The year was 2002 and it was best described as a mess. That mess was my life. Relationships were a mess. Work was a mess. Simply put, it ALL felt like a mess.
The interesting thing is that in the midst of the mess, my relationship with God felt stronger than ever. He was all I had and all I was relying on. Amazing how that works! Commitment and strength go hand in hand.
In the midst of my messed up life I could have been an Eeyore - pouting, crying, depressed, worried. Instead God gave me this verse: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely WITH JOY and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” [Romans 15:13]
It was on that day that I began what I call the JOY campaign. Before I signed my name to anything I would sign, “With Joy”. It became my tag line and turned into a talking point. People would ask, “Why do you sign that? You can’t ALWAYS be ‘with joy'?” But, my response was YES, I CAN!
We may feel joy from an experience. We may know joy from a relationship. We may believe in joy because we see it in others. But, we HAVE joy because we know God. Because we know hope. Because we know the Holy Spirit. And because we know these powers are at work in our lives, we are always with joy!
Does this mean I am always smiles, always happy and everything is always perfect in my life? Absolutely NOT! What has to sink in for us is that while joy can be an emotion, the fruit of the Spirit JOY is much more. Joy is who we are because God is at work in our lives. It was a huge “light bulb moment” for me eight years ago. Rather than letting the mess I was in rule my life, I let it become a valuable lesson learned. And if I only walked through it so I could learn a lesson on joy, and what it truly is in God’s eyes, then I am thankful.
Because we live here on earth I am certain there are others of you reading this that can identify with feeling like your life is a mess. Please know that I am praying for you. I am praying that the words of Romans 15:13 will fill you as they filled me. I also love the instructions that come in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17: “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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Joyful Remarks