by Donna Fender
Guest Contributor

It took me by surprise but yet it didn’t. After he was gone for a few hours, I knew it was not a good sign and I was right.

After three days of confirmation from various men and women, it happened. Life was flipped upside down. Everything we had known for over 7 years was suddenly ripped away and we stood there, with heavy hearts waiting to see what was next. 

A new church, a new church family, new traditions, and lots of change. Our normal collapsed and I am not going to lie…there were days when I felt like my joy was gone.

Joy has been a big part of my life for a long time

Joy is a lifestyle for me, just like worship is a lifestyle for me….joy goes beyond just being happy. Stability brings me joy. Stability brings me comfort. But all that was stable and safe for 7 years changed this year. But yet, I remain joyful. I rejoice in the unstable.

So where does joy really come from?

Habakkuk 3: 17-19 says this:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.

Basically, the Bible says this….even though all that was and is normal may fall apart….Rejoice!

Even when the foundation of stability cracks….Rejoice!

Even when death sneaks in and takes a loved one….Rejoice!

Even when the checking account seems to be barren…..Rejoice!

Even when physical pain slows down our plans….Rejoice!

And especially when things are good….Rejoice!

See, joy is a lifestyle because it has become my motto….Jesus first, Yourself last and Others in between. So, as our family looks to the future we are expectantly waiting to see what is to come. The “stuff” surrounding our past traditions will look a bit different, of that I am sure. But the joy that is in our hearts and spelled out on a sticker in the back window of my car,  is very much the same.

But don’t miss the last verse…it’s important. As the sure footed deer scaled the side of the mountain without slipping, so our faith in Jesus allows us to endure the hardships of life when things are no longer normal. Joy doesn’t mean an easy life or even a happy one….but it does keep us full so that when trials come, we don’t slip.

So, as we walk through this thing called life…sing joy to the world! God has come and saved us all! Now that my friends is something to get really excited about!

Lord, thank you for being the author and keeper of our joy. Lord, help us to rejoice when things are good and even when they are bad because ultimately    You hold our joy and you have also defeated the one who can steal our joy. Lord, I pray for the women who have joined us in study of real joy and I ask that you will help us as we walk daily in this life that changes. Amen. 
STUDY QUESTIONS
1) Read Romans 12:12.  How can hope in Jesus help you to keep your joy?
2) Read Lamentations 3:31-33. How can we change our mindset when life collapses around us?
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Share with us a time where you were able to rejoice even when  everything around you was falling apart.  How were you able to see God moving in the situation.
If you are currently going through a hard time, let us pray for  you.  You don’t have to be specific in your details.  Just raise your virtual hand and say, “me, too.”
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2 Comments

Leigh Ellen

Donna,
I love this scripture and the beautiful illustration you gave to accompany it! Thank you for reminding us that “joy is a lifestyle.”

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Maggie

Im praying for the day when God is at The heart of each family members life in all we do! Today in the twinkling of an eye grumbling & curses began over a broken agreement. Confronting the broken agreement, I mentioned the rewards for cursing & quietly reminded my husband a wife cannot condone nor carry his sins to prosper our finances so he doesnt have to budget. We each have a personal relationship with God. He provides for everything and simply asks we follow his precepts & with that tiny bit of obedience we will grow & prosper in faith abounding! I am my husband’s help mate in faith… not sin support. Praising God for his Joy abounding♡

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