Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Psalm 51:12 KJV

by Cindy Krall
Guest Contributor

Lead boots.
I felt like I was walking around in lead boots.
Nothing came easy.

It all felt hard.

And more than anything there was no joy.

The real corker? It was Christmas. I felt like everybody else was bubbling with happy variations of jingling, ringing and wrapping. But my raisin heart didn’t feel one dot of joy. In three and a half-weeks the hole left by my mother-in-law’s passing would be on full display when I hosted our first Christmas dinner without her.

“I can’t do this Lord. I just can’t.”

My homesick heart wanted her back. Despite my faith and the many reasons I could have been happy, joy was nowhere to be found.

I don’t remember the details of how or when I discovered my life line. I doubt it was during “quiet time”. Three kids in diapers meant that reflection was usually limited to 3 minutes in the shower or two minutes on the toilet. No, it must have been a verse I’d heard on the radio. All I know is, the minute I heard it I knew, it was meant for me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Psalm 51:12 KJV

Restore unto me the joy

Restore unto me the joy

Restore unto me the joy

Over, and over I’d repeat the words. They became my prayer and the prayer became like a prism. A prism which revealed slivers of the God. Hard angles of grief were still present but hope joined the reflection.

With every verbal repetition I began to believe that the joy I craved so deeply would come. But I bowed in the submissive knowledge that He would create it in me when He saw fit. The delay in His gift helped me recognize that the spiritual hole I was in was too deep for self-rescue. As strange as it sounds this truth became a source of comfort.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes relief is realized when we recognize there is nothing else we can do? Truth joined my prayer as I accepted the fact that I was in over my head and the answer was out of my hands. I didn’t realize at the time that letting go with my hands (trying to make myself feel something) would funnel energy to my mouth, which in turn would re-direct my heart.

My verbal repetitions grew. It didn’t take long until I found myself saying out-loud,

Restore unto me the joy of my salvation

“Aaah. Yes. The reason for the season. My salvation.”

Before I knew it the remainder of the verse became coupled by a necessary caboose. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” This portion of scripture reminded me that it was the Holy Spirit who would do the heavy lifting. He would push when needed, ensuring that my joy train would make it to its intended destination.

It was at this point I began to taste a trickle of joy. It was like the first lick of a lollipop. But not just any lollipop, this was a new, uncharted flavor. The buds on my tongue couldn’t identify it. This joy was different. I hadn’t rationalized it, and according to earthly standards my sorrow was not only accepted but expected. No, this was a joy that surpassed understanding.

And. It. Was. Good.

If you are in a situation in which joy feels far removed please know that God is passionate about joy. He sent His Son so that our joy would be complete. Whatever the circumstances, His desire for us is joy! Would you join me in this prayer?

Thank you God for hearing the cry of our hearts. Thank you for receiving us with open arms as we risk being honest with you and ourselves. Shame and guilt can make us think it’s not right, or that it’s our fault, when we lack joy. But your word recognizes the truth that we live in a world brimming with trouble and grief.

Help us surrender during our season of sorrow. Grant us the patience and trust it takes to navigate the murky, and sometimes overwhelming, waters of despair that can accompany a lack of joy. Whatever “lifeline” you deem best for us, please hear our cries and extend it now. Whether it be a verse, a friend, or some type of breakthrough, we are grateful in advance for the tool(s) you will use.

Thank you for being the kind of God that desires joy for each one of us. We praise you for who you are and trust you for our joy—when and however you see fit to provide it. In Jesus’ name, Amen


  1. Cindy mentions feeling as if everyone around her was “bubbling with happy” when all she felt was the hard.  In what ways does comparison steal your joy?
  2. Read James 3:16, Proverbs 14:30, 1 Timothy 6:6-8, and Philippians 2:3.  What stands out to you about these verses? What action do these verses suggest we take to stop comparing our joy to others?
  3. Personalize the prayer above.  As you pray, hand over to God the obstacles to your joy.  Visualize God handing you a present full of joy.  Let Him know you trust Him to fill it how He sees fit, and to give it when He knows it’s best for you to receive it.  Repeat the prayer as needed.


What comfort does it bring you to know that your joy does not depend on you and that God has given you His Spirit to uphold you?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Cindy Krall is a wife, mom, writer, and self-described meatball ninja. (She married an Italian, it came with the wedding contract.)

Cindy loves her South Dakota home but she knows she’s not “home” yet. She’s an authentic sojourner who writes about her own real, sometimes messy, journey. She’s grateful for Jesus (He’s already made the trip.), the Holy Spirit (He’s such an encourager.), Scripture (Best. Map. Ever.) and a God who’s waiting (He even left the light on.)

Cindy’s no boy scout, but if you’re on a similar journey she’s convinced road trips are better with two. She’d love to link elbows and head home together. You can find her at, Facebook or Instagram


Michele O’Leary

Right now my family is in a season of sorrow. It is hard. It is heartbreaking. Oh, how I find rest in the Joy of Jesus. He is ever so present even in the hardships of life.

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing your story.


I’m so glad he restores! Thank you Cindy for this reminder. Psalm 51 is a favorite that I’ve pored over for 12 years.

Leigh Ellen

Cindy, this is beautiful. When times are tough releasing control is terrifying, and yet, so often after doing so we realize God was there all along just waiting for us to give him the green light to do His thing. He specializes in restoration – and He’s a master at it! Thank you for sharing your story with us.


What a masterful writer you are. You truly have a way with words. This speaks to me today in what seems to be a repetitive season in my life. Thank you for being real.


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