Five years ago (I can hardly believe it’s been that long.), I went to a “little” blogging conference called Blissdom, where I shared a room with three strangers who became friends.
One of those amazing ladies, my very good friend, Mary, has written a book.
And, I was honored to receive an advanced copy. Isn’t it beautiful?!
Before receiving the book and being part of it’s launch team, I knew a bit about it’s co-author Sara. I knew she and Mary had been blogging friends. And, I knew that Sara had passed away in the fall of 2011, just a few months after I had lost my Katie.
I remember reading some of Sara’s posts in that grief-induced fog that surrounded me in 2011.
I remember how inspired I was that she was determined to “Choose Joy” no matter the circumstance.
I remember that I couldn’t really imagine that at the time.
So, when I heard through the grapevine that is social media that Mary was pulling together a collection of Sara’s posts and putting them into book form, I couldn’t wait to read it… until I got the book.
Then, I was afraid.
I knew that reading this book was going to pick at the scabs that are always tender around the wound losing Katie left.
I knew that with the fifth anniversary of her passing rushing towards me like a freight train, reading about someone else’s struggling with illness was going to be hard.
I knew it was going to hurt. And, I would cry. And, there would be snot. (Just being real here.)
Then, I received this for Christmas from a loving friend and co-worker who knew nothing of my reading the book plight.
And, I laughed. With joy.
And I read.
And I cried.
And there was the need for many tissues.
And, I healed… just a little bit.
There are SO MANY things I could share from this amazing book that my friend put together to honor an amazing woman and make sure that her message of JOY is never lost. And, I hope to share them all with you over time. (I mean, I think I used half a package of Post-It flags on this thing.) However, this is my favorite.
“When asked how she defined joy, Sara said, ‘Joy is the unwavering trust that God knows what He’s doing and has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of it—not despite what’s happening in my life, but because of it. When everything earthly feels heavy, He gives me the internal lightness that can’t be touched.'”
Throughout the book, we hear again and again through Sara’s words that JOY=TRUST. When we trust God, we will find the joy. When we choose to let go of our fear and give it to Him, we CHOOSE JOY.
As I read, I was reminded of how much I hold on to my fear. I plot and plan and prepare. I try to control the future. I try to predict what “might” happen. I don’t always let go. And, I for sure don’t always choose joy.
I’m praying that as I move into 2016, that I can “stop praying for what I want and start praying for Him to change my heart for what He wants. I pray that I can be aware of His opportunities. It requires me to trust Him completely.” It requires me to CHOOSE JOY.
I’m so thankful I was given this book to read, and I’m even more thankful for the two women who poured their souls into making it happen.
As of today, January 5, 2016, you can get your copy of Choose Joy, Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts. Go ahead and grab one for your girlfriend too. You’re going to want to read it together. Oh, and make sure you have some tissues. You’ll need them.