thoughts in the fall of 2016 / expanded spring 2017
I started this blog back in 2009, after I had undergone a period of spiritual darkness and then a great uplifting of soul. For the previous several years, the Word of God had been opening to me in a way I hadn’t seen it before, and I was seeing Jesus.
At the same time, 2009, I was beginning to write my Hidden Heroes series of true missionary stories, which have been a tremendous encouragement, seeing the ways the Lord is working all over the world, how He is revealing Himself in utterly surprising and even astonishing ways to people of all tribes and tongues and nations and languages.
So at that time, my desire was to spill out what the Lord was giving me, both in my time alone with Him, and through the missionary stories I was writing.
Eventually the missionary books and other biographies I write for children were upgraded to have their own website, which you can see here.
So then this blog was simply for my devotional thoughts. If a few friends read it, I was happy. If one person said, “That really helped me,” I was ecstatic. When I got eight comments on a blog post once, I was bowled over.
But the Lord has a way of turning things around and upside down and inside out, you know what I’m talking about?
In 2006 I had been introduced to the darkness and evil of domestic abuse in the evangelical church, through the experience of a new friend. My learning curve was extremely steep—when my friend told me later that the whole first year I knew her I had said hardly anything, I told her it was because I was just learning. At that time, Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?) was one of the best sources for understanding abuse, and when my friend gave me that book, I read it twice, highlighting and underlining, and asking her questions.
I never expected to write about abuse. I wrote books for children and teenagers. But I cared about my friend.
In 2012, through another friend, I was introduced to the darkness and evil of sexual abuse in the evangelical church. Again, when she asked me to read certain blogs and other resources, I took her plea very seriously and got as educated as I could. Again, my learning curve has been extremely steep and I’ve made many mistakes. This friend and others have been very patient with me.
More than one person asked me if I would ever write about these topics, and I said, “No. I write biographies and missionary stories.”
Because of injustice and the ignorance I saw among the people of God (an ignorance that before had been mine), I began to be outspoken, thanks to social media. I felt especially passionate about the need to look at matters of abuse both Biblically and logically, and I began to do this at BJUGrace.
I was told my analysis work was helpful I also began to connect with others who had not only a similar passion, but ministries dedicated to exposing abuse in the evangelical church and helping those who have been victimized through it. Those connections eventually led to what I said I wasn’t going to do: the books on abuse you can see on the Books page of this website.
It was only this past year or so that I began to use this blog about Joy in Christ to combat spiritual abuse. I finally saw how the two purposes meshed.
So if a blog called “Here’s the Joy” sometimes sounds a bit like grappling and wrestling, it’s only because of where the Lord has taken me. I still know He is the source of the greatest joy, and I’m thankful, over and over, to drink of His Living Water, and to offer a cup of that cool water in His Name.
If I sound too strident when I speak, forgive me. Know that I spend time—behind the blog posts—in tears. Yes, ironic, I know, for a blog called “Here’s the Joy.” An enigma, I suppose.
But can we hold them both at the same time? Knowing of the great evil being perpetrated in the world by the wicked—on an intensely personal level—and at the same time knowing the deep riches of joy that are to be found in Jesus Christ?
I believe Jesus did.
Let’s follow Him together.