Five-Minute Friday: JOY

Every week, Lisa-Jo hosts a link-up of free-writing exercises. This week, in honor of Sara and her commitment to Choose Joy, the topic is Joy. Here goes.


When I hear the word “joy,” I immediately flash back to a church with beige carpet and beige dividers. And a plastic chair, where I sat as we sang songs.

That memory is at least 28 years old, but it sticks with me. The song we sang – or, at least, the one I remember – was “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart.”

As a child, the most fun verse was the one that my daughter’s CD of Sunday school songs doesn’t include: “And if the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack. Ouch!” I didn’t really know who the devil was, but singing that verse meant we got to shout “Ouch!” and jump out of our plastic chairs.

The other verse, though, is the one that I cling to today. “I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart. [Where?] Down in my heart!”

And I do. Even as I’ve struggled with losing Sara – and her whole situation, honestly. I mean, why should anyone have to live with such a horrible disease, one that confines a vibrant, giving woman to her home for years?! – I still have a peace that passes understanding.

[Down in my heart. Where?]

It’s a small peace right now. It’s certainly not overflowing or anything like that. It’s more like a tiny crumb that I’m holding onto with all my strength. But I’m thankful to have it, even if I don’t understand it – or anything about this world.

Because without it? I would certainly not have joy, down in my heart or anywhere.


For more essays about joy, visit The Gypsy Mama. For more posts about Sara, visit The Mom Creative.

10 Comments Five-Minute Friday: JOY

  1. The Lovely One September 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I am new to Sara’s blog, so I’ve spent most of the evening reading her past entries. Heartbreaking.

  2. Diana Trautwein September 15, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Oh, I love this post. Hang onto that peace – there are no clear answers to any of our heart-deep whys – only the person of our good God, the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of our Savior, who weeps with us in the sad times. Sara’s story is a remarkable one with a far-reaching impact. And she would not want our hearts to break. Sadness, loss, grief, yes. BUT – her example is so remarkable and strong; CHOOSE joy. Probably the very best tribute to her there is. Thanks for this – I always enjoy reading your posts.

  3. Diana Trautwein September 15, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Oh, and I LOVED that song, too. But we never learned that verse about the tack – boy, did we miss something!

  4. Amy September 16, 2011 at 12:20 am

    I’m new to Sara and her story too. Thanks so much for sharing. A long time ago I studied up the verse that mentions “peace that transcends all understanding”… and was comforted to know that such peace not only is of a kind that cannot be understood, but it is also a peace that comes above any understanding that we might have about any given situation. I hope that makes sense and I really hope it’s not an incorrect interpretation… but that’s my long, drawn-out way of thanking you for the reminder that underneath joy is the solid foundation (however small a crumb it may be) of peace. May it grow for you… both the peace and the joy.

  5. Tracey Soko September 16, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Finding joy in the midst of suffering is so hard but so beautiful when it happens. I pray that we can be testimonies of joy just as Sara has been to so many of us.

  6. Vanderbilt Wife September 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

    It’s a true touch of the Holy Spirit when you can HONESTLY say you feel peace that transcends understanding. I’ve felt it a few times and it almost seems as Christians, that is our aim. To live more There and less Here.

    I don’t really know Sara, but I know and love you, and grieve with you, sweet Mary.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect September 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      Thank you. Living there…in that peace…that IS a worthy goal, isn’t it?

  7. The Messy Mom September 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    GREAT post! So true, and thanks for reminding me of that verse about the devil. Awesome.

  8. Jessie @ Blog Schmog September 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Ah yes, that tiny crumb. Sigh!

    The bit about the tack makes me laugh. I remember that too. What fun to “stick it to” the devil and his schemes! Choosing joy, that does it doesn’t it?

  9. Lauren September 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing from the joy way down in your heart.

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