Professional Mourner or Professional Joy Generator?

By Mary Anne Benedetto

I recently learned that in some ancient cultures, it was common to hire professional mourners to wail at funerals. Also known as Feb 2013 Albany guy dinnermoirologists, their duties could possibly include delivering a eulogy or simply weeping, moaning and crying loudly.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that even in current times, there are Mediterranean, Near Eastern and other cultures who still participate in this practice.  In the U.K. someone established a business called Rent a Mourner!

Imagine crying and wailing and actually getting paid for your emotional outbursts of sorrow? I know some chronic complainers who would probably excel at and love that job.

As caring siblings, children, parents and grandparents, don’t we sometimes want to mourn the poor choices and resulting situations of loved ones? One lesson that God has recently been teaching me is that I simply can’t control what other people choose to do, although I’d like to. I so wish that I could pave the way for my loved ones to walk in the lighted pathway the Lord has planned for them and never detour, but I can’t accomplish that any more than my own parents could spare me from making less than stellar decisions during my teenage and young adult years.

So what can I do? I can be vigilant as their prayer warrior. I can literally get on my knees and pray that they won’t stray too far away and that their early upbringing will always bring them back into the loving arms of Christ. They were already forgiven at the cross.

Since prayer is really the only way I can help besides showing them tons of love and making sure they know they are in my daily prayers, I choose joy. I choose not letting the decisions and acts of others steal my joy. I choose remembering that I can’t dictate their actions, and so I will be a professional joy generator.

Nehemiah 8:10…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (NIV)

Philippians 1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Never Say Perfect Book CoverMary Anne Benedetto is a Certified Lifewriting Instructor and the author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Eyelash and Never Say Perfect. Please visit her at www.awriterspresence.com and www.maryannebenedetto.blogspot.com.

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Trusting in God Despite Our Circumstance

By June Foster

Habakkuk 3:17-19 are a couple of my favorite scriptures. The verses depict the prophet’s faith in the Lord despite his material circumstances. I think it would be interesting to put this into modern day language.

Here’s the original. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.

Now for the updated version. Though I don’t have the money to buy more than rice and beans at the grocery store, and I can’t pay my electric bill, though my car is sitting on empty, and I can’t find a job, though there’s very little food left in the cabinet, and only oatmeal to set on the table for my kids, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord will provide. He enriches my faith and opens the doors to His provisions. He supplies that job I need so badly and lifts me out of my poverty because I seek first the Kingdom of God.

I don’t believe this revision is merely an interesting exercise, but I think it has meaning for many. If this version brings a bit of hope, email me personally if you’d like. I’d love to hear your testimony. junefoster11@gmail.com

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012. June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

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