Five Minute Friday – Happy

Five-Minute-Friday-4-600x600Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted… and that is wrong and sad. Fittingly, today’s Five Minute Friday word is Happy… and that’s just how I feel about posting again!

First of all… I’m excited about the release of a new book that many of my favorite writers are raving about. AND, Jennifer Dukes Lee has an awesome website… where you can take a Happiness Assessment (to see what kinds of things make you happy). Fun and free and well marketed šŸ˜€ I bought the book. And, I learned that I’m an Experiencer. Which, according to the description, is spot on.

Alright, on to FMF!

I think Happiness is something Jesus-followers often skim over. I mean, it’s all aboutĀ joy, right? Happiness is the superficial, shallow, lesser-emotion to be pursued only by those who don’t truly understand the gift of joy. I mean, surely, why would one pursue the carnal realities of happiness when you can haveĀ joy?Ā 

I don’t mean to downplay the beauty of joy. The deep-seated grace that comes and holds your hand regardless of life’s ups and downs. The gift that stays just as strong and available in heartache as well as celebration. The mercy that doesn’t rely on our circumstances, but rather on an inner peace and trust. Joy is precious.

But I’m beginning to wonder if happiness is as frivolous and un-holy as we’ve made it. Yes, we’ve watched many people sacrifice much, including their families, their jobs, their future… in the name of the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness has sometimes been devastating to everyone else.

The U.S. constitution even includes the right to the pursuit of justice alongside life and liberty! And that these unalienable rights are given to us by our Creator.

What? Our forefathers and foremothers believed that God gave us a human right to pursue happiness.

But wait… what aboutĀ our Biblical call to sacrifice? To take up our crosses and suffer? To die to ourselves? To not be conformed to the patters of this world (which often idolize personal happiness?) I imagine the Happiness Dare will address many of these questions and I’ll leave it to her book to unfold.

But it does make me realize the ways we’ve lost our way to happiness… in a healthy, God-gifted, humble way. I believe God delights in our delight, just as I am excited when my children enjoy life- the gifts I give them, the moments we spend together, etc. I’m afraid we’ve flushed happiness down the toilet in fear that we will want it, find it lacking, or find it addicting and lose our way. Instead, let’s face our fears, delight in the delightful, and experience the riches of joy and happiness as our Creator designed.

My {Dad} – The Defense Attorney

About seven years ago, my family endured a tragedy that led to the need for attorneys.

The defense attorney on the case of our loved one, in the name of creating “doubt,” began to insinuateĀ preposterousĀ ideas.

Like, perhaps the person charged in the case didn’t do his crime alone… perhaps one of us had helped!

How this aided his plan of proving the innocence of the accused is beyond me. But he was promptly asked to leave our home. (Yes, he made this suggestion in my home)

And he failed.

His client was proven guilty, we were proven innocent (even though the prosecutor never even questioned our involvement, or charged us of anything).

In fact, in the end, the position of the defense attorney to stretch his imagination and createĀ fictitiousĀ situations because his job was to “win” (as opposed to discover and uphold truth) brought me to a sad reality about the state of attorneys.

Or at least that one.

Then I looked at my dad… who also happens to be a defense attorney.

And breathed relief to know that his work is based on justice, not “winning,” on upholding and fulfilling law, not finding ways around it, and doing what’s right for the sake of right… and not the paycheck.

And there’s one more difference.

My dad pleads the cause of his clients… then offers to take their penalty.

Yeah.

He doesn’t make it sounds less than it is. He doesn’t exaggerate what isn’t. He doesn’t ask for an exception for his clients.

He looks truth in the eye… and when it deserves prison time… he takes it on himself.

If the client will let him.

You should be in the courtroom when that happens!

Imagine this. A murderer standsĀ on trial. My dad is his lawyer. The man is guilty and it’s proven. The charge is given… along with his punishment. Death.

My dad looks the judge in the eye. Looks at his client, defeated.

“Your Honor… I’d like take the punishment on his behalf.”

The courtroom is silent.

Then it uproars.

The guilty man just stands there stunned. Could he let this honest attorney take his place? Could he live knowing that this innocent man had died for whatĀ heĀ had done? If he returned to his “previous” lifestyle… would any other lawyer ever make this same offer? He imagined only a place like Hell awaited the likes of himself… the gates were within view.

The judge returns the strong gaze of my dad.

“Are you sure about that?” he asks.

My dad nods. Smiles at the guilty man. Love for another human.

“Then son… you may give your life for his,” the judge answers… tears in his eyes.

The room explodes in confusion. This isn’t justice! This is… kindness gone too far! Generosity that certainly isn’t for the pride of the giver. And did the judge say son? What kind of soap-opera insanity is going on here?

But it’s not a soap-opera… though for some, it is insanity.

The bailiff steps forward. Handcuffs the hands of innocence. Opens the door of freedom for the guilty. Ushers my dad to his fate… his chosen fate. His fate of love for others. Self-less. Unheard of.

That’s my dad.

He’s taught me more than I could ever truly live… without his constant whispers. His hand in mine. His voice. His tender ways of walking me through life. Never alone.

Not even when he gives his life over for a criminal.

But you’ll have to find out how that works on Wednesday… my last day of this series of posts. Ā šŸ™‚

I know, right?

Do you need a defense attorney? If you were to stand before a judge… ruling over your thoughts, beliefs, actions… your treatment of others, your taxes, your driving record, every minute of raising your children, marriage, your work life, your honesty, integrity… every exam you ever took… where do you need a defense attorney?

I know a good one.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Fatherā€”Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1-2

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 29 of 31 Days in 2012.

Law or Life?

Four kids.

One sister.

3 hour drive.

Naptime.

No parent will blame my husband for his excessive speed on the road to visiting his dad.

The police officer had something different to say about it.

Whoops.

That’s the thing, right? You think that speeding will get you there faster… but a policeman can really slow things down. I figure, drive the speed limit, don’t get stopped by the police, and get there in good time.

But that’s not my husband’s story and I digress. šŸ™‚

The policeman asked for registration, insurance and license. He went to his car, as they do, to make you quiver in your seat with all of the anxiety that a ticket of that magnitude can bring. Especially when you’re wondering what your wife will say. (I stayed home to work)

Dang it.

The policeman returned and said, “Well, it’s your birthday (it was) and all of your kids are buckled (they were!) soooo I’m not going to give you a ticket for speeding.”

He did give a ticket for not having the registration in the car. Can we complain? It was on my desk at home. Nice.

Anyway, my husband humbly and gratefully thanked the officer.

“Sir, I will obey the law and not speed from now on,” said my husband genuinely.

“It’s not just about the law,” the officer replied, “If you get into an accident at that speed, at least one of you is going to die.” He glances back and the loves of my life sitting like angels in their seats.

*Sting*

His words hit home. My husband realized the potential cost of “15 extra minutes” and it wasn’t worth it.

As he relayed that story to me, I couldn’t help but think of the many times I’ve turned to God and pledged, “Lord, I’ll never do it again!” or “I’ll obey you, really I will!” I meant it.

But God responded, “Marcy, it’s not just about following my laws. It’s about YOU. It’s about THEM. I love you and don’t want you hurting yourself. I love them and don’t want them to be hurt.”

It’s not just about the law. It’s about people. It’s about love. It’s about our actions demonstrating our care for them as much as our words claim to. It’s about the best interest of others. It’s about our own good.

How often I turn it into simple obedience and duty, forgetting the heart behind the decree.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3