Joy

I remember being fifteen and losing my grandfather, it was my first encounter with heartbreak. And ever since then it scared me. Often we think of heartbreak as something that comes and steals all of our joy, but if we think with that mindset, then we will never see the true plans that God has for us. God never gives us more than what we can handle, even if sometimes it does not feel that way. I know, I sure felt that way when I went to Mexico City. It was very, very difficult for me to be away from my family and friends for eight days because they are my rock, but I had to tell myself that God knew exactly what he was doing by calling me to go to Mexico City. Running away from heartbreak never makes it easier. One of the verses that was read at my grandfather’s funeral was James 1:2-4:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”


In one of my first weeks of working for the Spanish Ministry we went to visit a woman named Isabel and her fourteen year old son Joshua. Joshua has a medical condition called muscular dystrophy. This caused him to be paralyzed from the neck down. His speech was extremely slurred and he looked like he was in a lot of pain. When we went to visit him he had just been put on hospice. When we walked into the room Joshua was hooked up to many different machines to make him more comfortable. It was not an easy thing to see.

I remember walking into the room and my eyes were immediately drawn to the big smile spread across Isabel’s face. Her smile was absolutely contagious. I found myself wondering “How could a woman in this horribly hard and heartbreaking circumstances have this much joy?” It baffled me, because how was it that her joy and her trials were both equally big things in her life. We sat and we talked with her for a while, we asked how she was doing and where her heart was and she was very willing to answer. We prayed over her and her son, and I will never forget how tightly she grabbed my hand. It was almost like she wanted me to understand just how powerful a prayer can be.

I went home that day emotionally drained. I sat on my bed just so confused by what I just saw. “How?” I asked myself, over, and over again. “How did this woman have so much happiness?” But that is when God tugged my heart and said “Grace Anne, that isn’t happiness that is joy. Happiness is purely circumstantial, but joy remains constant”. It made sense. What God was saying to me made perfect sense, Isabel’s circumstances were less than ideal, but she was still remaining so joyful.

So my mind goes back to James chapter 1, where it says to think of our trials as joy, because God is so, so good. His ways are better than our ways. So when I went to Mexico I thought about Isabel, because even though I was struggling, I knew it was just God teaching me how to persevere. I am so thankful for this summer because even though I was not always comfortable I knew that God was molding me to help nourish the kingdom.


Other Posts You Might Like:

Bicycle Ministry - Don Compton

Bicycle Ministry - Don Compton

Joy Despite Circumstance - Berkley McDonald

Advent Season for Our Family - Nicole Kennell

Rest - Ross Thomson

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Location
McKinney at Cardinal

101 Cardinal Drive
Denton, TX 76209

940.387.4355

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Sunday Worship Schedule
8:30 - Worship (1st Service)
Attended Nursery (0-2yr). Children (3yr-4th grade) are dismissed during the sermon to attend children's church.
9:40 - Focused Fellowship
This is a time of fellowship and refreshments throughout the building. Children pickup before or after Kids Praise.
10:00 - Adult Bible Classes & Kids Discipleship
Adult Bible Classes - locations vary. High School & Middle School Discipleship Groups in the Youth area. Kids Praise for 3yr-4th grade. Nursery 0-2yr.
11:00 - Worship (2nd Service) & Kids Bible Class
Attended Nursery (0-2yr). Children (3yr - 8th grade) are dismissed during the sermon to attend Bible classes.

Wednesday Evening Schedule
5:30 - Fellowship Meal
Adults - $4 and Students/Children $3 (during the school year)
6:30 - Passion Worship
Praise and worship time in the Worship Center.
6:30 - Celebrate Recovery
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery group that provides a safe place to address and deal with life's hurts, habits and hang-ups.
7:00 - Bible Classes & Small Groups
Classes for children and adults of all ages and other ministry groups meet at various locations throughout the building.

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