My friend Donna is so very different than me. Our upbringings were poles apart. She’s educated. I’m not. She’s got a beautiful singing voice. I howl. (It’s a joyful howl, but still. ) She’s tall. I’m…not. So very different. And yet the Lord not only allowed our paths to cross, but for our hearts to connect on a deep level and I’m so thankful. She is the one who taught me how to scrapbook and make cards. And today she shares her testimony.
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My Happy by Donna Petrie
Recently I bought some items for my hobby, which is preserving pictures and mementos of my family in albums. Included in this grouping of purchased items, was the trendy saying: “You are my happy!” This paper title made me stop and think, “What would I put on the page of my
album that was titled “You are My Happy!”
So here are my thoughts.
My first picture on my scrapbook page, shows a 4 year old little girl on a large cruise ship, about to cross the gangplank and make her home in a new country, Panama. Her sister has contracted the mumps while aboard ship and is wearing a scarf in order to avoid questions. Rioters are waving signs and are yelling at the little girl, her sister and her parents. But the little 4 year old has childlike faith in her parents’ ability to take care of her, and she also knows that
her family is going to Panama to tell people about Jesus and Jesus will take care of her and her family.
My next scrapbook memory is that same little girl-not much older. She is at home, sick in bed and missing church. The 5-year old little girl is staring at the light on the pink styrofoam wall of her bedroom. It is pink because when remodeling her termite-ridden house, built on stilts, the workers ran
out of drywall and so painted the insulation of her room. She remembers staring at that light fixture, jutting out from the wall, and crying. She knew that because of her wrong-doings, her personal dirty, hidden faults, Jesus died a horrible death on a cross. She called for her mom, sobbing, and they talked and prayed. She asked Jesus to forgive her and she desired to follow Him.
Five and a half years later, the setting of the picture is different but it is the same girl. The girl is a preteen and she has moved back to the United States and now realizes what it means to have Jesus as her best friend. The girl didn’t have any friends and she was facing a new school, a new neighborhood, a new church and a new culture. Yet she knew that she could trust Jesus to go with her wherever I went. She was never alone.
I have one last “Happy Place” picture to glue (acid-free of course) down on my scrapbook page. This is a teenage girl, back from a church youth group retreat. All of her friends are crying and getting up to speak in front of the congregation. The friends are telling everyone, how Jesus changed their lives. The teenager is sitting in the corner, wondering if she will go to heaven when she dies. She doesn’t have any miraculous stories about before Jesus “saved” her. She didn’t do anything to earn her way to heaven. It seemed too easy, for a 5 year old to ask Jesus to forgive her…she had it too good-always knowing that Jesus loved her, loved her enough to die for her and He was always there for her, always with her.
But it was true.
She knew this then and she knows this now-that Jesus loves her and forgives her.
You see that little girl is me. Jesus is my Hope and daily I recognize that He is “my Happy”.
When circumstance are not happy, and my thoughts are not “happy” thoughts, I can still trust Him and find my happy place in Him-not in myself. And when I feel I am not capable of doing this, I can ask Jesus to help me to trust Him.
(Look at these pages from Donna’s scrapbook! Wasn’t she an adorable five year old? <3 )
With love and gratitude,