Get your f.r.e.e eBook: Unlocking Joy

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Get your f.r.e.e eBook: Unlocking Joy

Excerpted from Unlocking Joy

Click the following link to get a copy of Unlocking Joy, without any obligation.

Can you relate to the following statistics?

  • A majority of people in ministry constantly fight depression.
  • 70% of people in ministry have a lower self-image now than when they first started.

And this is just the beginning. Being in ministry can be difficult and it can often steal your joy. But it doesn’t have to.

How can we discover true joy in the midst of difficulties?

Let me share a personal story. What should have been one of the happiest times of my life turned into one of the most difficult periods. My second son, Daniel, was born with pneumonia and many abnormalities. Things like this only happened to other people, I thought. After dozens of tests, six surgeries, and examinations from twenty-five pediatric specialists, the doctors told us Daniel’s brain was smaller than usual. But they couldn’t predict how it would affect his life—he could be normal or like a vegetable.


For three agonizing months, tears constantly blurred my eyes. Questions raged in my head. How could a loving God do this to me or my helpless baby? It wasn’t fair! What about the future? Shock, anger, guilt, despair, depression, and self-pity crushed me.

When Daniel developed pneumonia for the fifth time, the doctor told us he didn’t have long to live. Mixed emotions flooded my heart. Sadness combined with an indescribable peace and joy overwhelmed me. I had trusted the doctors to heal Daniel, but now realized that neither they nor I could do anything to save him. Finally, I redirected my trust to God and accepted His plan— whether my son would live or die, whether he would be physically or mentally challenged or normal.

Tim Hansel’s book You Gotta Keep Dancin’ taught me that joy is a choice—in any situation. “Life can be tough,” Hansel writes. “Stress, disappointment, heartache, hurt—all are part of the human condition. But while pain is unavoidable, misery is optional.” I couldn’t choose whether or not to experience pain, but I could choose to be miserable or not.

For Daniel’s first three months, I was miserable because I focused on my situation and my pain. During the next three months, my focus shifted to God, and my misery disappeared. I experienced a never-before-encountered joy. God didn’t remove my problems—they were simply less ominous in comparison to His greatness, as my thoughts redirected completely to Him.

Day after day, Daniel’s health grew worse. Then, one day, our loving Lord removed his pain and physical deformities and made him perfect. Daniel was with Jesus. Tears mingled with joy.  We rejoiced that Daniel would live forever, pain-free and healthy. But we also grieved because he had touched our family unforgettably, and we missed him.

How can we discover true joy in the midst of difficulties? Joy doesn’t come from easy circumstances, but from a deep, settled confidence in our loving Heavenly Father who controls life’s details.

If you are experiencing challenges in your ministry or your personal life, we want to encourage you. There is true joy to be found, regardless of how overwhelming life may seem.

Read more in Unlocking Joy, without any obligation. Or you can read more in Keys to Joy: How to Unlock God’s Gift of Lasting Happiness


Blessings on you,

Gaylyn Williams, co-author of The Surprising Joy of Exploring God’s Heart: A Daily Adventure with 365 of His Names 


© 2013 Relationship Resources, Inc.