Thursday, June 4, 2015

Learning to Fight back with Joy

Margaret Feinberg, Fight Back with Joy

As 2008 came to an end, I bought my new datebook on a whim--it was a beautiful, purple engraved leather-bound book with "Joy" beautifully embroidered on the cover.  Little did I know when I made that purchase that God was already working in me to pour out His oil of Joy on me more than anyone else.  (Psalm 45:7 & Hebrews 1:9)

Prior to that time, I had suffered a stillbirth and two miscarriages--both at approximately 11 weeks.  My marriage was crumbling and my health was going downhill faster than I realized...until at the end of 2009, I found myself in the hospital at death's door--truly.  I had to have emergency surgery to save my life where I was given an ostomy bag that I had to wear for the next three months.  Praise God, the doctor reversed the surgery at the end of those three months and removed 8 inches of my colon.  A few months later, I had another surgery because of severe bleeding.  This surgery truly brought any hopes of a future pregnancy to a screeching halt.

I did NOT handle these challenges with grace, dignity, or joy.  There was a lot of depression, severe anxiety, and, quite possibly worst of all, Rage.  

In the midst of all the health issues, I also had to deal with a boss at work who clearly had decided that it was time for me to leave.

My life was a mess, in complete shambles.  I was a broken, beaten, wounded warrior unable to stand any longer on my own. 

In the midst of this mess, God met me.  In spite of the darkness of my days (literally and figuratively), I continued reading everything I could get my hands on about Joy--most specifically, the Joy that comes from the Lord.  I have marked every single verse in every single Bible I own that uses Joy.  I have purchased and read one book after another on Joy.  I have done one Bible study after another on Joy.  

I clung to my study on Joy as if my life depended on it.  In so many ways that I will more than likely never know, it did.  God has used my study on Joy to bring me out of a deep, dark, black, lonely cave of depression, anxiety, fear, and Rage.  I am still on the path to full and complete Joy, but at least I am out of my cave and well on my way to complete healing!

As I read through Margaret Feinberg's book Fight Back with Joy, I
was amazed at how God has used Joy to help Margaret fight cancer while also using Joy to help me find Joy regardless of my circumstances.  I am excited to see that while our stories (especially our studies on Joy) have many similarities, God is using Margaret to demonstrate how we must Fight the trials and tribulations in our lives with Joy and how so often, it is a fight to live the fullness of God's Joy.  Just as we so often give God a sacrifice of Praise, it is the same with Joy--we must sacrifice our feelings to fight back with Joy.  It is that sacrifice that brings Joy into our lives even though we didn't feel Joy when we started!

I am so excited to have read Margaret's book and to meet her at next year's Women of Joy Conference.  One way or another, I WILL get there!

God is using JOY in a powerful way in the lives of many....How is He using Joy in Your Life???

Margaret also has a 6-session Bible study to go with the book:  FIGHT BACK WITH JOY

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