet tall. She weighs 98 pounds soaking wet.
However, this miniscule friend doesn't wear high heels often because she has had numerous surgeries on her tiny feet. Finally, the doctors cut one of her toes off to relieve her of her constant foot pain. She is my 9-toed friend.
When she goes to get a pedicure, her sweet husband always says to her, "Make sure that they only charge you 90 percent of the full price!"
This tiny woman is my wise mentor, my stable role model, my dynamic heroine of the faith, my relentless prayer warrior and my deeply loved spiritual sister. I want to be like her when I grow up.
My friend's hands are becoming increasingly crippled due to the tendons that are shrinking in her hands. She suffers from horrific back pain most nights.
However, when I went to visit her last February, this tiny, gray-haired, pain-ridden woman wore me out with her daily giving.
On Monday, a restored woman came to the house and spent three intense hours with us. This woman, who was our honored guest on a rainy afternoon, has lived a life of drug addiction and prostitution but now has gloriously met Jesus as her Lord and Savior. My tiny friend is weekly discipling this 21st-century Mary Magdalene and is pouring wisdom over her dry soul.
On Tuesday, we went to the church to pray for a wheelchair-bound woman who has been diagnosed with both MS and Lou Gehrig's disease. We spent two hours praying with her, laughing with her, singing with her and weeping with her. It was two hours that I will never forget as long as I live.
On Wednesday, my tiny friend helped her daughter prepare lunch for 20 women who were coming over for a Bible Study. In the midst of the preparations of chicken salad, homemade soup and lemon squares, my role model slipped away to pick up a nearly blind younger woman and bring her to that Bible Study.
On Thursday, we drove "across the bay" to have lunch with a 94-year old woman whose husband had recently died. This great-great grandmother was dressed like a fashion icon from the 1940s. Her make-up was impeccably applied, her red-gold hair was freshly done and her silk scarf was tied in a fascinating manner.
Over crab cakes and unsweetened iced tea, this nearly century-old woman, regaled us with the stories of her man who had fought on the beaches of Normandy. There was a sparkle in her eyes as she spoke lovingly of her sweetheart who had loved her well for over 60 years.
On Friday, my dear friend and kindred spirit took me shopping. She showered me with new clothes and shared about the richness of the Lord with the clerk who waited on us and then prayed for this single mother right there in the middle of a fine Southern department store.
Joy is a byproduct of giving. If you are lacking joy this month of November, perhaps you should develop a lifestyle of giving.
There is a world in pain who needs your brand of joy—your strain of hope—and your prayers of power.
When you give to others, you will be the recipient of an unexplainable, dynamic and vibrant joy!
If you lack joy, give what you don't have to someone else.
If you don't understand joy, give a smile to someone in need.
If you resent others who have joy, buy a person a cup of coffee.
Give when you don't feel like it.
Choosing to give to others is the prerequisite for receiving the inheritance of joy.
Make the month of November not only a season of thanksgiving giving but also a time for simply giving to others in your world. Don't let anyone out-give you this month. Every day of this month that is known for heartfelt gratitude, make an intentional choice to give a blessing to someone you meet.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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