Joy: How do you find it when your world falls apart?


The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. (Is. 35:1)

This last Sunday, Neil and I lit the third Advent candle–the rose one. Joy. Of all things with the recent loss of my mother (not to mention my usual litany of sorrowful things–I am an Eyore at heart), we were selected to give readings on joy.

The truth is, sometimes Christmas is the hardest season of the year. Children are lost in addiction. Mothers die. Bankruptcy looms. Inflation deflates our chance to bless our children. Stressful dashes to the mall or online shopping (sometimes getting scammed or inadvertently ordering from China where the goods literally take the slow boat.)

Fill in the blank.


If you’re like me, sometimes this attribute eludes me.

My keyword for 2022 was joy. I’d sing and dance to For King and Country’s song of the same name. I’d interrupt a depressing conversation and say, “I choose joy.” I’ve made headway, but I definitely haven’t arrived.

How do you find delight, peace, and wonder?

Here’s how I find joy:

  1. Think about good things. Phil. 4:8. We can’t change many things. Society has dictated what is right. Government cares more about reelection than decency. Families squabble over inheritances (mine does not–just so you know). Death stalks. We lose at love. These are facts of life, and indeed nothing is new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9). Many others suffered these losses. In the future, more people will. What we need to know is God is good. We need to shift our focus to fond memories or God’s faithfulness or things that make us love our extended families. Whatsoever is good–think on these things.
  2. Dedicate yourself to others. This takes the focus off of you. Many people have it worse–so give of yourself. Volunteer to ring the Salvation Army bell. Bake a cake and bring it to a neighbor–one you don’t often visit. Go to the hospital and nurture a friend. You’ll find you come away with more than you gave. Thinking of others first has never failed to uplift my spirit.
  3. Do something physical. If you are able, do something physical. Walk. Run. Ski. Shovel snow or rake the yard. This, for me, is always a mood lifter. If your mobility is limited, dust your house or fluff up the bed. Move incrementally.
  4. Get in touch with God. In my earliest years as a Christian, I prayed for hours. Studied for hours. Lately, I’ve read the sections of Bible chapters and short devotionals. These have rejuvenated my faith. They have encouraged me. We’re not saved by works. God doesn’t love us more because we read all of 1 Chronicles before breakfast. We pray and read to connect with God.“If God is for us, who can be against us? … 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Rom 8: 31, 35). God is for us, not against us.Read Romans 8 over this season. Read a little at a time. Pray on the portions that speak to you. You will find joy.

You can do a google search and find more ways. For this blog, I want to share what works best and consistently for me.

Those who get my newsletter know my mother recently passed away, but because of the grace of God, life in this season is good.


  1. Merry Christmas, Carol! I wish for you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2023!

  2. Great blog, Carol. I especially like the joy candle part–your word for 2022, your current need to dig deep for it. God found this way to remind you joy comes from within, which is where you will always find Him.

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