Thursday, December 20, 2018


My One Word for 2018 is joy. I had been praying for my son to have true joy and felt God telling me that I needed to find it too. I was excited to begin to focus on where real joy comes from: the Lord. Happiness is circumstantial but joy comes from knowing the Lord and having salvation.

January 1st, I begin to look up Scriptures that talk about joy with the intention of memorizing them. I was determined to keep my joy no matter what circumstance came my way. Not even a month into the new year and my study of my One Word, we received a call that my mother-in-law unexpectedly passed away. Losing my mother-in-law and the pain it brought was a punch in the gut that tried so hard to steal my joy.

Fast-forward to this summer when news spread of the sudden passing of Wynter Pitts. While I didn't know Wynter personally, I had worked on her book launch teams and followed her ministry and family for quite awhile. I ached for her family. Wynter was my exact age and knowing she passed away from a massive heart attack scared me and threatened to steal my joy.

Just weeks after Wynter's passing, a local church van crashed killing three teens and injuring many more. We know the pastors and some of the families and seeing their pain was heartbreaking. My joy was once again threatened.

About six weeks ago my grandfather was rushed to the hospital with a massive headache and high blood pressure. We found out he would need open heart triple, possible quadruple, bypass surgery. The family was terrified. I remember kissing his cheek before surgery praying it wouldn't be the last time I ever saw him. My joy was threatened. My grandfather came through surgery and was doing well. His heart strong and blood pressure normal. But while in the hospital his leg stopped working, making him unstable on his feet. Because of this he wasn't able to go home, but had to go to a nursing home for rehab. After finally going back home, he was rushed to the hospital again only three days later due to bleeding and low blood pressure and spent another week in the hospital. Seeing him hurt physically and emotionally and seeing him in these facilities crushed me and threatened my joy.

A month ago a dear friend called to say her husband was in a car accident and life-flighted to a hospital in another state. Both hips broken, leg broken, ribs broken, and mangled foot which ended in a leg amputation. Knowing all this family has already been through and the long road that lies ahead, my joy was threatened.

Each time a crisis arose and I felt my joy being threatened, felt the enemy coming in to steal it, I turned to God. I said words that hurt to say in the moment, but were more true than ever: God, please work a miracle, but even if, I will still praise You and keep my joy.

Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

Things will happen in life that feel like they are going to crush us. We will grieve. We will face trials. But we can keep our joy through it all because we have a hope and a future with God. Even if He chooses not to move the mountain we are facing, He is still good and we can trust He is doing what is best. We can have faith that through it all, He will never leave us and He will never forsake us. This is how we keep our joy. This is how we can praise Him in all circumstances.

Friends, whatever you are facing today, whatever is threatening to steal your joy, turn the Lord for your strength. Let Him be your joy.

My One Word, joy, was such a struggle this year but I know beyond everything that God was beside me every step of the way as He whispered, "My child, just rest in me."

Through all of the pain and heartache, I am grateful for a year to learn about true joy. I am still praying on my One Word for 2019 and look forward to sharing it with you soon.

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