God’s Heavenly Hat Shop

Ahwhat charm! What elegance! What class! Nothing compares to a lady in her hat. We love them allbig, bold, bright, beautiful, wide brim, straw, canvas, floppy, jeweled, or lace. We wear hats for every occasiongardening, shopping, going to church, to the ball game, or just working around the house. In the temporal sense, we select them very carefully to accessorize our attire; each hat must look and feel right.

The entertaining children’s book, Caps for Sale,1shares a humorous illustration of a merchant wearing scores of hats stacked on top of his head as he walks through the fictitious town attempting to sell his wares. This image reminds me of the many hats that we, as women, often wear in a single day.

The sheer number (and variety) of hats we are called to wear can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, we understand the value of each one, and treasure the identity and direction that each provides. As mothers, we daily don the hats of supervisor, adviser, nurse, counselor, disciplinarian, comforter, teacher, and homemaker. We wear the cook’s hat, the maid’s hat, the banker’s hat, and hats of sisters, daughters, wives, lovers, and friends. Unmarried women wear the additional hats of breadwinners and sometimes the “Dad” hat.

Each hat we wear requires a different skill set and demands an intense level of responsibility. While we treasure the identity, the focus, and the protection our hats provide, the weight of each can often drain us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But, our God understands. As the Great I Am, He too wears different hats. He promises to be whatever we need Him to be, and to help us manage all He has entrusted to us. In God’s Heavenly Hat Shop, He freely supplies whatever is needed to accessorize our lives, because He knows what we need andwhat we desire. Here we can find:

  • A shiny helmet of salvationis available to protect our thoughts and imaginations from the daily battles in our minds (see Ephesians 6:17).
  • A crown of loving kindnessis available to beautify us with salvation and lift our heads from feelings of loneliness and insecurity (see Psalms 103:4).
  • A beautiful headdress of glory is offered in place of ashesto replace moments of sadness; as the oil of gladness anoints us with good things (see Isaiah 61:3 ).
  • A feathery wing coveringcan be found to shield us during potentially dangerous situations (see Psalms 91:4).
  • A beret of peace is offeredfor seasons of stress and difficulties(see Isaiah 26:3).
  • A blood-red bonnet is available when faced with illness and life-threatening circumstances (see Exodus 12:13; Romans. 4:7)
  • A fedora of favoris free for seasons of transition. It illuminates when we enter new settings—employment, church, and social circles (see Psalms 5:12; 23:5; 84:11).
  • A Holy Spirit headpiecesupplies a covering of wisdom and guidance; and cloven tongues of fire cover our prayers with leadership and comfort during times of confusion and grief (see Acts 2:3-4; Romans 8:26-27).
  • Finally, the victor’s crownis freely given when personal, physical, financial, and spiritual struggles and loss have been overcome. This covering of gold and jewels epitomizes our royalty as His daughters (see Revelation 3:21).

So, welcome to God’s Heavenly Hat Shopwhere all needed covering is free—regardless of marital, financial, or social status. This Divine Millinery is open and He will personally custom-fit each and every customer. He has you covered and the hats look good on you!

Notes:

1 Slobodkina, Esophyr. Caps for Sale.New York: Harper & Row, [1985], ©1947.

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The Joy Exchange

We can all relate to standing in the dreaded “Returns” line at the department store, attempting to bring something back that just isn’t right. Whether it wasn’t the right fit, the right color, or the right style, you wait in line for what seems like an eternity. In fact, you are sure you have sprouted a few gray hairs while you were waiting.

Finally, your turn at the counter arrives. “I would like to exchange this, please,” you say, in as cheery a voice as you can muster. With a straight-faced glare, the clerk asks for your receipt. A degree of panic sets in as you realize that you forgot it. You try to explain that the item reallydidcome from this store, but in all of the hustle and bustle of life, you simply forgot the receipt.

With the same straight-faced glare, and without a word, the clerk points to a sign on the wall beside you. It says: “No receipt.Noexchange. Noexcuses!” The exchangedoor slammed shut, and there seems to be no way around it.

Make the Exchange

Have you ever felt like there was no way to have joy in your life? I don’t mean happiness, but true joy—not something that comes from a pleasant circumstance or a feeling, but from a deep place residing within your spirit. Maybe you have had a tough life; things happened to you that shouldn’t have. Maybe you have done things that you are just not proud of. Perhaps you have been trying to do all the “right things,” but everything seems to turn out wrong. You feel like everyone and everything is against you.

Let me tell you, with all certainty, that when you feel like there is no one out there who cares, there is One who will take your hurts and troubles in exchange for His joy…and no receipt is required!

One of my favorite praise and worship songs is “Trading My Sorrows,” by Darrell Evans.1

I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord
I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord

It’s a catchy tune, and I have sung the words probably a hundred times. I hadn’t really thought much about what I was singing until the day the Lord showed me what the words truly meant. I remember thinking, “So I just have to lay down those things that are troubling me; just give them to the Lord in exchange for His joy?”

God spoke to my spirit and said, “Yes, it’s that simple!”

You see, He has already put within us exactly what we need. Joy is in us! We just need to give up whatever gets in the way of letting the joy flow freely in our lives. Once we lay down the burdens, we can begin to walk in the joyof the Lord.

Having joy in hard times seems counterintuitive. How can we be joyful when we’re troubled? Again, it goes back to the simplicity of following the Lord, of giving Him our troubles, and allowing Him to be Lord of our lives. First Peter 5:7 says: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you”(KJV). He desires for us to give Him those things that are troubling. In essence, He wants to lighten our load.

God, and all things that come from Him, are described as being light. Conversely, the enemy, and all things that come from him, are described as being dark. Psalms 30:5 tells us that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning”(NKJV). Friends, when we find ourselves in the darkest places of sorrow and weeping, we have a promise of getting through it. Our joy is in His light, and His light pierces the darkness. What happens when even the smallest flicker of light is introduced into a dark room? That’s right; the darkness must scatter! You see, darkness stands no chance against The Light!

The Bible gives us so many examples of joy and explains how we can achieve it, how it will work in our lives, and where to find it. Let’s take a look at just a few verses:

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You” (Psalms 5:11 NKJV). God will exchange your fear for joy, when you trust in Him.

“My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You because You have redeemed me” (Psalms 71:23 HCSB). Joy is found in our praises to the Lord.

“This is the day the Lordhas made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”(Psalms 118:24 NKJV). Knowing that we are living for Him, we can walk in joy for He has given us this day.

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lordis your strength”(Nehemiah 8:10b NASB). Even when we are going through difficult situations, we can find the strength we need that comes from His joy.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”(Romans 15:13 NIV). God can make us joyful and hope-filled!

When you exchange a garment that’s too big or is not the right color for that “just right” item…it’s a great feeling. When we exchange our sorrows for the true joy found in Him, nothing will compare and we’ll know it’s just the right fit! The exchange is complete…no hassle and no receipts required!

God really does desire for you to live a joyful life that is filled with so much more than circumstantial happiness. Take the time to look around you. What has God given you that brings joy to your life? If you are having a hard time seeing where the joy is, I encourage you to start a “joy journal.” Begin by thinking about one or two things that bring you joy, and why. Write them down. Try to do this every day. Before you know it, the journal will be filled and the world around you will start looking brighter!

Notes:

1 Darrell Evans, “Trading My Sorrows,” from the album Freedom, Vertical Music, 1998.

 

 

Still Dreaming

Can God trust you with a delayed dream? The great American poet, Langston Hughes, asked: What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run?…1 Scripture states: “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12 KJV). Unfortunately, life circumstances have a […]

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Healing in God’s Storehouse

At the age of fifty-nine, I was leading a healthy and active life. I had a full-time job, enjoyed taking weekend road trips, went hiking with friends, and loved spending time with my children and grandchildren. As if I weren’t busy enough, I also eagerly served in multiple ministries with my church family. In the […]

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Healing Grace

Born-again believers are empowered with God’s grace to heal others. Jesus said, “These signs shall follow them that believe; in my name they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17 KJV). In other words, if you have confessed Jesus as Lord—that He died and redeemed you from sin—you are authorized and […]

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Israel: Where The Love Story Begins

The Bible shares the love story of God and His people. This story, and our Christian faith, are founded in Israel. In life, when you care about someone, you want to know more about them. This trip was a way to share in the journey—to see where Jesus grew and began His ministry, to visit […]

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Beauty for Sale

It seems to me that nearly every billboard, magazine headline and television commercial practically shouts “Beauty for Sale!” From silky-smooth-shiny hair to tantalizing toes, and all points between, there appears to be a product, procedure, potion or pill to create or enhance beauty. As a woman who has weathered many seasons, I feel particularly concerned […]

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Creating Spaces

God loves creativity! He Himself is creative – Just look around at this amazing world that He has made for us. I love Romans 1:20 because it explains clearly to us that ever since God created the world, His everlasting power and deity (however invisible) have been there for the mind to see in the […]

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Isaiah 43:18-19

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The Creation of She Blossomed:

Karla Dornacher, the creator of this art piece, shares the story behind this beautiful piece of art: Some of the leaves in the flowers are collaged from vintage sheet music and some are from the story of Joseph in the Bible. It’s through the combination of God’s Word and “worship” that we are truly able […]

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