This past spring, I spent 30 nights alone in the hospital without my loving husband by my side. One night, as I laid in my hospital bed, I thought back on the decision I made to marry him. Little did I know how my decision three years ago would impact me today as I walked through this season of physical suffering.
Years ago, as I was trying to figure out if I should marry the man I was dating, I asked my counselor how to make this important decision. She responded, “Does he suffer well?” The question caught me off guard. After thinking about it, I replied, “Yes; he’s gone through cancer, found joy in the midst of pain, and continues to follow God.” That day I knew I was going to marry my now-husband, Zack.
In our marriage, we have experienced a lot of suffering. When we were first married, I worried about my husband’s cancer returning. Turns out, I’m the one who has struggled with sickness! Over the past three years, my body has experienced vaginismus (a condition involving involuntary muscle spasms in the pelvic floor muscles that can make sexual intercourse painful, difficult, or impossible), miscarrying our eight-week-old baby, frequent sinus headaches, and, most recently, achalasia: A rare disease that causes my esophagus to not function properly.
Desiring to feel loved and beautiful, I downloaded Tinder and uploaded my cutest selfie. Sick of being single and waiting on God’s perfect timing, I wanted to take things into my own hands. I wanted control over my dating life.
Impatient and not trusting God, I began the quest for a man. Swiping right if I found him attractive and left if he was too creepy, I was making every decision based on looks. During this season in college, I was a believer and truly loved God, but I lacked intimacy with Him.
Instead of growing in intimacy with God, I wanted instant intimacy.
I believed that instant intimacy was only found in the love of a man, so in that moment, when he swiped right too and we were a match, I felt desired. This feeling didn’t last. Instead of believing what God says is true about me, I believed I was unloved and ugly. Yet, I kept on swiping and searching for intimacy.
Have you ever sought out intimacy, yet remained unsatisfied?(more…)
Doesn’t my body know that I started to follow Jesus my freshman year of college? Yet, why does it constantly not follow Jesus? My mind. My heart. My body. All connected, and yet all do their own thing. Christian dating is hard. Setting physical boundaries is hard. You can only read so many devotionals, Christian blogs and Bible verses on purity before you begin to wonder, what am I doing wrong? Why is none of this controlling my body?
What do you do if you’ve set physical boundaries and you’re pursuing purity in dating, yet your body is doing its own thing?
Allow me to share my story, one of the many stories where my body acts differently from my heart and mind. Through my story and through Scripture, let’s learn together what to do when our bodies don’t know we are Christians. (more…)
Do you feel far from God? Like any relationship, our relationship with God requires work. In order to feel close to God, we have to know God. In order to know God, we must spend time with him. (Would you like to know God personally?)
Think about a car. Eventually, a car runs out of gas and needs to be refueled. Our spiritual lives are just like cars. If we don’t refuel our hearts, we will be empty tanks unable to function.
Get real with yourself. How are you and God doing?
Yes, dating is amazing and fun. Yes I love it. But it’s not fully satisfying. We can’t live life hoping to find our satisfaction in our relationship status.
You’re single – you want to be dating. You’re dating – you want to be married. You’re married – you want kids. You have kids – you want more free time. You have free time – you want more to do.
Do you get what I’m saying?
I’ve met countless women in all stages of relationships and none have told me that the status she is in has left her fully satisfied. I have a married friend who has struggled with infertility. She tells me she often cries out to God in pain. Her husband tries to be there for her and comfort her, but she said his comfort is never enough. (more…)
There is beauty in rebellion. When I first started living my life for God, I felt the weight of shame from my past of rebellion. I hated myself and the sins of my past. It took a few years for me to begin to break free from this shame and begin to experience the beauty of rebellion. I’m praying that you will experience the beauty of rebellion and the freedom that comes through Christ. xoxo Joy (more…)
Q: “What should I do when my world is falling apart? What should I do when I’m scared of the future? So many things are happening in my life and I don’t know how to comprehend it all.” – Anonymous reader.
A: Dear reader, I want you to know – you are not alone. I’ve been there. I’ve reached points where my world was falling apart. (Read my story.) I feared the future because I could not control my current situations or what would happen. If this is how you feel, you have reached a scary moment. I promise you, something beautiful is about to happen. A beautiful gift happens when you allow God to have control of your life.(Click to Tweet.) My freshman year of college, I was depressed and believed absolutely nothing could heal my broken heart. That was the moment I gave God control. In the pain, brokenness, uncertainties and lack of control, God worked miracles and brought healing to my life. He can bring healing to you too. (more…)
If you are new to JP Ministries, let me introduce myself. My name is Joy and I am a 22 year old, curly haired brunette who is madly in love with Jesus. Today I’ll be answering a few questions about my journey of believing the gospel, surrendering my life to Jesus and living for God. If you have any additional questions for me – leave them in the comment section below! xoxo Joy (more…)
The concept of knowing God can feel so abstract that it seems impossible to ever understand. Growing up, I went to church every week, but I had no idea that God wanted to know me. I had no idea that God wanted a personal relationship with me. I was missing out on the heart of Christianity. And because I was missing out on knowing God, I turned to other people and things to fill my emptiness. I was told religion would satisfy me, so I tried to be perfect. I thought being a Christian was about going to church and being a morally good person. As long as I was acting morally better than other people, I believed my Christian life was on track.
Lies. I believed so many lies because I never had the truth fully explained. Growing up not fully understanding the Gospel caused many problems in my heart.
As I strived for perfection, I failed over and over again. This view of “Christianity” was all wrong. Sadly, I think a lot of people have this view – that they have to be perfect and “good” people. Personally, I hate the phrase “good” Christian girl. (Read why). We are not good. I had to come to that realization in order to surrender my life to Jesus. (To read my full story, click here).
Lacking the truth – I had no idea that being a Christian was about realizing how broken and sinful we are, so that we realize how desperately we need Jesus. God had to break me in order for me to see my sinfulness. He had to bring me to my end, show me that I will never be satisfied in this world, and break my heart – for me to turn to him. As painful as those moments were, I can now say they were worth everything, because now I know and believe that Jesus is the only answer. A guy will not complete me. A perfect body will not give me hope. And a friend’s approval will not make me feel good enough.
Only through Jesus and the Cross will we ever find completion, lasting hope, never ending satisfaction, and eternal life.(more…)