By: Susan Deborah Schiller
Joy… is not what I felt when a neurosurgeon diagnosed my husband with a severe spinal cord injury. The year was 2003 and we were on a multi-million dollar hazmat project. We were a small team of inexperienced operators and my husband, the supervisor, was the only one with real experience. He could no longer work, so I stepped in to manage the operation by myself, for a whole week.
Prior to that month I had never stepped foot on a hazmat field, let alone a piece of machinery that you have to climb a tall ladder just to sit down at the controls. There were more than a hundred trucks to load each day, and it was a tight schedule. I did it.
I didn't feel joy … I was terrified!
There are only two realities: fear and love. We get to choose which reality we accept as our current reality. One or the other, our choice.
How can I feel JOY when all around me is sheer terror? The threat of death, hanging over my head, like a noose.
This is the same sunflower from my own garden as the sunny yellow one pictured at the top of this page. The only difference is that this flower has ripened and is a source of rich nutrients for birds, squirrels, and people throughout the cold months of winter.
I've learned the secret of JOY. It's not dependent on my circumstances but upon my perspective of my circumstances. Long ago I journaled:
"Joy is My way. Release your faith, even through the tears. You cannot imagine the joy that is ours if only you would reach out to receive it. Tell Me your fears, release them to Me. I'll catch them and throw them away.
(At this point, I have a vision of Jesus catching those fears and juggling them around and around in the air, and then skillfully sending them far, far way!)
"You win when these trials don't take you down. I love you, child, more than you can know. It it weren't for those chains of fear holding you down you'd be jumping and flying and dancing with Me.
"Take in more of Me. I'm in the breath you breathe. Breathe deeply; rest in Me. Give me the job of straightening out the crooked. Give me the job of thinking out the solutions. Give me the pain.
"Bless those who curse you. You can't change them, but I can.
"When you hear evil's voice, don't recognize it as having any authority over you. If you listen to its voice, you'll be scared. — From my journal, August 2003 – Conversations with Daddy
"Transfer the title," Abba offers me. When I transfer ownership of my life to Abba, that means having an attitude that He can do anything He wants with my little life story.
Joy is more than good feelings. Joy is the perspective that ALL things work together for GOOD to those who love God.
Joy is knowing that whatever the enemy gets away with today is going to come back to us, doubled. Joy is giving the devil a headache because we're not ignorant of his devices and so we can ignore his taunts.
And so we can experience JOY under the pressures of life…
Joy unspeakable and full of glory, is your inheritance. Have you transferred ownership of your life to God? Have you given Him the title? I'm not talking about saying a sinner's prayer. I'm talking about abandoning everything, totally submitting yourself to God. It's mainly about releasing control of your life – and that's the hardest thing to do, I believe.
"Full submission to the will and purpose of your Creator removes the footholds of the devil," Papa said to me.
It's a free fall into the heart of God. Each of us, in our life story, will encounter life situations that give us the choice to leap off the cliff, to choose going over the waterfall. Whenever you have such a choice, always choose the white water rapids rather than the peaceful pool! Adversity makes way for greater joy.
Joy is the signature mark of God's presence!
Joy is not the same as happiness in your circumstances; it's having the perspective that LOVE NEVER FAILS and the expectation of a doubled return on anything evil attempts to steal or kill.
With all my love,
Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.
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