Margaret says it so beautifully.
"Life's thorniest paths can lead to great joy.
Someone in our group confessed, "If I had known how challenging this hike was going to be, I never would have gone."
Most of us are naturally risk averse. We avoid that which might harm or injure us. We cling to sidewalks and safer paths. We prefer the comfort of the known versus the pangs of the unknown.
God in his fierce love, keeps nudging us off-road. He knows that something special-a transformation that cannot happen on smoother paths-emerges along the rocky, unpredictable terrain of life."
I didn't pick the fights of 2014. As Margaret says, "the fights picked me." My stepson passed away at 24, when all the doctors said he would live. Several "friends" walked out of our lives, leaving us deeply wounded. My mother-in-law slipped further into dementia as Alzheimer's ravaged her memory. I would never have chosen these battles, but through the lens of God's fierce love for me, I see how He revealed His presence when it seemed He was absent. As we sat in hospital waiting rooms together, day after day, sharing coffee and memories and tears, a lasting and beautiful friendship with my stepson's parents was born, and love healed old hurts. As friends we broke bread with broke ties with us, God brought new peace and strength to our faith community. And as my Mother-in-law's battle with her mortal enemy raged, we found joy in lucid moments and happy memories.
Joy is much more than I imagined.
"More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life's battles.
Sure, the virtue of joy is an upbeat companion for life, but that is not the whole story. The true power of joy supersedes a chirpy disposition, candy-coated emotion, or saccharine fantasy. It's far more tangible than any magical notion of clicking your heels and discovering your bliss.
Joy serves a useful and mighty purpose. Sometimes it comes through others as a gift of grace, but just as often it requires intentionality.
God is an unconventional teacher. He uses paradox to imbue us with common sense, propels healing through pain, and hauls clarity into our lives through the most confusing circumstances. In my case, God interrupted my misguided joy experiment in order to take me on a joy expedition. This journey was fraught with depression and loneliness, tears and turmoil-using unlikely circumstances to deliver joy instead of destroy it."
With artful, vulnerable storytelling, Margaret shares her very personal battle with breast cancer and outlines a clear strategy for fighting our own battles using the powerful force of joy. I'm so excited about the life-changing message of this book, I chose Fight Back With Joy for our Winter Ladies Bible study. We are all impatiently waiting to start this study/journey together. May God transform you and me as we learn to Fight Back With Joy!
Get the book here: Amazon; or here: Barnes and Noble; or get the Six-Session Bible Study kit for your book club, study group, or your own library.