How to Discover Unexplainable Joy In the Midst of Sorrow

We’ve gotten besieged with sorrow over the last few weeks.  Loved ones of our loved ones suddenly, without warning, passing away.

I told Jennifer, “If the phone rings at 1:00 a.m. again don’t answer it.  Nobody’s calling to tell us we won the lottery at 1:00.”

I know I’m not alone.  I’m sure you can relate.  You haven’t even worked through all 12 steps of the grief recovery program before it starts all over.

Yet, this morning as I fixed breakfast, I thought how God’s grace and healing springs fresh as the new day begins.

David sings, “Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Somehow after finally sleeping and then seeing the sun shining I feel God’s presence renewed.  I believe he has a way out of the darkness and I feel his unexplainable joy filling me again.

It comes not because you worked through all 12 steps successfully, good luck with that project.  But rather because you took the most important step.  You rested in the love of the one who can see the end from the beginning and promises, “I am with you always.”

Then the sun rises in the morning beaming light through your windows and into your soul.

*Psalm 30:5 (NIV)

How to Unleash a Joyful Day Every Day

I have a special gift.  I can wake up to a fresh new day and crash into the dumps even before breakfast.  And if I’m not careful it can carry over making for a marvelous day.

I’d guess you’ve perhaps had a couple of those yourself.

Yet, I’ve discovered an antidote which helps transform my outlook.

I pause long enough to remember that God created this new day just for me and choose to start it in joy.

David wrote, “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.”*

I love that verse.  I don’t memorize well but that verse I have and it can transform my attitude in an instant.

This morning when you woke up God had already pulled the night shift creating this new day just for you.

Sure, it might have some challenges, maybe some heartache.  Many days do.

But God also promises a blessed day.  A day to see his miracles, feel his love and enjoy his beauty.

Wow!  I don’t think it gets much better.

And imagine if you started every day with that focus.

Heck, I’m smiling just thinking about it.

So have a blessed day today!  Oh, and tomorrow too.

*Psalm 118: 24 (NIV)

How to Have Your Mind Transformed from Despair to Joy

I struggled, particularly when in college, with depression attacks.  They’d come on suddenly and last for hours or days.  Nothing I tried successfully counteracted them.  Often that left me feeling even more hopeless and vulnerable.

So many people today struggle with depression also shown by the billions in anti-depressive drug sales.

Yet when I came to the place I asked God into my life and to change my mind he did.

Oh, I still occasionally struggled but nothing like before.  My mind changed from despair to joy, from tyranny to hope.

It’s what God promises when Paul writes, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”*

When we ask God to change us he transforms our minds through filling us with his Spirit. And where his Spirit lives there can’t be darkness.

Then we’re set free from living trapped in the common pattern of this world.  Set free to be transformed from despair to joy.

Romans 12: 2

Rediscovering a Relationship of Freedom, Peace and Power with God

I went through hell and back spiritually.

I started out so well.  I experienced an amazing transformation that resulted in an incredible peace, joy and love.


Quiet Joy


Yet, I got tangled up in the legalism of religion.

I felt crushed with a never ending load of more rules to please God and experience his blessings.


Some days I felt like I was literally going crazy.  I prayed for the chaos in my mind to stop.


[Read more…]

Advent #3: Healing for the Hurts of Christmas

A short series in Advent focusing on a few significant snapshots of the Christmas story and the amazing gifts they reveal.


Christmas Eve is both joyful and difficult for me.

After we were married and had children we celebrated Christmas Eve with my family.


Photo Credit:  Ian Muir

Photo Credit: Ian Muir


Early evening we attended candlelight service at church then went to my parents home. We were greeted with eggnog and appetizers. Then in the family room in front of a blazing fire we’d open gifts. Christmas was big for my mom so she always bought lots.

Our kids giggled with excitement and loved grandma’s.

After gifts we ate dinner and dessert.

What great memories.

When my parents both died in 2004, it left a hole that quite frankly still has never been filled up.


I understood firsthand how people struggle so much with Christmas.


Missing the fond memories or mourning never having had them. [Read more…]

Advent #2: Discovering Surprising Joy at Christmas

A short series in Advent focusing on a few significant snapshots of the Christmas story and the amazing gifts they reveal.


Christmas without a doubt is the most conflicted holiday.

For many it’s a time of joy and celebration. Watching the magic through the eyes of a child. Connecting with family and friends.


Photo Credit: Angela Marie Henrietta

Photo Credit: Angela Marie Henrietta


Yet, for many others it’s depressing.

Those grieving the loss of a loved one who won’t be at Christmas.

Those apart from their loved ones because of circumstances beyond their control.

Those recently divorced and experiencing Christmas alone.

Add to that the non-stop activities that many of us get caught up in which in the moment are fun but can leave us exhausted. And when the buzz wears off the depression returns even worse.

And Christmas so often disappoints because it just never seems to live up to the hype.


We see this conflict in the Christmas story.



[Read more…]

Finding Joy When Face to Face With Death

“The promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  (Ephesians 1:14 NIV)

If you’ve had a parent, child, sibling or close friend die I would guess you’ve stopped and wondered, “What really comes after this life?  Is Heaven real?  Am I going there?  Is my loved one there?”

All very real and normal questions.   And nothing wrong with that. [Read more…]

Let’s Celebrate

“He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”  (Ephesians 1:6   The Message)


We’re all bombarded by the negative.  Assaulted by news sensationalized to make us angry or afraid.

Pressured with our jobs, health, marriage, kids, finances.

Then when we finally tune out and settle down to watch TV we see more hatred and mayhem in an evening than most soldiers will see in a tour of duty.

And it leaves us down, depressed and upset. [Read more…]