Vlog Series: 20 Steps to Finding Joy in the Trials- Introduction

Hi Survivors! I have a TON of great info I recorded for the Facebook group I had going, but they are very long videos. I wanted to make them available to everyone who could use a way to find the joy in their own struggles, but the videos are very long.  The first webinar, 20 Steps to Finding Joy in the Trials was almost an hour long!

So, I chopped it up into bite-sized pieces that are more easily digested and internalized.  Here is the introduction:

The way this will work is: I will be releasing one video with one step to joy each week here on the blog.  So, make sure you come back or subscribe to the blog!

I pray each of these is a blessing in your life!

JoJo

Having Fun with Chronic Illness

So several of you asked for an update and here it is.

It was Needle Day the end of May. I had an EMG (they stab you with little needles to see if there is nerve damage…sounds like fun, right? ) that found neuropathy in my hands which is probably carpal tunnel.

Later that day I had the blood test for cancer markers which my Oncologist said still shows that I am cancer free!

It was a painful day, but the worst part was I had to wear a red wrap instead of a purple one.  Oh, the horror! ROFL

After seeing the neurologist again for his thoughts on the matter, I now have a few more diagnoses to add to the list.  Along with the neuropathy and growing arthritis, I now also have Essential Tremors.  This is usually familial but isn’t for me as nobody in my family knows of anyone else in the family who has/had it.

It isn’t serious like the Parkinson’s and such they ruled out and it is slow growing.  I’ve probably had it since I was in my late 20s. I thought it was a sugar problem as it was mostly in the mornings before I ate as well as several times I had what I thought was a reaction to too much sugar.  I’ve since limited my sugar intake.  However, I do poke myself in the eye with my mascara and have been known to spill my coffee if I’m not careful in the mornings.  Other than that, I’m good to go for a while. When I’m in my 70s or 80s and I begin to resemble Katherine Hepburn, the medical community may have some better treatments. Until then, I watch my sleep, sugar, food, and try not to stress too much when people think I’m nervous or on something. LOL

Since most of these diagnoses don’t show up in blood tests, I can confidently say that I’m NOT weird!  Now some of you may not agree, but to paraphrase Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, I’m not weird; my doctor had me tested!

New Series Coming Soon!

Hi Survivors!

Been posting several different blog series in the last several months.  WHEW! My fingers are tired! ROFL

I’ve got a new series starting up in August. It’s based on a very long video I did for my Facebook group.  I’ll be posting a 20 part series once a week beginning in August.  It’s called 20 Steps to Finding Joy in the Trial.

Until then, I will be taking a hiatus from the blog for the summer.  We are getting ready to send our last kidling off to college and become empty nesters.  [insert sad face here]

He’s our second child of two Only Children.  They are over nine years apart so they seem like an only child.  This will be a big adjustment for us…ok for him too! ROFL

Praising God in the Storm: Part 6

Well, we’ve finally come to the end of this series.  I have just one more part of this process, and that’s to help someone else find their joy and praise God in THEIR storm.  While you may think this is something you do for others, it has a surprisingly positive effect on the person doing the encouraging as well.

You’ll find that in trying to lift someone else up, you are lifted higher yourself.  Part of that comes from the smile effect.  Smiling is contagious, so they smile, you smile. When you provide joy or happiness for others, you also feel joy yourself for having lifted someone else up…for having had some small part in bringing joy to another individual in trial of their own.

6. Help someone else

I know it sounds a bit backwards, but it can often feel good to be the solution for someone else’s problem.  Sometimes we are almost paralyzed by our fear or stuck in our sadness that we feel a complete lack of control over our lives.  It can feel empowering or at least uplifting to be the solution to something, no matter how small the issue is.  As they used to say back when I was a little girl, “try it; you’ll like it.

The other amazing thing about helping someone else is that it tends to be habit-forming.  The more you feel good helping others, the more you want to do it.  That not only increases your joy, but the joy around you.

You may not be able to become happy about your circumstances, but you can do things that bring you some joy.  This joy will help us see the blessings God has put in our lives and this will, eventually, allow us to thank God and even praise him in the storm.

It’s been an incredibly difficult year for my family.  As I said, I wrote this as much for me as I did for my readers.  I have read it over about three times this week as I have needed these words as much as any of you.  Please share your story. How can I pray for you?

 

Praising God in the Storm: Part 5

The storms and trials of life should always lead us back to the Lord.  We may need to take some time to cry and some time to find a way to put a smile back on our face in order to get past these feelings that accompany the desert of life, but it should always lead us back to the Lord.  I find that sometimes I need a little help with that and that’s where some fabulously uplifting devotionals come in.

5.Read encouraging devotionals

Some devotionals are designed to educate, some are designed to make you think, yet others are created to have you work through situations.  I’m not discussing those. They have their purpose, and I don’t deny they are important, but they aren’t what will get you through.

Another set of devotionals that are similar to the ones I’m talking about are the ones on being thankful.  I also don’t recommend those at the times of your life when trials, struggles, and burdens get you down.

The ones I’m talking about here are the ones that encourage you.  Bible Gateway has devotionals you can subscribe to that I have found helpful: Encouragement for Today, Devotions for Women and Devotions for Moms.  Look for things that have titles that are uplifting and encouraging.

A caution: I don’t recommend the one called Standing Strong in the Storm because it’s mostly about people who have endured religious persecution.  While that might be important to read or be inspiring at other times, I find that they are not something we can relate to when we are in the middle of stress.  Unless your struggle is religious persecution on a grand scale, I find I can’t relate to them, and they make me feel bad for even being upset about financial or health or relationship issues which doesn’t help me feel any better about my situation.

Many of the ones on Bible Gateway are video based so you can sit back and watch them.  These are great for when you’re so tired from burdens you can’t even concentrate on reading.

In addition to Bible Gateway, I find that Charles Stanley of www.intouch.org has a bunch of videos on various topics that are uplifting and have helped me in the past.  If I’m not mistaken, that one has (or had) a way to organize them and keep notes.  I, myself, keep a notebook with verses and ideas I like to be reminded of.  That’s actually, how I am able to write my articles…from the notes I took after having read or viewed something I thought was particularly helpful (or not).

I hope I’ve given you some practical information the past few weeks to get you started on your path to being able to praise God in the storm.  I will be praying for my readers that you not only come to a point where you can do that but that God will bless you and your family as well.

 

Praising God in the Storm: Part 4

Praising God in the storms of the trials of life is not easy, especially at first.  First, it’s often necessary to find things that can bring a smile to your face even in the midst of whatever it is you’re in the midst of.  That is going to be different for each person.  So, what things bring you joy?

4.Do things that bring you joy

Look at pretty pictures of God’s world and remember how everything is delicately balanced for us and given for us to use.  It’s hard to look at the beauty of God’s world and not feel some amount of joy.

Listen to uplifting music and sing along or sing harmony.  I am a “wannabe” musician. I used to write songs and I was a voice major in college before I switched to Speech Communication.  I can’t help but feel better when I hear beautiful music and sing along.  It usually makes me feel better to sing along to praise and worship music sometimes the same song over and over again.

Call a friend.  Sometimes you need a real, living person you can talk things over with.  Just talking through our feelings can help us feel a bit better because we have expressed them and someone cared enough to listen.  Many times we aren’t looking for a solution because we already know what our options are, but sometimes we may be surprised at our friend’s ability to help us find one!  Even if nothing gets resolved, you will probably find yourself feeling better just because you were able to share your feelings with a good and trusted friend.

One caution.  There is a strong possibility that there will be a time in your trails when things get to feel too much where you can’t even envision yourself having fun or laughing.  That’s ok.  There will be those times.  Take some time to be mad, sad, or cry.  I wrote an article once called Sometimes You Need a Pity Party for just that reason.  But for those times when you don’t need a pity party, you can find things that will help you get out of the hole trials have tried to bury you inside.  You can crawl out with the help of these techniques, a good friend, or a good cry, and some serious prayer and comfort from the Lord.

 

Praise God in the Storm: Part 3

So far I’ve talked about praising God in the storm by taking it a bit at a time and by looking for the blessings in bad things that didn’t happen because God protected us.  This week, I’d like to talk more about the difference between what is defined as joy and happiness.

Joy and happiness are often used interchangeably, but they really are two different things.

3. Remember that joy and happiness are two different things

Keep things in proper perspective.  Happiness, as defined by Merriam Webster as good fortune or prosperity, a state of well-being and contentment, joy or a pleasurable or satisfying experience.

Joy is listed as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desiresdelight, the expression or exhibition of such emotion, gaiety, a state of happiness or felicity, bliss, a source or cause of delight.

So happiness is dependent upon external circumstances, whereas joy exists in spite of whatever is going on around us and is a result of what’s happening on the inside. You can still have joy even though you are not happy because you can have a hope because you are in God’s will and will be rewarded in heaven even if you aren’t here on earth.  You can be joyous in your strength or your endurance or your obedience even if you are unhappy about your health or your finances or your relationships.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve been unhappy about the situations I’ve found myself in. As I write this, I’m unhappy about the fact that my dh will be losing his job…again, the fact that it’s taken much more time, energy and money to get our Amazon mug business off the ground which we feel will help us during the job transition, and the fact that I still have several health issues that keep me in pain and devoid of energy.  And those are just the highlights!  But…though I may take time to be frustrated and sad, I know in my heart that there is a loving God who is with me and who has made a way for me beyond the temporary that is this fallen world.  That is my joy despite the fact that I’m deeply unhappy with my circumstances at times.

Happy is fleeting and relies on outside forces.  Joy is eternal and comes from within.  Joy won’t always make you happy, but it certainly helps in times of trial.

Take some time to think about what makes you joyful as opposed to just happy.