Hey Small Group Leader, It's Time For You To Fight Back With Joy

What begins as a gift soon becomes a grind.

Endless demands. Pressing deadlines. Unexpected interruptions.

The pressure to perform and produce can leave us feeling weary in the marrow of our being. The joy designed to grow into sweet plumpness soon shrivels. Smiles become forced. Sparkling eyes grow dim.

Those closest to us see the shift long before we recognize it in ourselves. Perhaps this is one reason Paul asks,

Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then?” (Galatians 4:15, NLT)

All leaders—no matter the role or responsibility—are susceptible to losing their sense of happy certainty in God. This becomes all the more acute when your workplace or those you loved or you are are faced with sudden loss, pain, suffering, or death.

In Fight Back With Joy book and Bible study, I share what began as a journey of joy and soon became a terrifying expedition when I was diagnosed with cancer. Tortured alive through brutal experiments, joy felt so out of reach. But somewhere along the way, I discovered that more than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.

Whatever battlefield you find yourself on in life—as a person whose joy-o-meter has bumped down a notch or burned out completely or if you’re in the fight of your life—here are four ways you can begin to fight back with joy as a leader and encourage others to do the same. Continue Reading...

If Gathering

Jennie Allen convinced me that I had to attend my first ever IF: Gathering in February.

“You just have to be there,” she persisted. “I just know it.”

One of Jennie’s many giftings is that she’s a persuasive force to be reckoned with. When Jennie knows something deep in her bones, you know it, too. You can’t help it.

“I’ll think. I’ll pray. I’ll consider,” I promised.

Other invitations and opportunities loomed large. Yet in the quiet of my gut, I sensed the nudge that IF was a way of God asking me to trust, to make a significant sacrifice, to lunge forward in faith.

I joined 1200 women in a beautiful auditorium all asking God, “What IF?” The answer came in the most unexpected way. Continue Reading...

greeting card when you don't know what to say

Over the past few years, I’ve had well-meaning people speak life, hope, and love into me during the some of the darkest days of battling cancer. Their words were Honeycrisps dipped in 24-karat gold served on silver platters (poetic translation a la Proverbs 25:11).

Other words are like gut punches, leaving me breathless, hunched, hurting.

These individuals never mean to cause harm, they mean to help, really they do, but the pat answers, the Scriptures ripped out of context, the spouting of phrases they’d never paid a price to own, cut me to my core. I share this with great vulnerability in Fight Back With Joy book and 6-Session DVD Bible Study.

Shortly after my diagnosis, my friend, Angela Thomas, texted me encouraging Scriptures every few weeks. I’m so grateful for her ongoing presence. She mentioned that when her momma grew ill, people mailed cards. Her momma saved them in a basket. On her weakest days she’d look at the basket and remember how much she was loved.

Angela’s story compelled me to save my cards. All of them. Yes, the ones you sent. The basket overflowed. Whenever I glanced over, I, too, was reminded of how much I was loved.  Continue Reading...

Watch My Most Vulnerable Interview Ever On PBS Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

When PBS’ Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly asked to interview me about the painful journey behind Fight Back With Joy, I felt hesitant. I’d never allowed a film crew into our home, let alone a national television show, before.

What questions regarding my cancer battle would they ask?

What topics related to the struggle with depression and despair would they probe?


 

Religion and Ethics

Yet as you’ll see from the inspiring segment created by correspondent Kim Lawton, Janice Henderson and their team, each of us can learn to practice a defiant joy.

This is a segment you can share with anyone facing any battle, regardless of religious background, to encourage them today.

Watch the full interview here: http://mar.cta.gs/0ce

 

Watch My Most Vulnerable Interview Ever On PBS Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

*Original Photo Source

God’s Dirty Nasty Plan For Your Life

Far too many in the church today want to tell you that following God will make you richer, skinnier, more powerful.

Good Friday grounds us in the truth that God does have a plan for your life; it’s just darker and dirtier than you’ve been told.  Continue Reading...