There are some people who are just firecrackers of joy.
One such person is famed Women Of Faith speaker and author Patsy Clairmont.
This past weekend, she came to southern New Hampshire to spread her unique and dynamic brand of merriment and charm and I am all the better for it.
Here are some of the highlights from my notes:
*We must relinquish our “right” to have all the answers from our sovereign God.
*Place yourself in a position to say “yes” to the Lord. Then do whatever He tells you to do, no matter how small. We always want to go straight to the “big” things but we must first be faithful with the little things. And know that when you say “yes” to Jesus, life does not become a bed of roses. Sometimes life will get really hard. This is life on a broken planet.
*Growing up in Jesus is a life-long process. As long as we have breath, we can still choose to say “yes” to Him. Change is always possible.
*If you are one who struggles with your mind and your mouth being godly, study what the Bible has to say on those subjects. Memorize His Word. Give Him a big “yes!” on these things. Then watch to see how your relationships are renewed and restored.
*Follow this prescription when you are worried or angry:
1.Refuse the ungodly thought.
2.Replace it with God’s Word.
3.Repeat as needed until your thoughts and words line up with God and His ways.
*Choose to believe His Word in the hard places, especially when it looks like things are not going to work out. We must trust that He is in it with us and will do good to us. Beware of going off in tangents in your mind. Stop allowing yourself to go to the worst case scenarios. That is not walking by faith.
*Cast down imaginations, things that are unlovely or ungodly. We constantly need the intervention of Philippians 4:8: “…fill your mind and meditate on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise not things to curse.” (The Message).
*We cannot base our perception of Jesus on our brokenness but on the truth of His Word.
*The truth is, we are in conflict with those who display the very qualities we have not owned. We need help with ourselves. Once we begin to own our stuff, He will give us “grace space” inside our hearts, which will tenderize our hearts toward that person.
*These four words have the possibility to change your life: EMOTIONS DON’T HAVE BRAINS. This was a quote from Marilyn Meberg and it has changed Patsy’s life. Emotions are not intended to think for us. They are not reasonable. Emotions have great significance but we cannot allow our feelings to dictate our response to life.
*Fear should never stop us. We need to go right through the middle of the fear to gain victory. His grace is sufficient for us.
*Jesus is our Need-Meeter. When we try to meet our own need, that need will turn to greed. Then you find you can never get enough, no matter what it is (food, money, sex, shopping). When you take your need to Jesus, He turns it to seed.
*Don’t be resistant toward those who tell you the truth. Don’t be afraid of truth. Own your stuff. In every heart, there is a cemetery of sorrow. Go in there every now and again and feel it, own it. That way, you can then minister and speak truth to others in love. Denial does not help anybody.
*Recognize that that cranky, obnoxious person who drives you crazy is in a lot of pain. That doesn’t make their behavior right, but life is hard. Be kind. Living out kindness in this harsh world is powerful. Enter tenderly into the lives of others because we do not know how they are suffering.
*Courage is telling the truth with your whole heart (a quote Patsy loved from an author named Renee Brown).
*Do all you can to stay in the Light of Christ.
*When the enemy tries to destroy your with his lies, rise up and say, “I refuse this in the mighty Name of Jesus.” Hide His Word in your heart so you can rehearse what He says is true of you.
*Don’t resist what God wants to do in your heart. Just start with “yes” to Jesus. Surrender to His divine purpose.
During the last hour of Patsy’s time with us, she took questions from the audience. She held the hand-written note cards in her hands and when she saw what was written on one of the last cards, she paused, a shadow of pain passing over her face that had just been creased in smiles a few moments before.
She then read these words, “ I am the mother of two teenage daughters and I have been diagnosed with a terminal disease. I am struggling to hold onto my faith.”
Still holding the card, Patsy looked out over the vast audience of women and asked, “Honey, if you are okay with this, can I ask if you would stand up? If you don’t want to do that, that’s okay too. We will still pray for you.”
At the very back of the room, a woman in her forties rose to her feet. Her eyes were dry, her shoulders pulled back straight.
My first thought was, “She doesn’t even look sick.” Just by looking at her, I never would have known anything was wrong.
Another reminder to never assume anything about anybody. We don’t know.
“Honey, would you mind coming up here to the front?”
The enormous room was silent as she walked up to the stage, every eye riveted on her face. The sounds of sniffles could be heard throughout the crowd. I think that every mama’s heart went out to that woman.
Patsy bent down to reach out and take this woman’s hand. She asked her name and the woman told her in a clear voice. Patsy then asked for some volunteers to come surround their fellow sister in Christ. Several women came to the front, wrapping their arms around her, stroking her hair.
Patsy prayed a most heartfelt prayer and as I looked at the scene before me, I realized anew that Jesus was in this place in a very special way. Until He returns and we are with Him physically, He asks His people to be His hands, feet, mouth, ears, and eyes for Him. Jesus was coming to this woman through the love of His women.
It was a beautiful sight of unity and love.
Once the woman walked back to her seat, everyone was wiping their eyes.
Patsy waited a beat, then said something funny, yet appropriate. That is a tough tightrope to walk, but she handled it with grace, class, and warmth.
We all gratefully exhaled. It was as if a fresh breeze rushed through that room, bringing the hope that Jesus so freely offers us like a balm to our souls.
“Laughter brings healing and allows us to breathe deeper,” Patsy said. “God created laughter. It helps us to survive. It has been said that children laugh 400 times a day while adults average only 15 laughs per day.”
Then she encouraged us, “If you have the ability to laugh, use your gift. People need it.”
I am so grateful that Patsy graced us with her gift of laughter and wisdom this past weekend.
She is truly a treasure.