What if #MeToo Became #HealedToo? (Life after Domestic Abuse)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, where many people are speaking up #MeToo. Some people “go purple” to bring awareness to the horrific silence inside of which many women, men and children suffer, where memories are dark and homes unsafe. One in three women, and one in four men have been the victims of some form of violence by someone close to them during their lifetime. Numerous among them were small children when the abuse began, and they remained in abusive situations for years.

What if #MeToo became #HealedToo

This shocking reality is the sad cause of the #MeToo campaign we have seen on our social media feeds recently. My heart breaks for each person who bravely shares this hashtag, knowing thousands still remain silenced and scarred from abuse, at no fault of their own.

We aren’t made for silence. 
I desperately want silence to turn to song. #MeToo >> #HealedToo Click To Tweet

 

Our Father made us for relationship with Him and with one another. We were created to share our lives openly, to vulnerably know and trust one another. We are supposed to learn God’s love for us inside relationships.  But for many who say #MeToo, trust has been stolen, and the possibility of vulnerable relationships has been robbed.

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus gives life to the full. (John 10:10)

#MeToo

My heart breaks for those whose social media sites bravely declare #MeToo, and yet they have not yet found true healing. Some of these are my friends, and yours.

Maybe one of them is you.

#HealedToo

Jesus Christ is the only one who offers true healing and abundant life. He is the Light of the World, and those who follow Him will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of LIFE. (John 8:12). He has come to set people free who are slaves to sin, or enslaved by the effects of sin. And those who Jesus sets free are free indeed. (John 8:36). 

#JoySighting

For today’s #JoySighting I want to introduce you to my friend, Christina. Largely through the help of Prevail Inc., she has found the LIFE that exists on the other side of domestic violence. And in that life, she has found  true joy. Christina displays true gratitude for What God has done in herHer life overflows, and she lets her joy loose by sharing the realities of her story. When I first heard it, I wanted to help spread it. Because stories are powerful weapons against the darkness.

 

We overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11).

 

Even though Christina can say #MeToo, she can also declare that she has been healed, and she is alive in the abundant life of Christ. And in her story-telling, she is overcoming. She is saying #HealedToo.

What if everyone who says #MeToo could also say #HealedToo?

Do you know someone who needs to hear Christina’s story? Let’s see how far we can spread it! Please let her joy loose by sharing on your social media outlets.

Elizabeth Joy

Moving Neighborhoods (and bringing joy there too)

It has been about ten months since we made the trek from the Canadian East Coast to the Midwest. And it was right about then that we “settled” into a new neighborhood. Being here has taught me some things about being a good neighbor. But the time has come to uproot again. It is time for moving neighborhoods. Thankfully, this time, our move is only 3 miles down the road.

Moving Neighborhoods

Over the last 5 days since we closed on our new home, I have made that trek dozens of times, each time aware that we are picking up and planting again. We are replacing “temporary” with “permanent”. Or, at least the kind of permanent that is possible in ministry–this will be our twelfth home in twenty years. We are so looking forward to settling in our own place.

Moving Neighborhoods

There is disarray right now in both homes. Boxes and paper everywhere! But as I drive under the canopy of trees that has become my favorite route to our new place, I’m reminded we are covered by the love of the Lord. The stresses that can accompany the packing and unpacking, the loading and unloading, quickly dissipate. As I pass the community pool, I’m aware there are so many families here we don’t know. As I see my current neighbors in their yards, I’m reminded of their warm welcome and the community they have with each other, and this inspires me to build community in my new neighborhood.

And, it doesn’t go without saying that, each time I pull into our new driveway, I’m profoundly aware of the provisions of our good Father.

It seems appropriate that at our church we soon move in to a series on The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door. The Lord’s timing never fails to amaze me. We best express genuine love in driveways, on front porches, and around dinner tables

We best express genuine love in driveways, on front porches, and around dinner tables. Click To Tweet

So, Joy Let Loose may seem a bit quiet for a little while as we are moving neighborhoods. But I pray God’s joy will let loose through our family. 

Elizabeth Joy

Making a Joyful Livelihood: It’s No Small Potatoes

We had to fly over crystal seas, navigate the bustle of a foreign airport, and do the slow, bumpy climb to 5200 feet above sea level to discover the beauty of making a joyful livelihood. It was, and it is, no small potatoes. A joyful livelihood is a currency that transcends language barriers and economic differences, yet is something I struggle to see in my North American affluence. 

A joyful livelihood is a currency that transcends language barriers and economic differences. Click To Tweet

And I found it last week, high in the mountains of Haiti.

making a joyful livelihood

 

What’s My Livelihood?

In many ways for us, this year has been a lean one. We’ve been lean on income since I was unable to work. We are lean on friends since we are so new to the area. And we’ve been lean on activity since our energy has been spent on healing and regrowing. My livelihood no longer took the form of a pay-check, but of simple emotional sustenance to try to spread among our ranks. 

Now that is shifting, as I am stepping in to a new position. But first, my husband and I were invited to come away to the remote mountains that tower over Port Au Prince. We were asked to bring emotional sustenance to full- and part-time missionaries by leading them in worship in their heart language. I didn’t realize how refreshing that would be to them.

Our modest sanctuary housed silence and song, prayer and laughter as we worshipped together. But it was actually along the roadway that I learned about making a joyful livelihood.

Making a Joyful Livelihood

 

tinder block houseWe almost missed seeing her cinderblock house, because it was disguised by the green foliage reaching towards the hot sky. But we heard her warm voice as we picked our way along the rocky road. Her Creole words bid us to come in for a visit. There was no pretence; no scurrying to tidy up or to hide the fact that life is messy. Instead it was all welcome, just as we are.

Our guides spoke well with her in her native tongue. All the while, her daughter scrubbed clothes in a wash basin, and her grand-daughter smiled with curious eyes. This wash would be added to the clothes drying in the sun on fences and roofs.

drying clothes

The conversation was light as she asked whether we had brought them any gifts. We had not, they told her, because we were simply out for a walk. Our guide teasingly asked if she had any gifts for us, and her response made us melt. 

She said that she, indeed, wanted to give us a gift.

The Gift

My soul was a jumble of gratitude and disbelief as I watched her peel the corrugated metal sheet away from the small cinderblock shed. She disappeared inside with a giant step up, and we heard her rustling around inside. The wash continued to be washed and the curious eyes continued to twinkle life as we wondered what would happen next.

Out she came, a giant step down and laden with a heavy sack. Brown eyes beamed. Inside the bag, 20 pounds of beautiful potatoes: her livelihood. She gave joy currency in that moment, and welcomed us into it. This gift was a gift of self and sustenance. Her hands had tilled the earth to bring these potatoes to life; her back had born the weight of the harvest. Yet her storehouse was open to us.

 

In a moment of welcome and grace, we were invited into her joyful livelihood. 

 

It was more important to our new friend to give than to receive. It was more honorable to share what little she had than to hold on to it for her own hungry belly. There was pure joy in feeding the stranger in her midst, of letting joy loose with no thought of with-holding it from the wealthy.

These were no small potatoes.

Our Joyful Livelihood

God smiled on us last Friday afternoon along the rocky roads in the Haitian mountains. There was no guilt in receiving the gift, only joy. The transaction was grace as He reminded us of His provision. 

ripe unto harvest

As I move from being home back into the workforce, what will my livelihood be? Will I keep it in my storehouse, or will I deal in transactions of grace? I may never see our new friend again, and yet her potatoes have impacted me profoundly. Because what was hers was ours, no pretence or with-holding.

May my joyful livelihood be the same.

Elizabeth Joy

Friday Fun: It’s the Little Things (My New Joy Blend!)

Today’s a great day for a joy blend. It’s a little cool and dreary outside. The Friday tornado siren practice is back in full swing for the season. If those things want to scream out this morning with their warning rehearsal, I think maybe joy should outdo it. What do you say?

 Friday Fun

Today I’m introducing to you Friday Fun. The topic of joy, and pursuing a joyful life can (at times) be daunting and large. There are just so many things in our world that try to drown out our joy. So, diligently chasing after the joy we were designed for is a big deal. And I’m okay with that. (Hence, articles like this and this!) But much of our joy can be found in the little things too. The little things we sometimes overlook. The small moments we sometimes are too rushed to perceive.

Enter Friday Fun! What if, each Friday at  Joy Let Loose, we simply slowed down to look at one little thing that can bring joy to us during the coming weekend? After all, joy is found and expressed in laughter and little moments. So, on Fridays, be watching for ideas for activities or recipes, conversation starters or gifts, home ideas, getaways or games. 

 

Friday Fun - Joy Blend

 

Joy Blend

Over the last several months, I’ve been learning more about essential oils. I launched into a new world when I got a diffuser for my birthday. I’m a newbie, but have experimented with blends for focus & energy, relaxation, mood enhancement, and respiratory health. I’ve learned some great uses for Tea Tree oil, Peppermint, and Frankincense. 

But on this dreary Friday morning, I discovered an awesome new  joy blend  that I think is one of my new favorites. In each of my diffusers, I used 4 drops of grapefruit, 3 drops of bergamot, and 3 drops of ylang ylang.

  • GRAPEFRUIT Essential Oil is widely popular for its many benefits, including helping with circulation and digestion, reducing sugar cravings and candida. As an aromatic, it is reduces stress, improves focus, and has a positive impact on mood.
  • Bergamot essential oil is another citrus, often used to help indigestion, muscle tension and headaches. As an aromatic, it is an anti-depressant, and it helps to relieve anxiety.
  • Ylang ylang, from the yellow flower of a large (beautiful!) tree, improves immune and cardiovascular health. As an aromatic, it increases energy and helps lower blood pressure.

Fun Friday Joy Blend

Reduced stress + improved focus + positive mood enhancement + anxiety relief + anti-depressant + increased energy + lower blood pressure = definitely worth trying out this Fun Friday! 

 Joy Blend on the Go!!

We are house-hunting these days. Now, I love house-hunting, but when you look at dozens and dozens in the span of a few days, sometimes you start going a little squirrelly. And I decided yesterday that I need some joy on the go. So I picked up something like this! It’s an itty-bitty essential oil diffuser for my car. I’m taking joy on the road with me now as I house shop ’til I drop. The verdict is still out on its effectiveness. But on its trial run last night, I’d say it was helping! 

Thanks for joining me for Friday Fun! It really is the little things, and Fridays are for staying simple and light. My new joy blend is wafting through my house as I write, and I hear the levity in my homeschool teens’ moods even now. So I think it’s working. 🙂

Have an awesome Friday, and a joyful weekend!

Elizabeth Joy

 

 

 

 

The Joy Model, by Jeff Spadafora: A Book Review


In January, I wrote about a gift I received from my husband Scott, The Joy Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Peace, Purpose, and Balance, by Jeff Spadafora. It was an early #joysighting!. I intended to review it sooner, but chose to savor its wisdom before bringing it to you here at 
 Joy Let Loose. Now that I have finished it, and have enjoyed looking around Jeff’s blog, and companion devotional journey, I can’t wait to tell you about it!

 

Book Review

The Joy Model

Jeff was successful in life in many of the ways our culture defines success. He had a beautiful family, vibrant career, and a lovely home. Jeff also had access to many life luxuries many of us only dream of. But he sensed something was missing. He defines the years of his life between ages 25-40 as years of “smoldering discontent”. Jeff describes a pendulum swing between “doing for God” and “being with God” that left him exhausted and frustrated. Although he was doing everything he thought he was supposed to be doing to grow as a Christian, somehow the joy promised in the Bible was elusive to him.

It’s almost as if this faith thing had ignited a thirst that could never be quenched. (13)

As he shares his story of discontentment and joylessness, Jeff challenges readers to examine their own lives and smoldering discontent.

Revelation

Have you ever had an idea elude you for a long season, even though you know something is there? Then all of a sudden, comprehension comes like a lightning bolt to clear the fog? That is what happened for Jeff after several months of trying to create a diagram that adequately described the concept of joy. In a moment, he had a profound, yet simple, grid. It revolutionized his teaching, and accurately portrayed his own journey from discontent to joyful living.

Not only does this joy model portray the concept, but it shows how to move from where people are now to greater joy. Jeff calls it the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan. He is careful to explain that seeking joy for joy’s sake is kind of like chasing a butterfly in its elusiveness. His plan coaches readers to seek God, promising that peace, joy and fulfillment are by-products of a focus on God.

M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan

I felt exposed by the first few chapters of this book. As an almost 20-year-old believer, I could hear my own discontent echo through their pages as I saw my pendulum swinging. So, I loved the helpful depth and clarity of chapters four through ten, as Jeff gently walked me through each element of the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan:

  • Margin
  • Abiding
  • Self-awareness
  • Treasure (and Temple)
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
Thoughts

Margin is what actually makes room for change to happen. It is difficult to allow for in our busy cultures. But it is essential. We just returned from a two-week trip designed specifically for margin. Our family transition that has been unfolding over the last year has drained us physically and emotionally. We all needed to just breathe. Rest by the pool in the sunshine, on the sand by the ocean, and around the dinner table with family and friends was what my soul needed! 

Jeff’s coaching on margin, though, goes beyond the periodic vacation, and points to the need for space in everyday life. He gives permission to dream of the ideal life, and contrast it with reality. Margin is necessary to bridge the gap.

Inner Focus

Abiding echoes Jesus’ words in John 15:5. So many of us get caught up in all of the “doing” of Christianity that we do not truly abide in Christ. Jeff gives permission for readers to enjoy God in ways He has uniquely designed them. But he also challenges us to come close to God in ways we perhaps haven’t before. He outlines specific disciplines that can draw us closer to the Lord.

Jeff’s chapter about Self-Awareness reveals a revolutionary part of his own journey. It exposes what he calls the “False Self”, against which most of us war. It helps us see the destructiveness of self-deception, and the limits that our selfishness place on us. But it points us toward the “Real Self”, and movement on the joy model. He promises this discovery holds the life you have always wanted.

Real joy is being exactly who we are in service to others and for the glory of God. (114)

In his chapter about Treasure, Jeff introduces the “Green Monster”. He discovered that, far too often, finances degrade people’s joy. But he says that wealth and a life of joy are not mutually exclusive. His own discovery that he relied on wealth to form his identity set him on a trajectory to learn how His money could bless other people. This chapter is one of strategy to help readers take the same steps. 

Outward Focus

Engagement is about being enlisted in the work of the Holy Spirit on this earth. But it is impossible to enlist prior to the self-examination of the previous chapters, so don’t rush ahead! By now, our passions and paradigms have changed, and we are freed up to step in fully to God’s will for our lives. This is not about the obligation of what we ought  to do, but more about being brave to do what we were created to do.

We don’t lack clarity from God about what we should be doing. We lack he creativity and courage to go do it. (136)

Finally, in the section about Relationships,Jeff reminds us of the treasure we have in the people God has given to us. He challenges the superficial relationships we often keep, holding people at arm’s length. And Jeff encourages readers to examine their key relationships, resolve conflict more carefully, and develop intimacy.

Jeff encourages readers not to try this journey alone. He recommends mentoring, coaching, and accountability. His companion blog and devotional journey are helpful tools he provides to help. But he says most people will not be successful trying to go this road alone. 

The Joy Model Recommended!

The Joy Model

I am so glad I took my time working through The Joy Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Peace, Purpose, and Balance,  rather than simply consuming it in a day or two! I plan now to go back through it again, following Jeff’s recommendations and strategies. His joy model is clear and very helpful. If you are excited to start reading right away, I’d recommend you download the kindle version.  On this journey toward joy at  Joy Let Loose, I want my life to radiate the joy of the Lord. But I can still see my pendulum swinging sometimes, and my propensity to focus more on what I ought to do, rather than what I was created to do.

I am confident that Jeff Spadafora’s book will have a significant impact on my own joy-journey, and I want to recommend it to you in yours. If you have felt smoldering discontent, unsure why the joy of the Lord seems elusive to you, then please check out this book! 

Comments

I would love to hear about your experience with The Joy Model in the comments below! Where are you on the grid? How is God moving you from where you are to where you want to be? 

Elizabeth Joy