Joy Anisa and family, photo by Matthew Smith by Blue-sky-photo
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Joy Anisa continued, “My childhood was a positive one. I grew up in a home that was faith filled and I was confident in the love my parents had for me. Growing up in a home that was grounded in faith brought me into my own faith during my teen years. I am blessed to be the recipient of generations that have a legacy of faith in God. It only makes sense that I knew where to go and whom to turn to when my life unraveled and became very messy. I do not come from a crisis free home and the ones that have gone before me did not live neatly packaged lives. However, they did live for the One who gives grace in the midst of the mess and extends mercy for the frazzled. I had the wonderful privilege of seeing faith in practice as I grew up.”
Her faith helped her through adversity.
“Facing life as a single mom can be full of unpredictable joy, pain, accomplishments, and setbacks. Perseverance is the gift that is graciously given to the weak of heart. Perseverance has become a part of who I am. I am sure I speak for thousands of single moms. The adversity is living life in the unknown and bearing the burden of raising children alone. The real question to ask is not do I persevere but do I persevere well.”
Joy communicated, “This study of the book of Nehemiah focuses on how to rebuild what is broken and restore what is ruined when a crisis has left a wake of pain, loss, and devastation. It offers people, especially women, tried and tested practical tools to move from seemingly hopeless destruction to immeasurable joy. When the walls come crumbling down, people need a reassuring and experienced voice to offer a message of hope and restoration. Following the principles in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, we too can rebuild. A crisis can affect anyone at anytime and ruin life as we know it. However, the process of rebuilding is what will make all the difference. Often the desire to be restored becomes the focus and the process by which that restoration comes is minimized. Whatever has left you devastated, restoration can come through Jesus Christ. However, it is His joy that will give you strength for the tough journey that must be experienced.”
She talked about the power of change, “My perspective changed when I heard, ‘Sometimes God chooses to dig the well of joy with the spade of sorrow.’ I began to desire a beautiful well of joy to be in the center of the mess that engulfed my life. I desired God to dig a well with His grace, His wisdom, His love, and His purpose. It seems like it was only yesterday that my world turned upside down. Then on other days it feels so long ago. I don’t know why you have picked up this book. Maybe you find yourself standing in the ruins left by a terrible crisis. Perhaps you are the person that continually speaks encouragement to a dear friend who is devastated by a crisis. Whatever your reason, I will walk with you and show you the unbreakable promises of the all wise God who is righteous and kind. . His love is more powerful than any blow of a crisis. His grace will grip you when you do not have the strength to hold on. His mercy will cover you when your heart is exposed to deep hurt and excruciating pain.
The Old Testament servant, Nehemiah, made himself available to the hard work of rebuilding. What he accomplished in a short time is amazing. The same God that gave Nehemiah the strength, the discernment, and the motivation to rebuild what others had deemed a disgrace is the same God that will give you all you need. Are you ready to make yourself available to the Lord to rebuild in His time, His way, and with His joy? Nehemiah’s account of building the walls and hanging the gates of Jerusalem gives insight that applies to your heart. I hope you will do what Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem did. ‘Let us rise and build. Then they strengthened their hands to this good work.’(Neh. 2:18b).
My children and I have risen up and chosen to rebuild. Our hands are strong for this good work. We are experiencing the joy of the Lord! The ‘spade of sorrow’ has dug deep in my life and the life of my children. The pain is intense! I would never desire for anyone to experience the pain of life altering crisis. However, at some point in life we all are touched by crisis either directly or indirectly. It is my prayer that when a crisis enters your life that you will trust that the spade being used is for the purpose and opportunity for joy. Surrender to the One that redeems what is ruined, finds what is lost, and gives you His identity.”
Her advice, “One of the most difficult things you will face during your crisis may be the desire to worship. It is imperative that you continue to worship knowing that it is through this time of worship that you will understand that restoration begins there. Walking in obedience to the Lord will bring continuous clarity to your circumstances. You may not always understand the process by which the Lord uses to bring healing but you can trust that He knows the process that your heart needs for the healing. The darkness that moves in and seems to place your heart in the dark shadows of uncertainty can cause you to feel afraid. I hope you experience the All-Knowing God who sees you. Immersing yourself in the truths of God’s Word will be your compass when it is difficult to know what your next step is. When others evaluate your pain and it is too much and causes more pain, you can rest in the arms of the one that knows your heart will hide you under the shadow of his wings. The Lord will bring you from crisis to credibility in His timing and His way. When he moves you through He will present your life as a beautiful testimony that will draw others to the loving Savior.”
Her challenge is symbolized by cliff jumping.
She explained, “The challenge is the jump itself. The person making the jump is in complete control and feels out of control at the same time. It is a clash of nerves and confidence. No one pushes you and nothing drops you off the cliff. It is all you! Several days after I made my first jump, I realized the symbolism between that jump and my life. The latter part of 2 Timothy 1:12 states …’for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.’ When I chose to push off the cliff and let go of what I could hold on to, the four seconds it took for me to plunge into the water below seemed more like 30 seconds. I sunk deep into the water and then as I kicked my way toward the light at the surface of the water I was also being pulled. There was nothing for me to hold on to, yet I was being kept. I was kept by the life jacket that hugged my torso with a gentle firmness. I could only sink so far. Life and the way we know it and live it can change in seconds. One minute your feet are planted firmly and the next you’re plunging into the unknown that is swimming with ‘what ifs’, ‘if onlys’, ‘what now’, ‘what next’, and more questions that you have answers. At least, this is how I have known life for the last four years. If I told you the details of my own crisis, the only sure thing you would soon realize is that while I had nothing to hold on to and everything I knew changed; something or should I say Someone held me. The writer of 2 Timothy wrote, ‘…He is able to keep…’ I realized that my physical jump off the cliff represented what had been happening to me spiritually. My kind, loving Heavenly Father has been keeping me! The second I committed to the jump I had nothing and yet I had everything I needed. The life jacket held me and gave me confidence that I would be all right. Even as I sunk, I had nothing to worry about. It was never about what I could hold on to. It only mattered what was holding me. We don’t need to grasp when we know what is grasping us. My grip is weak and would give out anyway. His grip is relentless and eternal.”
Her closing words, “I am currently booking speaking engagements for 2014 and 2015. I will bring laughter and you will feel like you have just shared a great cup of coffee with a wonderful friend. My down-to-earth style of storytelling and encouragement will inspire you.”
Joy will be marrying a wonderful man, her partner, in February. Jeff and Joy will continue to live with Meighan and Caid in Western North Carolina!
Joy’s contact information: