Finding Joy in the Hard Times

I haven’t written a lot about what has been going on in my life recently because I didn’t want to share how hard things suddenly became for me. We went to our son’s house on Thanksgiving and I ended up staying for two additional weeks to do childcare, similar to what I did last year. The difference this year is twofold: one, I had not prepared to stay, so I did not have a lot of my warm things with me; and two, the infant is now a very active toddler and my seven decades have difficulty keeping up with him. I have been home this week as my son and his family celebrate at Disney. I am so blessed to be home for almost two weeks, spending time with my beloved kitty and my even more loved spouse, taking care of errands and just settling comfortably into my chair with a warm blanket tucked around me. Next week I return to Maryland and my duties there. Yes, the work is harder for me than I want it to be, but God is allowing me to be a witness for a season, so I am trying to approach the situation with joy. My husband will be with me for Christmas and then he will come back to Virginia for the month of January while I remain behind.

One of the offshoots of my stay there has been higher blood pressure, a condition that my nephrologist wants me to get under control because of the effect on my single kidney. So one of the first things I did when I returned home was schedule an appointment to see my cardiologist. I saw the physician’s assistant instead and received a prescription for a new medicine to add to my Beta blocker. Unfortunately, I reacted badly to the medicine with some rough side effects, so now I am awaiting word from the doctor’s office about what, if anything, I should do next. Meanwhile, I am praying and hoping that the high blood pressure will pass and I will level out again. As my husband said, I am anxious about my numbers as I take the reading each day, so it is not a surprise when they are higher. I am trying to control my thoughts and thus my hypertension, but I’m not too good at it.

I read in Dr. Denison’s Forum today about joy and was happy to discover a quotation from Henry Nouwen. I hope that it speaks to you as it spoke to me. I encourage you to follow the link to Dr. Denison’s post and to sign up for his Forum. He gives a refreshingly Biblical insight into current events! Dr. Denison’s Forum

Henri Nouwen observed: “Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world. It does not depend on the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives. Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. Jesus says it loudly and clearly: ‘In the world you will have troubles, but rejoice, I have overcome the world.’

“The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected. No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness, that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God’s love is stronger than death.

Joy is not based on circumstances, but on the unwavering truth of God’s Word. And that is a fact that I can live with!

Have a blessed day and may you find joy and peace in your life, no matter the circumstances.


The inspiration for today’s post came from Dr. Denison’s Forum on October 13, 2022. You can read the entire article here: Dr. Denison’s Forum, 10-13-22

This is kind of a different way of saying “What would Jesus do?” But this quotation made me ponder deeply. None of us knows when we will take our last breath, so it’s worth noting that our choices might be different if we had an inkling that our end is imminent. Food for thought, for sure!

We definitely learn from our choices, both good and bad. I think of life as a test with a steep learning curve. It is up to us to use what we have learned to grow spiritually so that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes over and over. It is not a coincidence that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years; they made bad choices and didn’t learn from them. God was patient in continuing to lead them, in my opinion. It’s a good thing that He is also patient with me because sometimes I get stubbornly stuck in trying to force Him to accept my way instead of accepting that His way is best.


Yes, we make choices daily and those choices have consequences, but I go back to the first question that I asked. “Would you change what you are about to do if you knew it would be the last thing you would do?” Think about it as you listen to the song below. If you read the “Forum” article, you know that this is the last song that a twenty-three year old sang before he died in an accident. May we ever be mindful that tomorrow is not a promise, but a gift.

“You Are My Hiding Place”-Selah

Abiding in Him

This morning, I read my devotional as usual. I’m currently reading the book of Jeremiah and there is a reason he is called the “weeping prophet.” He went around telling everyone to repent and people ignored him, to their detriment. I see so many parallels with what he wrote and with what is happening in nations throughout the world that it saddens me to see such rampant and flagrant sin. Sins that were once shamefully hidden are now “out there” for all to see, flung into the face of God. There is a price to pay and we are just now beginning to pay it.

I also read my daily dose of Dr. Denison and was not at all amused to read that a high school in FL crowned a transgender as homecoming queen. As I said, sin is no longer hidden, but it is flaunted and outrageously proclaimed as right.

Dr. Denison’s Forum October 11, 2021

So, what are we as Christians to do? We are told to shine our lights to a dark world. But we are also told to “abide.”

Image from

I’m sure since we have all studied science, we know that the moon has no light except what is reflected from the sun. Thus, we have no light unless we are reflecting the Son. We have to be part of the branch of Jesus in order to produce fruit. Frankly, just to be able to stand and say that sin is sin in today’s world requires a close contact with the Lord, an abiding, if you will.

The definition of abide will not surprise anyone, but it is worth pointing out. From

verb (used without object), a·bode or a·bid·ed, a·bid· remain; continue; stay: Abide with have one’s abode; dwell; reside: to abide in a small Scottish village.

We stay in the Lord Jesus. We don’t walk away and join in the darkness, but we stay in His light and reflect it to others. Some may be repelled by the light because they prefer the darkness. But our hope is always that some will be attracted to the light and come to the knowledge that can offer the assurance of an eternal future with Him. We dwell with Jesus. We are not just occasional visitors eating at the table of plenty that He has provided us. We live there! Every day, every minute of every hour. That’s our home, where we should feel the most comfortable. Going out into the world does not mean leaving Jesus behind. He dwells in us, just as we dwell in Him. So, when we are doing our daily activities and interacting with others, we have that light to reflect to others because it is in us.

I fall far short of what I should be as a Christian, but all of the sin in the world is not pulling me away from Jesus. Rather, I am tucking myself in closer to Him, desiring not just His grace and mercy but also His protection from the evil of the world. I desire that protection for all those with whom I come in contact, too. They will not know He is there for them unless I tell them, or unless you tell them. The consequence of sin is death and eternal separation from God. I agree that it is often difficult to share our faith with unbelievers who mock or who walk away as fast as they can. However, if one life is changed, it is worth it.

My prayer for each of you today is to be that light that the world needs and to abide in the Lord so that you can reflect His glory, grace, goodness and mercy. Be the person God created you to be, His beloved child. God bless you, my friends.