If you’re happy and you know it shout Amen. Amen!

If you’re happy and you know it shout Amen. Amen!

If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it, If you’re happy and you know it, shout Amen

Amen!!

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Oh what happy times we had last night at the FMF Twitter party. I jumped in, skirted the edges of lively conversation, community in on~line relationships, sisterhood in Christ, the bond of scratching out words on paper. It’s a lovely place. A safe place for the writerly folk. Glancing from Twitter party in one hand and my current read in the other. Of course the chosen word would be HAPPY, many of us had recently closed the pages on The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee. There was much to celebrate. The release of Jennifer’s latest book and Kate Motaung’s two year anniversary hosting Five Minute Friday. Also, the upcoming release of Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories written in Five Minutes Flat. 

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Soon the phone dropped to the pillow, my novel lost somewhere in mounds of plush down, I faded out with a song on my lips.

If you’re happy and you know it clap you’re hands, stomp you’re feet, shout Amen! If you’re happy and you know it do all three.

Beckoned by sleep and dreams of long ago, I stood in a little white country church, singing loud. My teeny little self, in paten leathers and lace socks folded over just right. My smocked dress, black and white checked with a big red bow. My freckled face, and Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird) haircut.

Happy memories. Baptisms in the river. Kentucky Fried Chicken. Watermelon slices and hand churned ice cream. Happy times, before my world was ripped to shreds by the drink. Our very foundation shaken to the core.

Still, there were happy times. A loving, selfless mother gracing us with her wit and gift of laughter. Faithfully carrying us to church with scrubbed clean feet, and squeaky clean ears.

To find happy in the unholy hard, is hard. Takes a lens of grace. For days I have been haunted by Jennifer’s story of her time in Haiti. (Pages 256~258 in The Happiness Dare)

Filthy conditions, abandoned children, loved by strangers, lacking the most basic of needs.

“Every night, after dinner, the children lead their friends in prayer. Together they face each of the four walls of the orphanage and shout, ‘Le san de Jezi!’ They are praying the words The blood of Jesus to the north, south, east, and west. Afterward, they break out in songs of praise and thanksgiving…Instead of ending their days with if-onlys, they end their days with the head-to-foot alleluia. Their gratitude is contagious.”

Alleluias spread contagious, passed from the oldest to the least. Off in a distance early one morning,  Jennifer hears tiny voices from the baby room. Children beginning to wake, shouting one word: “Alleluia! Alleluia!”

Through lens of Grace there is happy. There is Jesus in the middle of unholy hard, abandoned  children, filthy conditions, undernourished, often sick, loved by strangers.

Through lens of Grace there is happy. A little girl in paten leathers and lace socks folded over just right, singing out loud, “if you’re happy and you know it.” Singing “Alleluia” in the unholy hard.

Today, there’s a woman, sits in her chair, racked with pain and spinning world. She walks the wilderness marathon, collecting gifts of grace. Peering through the lens of grace in the unholy hard, singing “Alleluia!”

Alleluia!

There I will go to the alter of God, to God-the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! ~Psalm 43:4

Singing “Alleluia!”

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn

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All proceeds from the book will be divided equally between two vital ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and the Ten Dollar TribeAnd you just may find me among the pages! “Alleluia!” What a blessing! Thank you Susan Shipe, Lisa-Jo Baker, and Kate Motaung.

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Also look for these two wonderful books at any major retailer!

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