Filled with Joy. It doesn’t seem like there’s much of that these days. Gloom and doom, dire this, dire that. Short tempers. Road rage. Mass shootings. It’s just bad news every where you turn.
I remember in the beginning of the shutdown last March, I would go to the grocery store and look at the faces around me, filled with fear and even suspicion.
And the heartbreak of kids. All that they have struggled with. In our county alone, teen suicide has doubled since the lockdown.
Our family, in the midst of all this upheaval, experienced much hardship and I have had to personally battle a spirit of heaviness and depression. I wondered, where is the joy? How can we be filled with joy in the midst of all these dire happenings?
That’s when I started studying the word “joy” in Scripture.
Then somewhere in the Spring or Summer of 2020, I saw a YouTube video of this praise singer in California who took church out in the streets when the governor banned singing and chanting in church. I saw this video of this young man with long blond air jumping up and down to praise songs and the crowd doing the same.
That was joy. I deeply appreciated what Sean Feucht had done and it did fill me with joy!
I was intrigued. Then we went back to church because we found a pastor who believed in the Constitution so he opened up before the shutdown was over. Because church is essential. We got involved and started going.
And to my surprise, our pastor connected with Sean Feucht so he came last September! My family knows how excited I was as I let out a scream like a school girl when I heard the news.
So we went.
My other joy was going in the mountains and hiking and “squatching” with my son, Sam. I treasure those times with him camping and traipsing around in the beautiful trails of Colorado. It kept my sanity during all the craziness.
Then fast forward to this month. I had signed up for a worship conference because Sean Feucht would be speaking at it.
To be honest, the first night of the conference I didn’t feel much joy. I was tired and I felt NOTHING. Actually, I realized later I was deeply upset because I felt trapped in my own body, plagued by obesity, hypoglycemia, and foot problems. I felt burdened by my son’s health who and all of our family circumstances and challenges that we face. And I felt deep down that God was ignoring me because well, I’m just not that important in the Kingdom. Or so it seemed to me as I have always felt marginalized wherever I am, especially in church.
The next morning as I drove to the conference, I was listening to a Christian radio station and the Waymaker song came on by Michael W. Smith. I like that song. I felt just a little bit of joy peeping through.
Then in the meeting, the speaker spoke about how we should view our challenges as friends. Kind of like being in labor. Because God is BIRTHING something in us.
That hit me square in my spirit. I actually figured that out a few months ago. I knew God has been birthing something incredible in me for years and that was why I struggled so much. In fact, I was going to tell my family a joke at dinner when I realized that. “I’m pregnant!” Yes, pregnant with God’s plans for my life!
That’s why when the speaker said that, it resonated with me deeply. Then the leader prayed for someone with foot problems! (and now, after thinking about a very easy stretch, my pain is MUCH better!) A lady came over to me and said she had a word from the Lord that He was preparing me for something great. And then, another young lady came to me and said she had a word from God for me: God sees me. Don’t resist Him. He is going to fulfill a promise that He gave me long ago in a quiet time.
Now at this point I started crying. This is EXACTLY what my soul was longing for. I was filled with joy!
On Friday night, I was trying to praise as much as I could despite being tired. All day at the conference I had thought, “I wish I could jump up and down like all the others are doing.” But my feet and my body were holding me back.
Then all of a sudden the worship conference leader who was leading the music broke out in the wildest dance I have ever seen! It was like a wild Native American dance. It was incredible! I got up, nearly bowling over my husband, so I could get into the aisle where there was more room. I jumped up and down. I did it. Oh yeah, I was filled with joy!
Believe me, I was filled with joy that Saturday night when I heard Sean Feucht speak. Then filled with even MORE joy the next day when he spoke and led singing at church. I even went up to him afterwards and gave him a hug and thanked him. Yeah, I kinda acted like a schoolgirl fangirl but you have to understand: there where two things that kept me together over this last year: Bigfooting and Sean Feucht.
The whole conference brought me back to the days after I accepted Jesus into my heart. I was around eight years old. I had heard a man on a Christian radio station describe how I could ask Jesus in my heart and He would be like a candle that would never burn out. I knew that I needed Jesus as my savior. I knew that deeply. So I invited Him in, and I was DIFFERENT! After that, I would spend my recess time singing songs to Jesus. Because of the conference and their “Song of the People,” I was able to do that again!
A week later, I was the recipient of a healing session with my Heart Healing mentorship group. I brought up that memory in the conference. Which brought up a memory I had of being teased in a Girl Scout camp when I was age 11. My bunkmates stole my diary and made fun of me. They made fun of me all week. It was during that camp that I literally cursed myself to be invisible—like a shadow. No one noticing me was far less painful than being teased relentlessly. Then after the camp was over, my family picked me up and we went to Wyoming to visit my grandparents. One night I was trying to sleep in my mom’s old bedroom. I couldn’t sleep because all I could hear was Satan whispering: “You might as well end it. No one cares. No one will even notice if you’re gone!” All night I wrestled with these thoughts. It was almost like a command. All I knew to do was to pray, “God help me.”
Well, obviously he did because I am still alive and kicking!
So during this prayer session, I pictured Jesus there in that memory and it was one of the most incredible, healing experiences ever. I was filled with joy!
I’ve been learning so much about joy. Not only through this worship conference, but through my personal devotions of the word joy in Scripture. I’ve fully embraced a role I had previously avoided–being a worship leader, and I’ve started singing my original songs. In fact, I am going to be singing one of my songs at a fundraiser on June 12!
But maybe you want to know more about what I learned and how YOU can have joy.
Yes, you absolutely can be filled with joy. Here’s what I will tell you:
1) Get in the Word. Daily. In fact, several times a day would even be better.
2) Ask the Holy Spirit to invade your life. Have Him take over ALL of you. Surrender it ALL.
3) Confess any bitterness, anger, unholy actions. Just get it all out on the table before Him. Ask for His forgiveness. If you need to ask for somebody’s forgiveness, do it. And forgive yourself.
4) Stay connected. Go to church. Find a Bible study. Get involved.
5) Listen to praise music. Live it. Breathe it. Dance to it. Play it at night while you’re sleeping.
6) Do spiritual warfare. Prayer is not all nice and pretty. Get serious about it.
7) Praise God through all the hard times you are experiencing. That is how you are going to get breakthrough. That and depending on the Holy Spirit. Dig deeper on depending on Him. Use praise as your vehicle.
8) Look at your burdens as friends. You are becoming the person God wants you to be! He is using the adversity you’re going through to make you into someone great!
9) Don’t keep it to yourself! Share His praise with others. Live out the callings that He has given you, even if you don’t feel “qualified.” If you don’t know your callings, find out. Your age, weight, ethnicity, economic background, etc does not matter!
Okay, so I know that’s a lot, but that’s just a little of what I’ve been learning on how to be filled with joy.
Expect for me to be coming out of the shadows. No more will I be a Gideon hiding in a cave. I will imperfectly live out the callings God has given me, including being a worship leader and singer/songwriter.
Because I want others to experience what I have experienced: those precious moments of being filled with joy!