Shortly after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, an unexpected package arrived in the mail. It was from a sweet friend named Susan who lives hundreds of miles away in California and had endured a bi-lateral mastectomy. Knowing exactly what I’d need, she gave thoughtful gifts that were both practical and spiritual. A fanny pack to hold my surgical drains (practical) and a book of devotions by Sarah Young called Jesus Always (spiritual). I don’t think Susan knew it at the time, but God used her in an incredible way in my life.
First off, I had been meaning to order a fanny pack for myself but hadn’t gotten around to it. The one she sent arrived just in time for my mastectomy. Thank you, Susan, and thank you, Lord, a.k.a. Jehovah Jireh (God Provides)!
Now the book. Honestly, I didn’t look at it very closely when it arrived because when I pulled it out of the mailbox and its packaging we were in the car headed somewhere. Not to mention, it’s a daily devotional and since we were quickly approaching the New Year it seemed like a good idea to wait before diving in.
When January rolled around and I finally looked at it closely, it brought tears to my eyes. Why? Partly because I was suffering from anxiety and cried at everything then. (I’m so thankful that over time my nerves have begun to heal.) But mostly because at the top of the cover were five meaningful words: Embracing Joy in His Presence.
I hadn’t shared this with Susan, but God had grabbed my attention three months before my cancer diagnosis about the need for more joy in my life. HIS joy. I was at a Christian conference that was centered on the Lord’s mercy when the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart the words from Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” I share that story in greater detail in Joy is Contagious…Cancer Isn’t, which should be available next month.
After that hallowed experience, the word JOY came to me from every divine direction. I know He was lovingly preparing me for the difficult journey ahead. He revealed to me that I had lost much of my joy and He expected me to face cancer with an abundance of it. And the amazing part was realizing that I could. That anyone can IF we remain plugged into that source of joy: Jesus.
I’ve not always done that well, remained plugged in to my Savior, seeking joy in His presence, even after His gentle yet powerful reminder that THAT is exactly what I need. But the good thing is that when I stumble and stray off course that it’s now obvious to me. Then I make a date with him for some one-on-one time just like I would with an inimitable friend and we have a refreshing visit.
This is not at all what I sat down to write. I planned to share a short excerpt from Jesus Always that deals with making our troubles an idol…a truly novel thought. But maybe you appreciate knowing why Young’s book means so much to me and I can share her insights on negative vs. pleasurable idols next time. Until then, let’s all reflect on the people, like Susan, that have blessed our lives and consider how we can foster and spread more joy.
[CHIME IN: Has God ever shared a message with you, either directly or through a trusted friend, to help you through a difficult time? If so, please share by replying to this post with the intent of encouraging others.]
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.