Somewhere beneath the kids’ stinky laundry and my own doubt lies a joy worth fighting for. I’m here to dig it out.
Joy in this Journey in a nutshell:
Joy – that’s me. I grew up in a Christian home, and should know the answers to all the usual faith questions, but I don’t. I have delivered four babies, handed two over to heart surgeons in the hall outside an operating room, and buried one in a cemetery just a few miles from our home. I have no idea how I managed to marry a man who would love me and our kids through all of the upheaval, but I did. I have been writing since the second grade and blogging since 2005. I write naked (not literally, you perv!), so stick around if you like someone who takes off their “everything’s peachy-keen” mask and shares real life.
This Journey is my search to find better answers to those faith questions. I want to live this one life well — as a woman who not only believes but also acts as James described: faith without works is dead. I write about missions and charity, suffering, doubt and questions about theology, parenting, women’s issues, worship, and the Bible.
The views expressed here are solely my own, are a work in process, will change over time, & don’t necessarily reflect views of any specific person (husband, kids, friends) or entity (employer, church, school) associated with me.
I snapped this picture on a weekend getaway with my husband. We sat on the shore of one of the Great Lakes, soaking in the quiet, and I found myself envying the seagulls floating, gliding, soaring through the sunshine, living the carefree glorious life I dreamed about as a girl.
I’ve done very little soaring as an adult.
Instead, my life more resembles the plant in this photo. I admit it, I wallowed in a bit of self-pity as I imagined it clutching tightly to a rock while battered by relentless wind and waves in summer and encased in ice and snow all winter. But as I watched it bob and wave in the breeze with defiance and exuberance, I began to admire the plant. It grows despite apparent lack of nourishing soil. It will not be beaten down. It is stronger and more inspiring than a soaring seagull, and it has become my mascot.
I write to live. I’ve been writing since I first learned how to put words into sentences, and when I’ve had to stop writing for a time, I shriveled up inside. My bachelor’s degree is in professional and technical writing, and I have taught writing classes and written for businesses, hospitals and non-profits, start-ups, blogs, and social media (you can find some representative writing for other sites here). In 2011 World Vision asked me to write for them and to observe their humanitarian work. I’ve traveled with them to Bolivia in 2011 and to Sri Lanka in 2012. I have been freelance-writing and editing since my first child was born in 2000.
I started this blog in 2005 (on Blogger), as the mother of three young children, one of whom (our oldest, Ellie) had profound special needs. My days were consumed with diapers, feedings, medical treatments/appointments/therapies, surgeries, emergencies, and hospitalizations, and I was losing who I was and my memories of those days in the fatigue fog. In 2007, we added a fourth child, also with some significant medical issues. We were officially a “double-whammy family” and all the platitudes about God not giving more than you can handle crumbled into dust.
I began to write about the effect this kind of life had on my faith. In the midst of the hardship, I also tried to keep a sense of humor sharing stories of the ridiculous scenarios I found myself in. I do not have it all together and refuse to pretend that I do.
Ellie died in the fall of 2008, and my blog became a place to write through my grief, depression, and overhaul of faith. Eventually, I moved my posts from October 2008 to the present to WordPress. (You can find old posts from before Ellie passed on my old Blogger blog.)
Many people are afraid to speak openly about depression, grieving, and spiritual crises. We think that good Christians just aren’t supposed to be depressed or doubt their faith, so we fear the shame of admitting it. We’ve heard too many health-and-wealth preachers tell us that if we do all the right things, life will be full of success and devoid of tragedy. This is false teaching. And when we experience suffering (and we all do), we carry tremendous burdens of guilt.
The only way to escape that guilt and heal is to talk openly and honestly. To listen and to love each other in the midst of the pain and the questions. But we need safe places to do that. Joy In This Journey is a safe place. You are not alone. You can keep going. We can do it together.
If you are struggling, losing hope grieving, depressed… please don’t go it alone. I would love to connect with you. Please email me (joy [at] joyinthisjourney [dot] com) or message me on my Facebook page.