Finding JOY in the Mess

 

“Fight Back with Joy. What?! I’m in the middle of so much pain, grief and sorrow. Joy? You must be kidding?” That would have been my response to Margaret Feinberg‘s latest book, Fight Back with Joy, five years ago. I found myself in the middle of a very painful adoption process and living in an Eastern European country for a year. I found joy nearly impossible. I found it hard to laugh. There even came a time when I could no longer sing (one of my favorite things). Joy? I was far from it.
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Margaret Feinberg’s courage, candor, and tender vulnerability are transforming. Her raw struggles touched deep places in my life and will in yours too. Fight Back With Joy will deepen your compassion, bring healing, and fortify your holy resolve to follow God through anything. This is a message the church needs to hear today.
—Jennie Allen, founder of If:Gathering and author of Restless
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From the very first chapter, Margaret encourages the reader to discover true joy. Following is an excerpt of what I mean:

“Somewhere along the way God unveiled a spectrum of joy I had never experienced—from the joy expressed as lighthearted laughter in an impossible situation to the joy gained from hearing the deep voice of God during times of great pain. Through it all, I learned something startling: More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.

Oh, if my faith would have only been strong enough to have sought joy during my trial (captured in our book, Until We All Come Home).

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God reveals Himself mightily through prayer as well as through trying times. Each page of this book abounds with surprise and delight as well as inspiring strategies for overcoming the everyday battles of life. Fight Back With Joy is a gift—one you can’t afford to miss.
—Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. and author of New York Times best-selling The Circle Maker
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Even though I failed miserably in the “joy during trial” department, my faith grew in a huge, ‘only God’ kinda way. Time (and treatment) have resolved many PTSD issues, and human joy comes easier now. But God took me to a deeper place of joy than what healing brought. Not just the everyday, human kind of joy…the joy we can only find in Jesus Christ.
Paul talked about this kind of joy often. In 1 Thessalonians 1:6 he  states, “So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.”
And Paul encourages joy, no matter what our plight or trial in Philippians 4:4, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”
Our earthly joy is but a taste of our ultimate home. Just thinking of heaven can bring joy…even in the worst of times. This is what I hold on to during life’s struggles.
I encourage you to read FIGHT BACK WITH JOY. Whether you are facing a trial now or for the future. Margaret speaks to the heart of what God intended for us….His perfect, complete joy.
When have you used joy to fight back?
Leave a comment to be entered to WIN a FREE copy of Margaret Feinberg’s FIGHT BACK WITH JOY. Winners (2) announced on Monday, January 19, 2015.
 
 
 

 

2 Responses to “Finding JOY in the Mess”

  1. Thank you for sharing your heart, Kim. Praying that you continue to fight back with joy during the hard times. And thank you for this post and your vulnerability. So grateful and honored.

  2. BetsyJo says:

    God doesn’t expect us to get our act together before he asks us to do something for him.
    God doesn’t wait for us to have a perfect life. He doesn’t expect us to get our act together before he asks us to do something for him.
    I am still messy me. I haven’t perfected my life so that I could say yes to God. It’s impossible. But I say it in my mess. And this is where we find God. We find him in our inadequacy because he is adequate. We find him in our imperfection because he is perfect. We find him where we least expect.

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