So I wanted to share how Her Greater Joy got started. My testimony (fancy word for what God has done in my life) will always be the birthplace of that. Wherever you find yourself, God wants to use it all.
I guess my passion for writing begins from when I was little, but I didn’t notice it until college. I have always journaled in my time with God. It’s just how I communicate with Him, how I allow Scripture to really sink into my heart, and sometimes how I process what God’s doing.
In 2014 I moved with my family from Florida to California. I was fresh out of high school with no major direction for my life. I’ve always loved leading worship, so I thought I would end up at some type of music school. But I stayed with my family and enrolled in community college. A simultaneously boring and exciting fresh start. In hindsight, I know God had mapped this out for me.
By the end of my semester, not even six months after moving across the country, my mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. It completely and utterly sucked. In a matter of one sentence of delivered results that had “cancer” in it, my life shifted from happy-go-lucky to grim and teary-eyed days.
Thank God for best friends who skip classes on crappy days to get coffee with you and just hug you while you cry and agree that it’s not fair (a great tip if you have a grieving friend or loved one).
The new normal was hard, and I asked off work at my new job to sit with my mom during chemotherapy. We watched Gilmore Girls and made the best of it. When my sister got out of school for the day, we’d get a snack and walk around Target if my mom had enough energy. We didn’t make plans but we made every day fun if it was possible.
I started writing. I started reading Bible verses that were my only source of hope. And I wrote from that place. I wrote about how things were just different. I wrote about God’s goodness through it all, about the bad days, and about His peace.
Well, this routine of “normal” lasted from December to July. In the middle of July we found out the cancer progressed to stage four and she didn’t have long. My dad, sister, and I sat on the guest bedroom floor and talked about what the future looked like without my mom. It was natural conversation based on what was in front of us, but I hated hearing it come out of my mouth.
This wasn’t what I prayed for. It wasn’t what I thought healing meant. I wanted her healing to be something I could see. Something here on earth. But to my dread, July 29th, 2015 became an anniversary. There was a lot of grace that day for my little heart. I had no capacity to perceive all of it, but God just met me there. And he was with me like he always promised.
But God will walk with you through your gut-wrenching pain, and he will pick up the pieces.
I have seen restoration, and I have seen God’s hand in the details. I know that if you find yourself in a dark and tear-filled routine, God sees you and he knows you. He didn’t cause this mess. He’s actually here to help you walk through it.
One of these details in my life being that God placed two amazing women in my life to play the mom role in my life after mine was no longer here. One happens to be the woman my dad remarried. These two helped me on my wedding day, and every moment between. God showed me his character through people. They loved and they lived out Romans 12:15 like I’ve never seen before.
Now, I’ve gone through many, many counseling sessions, my dad’s marriage, college (one baby step at a time), and my own marriage. I have kept up with writing and publishing it as much as I can. But with change after change, one thing remains: my vision for this space.
I want to communicate with other women that need hope. And if you find yourself reading this, you’re part of that vision. I want you to know that you can access peace and joy wherever you’re at. When you feel shaken, God is your rock. When you face job loss, divorce, grief, breakups, or stress, I want to dig deep to that place with God.
He loves you, sees you, and knows you. He created you with purpose and I hope God speaks to you through these little words I write. The world needs the hope you offer.
“The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10 ESV).
“You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine” (Psalm 4:7 NLT)