As teenagers, my sister and I use to refer to each new little phase of life (a new boyfriend, a new school year, etc.) as “another chapter.” Since that teenage period of my life, I have definitely turned the pages on many different kinds of chapters! Some of these chapters have been absolutely amazing; others have been totally devastating. The one constant theme in the entire “book” of my life has been knowing that I have a Savior walking with me through every high and every low. I have learned that when the Bible says, “the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5;45), it means that in this world I am not exempt from dark and difficult valleys no matter how close I walk with God. In these valleys, I have had to learn to make wise choices: whether to become bitter or to become better; whether to blame God or praise Him; whether to complain or give thanks; whether to feel abused by God or to be used by God. When I look at life with these choices flashing in front of me, it seems very obvious what the right response should be. However, I often slip……..questioning, doubting, worrying, or simply not trusting. It is in these moments of weakness that God often teaches me the most pointed lessons. He seems to choose to speak in the most profound ways on the most unexpected days when I am searching for Him with all of my heart and soul. One thing He has taught me in my searching is that my joy is not dependent upon my circumstances. I can and should praise God….NO MATTER WHAT MY DAY HOLDS! When I do, I find everything about my situation becomes a little easier to bear. So, as I begin my first personal blog spot, I visualize the pages of my life turning to display yet another chapter. I pray that this chapter of my life develops into a ministry that helps you as you face the highs and lows of life. I pray that as I soak in the mercy of God on my good days and as I wrestle with God on my not-so-good days, I can continue to make the choice to live each day in a way that brings glory to Him and Him alone. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord, always, again I say, Rejoice!” This has been my favorite verse ever since I was a little girl. I remember the first time I learned that Paul wrote these words from a prison cell! I was probably around nine years old, but I remember that lesson like it was yesterday. How could I not rejoice when Paul was rejoicing from a prison cell? I have failed at being full of joy on many occasions, but God has given me the strength and the opportunity to redeem myself and have a fresh start! He offers the same strength and opportunity to you! Do you feel stripped of your joy? Do you feel bitter, complaint-worthy, and abused? If so, don’t feel alone! Just know that there is hope! You can find it in “Another chance, another choice, another chapter, another verse!” Until next time…… joy with all of your heart! God loves you!