I’m going to be honest and say April was a bit of a challenging month for me. But it didn’t start out that way. In fact, I had high hopes for April. My faith was strong and my well of joy quite deep. I had met my book deadline for March 31st, and I expected to spend the next month working on my book proposal for the next book in my new contracted series.
However, I didn’t expect to get sick. Even though my symptoms were quite mild compared to some, I had tested positive for Covid. My very busy schedule didn’t allow for much rest and recuperation. I still had a deadline. I still had to do my work-at-home job, and I had a family to care for. Not to mention blogging deadlines. Oh, and I apologize for not responding to comments yet on my previous blog. I promise to get caught up.
While I had a very mild headache and scratchy throat, I had a lot of fatigue and brain fog. I think the brain fog was the worst. I just couldn’t think clearly. So meeting a deadline was quite challenging. My deadline was two weeks away, and I prayed, telling God I had nothing. No story. No plot. No solid characterization. He needed to show up and give me the story I needed to write. That same morning, I started writing, and two hours later, I had a strong synopsis. Only by the grace of God! I pushed through and write the three chapters needed to accompany that God-infused synopsis.
Three days before my book proposal was due to my editor, she sent me revision notes on the book I had submitted at the end of March. I love my editor, and working with her has been a dream for the past eleven years. However, I felt pressed to meet my book proposal deadline and the revisions left me feeling discouraged.
I belong to a prayer group, and Sundays are my day to be prayed for. When they asked for my prayer requests, I slipped off the mask and bared my heart, spilling out my weariness and discouragement. Of course, my prayer sisters rallied around me, filling my weary spirit with truth, love, and sound advice.
Later that afternoon, one of my friends in our group called and asked to pray over me verbally. She’d gone through a similar experience of shaky confidence the previous year and shared how she walked through it. She stormed Heaven’s gate on my behalf. She also talked about how God sent her joy. Literally. One of her friends came to visit, and her name is Joy.
After talking with her, my perspective changed. I shifted my eyes off my to-do list and lifted them to the One who promises to be with us through every area of our lives. I had confidence as I completed my book proposal. I reread my editor’s revision notes. You know what? They weren’t that bad. I had a wonderful conversation with her last Tuesday as we worked out the main issues in the story. Then, the next day, I brainstormed with two wonderful friends who helped me to plot out a solid story arc. Each step of the way, God showed up.My perspective changed. I shifted my eyes off my to-do list and lifted them to the One who promises to be with us through every area of our lives. #faith #joy #TellHisStory Click To Tweet
Even though I had chosen Knee-worn as my One Word for 2022, I’ve decided to adopt the word joy for the month of May. Coincidentally, I had just started a new Bible study on my YouVersion Bible app called Live Your Joy Story by Joy A. Williams.
I loved this quote from the first day’s reading:
“Joy is an invitation to live with sacred delight. It embraces God’s grace and truth, even when life is hard.”
Joy A. Williams, Entrusted Women
On Mother’s Day, I had a rare opportunity to be in worship service—usually, I’m teaching children’s church. During his sermon on spiritual disciplines, our pastor talked about the importance of meditation, and we spent time meditating on Psalm 1:1-3. He shared a quote from one of his college professors,
“There is always more when it comes to God.”
Life is hard for many of you. Maybe you’re dealing with illness, prodigal children, difficulties in your marriage, challenges in the workplace, or grieving lost loved ones. Sometimes those seasons seem like they will never end. During those times, it’s so easy to cry out to God, asking “Why?” and hearing only silence. But there is still beauty in the silence. Even if God doesn’t speak to us the way we want or as quickly as we’d like, that doesn’t mean He’s turned a deaf ear to our pleas.
Maybe we need to be still long enough to hear what He wants to share with us. When we open our hearts and our ears, we’re allowing God to work in our hearts. We’re giving Him an opportunity to fill us with His joy and His peace. That, in turn, deepens our faith.
When we open our hearts and our ears, we’re allowing God to work in our hearts. Are you walking hand-in-hand with joy and faith? #TellHisStory #joy #faith Click To Tweet
“Part of the process of recovering from a tough season is discovering (or rediscovering) what brings us joy.”
Joy A. Williams, Entrusted Women