Last year, one of my dearest friends, Voudie Phillips, shared with me a gift uniquely created for her by her cousin, Diane, which in essence changed me and the way I bless people using all of the little scraps, cutouts and card making yard sale finds I have stuffed in zippy bags, baskets and hat boxes.
Her gift was filled with various types of tea, adorning tassels, beautiful card stock and a little love note. My obsession with pocket letters was born. I have made dozens and honestly have around 20 waiting in the wings ready to be personalized and stuffed. Often, I mail them to people in other states I have never met that I’ve heard blessed others.
Have you ever heard of a pocket letter? I had not, but being the modern Nana that I have become, I went on YouTube, researched them and off I set on my crafting ship of scraps, Scripture and stickers. A pocket letter is made from a trading cardholder. I prefer the nine pocket style, but I have used all sorts of sizes and assorted placements for the cards.
In essence, these are tiny gifts front, back side and inside each pocket that you fill up with notes, tiny gifts and pretty card stock. You decorate the entire thing in ribbon, beads, stickers and encouragement, make a coordinating envelope, add some more flair and there you have it, a pocket letter.
Perhaps the best part is the little notes you hide inside each cavity, which can be a prayer, a cartoon, sheet music or Scripture, whatever you feel will bless the recipient.
I have been meditating on joy, the joy of being who God says I am. As I have learned over the 40-plus years of being a Christian is when the Lord says not to do something it is for our own good and the good of others. So when you read “Do not” do this or that wisdom says, “Listen up.”
Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:25-34 “… do not worry about your life … and then do not worry about tomorrow.” Our Lord also tells us in John 14:27 “… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” My mini concordance of the Bible reads we are told not to fear 365 times, amazing. Do no fear. 365 times.
I could go on and on about what not to do when it comes to worry, anxiety and other joy-extinguishing emotional states, but instead, I am making you, my friendly sweet readers, a pocket letter for 2022 about what to do. Let’s have some fun, shall we?
Pocket 1 – 1 Chronicles 16: 8-36
Wondering what to do this year? A psalm of thanksgiving assigned to Asaph and relatives by King David gives a long list of what we should be doing with our prayers, our thoughts, our families, our lives.
Give thanks. Sing to God. Speak of his wonders. Glory in his name. Seek the Lord and his strength. Remember his wondrous works. Seek his face continually. Remember his covenant. Proclaim good tidings. Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Worship the Lord. Tremble before him. Rejoice and say, “The Lord reigns.” Bless the Lord. Praise the Lord. Wow!
Pocket 2 – Nehemiah 8:10
“… for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” What is the joy of the Lord? To me, this is the joy of knowing him intimately by spending time with him, listening to him, choosing the necessary like Mary, Martha’s sister, did by sitting at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:38-42), abiding in him, and also being filled with the holy spirit and his fruit. How can you not be joyfully strong when you are loved by and in love with the creator of everything?
Pocket 3 – Psalm 5:8
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may you shelter them, that those who love your name may exult in you.” Refuge is being safe and protected in yis shelter, haven, covering and protection. I’m thinking of the verse in Proverbs 18, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” Close your eyes and just meditate on that for a moment.
Pocket 4 – Psalm 107:22
“Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his works with joyful singing.” I am very familiar with the sacrifice of thanksgiving. When my body fails, my mind wanders, the engine stalls, the wind rips and tears, the thought of being thankful causes a headache, but in those very situations, being thankful and giving the Lord praise is more important than ever. Think about this for a time because it is easy to sing praises to gather God when the pantry has plenty and calm breezes blow, but when life stands straight up and sucker punches you in the spine, being thankful is more than a sacrifice. It is the very essence of finding a truly joyful song.
Pocket 5 – Proverbs 15:30
“Bright eyes gladden the heart; good news puts fat on the bones.” I looked into this deeply and my MacArthur Study Bible note reads, “Whatever is good, sound truth and wisdom stirs the heart by relieving anxiety and producing a cheerful face. Thinking of some sour-faced Christians I have known over the years, whatever is stirring your heart isn’t giving you a cheerful face, thus it is not attracting others to an always good, good God. As for the second part of that passage, I have fully padded bones that reveal more of the joy I find in eating white bread than knowing the bread of life.”
Pocket 6 – Luke 10:20
“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” I have nothing to add to that for this verse glitters and dazzles with the very words of Jesus and needs no embellishment from me.
Pocket 7 – 2 Corinthians 7:4
“Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.” OK, talk about the rubber meets the road. Paul is overflowing with joy in all his affliction, and was he ever afflicted. I have found joy in many circumstances that should have broken me, but it would be far-reaching for me to say my joy was overflowing. Sure, it may have trickled to others , but an overflow? What filled Paul with such comfort? I think he is referencing the work God was doing in the Corinthian lives because Paul loved them. When I face pain, another surgery or diagnosis I’ve started to remember that I am being made stronger through these trials. Most of all, I am working on my overcoming testimony, which hopefully will draw others to my Jesus. Let me tell you about my Jesus.
Pocket 8 – Philippians 4:4
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” RE means to repeat. So rejoice in the Lord always, have joy over and over and over and over again.
Pocket 9 Isaiah 35:10
This chapter in Isaiah is a favorite of mine. The last verse says, “And the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” “Look where you are going before you leave.” They taught us this saying in nursing school for use when transferring a patient with multiple tubes in and out of their bodies to various drains and machines in their rooms. I do this sometimes when I am in the quietness of God’s love. I look where I am going. Then I study and learn how to get there.
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to “cast your cares on Jesus because he cares for you.” Cast like in cast a line to fish, just casting that out there for you to catch. Cast that worry. Discard it. Get rid of it. Throw it away from your mind. In other words, do not keep worry, anxiety, fear, troubled thoughts from Jesus. Deposit them on him. I am sure he can handle it better than us, right?
Always remember to never forget to rejoice in the journey.
Pegi Bricker is a Seymour resident who has lived with multiple sclerosis for the past 18 years. Send comments to [email protected]