Hello, My Name is Joy
Who would have thought that at the age of twenty-five I would be entering an extensively intense season of the fight for my life? Definitely not me! I cannot accurately say it is the fight of my life because I believe I am too young to release such words and have decades of living ahead of me that I have yet to discover. But, I can say that this particular fight was a fight like none other. Can you imagine a twenty-five-year-old at the prime of her life? She is seemingly a picture of perfect health; a beautiful young athletic woman of a decent weight because she’s running three miles a day. A jazzy girl who is holding down three jobs in the zesty city of New Orleans, full of dreams and visions for starting her own businesses one day, she hopes of a better life, has a delightful relationship with her creator, God, a desire to fulfill His purpose for her life, and is active in ministry. Then all of a sudden, it changes in just a few moments. She starts to feel different; her body has become fatigued, and then one day it decides to completely shut down and she no longer has control of any of her extremities. Her heart and lungs have decided to take a break, leaving her threateningly lifeless. After weeks of intubation and a series of extensive tests, the doctors decide to narrow down their diagnosis to a neurological muscular dystrophy that is said to be incurable. They offered an estimated life expectancy (which I’ve exceeded) based on the severity of her condition compared to previous research studies as well as experiences, and they also suggested an emergency surgery that could possibly later cause her to go into remission if the surgery was successful. At that moment, she remained optimistic and positive, believing that she would somehow receive an instant miracle and wake up, and it would be all over; she could return back to the life she was building before…
Well, it hasn’t quite happened that way since the diagnosis in 2009, but I am still fighting. There have been times when I have totally wanted to give up because I felt as though there was nothing left in me to fight with or fight for, but through that I have learned what true JOY is and the strength that it bears. Getting to the point of living life free of depression and oppression in the midst of an ongoing crisis has become one of my most precious possessions, and I pray that sharing with you the process of achieving such through my experiences transforms your life so that you too are able to handle anything that may come your way.
Little did I know that the things I learned previously through hard times and challenging circumstances were the very things that established the true substance of my character and would be required of me through “show and tell”.
Our true nature always reveals itself during challenges.
Thankfully, early on, I had already made a decision to continuously enhance my relationship with God before I entered this particular fight. I didn’t know what was ahead, but looking back, all of those days of fasting, early mornings of prayer, and nights that I would sit up reading my Bible or listening to gospel music as I sang along in worship, have now revealed themselves to be my moments of preparation. Those moments impregnated the peace that provides the substance of eternal Joy into my spirit and soul before I reached my season of testing because I chose to be open to receive the seeds God handed me. Without knowing what type of trees or fruit they would produce I just ate.
Many times, because our thoughts are consumed by our present, the thought of maybe being prepared for something much larger ahead never crosses our minds. It’s almost as though our moments of what may actually be our practice test is seen in our eyes as the final exam because we lack the foresight that our present is currently attempting to equip us for what’s ahead along the way. Realizing the true purpose of wisdom that a situation has attempted to add to your life for the sake of enhancement can oftentimes be revolutionary in your thinking and your outlook on life in general. Looking back in an “ahh-haa” manner makes you realize all things really do work together for good to them that love God. The assurance that God’s word never lies and an unshakeable belief in such is the strongest foundation of faith and joy one could possess, but it takes development.
Just as a seed must be planted into the ground to grow, so should God’s word be planted into your heart to produce your life of JOY.