A Jesus-lover’s soul survival guide to joy

I beat back the darkness with counting gifts. I hacked my path through brokenness by remembering the goodness of God as I walked the half-mile path around my neighborhood through the winter. Praying. Wondering why eternity felt so far away. When the wounds of the whole world felt like a ripping, it was thanking God stitched me back together.

In my aloneness last year, I learned “you alone.”

You alone fulfill me. You alone comfort me. You alone give me strength. You alone give me joy. You alone are good. You alone are any good in me. Your presence alone is joy. You alone take me through the long nights of chest pain and fluttering beats.

I wrote plenty about it. The depth of the joy I felt and the depth of brokenness that I felt. I needed God every day. Every night. I needed His presence.

God has gradually repaired my joy the last 7 months in many significant steps. Now my days are full of joy. I’ve tossed around in my mind lately how not to lose God in it. How to still know my need for God in my joy.

Here’s what God has been teaching me.

-In good times, counting gifts is even more important because it keeps me focused on the giver. It reminds me that every. single. good and gracious gift is from above.

-In good times, I know my need by knowing my sin. Don’t stop knowing and repenting.

-In good times, have the extra dose of strength to pray for the brokenness that others are experiencing.

-When God talks about the feast, he’s not talking about abundance or joyful emotion or comfort in this world. He’s talking about the blood and I still need the blood in my joy. That’s the seat at the table. That’s the joy.  The feast is all about the body and blood, not the side-dishes. I need to not let the taste of the side-dishes distract me from the real feast.

-The joy of His presence is still my strength. Soak in His presence daily. Thank Him for joy.

-The joy gives me a greater margin of emotional energy to serve. There was that hard thing that I didn’t have the emotional reserves for. God has been prompting me to consider that now is the time. That there’s a purpose for joy, just like there was with pain. Now’s the time to take the land. He wants me to take the land with my pen. With my obedience…To know my need for Him in this new way.

I’m sure more lessons will come, but I’m grateful for this start.


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