Joni Parsley Daydream Believer
Tuesday, May 08, 2018
After so much of that, I became resentful and angry at others but mostly myself. Why did pleasing people matter so much? Why did approval of others matter and why did I never upset the apple cart when I had every right to? I kept shrinking away while creating this supermom and killing myself to do so. I wanted my husband and kids to think I was amazing, and even though I enjoyed all of my endeavors, my digging uncovered what it cost later in life and more importantly, who and what I lost.
Filed In: Encouragement, Prayer, Grievance, Guidance, Praise Report, Salvation, Our Nation, This & That |  |   0 Comments
Monday, July 29, 2013

It feels odd to get back to life when it looks unrecognizable. After the death of someone or a significant loss, how can we get back to “usual” when “usual” doesn’t exist anymore? There is this empty space where a person belonged and everything that went along with them. That void takes your heart to the pit of your stomach at the very thought of their absence. Life is supposed to go on but it feels like it does so in slow motion.

There are stages to grief and I’ve read about them and gone through them, but I think it’s personal; different for each individual. I really don’t feel that psychology got the science down to five stages and that’s it. I also don’t agree with people who say that grief is an enemy and should be rebuked like the common cold. I know that grief, left unchecked and uncommitted into the healing hands of our Savior, can become a problem that shows up in many other ways. Nonetheless, the scriptures give us permission to have a season to grieve.

We are humans that hurt; we feel pain. If we can’t feel pain ourselves then we can’t feel it for others. God knew what separation felt like and made provisions for us to have a time of mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). We have permission! We can reflect, remember, and feel all our feelings and yet, are in the recuperative company of the Comforter when we do so…we are never alone even when we feel like we are.

In 2 Samuel 12:23, David said something that was and is so significant. After the death of his son, he returned from the tabernacle where he’d worshiped the Lord. He told his aides, who were amazed by his resolve, this enduring truth regarding the loss of his son, “I shall go to him, he shall not return to me.”

One might ask, how could someone worship God after the death of their baby? I believe David was thanking God that his sins were forgiven and that he had the hope of heaven and would see his son again. That is something to think about! What a hope we have…and that hope WILL be a reality! This life is but a moment but eternity is FOREVER!

God’s word is tethered to our hearts in times like these…we just have to tug! I can hurt but also proclaim, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). I can also feel afraid…yes, I said it!

C.S. Lewis wrote, what I believe is a definitive work on the subject of grief in, “A Grief Observed.” It was written after the loss of his beloved wife and reminds me of a psalm in its painful honesty and moments of questioning. He said, “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” The uncertainty of life changing so drastically, after loss, is frightening; the fear of an unplanned future that suddenly visited us is daunting.

However, fear is one of God’s specialties! Just the faith of a mustard seed can know He holds tomorrow and today and the next five minutes we don’t think we can even breathe through. Jesus was called, “The Man of Sorrows.” He was well-acquainted with grief and our sorrows cannot compare. But, His love answered the distant cries of our hurting hearts and He bore it all on the Cross…He didn’t have to but He did it anyway. In our hardest moments, we can look to Him and that undeniable love and know He will give us “beauty for ashes” and “that He heals the brokenhearted.”

What God gives in this life cannot be described, much less comprehended. But it doesn’t end here… so we can’t act like it does. I have - I admit it! In my life, there have been those moments where I felt like I couldn’t take another breath…but I did and I wasn’t breathing alone.

"Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27

Filed In: Prayer, Grievance, Prayer Cloth |  |   8 Comments
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This is a moment at a keyboard I never wanted... but the time has come. The Parsley family is sharing this news with our family, friends, associates, partners, church and ministry families that, after a long physical battle, our beloved Mr. James Parsley (Pastor Rod’s father) is carrying out his final days on this earth and is preparing to be received into the arms of his Savior very soon. He is currently resting peacefully surrounded by his loving family. Mr. P’s wonderful team of medical professionals confirmed what we already knew in our hearts.

We have released our dear loved one to join his daughter, and a host of others waiting, in the Heaven that is his reward for a job well done. He has enjoyed eighty wonderful years on Earth’s journey and now deserves to reach his eternal destination. Though our hearts are heavy, as we enter our season and time to grieve so beautifully described in Ecclesiastes, we are comforted knowing that he’s going home in the truest sense of the word. He’s been asking us to go home for a while and now… he finally gets his wish. What a welcome he is going to have!

I’m sharing this news because you are important to me and I’d like to ask for your prayers and support. Please pray for my husband and children, my mother-in-law and niece - our family is small but "strong in the Lord and the power of HIS might." Through God's grace, we are doing well as we lean on each other and most importantly, the everlasting arms of our Heavenly Father.

Obviously, I won’t be posting this week’s blog or commenting. I will be huddled together with my family, in these final hours, as we are wrapped in the comfort of the precious Holy Spirit. At an appropriate time, I’ll be writing a tribute to a great man, husband, father, father-in-law, and Grandpa (his favorite title of all!) and will share it with you, of course.

Thank you for your kindness as always. Please feel free to leave any thoughts, prayers, or words in the comment section. I’ll be reading every few days.

May God bless you with the warmth of His love…it’s what Fathers do best.

Filed In: Prayer, Grievance |  |   22 Comments
Friday, June 07, 2013

Perhaps it’s just me but does anyone else have their fair (or maybe unfair) share of difficult people to deal with?! I’m surprised I have a tongue left since I have to bite it so much to keep from saying what I’d really like to! Oh, the conversations I’ve had or the speeches I’ve rehearsed to these people…all in my mind and after the fact, of course! It’s in moments where they’ve said or done the exasperating; where attempting to engage in a rational conversation about the issue at hand is as impossible as eating chocolate for every meal and staying a size 2! (And if you can do that, you’ve just made my list of difficult people!)

Okay, don’t start wondering who I’m talking about…I’ll never tell! Let’s face it; all of us encounter difficult people in a day. It can be anywhere from someone you know to someone you don’t. You know the ones - the rude cashier, the discourteous driver, the impolite server at a restaurant and let’s not start on those who work at the BMV! I’d rather get a root canal than go to the BMV - it’s much less painful! More and more people have offensive behavior and so the offensive list goes on. The key word is offense. If we’re not careful we can be the ones to get offended and carry around quite a “chip on our shoulder”. Our guard goes up and our walls don’t come down.

There is one solution and I don’t always like it...but I need it. There are times when I want to “say a thing”! Not long ago, I was checking out at a store and the cashier was so rude. It was one thing after another and topped off with, “I can barely read your name on your credit card; I’ll have to see your ID.” Not usually a big deal but she took my driver’s license and examined it like the FBI and held up the picture to my face to make sure we were a match. I was getting embarrassed since it looked like I was a suspicious character trying to use a stolen credit card. Finally, she gave me the okay and then complained that she couldn’t hear me along with a few more things when I asked for a receipt. Yikes, as if! I thought for a minute and looked at her. I wanted to tell her how rude she was and that she should get a job as a prison guard or something! But then I wondered what her life could be like. Was she angry, was she tired, was she in a bad marriage, did she have teenagers (that could make anyone cranky!), was she verbally or physically abused, did she have financial problems? Moreover, could I have compassion instead of anger? Sigh…what would Jesus do?! We know the answer. We may not like the answer but we know it, nonetheless. So I kept my mouth shut, thanked her and wished her a happy weekend. Then I left and remembered the sage wisdom of a friend who told me to “always answer with prayer".

Prayer has a way of adjusting our attitudes. It’s when we approach God that we're reminded that He is love and we were made in that image. We were made in the image of love. In prayer, we open our hearts to receive Him and in His presence so consequently, bitterness, negativity, and offenses can’t remain. Those gloomy feelings melt away in the warmth of the light and love of His reparative presence. If our Redeemer said our sins are cast into “the sea of forgetfulness” then we only have one choice. We have to allow those offenses from others to drown in that sea of redemption and forgiveness too. Where would we be without our Savior’s redemption? (I don’t even want to know!)

Oh, but sometimes this forgiveness thing is so hard! We’re hurt, injured, upset and feel like throwing that offense a life-preserver before it drowns! We need it to stay around a little longer in order to justify our words or actions…um, I admit it - guilty! On the other hand, I’m not saying to be a doormat, but we do need a filter not a fit! When we just stop a minute before reacting, we can let the God in us overpower the “us” in us!

There are times we can tell someone that they’ve said or done something hurtful, especially those we know and have relationships with. It still can’t change our response in the end. We may not get the “I’m sorry” that we want or deserve but we don’t get a “get out of jail free card” either. Our right to be right ended the day we asked Jesus to be Lord; we had to give up the throne!

Yeah, yeah…I get it. "But what about my hurt feelings?" Well, well, well…Your feelings matter because YOU matter. He loves you through that hurt and harm and tends to your wounds and bruises. We must quiet down long enough to think of how we need Him so then, we can let Him. To let means to let go…let it ALL go! God has big shoulders and He can bear anything!

People can be thoughtless and careless for many reasons. Praying for these difficult people keeps our hearts right and therefore, ready to receive from God. I was hurt just this week by someone I care about (and isn't that the hardest kind?). While I was driving, I began to pray and this scripture came to me, “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 English Standard Version). It worked!

I’ll tell you what happened next week! We’ll also find out who’s doing the fighting in “The War of the Roses”…tune in next week for Part Two!

Filed In: Encouragement, Forgiveness, Prayer, Guidance, This & That |  |   14 Comments
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I AM PRAYING! When such tragedy and disaster strikes, I feel so helpless. I'm sitting miles and miles away watching the unthinkable happen before my eyes. I cannot do one thing except the best thing...PRAY! God KNOWS what we cannot, can DO what we cannot, and MOVE where we cannot. There is no better relief plan than His.

People are dealing with loss on so many levels and it's hard to wrap my mind around it all. To think that someone gets up in the morning and later that day, their house is gone, their neighborhood is gone, and worst of all, people are gone. When I saw the parents gathering at that school, my heart ached. Imagine the terror of trying to get to your children through a tornado and breathlessly wondering if they're okay...some were not.

Where do we put these feelings? Isaiah 53:4 is a good start. "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried." We can pray knowing God is faithful to His Word and will carry the sufferings of those affected by this devastating event. We can stand strong for those who are struggling in the most adverse of circumstances. I want them to know they are NOT alone!

I'm asking you to show what the family of God is like by leaving three words in the comment section...I AM PRAYING! I'd like to see hundreds of these messages of prayerful support to those suffering right now. We are moved with compassion for our brothers and sisters...and we are praying.

Filed In: All Posts, Prayer, Our Nation |  |   23 Comments


About Joni

Thanking God for blessings too many to list. He is my all and my always-the glory and the lifter of my head... He never fails.

Why the Name

"For a child, it’s as easy as blowing out candles on a cake, or wishing upon a star. But as for one of those 'grown-ups,' 'No dream comes true until you wake up and go to work.' " ...