What can you do…
When the phone rings at 4 a.m. and one of your kids desperately needs you. When your friend’s parent is diagnosed with cancer and it doesn’t look good. When three, yes I said three, young lives are lost in the span of 1 week to overdoses. When your co-worker looses a son, another a brother, another a mother in a matter of a few months time. When you get that phone call saying you’ve lost your own son. When your best friend’s husband, of 20 years, walks out. When your sweet girl’s daddy passes away. When the house is in shambles because of black mold. When your daughter and grandson need a place to live. When your SUV is totaled (the day you make funeral arrangements for your son). When a friend’s sick daughter spends more time hospitalized than enjoying her childhood. When your church can’t afford to pay its rent anymore. When chronic health problems cause more medicals bills than you can ever imagine paying off.
What can you do…when news kicks you in the gut? When it has no mercy. When it hurts. When it doesn’t make sense. When life is just plain messy. You can choose to fight back with joy. Sound crazy? It is. As a matter of fact, to coin a phrase from a darling lady I know, “It’s down right crazypants”!
My sweet friend, Margaret Feinberg, suggests the following in her newly released book Fight Back with Joy: “The Bible insists that joy is more than a feeling; it’s an action. We don’t just sense joy; we embody it by how we respond to the circumstances before us”…she states “I believe that, at its core, joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us.”…”When we embrace this love and cultivate an awareness of it, our hearts are filled with joy.”…”such awareness strengthens our resolve that no matter the fight, we face it confident that God is with us and for us.”
Friends, that is ALL from page 19 of her book – can you imagine what the other 150 pages have to say?!
I first read Fight Back with Joy as I was wrapping up 9 year, unexplained, debilitating pain journey with my hubby. The entire time I was reading, I kept thinking “Wow, I wish I had read this book 10 years ago”. I wished I had handled so much of that journey differently. Responded with more tenderness on many occasions. NOT “held it together” quite so often. Allowed myself to ask for help. Cried. Trusted God a whole lot more. Fight Back with Joy helped me realize I needed to wrestle with those nagging unmet expectations of myself and actually grieve them so I could ultimately embrace joy.
Have you ever noticed that God has an interesting way of providing not a moment to soon? This healing in my heart was no exception. You see, the “what can you do” list above is not a random list of what if’s…it is an actual list of real circumstances that have taken place in my life in the last 9 months. We did receive many of those calls, walk with many of our friends though those tough circumstances and we did indeed get that call saying your son is gone…just days after finishing the book. Not one moment too soon for me to embrace my renewed mindset and pick up my new weapon…JOY.
Fighting back with Joy doesn’t always make sense and if I’m honest I probably can’t do it any justice explaining it to you. It’s a step of faith. A transaction that doesn’t compute on paper but adds up deep in your soul. Margaret said it best – “Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not win and will not win. When we fight back with joy, we embrace a reality that is more real than what we’re enduring and we awaken to the deepest reality of our identity as beloved, joyful children of God.”
Or if you’re looking to dig just a little deeper, with a group of friends try the Bible Study