Choose Joy Online Bible Study Starts Today!

By July 29, 2012Choose Joy

Welcome to the Womens Bible Cafe” as we begin a four-week study based on the book Choose Joy by Kay Warren. We have more than 480+ women participating in this online Bible study. It’s not too late to join us- click here to register.

I’m so excited about this Bible Study!  Joy doesn’t come easy for many of us and with the issues that we face daily, sometimes we wonder if we’ll ever see/feel or have joy again.

The truth of the matter is that we can, and on a daily basis.  Choosing joy is possible, regardless of darkness that seems to surround you.

It is my desire that as we go through this study together you’ll not only choose joy but that you’ll daily display that the JOY of the Lord is YOUR strength!  Neh 8:10.

I know how painful day after day of troubles and trials are.  I know just how frightful and discouraging life’s issues are.  I know firsthand financial troubles, health issues with children and how the sting of unemployment affects families.  I know the loneliness and fear that can consume your heart during those times of complete darkness and sorrow.  I know how tightly discouragement holds on to you, rendering you powerless to even lift your head sometimes.   I know the pain and grief of families being torn apart and loved ones dying, never to hear their sweet voices or see their precious smile again.  I know how guilt and shame leaving you feeling like you have no right to blessings.  I know how the pain of any situation is enhanced when night falls and the silence of darkness surrounds you.

But….

I also KNOW the ONE who is right beside me as I’m struggling to choose joy and trust His will!  As I’m traveling through the darkness, HE doesn’t mind living there to protect me, to strengthen me and to guide me.

Our darkest days are no surprise to HIM.  Our tears of pain, aches of discouragement and feelings of failure are no surprise to Him.  Our anger and questions screamed at the top of our hearts because we simply don’t understand does not cause Him to worry or wonder what will happen.

I know how choosing joy through all of that is possible!

Can you imagine how your heart will be swimming in true joy, even when you wonder just how things will work out at all? 

Can you imagine the joy that others around you will experience, because joy is highly contagious?

Can you imagine living a life of joy, simply because you choose to? And we know that we can do all things through Christ. Phil 4:13.

Let’s strengthen our resolve by studying this together and choosing joy together.

Can’t wait to see you and study this with you.  Dive right in and choose joy!

Prayer Requests

When you visit our Prayer Wall and post a prayer request, know that we have a team of women who are praying for you. In order to receive the blessing of these prayer warriors, you need to submit your prayer request. If you have a private prayer and don’t want to post it on the website, please email wbcprayers@gmail.com

Assignment For This Week

  • Read chapters one through three in your book Choose Joy by Kay Warren
  • If you are using the Participant’s Guide, complete Session One –  if you’re not using the video DVD’s the answer key for the video sessions is on page 58-59

Group Discussion

Close your eyes for a moment. Now imagine how you would look if you experienced JOY. Where are you located, what are you wearing, are you alone or with someone else…share your image or definition of Joy by posting a comment below.

Spreading JOY Daily,

Marie

Author WBC

Find online bible studies for women at the Womens Bible Cafe. It's also a place where you can meet other Christian women from around the world and fellowship together. If you're unable to a attend a church small group bible study then the Bible Study Cafe is just right for you! Look under "Current Studies" to see what we're reading. Bring your book and let's study the Word together.

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Join the discussion 158 Comments

  • Dawn says:

    First thing that came to my mind is being on a warm sandy beach with a white dress. I was amazed to see how much the other comments were similar I this.

  • Amber says:

    When I close my eyes and picture myself in a very joyful moment and atmosphere, the first thing that came to mind was the image me and my family dressed in all white (maybe because white just seems like a bright, pure, happy color) walking and laughing together in the greenest pasture i can imagine. I think because all would seem right in our world.

  • simone johns says:

    I too am very late:(. I would be joyful no mater what the circumstance full of peace and happiness just still and calm and content as Jesus was in the storm

  • Carin says:

    I am way behind and just starting!!

    I googled Joy and this stood out to me~The Old and New Testaments promise us joy — not a temporary, fleeting “high,” but something that endures through both good and bad days.

    So having read that I want to visualize not just a day or what I am wearing, I want to visualize waking up every morning with a sense of peace and a “no worry” day and a goal of doing that every waking morning.

    My husband and I have experienced Joy on a fleeting “high” on vacation. I want to find that in my every day living regardless of my circumstances. That is a goal for me personally!

  • Valene Davis says:

    I don’t know that I have a defination of joy. I just know that it is something I want more and more of. I guess you know when you feel joy and you know when you don’t have it, but sure is hard to define, isn’t it!

  • Teara Fisher says:

    Joy is state of bliss..when I expericen joy I want to be on a beach near clear blue water.What I look like when I experience joy…the stress line are gone and I walk with a glow.

    I hope this post goes thru!

  • Teara Fisher says:

    Hi , I’m teara and I way behind but not giving up.

  • ricki says:

    just downloaded audible…and starting today. i am hoping to apply what i learn in my hospice career. i have some catching up to do…but so far very easy listening. thanks for recommendation.

  • Dee Ramos says:

    Joy would be leading a purpose driven life for Jesus. Joy for me would be being busy doing God’s work and being involved in something bigger than myself.

  • Jennifer D says:

    My joy would be helping families to create a scrapbook-heritage album—so they can realize the importance of the family, along the way get to know their family history.

  • Becca says:

    Joy to me is my heart being at peace as I go through trials. It’s me sleeping peacefully at night. It’s my “happy thought” of relaxing at the beach. It’s me being genuinely happy for others.

    • Teara Fisher says:

      Wow I feel the same way I find myself wakeing up at night with worry..I just try to pray but sometime that not enough.

  • Alicia says:

    Joy for me would be NOT dreading getting out of bed. I would awake, happily get the kids ready for school and my husband off to work without a cross word. Once they were gone, have my devotion / study time. Then care for my home and take care of family/household needs and projects. I dont mind stress but want the type of stress caused by jobs, or pressure from others to go away. I hand them over to God and TRULY don’t worry about them again.

  • Lori says:

    I think that Joy for myself would be for me to let God handle all things that life gives me, I have a hard time with turning everything over to him. The every day self doubt and anxiety seems to take over sometimes and when I realize that I stop and pray, then a since of Joy over takes me for which I am blessed. I know we all are blessed that we have a forgiving God for when we ask forgiveness, I am not perfect but try to improve everyday with Jesus Christ my Savior.

  • Marie says:

    @Katie & @Traci, the more you let go, the more you’ll be able to let go. We (including ME here…) tend to forget that we are letting go of our issues, fears and struggles to the Master of the Wind, the One that spoke this world into existence and the One that loved us sooooo much, He died for us. When we reflect on how God “handled it” the last time we let go, our faith is strengthened.
    [whispering] you can do it!! #TrustGod #LetGo

    @Stasia – I’m so glad you are here – a true hero in my eyes!! Missionaries are amazing to me. I love the unbridled JOY of children. They laugh loud, they play hard and simply soak up the world. Often, when I’m in a crowd, people tell me they can hear my laughter above others and my kids will actually say “shhhh” but I simply can’t help myself. I get wrapped up in the moment and the little girl must roam free. That is my wish for all of the ladies here. Let the little girl just soak up all the joyful moments each time she can!

    @Lee Ann and others that pointed out the simple little things – thank you. Treasuring those things are key to experiencing joy more so than others. When the little things are treasured greatly…imagine how priceless the great treasures become.

    To those that are struggling to “rest in Him” let me encourage you by saying you’ll get there. Reflect on your last “storm” and how God brought you through it. Reflect on how even though Joseph didn’t know why God was doing what He was doing, Joseph remained faithful and how God worked it all out in the end.

    Psalms 46 says when our world seems to be falling apart – HE is our refuge and strength. Hide that chapter in your heart for easy recollection.

    @Camille I love how God is just always on time. So thankful for that too!

    Wow!! What an amazing first week!! I have enjoyed reading all of your visions of Joy!
    Father, thank you for these ladies from all over the world that are seeking to choose joy while placing their trust in you. May this study encourage their hearts, lift the burden of guilt off their shoulders and strengthen their faith in you. Lord bless these ladies and speak to their hearts through this study in Jesus name Amen.

    Ladies….you are truly a blessing!
    {HUGS}
    @spreadingJOY

  • Janice says:

    Joy for me would look like a lake with some geese swimming, I would be alone(except for God and nature). I think I would be in a sun dress, something comfortable and I would just let God show me Joy. I am not all the way through Chapter 3 yet but I really enjoyed the part where she explained Jesus as being Joyuous and humorous. It really helps to see Bible stories in a different light that you can identify with. I look forward to continuting this journey!

  • Wanda says:

    In my life joy would be worshipping God together as a family. It has been years since my 4 kids have been to church. True joy would be havingy prayers answered that they develop personal relationship with Christ.

  • Diana says:

    My beautiful mother is the one that really first taught me the meaning of true joy. She has given each of us in the family a door hangar that reads:
    Jesus
    Others
    You

    By trying to keep my focus in this order, joy comes more often and with greater intensity.

  • Marilyn says:

    Joy would be giving all my worries over to God and knowing he will take care of them. Joy is contentment with my life, but that Joy is snatched between the anxieties of life. Joy is sharing God with others so they might come to know his love too.

  • Julie says:

    I think that true joy would be difficult to put into words…..unspeakable joy. Joy would occur when you are doing God’s will. Joy would occur when you are living a Christ-centered life and are sharing the love of Christ with others. I think joy would occur following selfless service in obedience to Him. Self-centeredness robs us of joy. I have a lon.g way to go to find true joy!

  • Katie says:

    Sarah E I am struggling with the same thing. For me joy would entail achieving peace by waking up each day without worry & knowing that whatever the day brings is part of God’s plan for me. Also, instead of always trying to figure out, predict, & or constantly worry about different situations or relationships I can just trust that everything will work out as it should. I do experience a lot of joy watching my 1 yr old daughter discover the world around her & seeing things like her first steps. Also, seeing her face absolutely light up when I walk into the room has brought me more joy than I ever thought possible.

    • Sandy says:

      Katie, I like your vision of joy. That’s how I imagine it too. Like you, I have a little one. He’s 3. The way his eyes lock on my face sometimes is an amazing reminder of how we should lock our eyes on our Heavenly Father. Doing that, focusing on Him, would make all the worries of the day melt away. I recently rediscovered a familiar verse: Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well. (Matthew 6:33). He knows our needs and will provide. All we have to do is trust Him. I think letting go of the to-do list and just letting God take over would greatly improve my mental well-being. I’d be more relaxed and able to see the joy in every moment. All I have to do is seek Him, through Bible reading, prayer and Bible study.

    • Marie says:

      Katie, as much as you love your daughter and the joy it brings you to watch her discover the world around her… imagine the JOY it brings the LORD when we see and appreciate the “ordinary JOY” that He pours out on us daily…and we miss it because our hearts are heavy or we are busy.

      We often overlook the ordinary and God longs for us to simply notice.

      @spreadingJOY

  • Traci K says:

    I often feel like I’m on the “verge” of letting go
    completely – 100%, then fear and doubt creep in.
    My heart knows to trust, my mind often wins.
    The first 3 chapters have been refreshing and a
    easy read for me. (I struggle with curling up w/ a good book)

    • Katie says:

      I experience the same thing Traci. I’ve actually been able to “let go” & trust on occasion & it’s felt absolutely amazing but then eventually doubt creeps in & I’m back to feeling anxious & worrying. While reading the 1st chapters I could feel myself almost “letting go” at times so I feel as though this book will help me tremendously.

  • Mary Hanrattie says:

    I have been meditating on what joy would look like in my life. I have struggled with the picture, but finally I have one. It is me resting in the loving arms of Jesus knowing everything is going to be ok. It is a picture of absolute trust and confidence in Him that He truly is in control, even of the details of my life. I think joy and peace go hand in hand.

  • Stasia Nielsen says:

    There are two things that come to my mind, first I am preparing a surprise…. cooking, looking through pre-loved clothing, preparing bags. I then make my way to the barrios, the dumps, the “Entrance to the Oven” it is called. I find the shack with dirty children playing in the trash heap. They run toward me calling me auntie Stasia, and they know I have goodies for them. We play, we talk we laugh. This is living for me, this is Joy. In these times, I realize it is not about me. I become more grateful for what I have. Second~I am on my knees, in my room, listening to some special praise music. I am reminded of His grace, I see Him on the cross. With tears rolling down my face I am filled with repentance, sorrow. After a while lingering like this, I feel a release in my spirit, a lifting of the weight that holds me down, a freeing of the chains that bind, bit by bit a feel a smile creeping across my face. I feel a sense of eternal worth I only feel at these most intimate times. I feel like a bird released from captivity and I freed I can fly. As my spirit soars and my heart is filled with praise, I find Joy~

  • Lee Ann says:

    I am a pretty joyful person, but my big joy comes from simple things and seeing others get their blessing from God. For me, seeing someone saved, seeing a prayer being answered, or hearing people’s testimony from where they came from makes me want to jump up and down sometimes. Where I am always in a rush, sometimes just slowing down and being alone with my family doing nothing brings me great joy!

  • Janene Tarchinski says:

    I so desperately want to feel Joy always in every situation and I hope and pray that this book will help me do that. God is good and merciful and I know that if I put my complete trust in Him, he will help me succeed in having complete Joy in my life here on Earth.

  • Tracie says:

    Joy for me comes when I can see Gods hand working in my young children’s lives. When I can know beyond a shadow of doubt that He is honoring and growing their young faith. I struggle with being content many times and find myself several steps ahead of where He wants me to be at times but I have the peace that He will never leave me! By God confirming His devotion through my children I am able to claim Joy no matter the circumstances …. And I am learning more every day what that biblical joy looks like!

  • Lisa says:

    The greatest JOY I can imagine is resting in the arms of Jesus and letting His love pour into my soul!

    • Alicia says:

      Lisa, awesome thought! We can do that every day can’t we? I don’t however, and that its the reason for a lot of our joylessness – we don’t go to him and let him hold us and soothe the cares of this world away.

  • Sarah E says:

    Joy would be being able to let go of all my worries and fears and completely trust in God’s control over my life. I want to get there and hope this study will help me to further my relationship with God and get to a point that I can just put it all in his hands and trust in Him that it will all work out.

    • Valarie says:

      Sarah – That is exactly how I am feeling right now. It seems so simple to put our trust in God but I struggle daily in putting all my faith in Him.

  • Sheree Poole says:

    Complete joy for me is spending time with my four children and five grandchildren. I have a son in the Air Force and he and his wife and my two little granddaughters live in Arkansas, so our times together are so few and so very precious to me. I love to cook and have big family meals with all of us together, and even though my feet and legs ache so bad after standing in my kitchen and cooking a big meal for my family, it gives me great joy to have us all together in one place, sharing stories and laughing together…words cannot express what joy that brings to my heart. My everyday joy, however, only comes from spending time with God in His Word on a daily basis. This Bible study on “Choose Joy” is a great compliment alongside my Wednesday night Bible study at church. We are studying Beth Moore’s “James” and James has a lot to tell us about joy. I also love the definition of joy in the book “Choose Joy”….”Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choise to praise God in all things.” Amen to that 🙂

  • Carol Alen says:

    Peace would be calmness, contentment, and believing that no matter what happens on the outside….all is good on the inside. And God will take care of it all for me.

  • amy J says:

    Have you ever been in a place where you are so lacking that you can’t even conjure up an image of joy?

    • Cathryn J says:

      I think a number of us could say we have been, Amy. So many of us have struggled with anxiety, fear, disillusionment, abandonment…the list goes on and on. That being said, I have to believe in Kay Warren’s definition of joy which states (in part) that “God is in control of all the details of my life.” I believe He’s directed us to this very Bible study so that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 1:6)

    • Marie says:

      Amy, I have and I pray that through this study, you’ll be encouraged to see that first, you are not alone and next that joy – complete faith in God, is possible. Yes, we all will ask why or at the very least wonder why. Yes we will all have times of complete heart break that we think our tears will never ever end. but yes… we can completely count on God to strengthen us, comfort us while the tears fall and help us to move on.

      my prayers are with you

    • Alicia says:

      YES – – These are the times I have to just stop and say HELP to God!

  • Camille says:

    Joy for me is being closer to God. Sometimes I feel very close to the Lord and other times, unfortunately, I feel so very far away. So I know that when I’m close to Him, I have a sense of peace in my heart and yes – Joy. Like when I’m cleaning house or swimming (for exercise) I’m just talking to God. Working out thoughts, challenges, being grateful I’m able to exercise at all, counting my blessings. I talk with God like he was right here, swimming with me. In those moments, no matter what else is going on in my world, I have true Joy and contentment, it washes over me completely. My flesh is weak though, and often by the end of the day – joy has been replaced by frustration, resentment and/or anger.
    I know I have the Lord, he is the rock on which I stand. But do you think he’s bothered with EVERY little detail of my mundane life?

    • Mary Hanrattie says:

      Hi Camille,
      I do think God is extremely interested in every detail (even the mundane) of our lives. He is omnicient…all knowing. I reccommend reading Psalm 139 it says He knows when we sit, when we lie down, it says every day of our life is written in His book before one ever existed. 😀 Amazing, isn’t it?

  • Cindy J Hines says:

    Joy to me would be pretty much the way I felt yesterday. To feel at peace, calm, to be happy just because I am alive.

  • Marie Wikle says:

    I have loved reading everyone’s description of joy!! Such fun things have been listed, thought provoking things as well as things that just make you sit back and count your blessings.

    I’m excited for this study and pray that as you journey on your path to choose joy, that joy will flood your heart as you rest in the Lord knowing you matter to Him.

    I saw a sign on a church this week that said “Jesus KNOWS me, this I LOVE”

    He knows right where you are…

    Hugs

    @spreadingJOY

  • Tammy Baker says:

    My image of joy is spending a fun-filled day with my husband, kids, and family at a theme park or water park. Seeing all their smiling faces as we enjoy being together, sharing all the fun, puts joy in my heart and a smile on my face as I thank God for the experience! 🙂

  • Shannon y says:

    Joy to me is knowing all 9 of our children are saved and and God is in control of each of our lives individually and has a whole family unit. Trusting in God gives me joy because He loves us more than we can even comprehend. Never giving us more than we can handle, but always leading us toward spiritual growth. He is with us through all our trials ensuring our success.

  • shayj says:

    I believe I would be with friends sharing my heart with them. We would be on a resort vacation! All together enjoying each other’s company.

  • Evet says:

    Joy to me would be able to give all my worries to God. Also to be able to feel God in my heart. I read my Bible,do Bible studies and I still don’t feel him. My best friend and I have the same struggled. I would love to have joy walking with God. I’m hoping this study will help both of us. I want to feel peace and be contented knowing that God is with me.

    • Lynn says:

      Evet, thank you for your post. I feel the same way and it was nice to know that I’m no the only one struggling. I pray for joy and to know the Lord, but I haven’t had that “aha” moment where I feel at peace with God. Thank you, and here’s hoping that we find those moments through this study!

    • Cathryn J says:

      Praying for you, Evet and Lynn. I feel alone sometimes too. I think Jesus knew we would feel this way, which is why He made sure to tell us “I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20

  • Carol Hardbarger says:

    Has anyone out there been abandoned by a spouse? I am 63 years old and have been left high and dry, and with no health insurance. My faith has kept me together as well as a loving family and network of good friends. I am learning to be thankful for what I do have and “to be content in whatever situation I am in” as stated by Paul. I would like to hear from anyone who is or has been in this same situation. Thanks.

    • Christine Smith says:

      I think if you continue to read the Choose Joy book by Kay Warren, you will find your answers to your circumstances. Sorry to hear you were abandoned in marriage. Thankfully, Jesus never abandons us and love us unconditionally.

    • Cathryn J says:

      Hi Carol. I’ve noticed a couple women in the study who share very similar circumstances. I’m so sorry for what you are going through, and I pray that your attitude of choosing joy, regardless of circumstances, persists. Praise God that He’s blessed you with family and friends who can lend support and encouragement through these difficult times. I’m glad to be participating in this study with you, and pray we will both come out of it with “the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right.”

    • Mary Hanrattie says:

      Hi Carol,
      I have been abandoned by my husband. I am legally separated from him. I have not heard from him once since he left 11 years ago. I have and sometimes still do struggle with broken dreams. I have and I am learning that God wants to be my husband. He means what He says when He says His grace is sufficient for us. (see 2 Corinthians 12:9) I also remember His promise in Romans 8:28 That He will cause all things to work together for my good. Plus I tuck into my heart Jeremiah 29:11 That His plans are for my good. I will pray for you. 🙂

    • Mary Hanrattie says:

      Hi Carol, I was abandoned by my husband 11 years ago. I have and can still struggle with broken dreams. I am learning that God truly wants to be my husband. I am clinging to His promise in Romans 8:28 that says He is able to cause all things to work together for my good. I am believing His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 That God’s plans are for my good. And I am believing that His Grace is sufficient for me (see 2 Cor 12:9). I am praying for you. 🙂

  • Kay says:

    When I imagine that blissful moment of joy I picture myself as a young girl lying on my trampoline in the backyard of my childhood home. There’s a soft breeze blowing the green leaves that form a canopy over me. I know my mom is cooking dinner in the kitchen and my dad is working in the garden. All is right in my little world and that feeling of contentment, safety, love, and security brings me great joy. This is an occurrence I experienced regularly when I was growing up and it is still my standard for complete joy. Even though “you can’t go back,” I can still experience that same kind of satisfying joy when I draw close to my God and know that He has everything under control, just as I felt my parents did back then.

  • Cathryn J says:

    I imagine myself resting in Christ’s arms. I almost don’t recognize myself, as I’ve been made perfect, like Him. His arms embrace me, and I’m at complete peace.

  • Beth Cox says:

    Aw man. It’s fall, only a little on the chilly side with a nice crisp breeze. I’m at the park with my husband and two little boys. I have on a deep blue sweeter over a yellow tank top and blue jeans. My husband has his arm around me and we laugh at Gabriel as he glares at us for no reason, then smiles and chases the ducks. Jayden is on my lap trying to attack my necklace with his sticky (not for long) fingers. 🙂 This I would consider a joyful moment.

  • Courtney VanFossen says:

    When I close my eyes, I picture joy being in my house and just sitting back and viewing my family as an outsider would. I might not have joy all day, but I am extremely joyful for something everyday!
    I hope that someone who would see me would see a calm and understanding look on my face, and not such a rushed, overtired, bags under the eyes, pale face I have now.

  • sylviacollomy says:

    Hello! It’s so encouraging and inspiring to connect with you all over coffee and a great book!!
    I feel as if I’m finally beginning to understand that JOY is a choice, just like LOVE, FORGIVENESS, CONTENTMENT.. and that by letting our (my) emotions decide if we ‘feel’ those things- only robs us of ever really being able to experience them… just a thought !!

  • Camille says:

    I too feel this study came at exactly the right moment in time. Isn’t God amazing?!!! I still get blow-away by His timing and remarkable grace in my life. I just started the book this morning. So far – So great! I love reading all your comments. Doesn’t it help to know we are not alone in all of this. For me reading Kay’s story (and I’m only on Chap 1) really help me to understand that its okay – these things I feel – sometimes alone, I get that guilty feeling, apologizing constantly to the Lord for not being a good or strong enough christian. I look forward to continuing this study, reading your comments and praying for my sisters in Christ.

    • Shayla says:

      Camille,
      Yes, I was thinking the same thing! It’s a relief to know that we’re not alone in this and that our feelings are natural!!

  • Aisha says:

    JOY…*deep inhale* I am on a beach…pristine waters in front of me. Wearing a summer dress…and I am ALONE!! 🙂
    I live with a large family so it’s rare that I can find a moment of solitude.

  • Shayla says:

    When I imagine experiencing joy I see myself in a future place that God has for me. I am working a job I love, taking care of my husband and children, and serving God to the best of my ability. Until that life becomes a reality for me, I only experience true joy in one place and that is in the presence of God. He promised that in his presence we would have fullness of joy (Psa. 16:11) and I believe that and feel that when I get close to God!

  • Sheree says:

    Im sure that the Lord led me to this bible study. I can’t wait to see what he has I store for me. I would ask for prayer for my husband is laid off at this time waiting for the next job to come in. He feels the stress of the bills and I am worried for his health. I know God will provide he always does. We have our adult children struggling with their children living with us on and off. One now with us along with our youngest. Please pray for my two oldest to be able to be self sufficient with their family’s so that my husband and I can move forward to raise our 14 yr. old that we realy need to be focusing on now. It’s all been so stressfull and taken the joy fro
    Our marraige. Thank you!

    • Kelly W. says:

      I am completely relating to the stresses of unemployment and of the needs and pressures of raising 14 year olds. I can only pray that we both will find our ways through those stresses and also pray that your other children will find a way through life on their own. I was blessed with a mother like you, who has supported me in every way possible above and beyond what anyone would require. Your children are so very lucky and blessed to have you in their lives. I know many times, I forgot to tell my mother thank you and how much I appreciate her. So… Thank you, from them.

  • bonnie says:

    Thank you Marie
    and all of you
    who have offered words of encouragement and support and care and prayers as i share my burdens with you.
    i know that you all have burdens and struggles to and i pray God’s hand upon you too.
    i pray we all come to better understand this fruit of the spirit – joy

    Thanks for your prayers – they are blessing me

  • bonnie says:

    Thank you Cathryn – your wishes carry a lot of well wishes to my heart and i am treasuring them now.

  • Ellen says:

    I would be out on my morning walk with the dog, living in the present. I hear the birds chirping and the colors surrounding me in nature are vivid. That would be pure joy…enjoying God’s creation. I also copied and want to memorize Kay Warren’s definition of joy, I struggle with anxiety and it gave me peace:
    “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”

  • Jen says:

    Joy, for me, might look like a gathering in my home with my entire family and being assured of their salvation.

  • Chris says:

    Joy to me would be living everyday with the complete faith that God has my back no matter what – which I truly believe. Being content with what I have… and knowing that my family is safe and secure in a Christian life (which is a far cry from what some of them live right now). I don’t think it means that I have to be any certain place, or wearing any certain clothes, etc. But that I can go through each day confident that I am living the way that God wants me to live and being an example to others of the JOY of true Christian living.

  • Crystal says:

    Hello, my name is Crystal and I live in St. Louis. When I picture a joyful moment I think of Forest Park, my favorite part of the city. I picture being out on the water with my family in a paddle boat. just hanging out, having fun and enjoying each other. Joyful for me is just being thankful and acknowledging all that God has done in my life. Not that everything has been perfect, but just being thankful of all that He has brought me through and I am still standing.

  • Liza says:

    Please pray for my family while I am away serving our country.

  • Liza says:

    I would home with my husband and children celebrating our being together again. I often find myself giving into fear and worry and realized after reading the three chapters that I’m not chossing JOY because I’m living in fear of what “could” happen. I need to learn to let go of that fear…whether it’s fear for my children, my marriage or myself…I simply need to let go and enjoy the things that God has provided for me in this life. I need to allow myself to be Joyful and appreciate what I have! JOY for me is loving the Lord, following his path for my life and allowing him to guide me towards the JOY I know realize I deserve!

    • Cathryn J says:

      Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

      We know this verse, but living it is another thing altogether, isn’t it? I am a huge worrier too, Liza. It’s one reason I was drawn to this study, because my anxiety definitely interferes with my ability to experience God’s joy. I pray that we will all allow the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds so we can experience constant joy in our lives.

  • beckysublette says:

    My true Joy—to worship the Lord weekly in freedom and complete surrender WITH transformation, with my unsaved brother, his wife, my mother, my daughter and her family, my 2 sons and their families and all 6 grandchildren.
    For all of us to speak and pray and live lives changed (as I do with my church family.)

  • Marie Wikle @spreadingJOY says:

    I loved reading through all of your comments and have prayed that your hearts will be blessed as you do this study. May your love for the Lord shine for all those around you and they will see how the Son brings JOY like no other.

    @sylvia I know that walking this type of journey can be so difficult. I can’t imagine your pain but am trusting that you’ll come out stronger, more faithful and full of joy than you can ever imagine.
    @cathyfry Jesus is sooo awesome. Praying that as you go through this study that your light will shine sooo brightly
    @denise key – use those choices that seem to work against you to make your family stronger. Something as simple as family game time can be likened to being around the camp fire. As you are playing, discuss some of the mistakes and how you can learn from them. Let your family know that you wish more than anything that they not make the same mistakes. Those things you long to do, like camping out on a lake – bring to where you are. Camp in the backyard. Make it the best thing ever as you gaze at Gods amazing creation.
    @Katie I love writing in my books as well. Underlining and making notes of what my heart is thinking/feeling when I’m reading. I know you will love this study.
    @Rachelle fear can be so consuming, but God doesn’t want us living that way. Start choosing joy while trusting that HE will lead you. He gave you the passion, HE will provide a way
    @Kandi – I will be right over  – seriously. Make it happen. Find some gals from your church, your work, your neighborhood and say…hey I’m doing this study on this book, lets get together over coffee and just have some fun.
    @Frances I love Kays description of it. Here is how I’ve looked at it for sometime now…. “Joy is an undeniable faith in an almighty God, who has your best interest at heart.” It’s that trust, faith and peace that passes all understanding.
    @ShellAustin – start now. Wear the clothes that make you feel pretty. We plus size gals love feeling beautiful too. And yes…I’m totally plus size.  start there and start TODAY radiating the Lord’s love to others…that is such a gift!! Don’t wait on feelings for that…radiate NOW.
    @lisa – I understand about discouragement. It is something that I battle with. I’ve learned to recognize the times when it is likely to flair. Usually when I’m going to do something really cool for others or just right after an amazing victory. You have already won half the battle…you KNOW what it is. Keep going girly…you can do it.
    @Cee amen! I love the light the SON gives when myworld seems to be engulfed in darkness!
    @Joan – circumstances often steal our joy simply because we try to fight it in our own strength or as you say…we step away. Great thing is…God never moves!! Even in the middle of the valley of death…HIS JOY is our strength. Rest in Him and let Him speak to you through this study. Focus on the Lord, not the circumstances surrounding you.
    @lisa – I’m with you – on both!! Family serving and save me a seat at the beach!!
    @Kelly – focusing on the Father instead of the fear is sometimes difficult but possible. Being in the Bible daily, praying, singing songs of praise. It’s a process. You’ll get there!
    @Acacia I will be in prayer that you’ll find Gods will
    @Mary isn’t that just a beautiful thing? God’s peace, grace and love…such amazing gifts!
    @Lani I KNOW that feeling. I feel so close to the Lord when I’m beside the ocean. I always remind myself that as big as the ocean is…HE is bigger and HE controls it. Amazing
    @sharonLewis – so many people place value on financial success but what struck me the most from your items that “magnify” the JOY in your life… you got it!
    @suealice – I understand about someone you love not being able to go and do like you’d love them to…so, why not bring these things to them? Pull up a waterfall on youtube, get some candles that smell like the ocean. Create a small 3×3 garden and create a haven outside when the weather is cooler. And when you do this…spreading joy to him…your heart will be flooded with great joy. Start doing what you can with what you have!
    @KellyW – I’ve had many times that I’ve had to work that part time job you are speaking of. Physically draining and emotionally draining – especially to the heart that loves doing for others. Find little things to do for them and do them without feeling guilt. That is the key. Guilt sneaks in and whispers… “is THAT all you are going to do?” don’t let it win. This season of difficulty will pass and you’ll be stonger on the other side, helping those who seem to be limping through their problems. Let this study speak to your heart and rest in HIM
    @Mallory I love seeing God in the everyday Ordinary.
    @Danielle one thing you’ll see with the chronic pain is that you are much stronger than you could have ever known. God will use you mightily. My 17 yr old daughter deals with unbelievable chronic pain daily and it amazes me how she talks people through pain, through sickness…even me. What an amazing ministry you will have to others. May your heart find rest as you journey through this study.
    @Diana water brings me great joy also and so does encouraging and helping others.
    @LinaPatrick – I love the Psalms. Such raw emotion there, truth and praise…even through pain.
    @Amy a heart of thanksgiving and serving others is such an awesome way to start. You are spreading joy and in doing so, encouraging others to shine brightly for HIM…just as you are doing. Shine!!
    @gayle, isn’t that such a gorgeous sounding place? I pray that when you are reading and studying that your heart will take you there so that you can fully absorb all that the Lord has for you.
    @jodie being a plus size gal and having been even bigger, I know the pain of trying to even walk any distance. Do the fun things you can do, find what works and do that. Don’t let depression steal your joy. Start with chair exercises if need be. Walk where you can, even if to the end of your road and back. Do what you can, where you are with what you have and let JOY invade your heart. Use the tools you have online to encourage others.
    @allisonm – there is so much joy when we are hoping in the Lord. We aren’t leaving our dreams, desires and needs to someone that doesn’t have time to care…we are giving it all to the One who died for us. Be confident when hoping in the Lord.
    @Mindy – that is awesome. Until that day comes, keep focused on the Lord and doing what you can right here…right now and when you have that Christian family you dream of, you’ll keep right on doing and serving the Lord together.
    @ Lexie when I’m discouraged or depression has a choke hold on my heart, I will put forth extra effort in helping others and making a difference. It changes things dramatically!
    @Joanie – such a peaceful feeling…resting in the Lord.
    @Paula – no matter how you “feel” when you are honest about your feelings you are never fake. Discouragement, depression and discontentment are all popular tools of the enemy and hard to get out from under them. Completely resting in God when you cant do anything else during the trials…there is great peace and joy there. You’ll get there and when you do…those happy times will be enhanced even more!
    @Mary – as long as you are trusting the Lord, even when your heart is fearful…resting in that peace will bring joy. Things, people and circumstances rob us of the joy that is ours for the taking. We, like Peter, take our eyes off of the Lord and focus on the storms that are raging. Stay focused!
    @susanlee – life truly does get in the way sometimes doesn’t it? It amazes me how powerful emotions are, when we KNOW beyond doubt that our Redeemer lives and fights for us!
    @trisha – its hard handing over our children to the Lord. Sooo hard. We don’t always respond correctly and often let guilt steal the last bit of joy that is ours. Take it back. Give your daughter to the Lord. I know how difficult that is, but possible.
    @heather – we think Joy is an emotion but its not. Its truly resting in the knowledge of the Lord. KNOWING that HE has us. I love the fact that by the end of this study that so many women will be free of guilt and choosing joy…. And hopefully spreading joy too 
    @mary – and that human part will continue to grow! Yay YOU.
    @cathrynJ that is an awesome thing to do!
    @Keri that is beautiful. Soak up the times at home when those things are happening.  notice it, love it and enjoy it.
    @laverne – sounds like you got it. I’ve often said that if God never ever ever did anything more for us, other than give us the hope of heaven…its more than we deserve. Don’t be hesitant to speak your heart here. Many need the encouragement you can give.
    @Mala thank you for being part of this study. Its hard for us to see joy in the middle of life’s storms but it is there. Its hard for us to see how anything good can come from our trials when we are in them, but God knows.
    @Bonnie my prayers are with you during this time and that your heart will be encouraged and refreshed during this study. You cant control what your husband is doing, but stay faithful to the Lord and allow the Lord to use you – even if you have to go to church alone. It will have an impact.

  • Andi. B says:

    Joy is being with my husband and 22 month old daughter and feeling like her laughter sounds… God bless… I’m looking forward to this study.

  • Sylvia says:

    I’m walking hand in hand on the beach in Monterey with my husband. We both have on t shirts and shorts letting the sunshine warm us. Our faces are radient and our eyes are alive. I know that all my children and grandchildren are safe and just a phone call or short car ride away. Life is good. (of course this can never happen again. My husband died October 22, 2011 from lukemia)
    With that said, I’ve had to learn that no matter what, that I can have “joy” in the knowledge that Jesus is with me. Helping me through every moment of every day… even if I don’t feel very happy. It’s been a long road to figuring this out, and I will admit that sometimes I forget, but I’m learning. And I’m looking forward to learning more through this study.

  • Cathy Fry says:

    I would have to say that when I think about joy right now I think about experiencing just that in a week from today….I will be with all my kids and grandkids in the same place for the first time in 4 1/2 years. It’s all because Jesus is awesome. My youngest son just got out of prison in January because of a one night choice….he was looking at possibly 50 years in prison. He did not have a life style of drinking but went out for his 21st birthday and put Jesus aside for one night. I’m so joyful right now that we are all going on vacation together and will get to spend a great time of fellowship.

  • denise key says:

    joy for me is living in the moment through Gods eyes, being able to make a decision on the spot with out any one else opinion or fear of something. determining my choice. doing the next right thing all day and night.
    worldly joy would be me and my kids and grandchildren in out hiking clothes camping out on a lake in the mountains, sitting around a campfire laughing and just loving each other as a famiily, I have never been able to achieve this because of a really rough life for my family bcause of my choices, before i gave my life to GOD

  • Katie says:

    I totally love the way she is explaining Joy, I know that I’m lacking in so many ways and this book is opening up my eyes. I have the kindle version, but I may go buy the physical one so I can write and highlight and note, I just love doing that

  • Rachelle says:

    For me joy would be letting go of my insecurities and fears to live the life that God is currently working in me to lead. To give Him complete control and let go of all doubts, in order to do the work that I feel He is wanting me to do. Leading me into a life where I would meet the man I will marry and doing work that He has given me a passion for.

  • Kandi says:

    Joy would be relaxing with some good Christian girlfriends.

  • Frances says:

    The definition of Joy that Kay Warren wrote in the book was awesome. I wrote it down to memorize. I look forward to reading each of your comments as we Choose Joy!

  • Shell Austin says:

    I think if I was to experience joy, I would be peaceful walking steadfastly with my Lord. I am in a home that belongs to my husband & I with no extended family issues attached to it…wearing clothes that make me feel pretty on my newly much thinner & healthier body. I would be peaceful about life and radiating the Lord’s love to others.
    Sadly…this is a complete opposite of what my life is now 🙁

  • Lisa says:

    Joy to me is acceptance of what is happening in my life that I can not control, yet I yield it to God. That is very hard for me. Many circumstances in my life are a bit out of control right now and I am ready to surrender them to the Lord and let His peace fill me with His joy. I do believe that Satan’s greatest weapon to steal or peace and joy is anything that Distracts us from God, Discourages us in our faith or Denies our need for God. Those are the 3D’s. I am working out in my faith to recognize those 3D’s in my life. I choose joy!

  • Cee says:

    Perhaps the experience of JOY can not be described, so easily. You know that it is there; like the sun above the dark clouds. I found JOY at the bottom of the deepest pit.. HE reached through the clouds and into the pit: HE lifted me out. I can say any number of people, places, things bring me happiness; light to my life. But it is God; HE brings my heart JOY when I choose Him above all else.

  • Joan says:

    When I close my eyes to imagine joy, they fill with tears and spill over. I used to be so joyful in the Lord. Now, due to life circumstances, my heart is heavy and I am having a difficult time accessing that gift from God, and I so need it. I do find incredible joy in my nine month old granddaughter. She was born about six months before my mom died. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. I am a widow and walked through my new circumstances when they happened, not happy, but totally full of joy and God’s Spirit. I have stepped away from God and His peace and joy. I’m praying to find my way back to Him and His joy with this study.

    • Kelly W. says:

      I’ll be praying for you, Joan.

    • Cathryn J says:

      Your post touched my heart, Joan. You have experienced so much loss! I cannot imagine losing my husband or my mother.. my heart goes out to you. I too have known the joy of walking closely with the Lord, and I have also stepped away from the His comforting presence. Tonight I praise Him though, as He’s brought us to the realization of how much we need Him, and He’s provided this forum through which we can study His word and rediscover that closeness we once shared. God bless you. I look forward to taking this journey with you.

  • Lisa says:

    Joy for me would be having my whole family serving the Lord at church and then a big pinic at the beach!!

  • Kelly says:

    Joy to me is being at complete peace with my life and the plan that God has created for me. I am praying that this study will help me realize that He is in control, and if I can just let go of all of my worries and fears, then I think I will be a more joyous person.

  • Acacia says:

    For me joy woud be knowing the purpose for my life and walking in that.also for my familys jealth and happiness that woild bring me so much joy

  • Mary says:

    “The quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right” There is just something so beautiful about the words “quiet confidence”, it makes me feel at peace, real peace, God’s peace. Peace within ones soul. God is so very Good! Thank you Jesus for Loving me

  • Lani says:

    Joy (happy) place is laying on the beach…no stress…just experiencing all of God’s awesome creation 🙂

  • Sharon Lewis says:

    I could easily describe circumstances that bring happiness to my life. God has blessed me with many things in my life that make me happy. I can also describe quite a few things that rob me of happiness as well and seem to suck out all of the pleasure from life. However, there is a deep place of joy in my heart that can always be found, regardless of my situation, place, status, relationships, finances, etc. This is an everlasting joy that cannot be taken away from me unless I allow it.

    The times that my joy has been most profound have been when I was able to focus on the moment and tune out the struggles or problems of life. I don’t mean to escape necessarily, but rather to allow myself to thoroughly enjoy each moment as it comes. For example, when my grandson stayed with us last week, I experienced the most pure joy just from holding him and feeling his sweet breath on my cheek. Gazing into his beautiful hazel eyes and seeing his precious smile made me forget everything else. All was right with the world! His laughter was contagious and made everyone else in the room laugh as well. I think grandchildren are one of God’s most perfect gifts to us to help us tap into His pure joy!

    Here are some other moments that seem to magnify the joy in my life: Watching my daughter marry a wonderful guy, vacationing at the Bahamas, teaching children, spending time with my best friend in the world – my husband, spending time in worship and experiencing intimacy with God, whether alone or corporately, studying God’s Word and preparing to teach, listening to music of any style as long as it is excellent quality, eating my favorite foods, snuggling with my dogs, learning something new, spending time alone on my back deck and reflecting on the goodness of God, and laughing every chance I get! Life is so good, and God sent His Son into the world so we can have life to the fullest! He wants us to enjoy life and be full of joy!

  • Sue Alice says:

    Joy would be for me, walking with my husband wherever, to waterfalls, malls, to see his second grandaughter, just to have him be able to do something for awhile and not tired out so much……see he only has 30% of his heart function left. We live a very quite life, of his computers, chess and books. I do bible studies, read, and Skype. Oh, joy would be to fly to Az. to see his kids, and grandaughters someday………

    Blessings and joy to all.

  • Kelly W. says:

    I find joy in my job and in my volunteer work by helping people. In my home, joy is equal to my son. Yesterday, my son had some friends over after church. Hearing him in his room with them laughing while I was rummaging around in the kitchen, then all of us eating dinner, having good conversation and smiling – I was blissfully joyous. To me contentedness is joy. The thought that everything will work out and the faith that God will make it that way – that is joy.

    But to be honest, I’m finding joy less and less. I felt a call in my heart to get back on God’s path and I’m trying. I promise, I’m trying. But it’s so hard! My fiancé lost his job and is now unable to find stable work. That puts a stress on our relationship like no other. Finances and resentment will take the joy out of any relationship. Those stresses carry over to my work environment, so now I’m constantly fighting with my boss. And I don’t even enjoy my volunteer work anymore because all I can think about is the need to quit this rewarding part of my life to get a second job. How can you find God again when brick walls are put up everywhere?

    That’s why I’m so excited about this Bible Study. I need to focus more on God and the happiness He brings… the Joy. He is my Saving Grace and He’s just waiting for me to do the work so I can enjoy the reward…. I have to have faith in that.

  • Mallory says:

    I see joy in walking along a quiet country road on a cool summer day. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, and the sky is blue with white fluffy clouds. Joy is walking with my husband, with our daughter between us, swinging her into the air, taking in all that God has created, with the greatest peace and happiness imaginable.

  • Danielle says:

    When I picture joy, I see myself and my husband walking on the beach holding hands, like we did on our honeymoon almost 8 years ago. It’s been a tough year. I developed a chronic pain disease that started in my right foot making walking very painful and recently, it’s spread to both of my hands, making it hurt to even hold my sweet husband’s hand. The beach is my favorite place in the world and I haven’t been since all of this started. So when I think of joy I think of my favorite place with my favorite person, being free of pain.

  • Diana says:

    I see myself in a boat on the lake speeding across the water watching God’s creations all around me! When I thank Him for all He has done for me and all that He has made, I feel JOY!!!!
    I also feel true JOY when I have been an encouragement, sharing and guiding someone to Jesus for their strength and comfort!!!

  • Linda Patrick says:

    For me, Psalm 119:1-8 is what joy would look like.

  • Amy S. says:

    When I visualize experiencing joy in my life, I see myself content and at peace on the inside, where I’m free to serve others–to have focus on serving others, instead of focusing on how I can be served. I want to be at peace no matter what the current circumstances are in my life–to be grateful in all things–to truly have a heart of thanksgiving. I imagine then that there would be no end to what God could accomplish through me if I could experience true joy.

  • Gayle Kapicka says:

    I see myself and my husband carefree in a field, dancing and laughing filled with the Holy Spirit. All the character defects and impurities of this world are gone, we are free and joyful,

  • Jodie says:

    Joy would be hiking to waterfalls with my husband and boys. We live in an area with lots of waterfalls but with my weight and health conditions I am not able to hike or do many fun things. The depression and sadness I let invade my heart keeps me from doing the things I need to do to get healthy. Ready to choose Joy!!

    • Kelly W. says:

      I am so happy for you that you are taking this step. We all need to conciously choose joy. Sometimes that path is hard to find, but faith will get us through! I’ll be praying for you, Jodie.

  • Allison M says:

    Christian music singer, Susan Ashton describes a time when God reached down inside her and pulled out “all the junk”. She remembers the moment when the presence of the Lord was so strong that He healed and changed her. That is what I picture true joy for my life: God pulling out all the junk – guilt, self-centeredness, insecurities, impatience, jealousy, prejudices, anger, resentment, un-forgiveness, unbelief, etc. Once the junk is gone, I will have a new found confidence that I am a good wife, I am a good mother, a good friend, I am a ‘daughter of the King’, and others will see the joy in me. I found a video of her singing “What Joy” on YouTube. She sings of joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord, whose peace is confidence in Him alone…believing I can one day experience that kind of joy.

  • Mindy says:

    When I visualize joy I see myself by the ocean I live near, with my husband and child (I’m single with no children, so this image is a desire of my heart), feeling grateful and giving thanks to God. That’s the image I keep seeing when I close my eyes and focus on the feeling of joy. :0)

  • Lexie says:

    A perfect place of joy for me is when I am serving others, whether it be in my job, my family or my church. I have at times allowed my circumstances or mood regulate my level of joy and I want to overcome that.

  • Joanie says:

    My vision of joy is really not a vision at all but a feeling. Joy feels warm. It feels bubbly and tingly with anticipation. It feels like taking a deep breath of fresh air scented with pine. All of this feeling is due to the comfort and joy of knowing that I belong to God and that he is always with me. No matter what happens everything will be all right because he is beside me, guiding me.

  • Paula Johnson says:

    I will pray for you Bonnie. I have experienced moments of pure joy in my life. Like Kay Warren writes when I graduated from college, when my husband asked me to marry me him, and when my children were born to name a few. Those moments lasted for what seems a short time. I would describe it as euphoria. I was happy, peaceful, and thinking of the future. What I want to learn is how to have joy when life is tough and have authentic joy. I don’t want to be fake. How to have joy when people you thought were friends are not truly friends, when your children are causing you stress, work is unpredictable, and during the other trials we go through. I know God loves me and is with me. I am excited for this journey!

    • bonnie says:

      Thank you Paula for your prayers. Like you, it will be nice to learn how to focus on Joy when things are tough.

  • Mary says:

    I do choose Joy. I also know that my Joy comes from our Lord and Savior. The only real Joy I feel is when I am reading my word, singing his praises, and surrounding myself with his people. However, my struggle comes from the time in between. I’m looking forward to this study because I truly want to feel the Joy of the Lord all the time. Certainly, I know that circumstances are not always the best and can beat us down; and that it is these times that can rob us of our Joy. My prayer is to learn how to feel the Joy even in the worst of times, for this is where I struggle.

  • Susan Lee says:

    It’s hard to imagine how I would look if I experienced joy since it’s been years since I’ve felt it. I’m ready to find it again. I’m ready for “life” not to control my emotions but me to control them with my faith in GOD.

  • Trisha says:

    If I experienced joy I would be going through my daily life with the weights off my shoulders. I would be right where I am now; at work, at home, with my daughter living my life. Life would have its ups and downs but I would be able to face them without being overwhelmed and consumed by them. It is difficult for me to imagine joy. This last year has been filled with so many emotions ranging pain, anger, sadness, guilt as my life and the life of my daughter has forever changed and it is a result of my actions.

    I look forward to walking through this study with all of you.

    Blessings.

  • Heather says:

    Somehow I think I’d have imagined joy before as being filled with excited anticipation for the future to the point of overflowing. Maybe smiling and laughing with family and friends, wearing yellow, having confidence, surrounded by balloons and bubbles and feasting on chocolate. All that is good and wonderful and cheerful.

    I’ve heard tons and tons of speakers and writers distinguish between happiness and joy, always along the same lines. Happiness depends on circumstances; joy does not. And they’re right. But the freshness of Kay Warren’s description and definition of joy breathed new life into this whole picture. She said, “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things” (p. 19).

    Wow! It’s not at all how I envisioned, imagined and pictured joy before. This seems more like determined and settled faith in God’s providential care. And I love it.

    • Christine Smith says:

      What a colorful image of Joy!

    • Mary says:

      I love Kay’s definition of Joy as well. “Assurance” is such a powerful word, and we serve a powerful and mighty God! I want to feel this Assurance. It’s not the lack of faith or belief, it’s the human part of me that I want to change. I choose JOY!

    • Cathryn J says:

      I’m making that definition my screensaver for the length of this study…love it!

  • Keri says:

    When I close my eyes and imagine myself with complete joy I think of myself on a beach in the northeast. Somewhere in Conneticut or Long Island. I am wearing a long sleeved blue and white striped shirt and white shorts. My two sons are running and playing with my husband. There is a dog running with a stick and kicking up sand. I am standing looking out at the ocean. I take a deep breath and smell the ocean. I look at my family and I smile and feel truly happy with myself, my family and my relationship with the Lord. That is my idea of true joy. 🙂

  • Laverne (Missy) says:

    I feel apprehensive about saying this but I must….I’m uneasy because I do believe I have CHOSEN joy? I know Whose I am and that really does bring me joy, knowing why I have this opportunity because of His blood for me IS joyous. Am I missing something? Is this thing called joy something I have all wrong?

    Holy Spirit help me to continue choosing joy, during those time when doubts is prevalent in my life and when those around me are trying to make me forget. I thank you Lord for allowing me to know you and joy Amen.

  • Mala White says:

    Your opening words to this study, may they resonate in my heart. Oh what a heart felt impact these few paragraphs hold for me. My spirit and soul is lifted just knowing that im NOT ALONE in my struggles. There are so many of us that face these day to day trials. Even those who walk hand in hand with the Lord. But as you said, our gift is having our precious Lord to lift us up out bof the pit of despair.
    Thank you Marie for leading us through this life changing study. We ARE truly blessed, no matter the circumstances of our current moment, we have JOY.

  • bonnie says:

    It’s hard for me to see joy right now. My husband is kicking me out of our home of 31 years. He wants a divorce because he has worked hard and has achieved and now he just wants to have fun and enjoy life. Unfortunately, he does not find fun anymore in Church or with Christian couples. We had to move to a new place and with the move he refused to go to Church or seek Christian friends. What is fun looks more like our days as freshmen in college. As he is pulled from God by life i am drawn closer, so we are moving in opposite directions. My only joy right now is desperately clinging to to my Rock, my Fortress, my Salvation, my Lord. And while this is more than sufficient sometimes i just don’t feel the joy.

    • Christine Smith says:

      Praying for you Bonnie.

      • bonnie says:

        Thank you Christine and please pass my thanks on to your prayer warriors. You have been with me from the start. Through “Names of God”, “Fingerprint . .” “Nehemiah” the studies you have allowed me to participate in, your website, your prayer wall, you, all this has been through me. Hard to believe all this started with the first 2 studies and the preparation to bring 3 Kenyans here for farming and quilting workshops. And here we are with divorce papers in hand and starting a “joy” study. You have been here for me through it all. Even when satan was causing me hardship with firewall problems and not getting synched for chats. You have been here for me. God Bless you.

    • Gail says:

      So am I.

    • Michele says:

      I am in a similar situation so I know what you are going through. I left my husband of 25 years. I feel such peace knowing I am free to serve God and go to church without listening to a bunch of negative talk. I will be praying for you.

      • bonnie says:

        Thank You Michele. i am sorry for your struggles, as i imagine we’ve had similar emotions. i pray God guides us both.

    • Heather says:

      Oh Bonnie, I’m praying for you, too. Clinging to Jesus is exactly what you need to do. Let Him remind you how beautiful you are, how loved, how precious, how highly valued.

    • Keri says:

      I will pray for you Bonnie. When I feel down with the world around me and the choices the people I love make I always think I am a visitor to this world and my real home is waiting for me where I will be with the Lord.

      • Paula Johnson says:

        Beautiful image Keri.

      • bonnie says:

        Thank you Keri. i am reminded of heaven and learned to hold the sight of heaven dear to me as i cared for Keith’s mother in the final months of her fight with cancer. i can think of all the beauty and promises of heaven we found together.’

    • Glenda Lawrence says:

      I understand, I will keep you in my prayers. There is a light at the end of tunnel

    • Cathryn J says:

      I am so sorry for what you are going through, Bonnie. You are in my prayers, and I hope that you can experience the joy that God intends for you, especially through these terrible circumstances.

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