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Monday, March 20, 2017

Guest Post: Fighting for Joy

This young woman’s story will touch your heart. Erica is a beautiful single mother of four. She had to escape an abusive situation. Whoever you are, what Erica shares will challenge your heart.

"I hope this blesses you today, wherever you are in your life. Here's my story about my fight for joy:

Since my divorce, I came across Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, the New York Times bestseller. Reading this book was a turning point in my life in my fight for joy. She tells her story. I learned from her book to take my eyes off the mess of my life and to start counting things I could be thankful for—writing a few things down each day in a notebook with the goal to get to one thousand things and just keep going from there. I started this notebook and I'm almost at my one thousand after two years of writing. A miracle began in my heart as I began to see God in every part of my life by being thankful and grateful, even in the heartache and mess of my divorce. It was something I had to force myself to do (finding things to be thankful for) but then it came easier and easier. I began to find myself automatically thanking God for everything and seeing God in everything rather than focusing on the mess of my life. The result of this was pure JOY! I was amazed at the work that was being done in my heart by just being thankful.

Then I read these verses: 1 Thessalonians 5:18, In everything give thanks [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will] concerning you. I just sat there and said it over and over to myself this is God's Number One Will for me . . . to give thanks . . . give thanks . . . and then another verse, Psalm 100:4, Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 16:11,
 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. As I meditated on these verses I thought to myself, "Okay, it's God's will for me to give thanks in everything, and as I am giving thanks in all things I am entering into His presence, and in His presence is pure JOY!"

God showed me how to be thankful-grateful in the midst of deep pain and the messiness of life! My life has been forever changed. It has changed my heart not only into a joyful heart, but I found myself content. (I was very discontent with my life—very angry at times with my life.) 
Philippians 4:11, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am (Yes there are days when I find myself fighting to find things to be thankful for . . . and slipping back into discontentment and frustration . . . when I fall off the wagon, I just have to ask God to help me pick myself up and jump back on.), therewith to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted).
 When I look for it there is always something I can be thankful for, and then my joy and contentment returns. I thank God every day for this miracle He performed in my heart. It's the best place to be joyful and content even in the deep pain and mess of my divorce and seeing my children and what they are going through now—so much heartache! I never thought I'd come to this place of contentment and joy . . . or even thought it possible to have joy even in the midst of so much pain. It's like Paul and Silas when they sang praises to God in the prison. They had joy that came from entering into the presence of God through thanksgiving! It wasn't until three years after my divorce in the fight for joy that I came to this turning point in my life.

I am praying for all those fighting for joy.”

Lou Ann: Thank you, Erica, for sharing your testimony of how you fought for joy. I appreciate your letting me share it with my readers.

If you've been blessed by reading Erica’s story, please comment and let her know.


  1. I am sorry to see a plug for an Ann Voscamp book on this blog, as she is a definite heretic. Rat poison is 98% good food they say.

    1. This post should not be construed as an endorsement of the book mentioned. It is a testimony of how thankfulness helped this particular woman. The idea in Ten Thousand Gifts of making a list of things to be thankful for inspired this particular lady to begin to focus on thanking God. Again, no one has endorsed this book or the author's theology in this post.

  2. Erica, Thank you so much for sharing your story. My life certainly did not turn out the way I had envisioned either and I too know how difficult it can be to find joy sometimes. Today in my gratitude journal, I was most thankful for the Lord's presence. He is always with me and promised never to forsake me! What joy fills my heart when I reflect on that truth! May God continue to bless you and your children dear sister.

    1. Thank you, Brenda, for sharing. God bless you!

  3. I am so pleased to see how God is working in your life Erica! What a testimony. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, a blessing! Thank you, Carrie, for visiting "In the Way."


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