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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

By Darcy Ingraham


Tears spilled from Annabelle’s eyes. Life had not been going very well lately and she couldn’t take anymore. She was trying so hard to trust the Lord and believe He would bring her through all these trials, but Annabelle felt like a complete and utter failure. Last night she poured her heart out to the Lord and hoped to wake up with a new attitude and a new perspective. Lamentations 3:22-23, popped into her mind. “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (KJV) She had every reason to believe that morning would bring her a fresh outlook, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Annabelle woke to discover that she had lost something precious, her Joy.

“Lord, please help me. Show me where to find my Joy,” she cried in desperation. Annabelle was overcome with a sorrow so deep that she couldn’t find the words to say an elaborate prayer. Her simple prayer was enough. She knew in her heart that God had heard her cry.

Annabelle new she needed to take action, but she didn’t really know what it was the Lord wanted her to do. She was still teary, but she was calmer. God had replaced that feeling of panic with a peace that passes all understanding. Since it was such a beautiful day outside, Annabelle decided to take a walk on the bike trail by the river. She loved the river and there was no better place for her to think and search for the one thing that meant so much to her. God often communicated to her through nature. She felt nearest to Him when she was by the river. Annabelle was determined. She was a woman on a mission and nothing was going to stop her until she found what she was looking for.

Walking along the narrow bike trail and listening to the birds singing, Annabelle reminisced about the many times the Lord had come to her rescue. Eight years ago, she had gone through a very dark period in her life. She sat alone in a cold exam room when the doctor told her she had invasive lobular sarcoma. She immediately underwent a mastectomy. When Annabelle came out of surgery her husband was gone. Alone, she endured two years of chemotherapy and radiation treatments before the cancer finally went into remission. Once she went into remission, instead of elation and relief, reality hit her smack in the face. Mourning her broken marriage, Annabelle fell into a deep, dark, pit of depression. Two years later, she decided to end all the pain once and for all. She sat on the edge of her bed and reached to take the sleeping pills off the nightstand, but for some reason her hand touched her Bible instead. Thumbing through the pages, she stopped in the book of John. Her eyes scanned each chapter, stopping at John 16:20. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” “I’ve been weeping for two, long, years, Lord. When will you turn my sorrow into joy,” Annabelle whispered to herself. The next morning, she opened her front door and it was at that moment that she found Joy. She thanked God for answering her prayer and from that moment on, no matter how difficult life got, she still had Joy. Joy filled her heart and was always with her. Annabelle’s Joy was a special gift from God that He had delivered at just the right time.

Sitting on the edge of the riverbank, Annabelle prayed, “Lord, I’m sorry I stopped trusting you. You have never let me down before. Lord, I really need my Joy….”

There was a rustling in the edge of woods and a startled Annabelle turned her head in that direction. Wiggling uncontrollably, a brindle colored, Boxer pounced on Annabelle, kissing her profusely. “Oh Joy, I knew God would help me find you again! Thank you, thank you.”

God used Annabelle’s Joy to help her find hope again. Her hope renewed, she also found that inner joy that only knowing Christ can give us. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (KJV) Do you have that inner joy?

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 05/25/06
How clever of you to mix Joy the dog, with joy of soul. Took me a while to catch on (though I did wonder at the "why" of some of your phrases). Nice job.
Michelle Burkhardt05/27/06
Nice twist..I had to re-read a few paragraphs, but overall nice story.
Helen Paynter05/27/06
Nice twist. I felt you crammed a lot into the fourth paragraph (that pesky word-count) - perhaps it could make an article all on its own. Good work, though