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Spotlight on Joy Ross

Joy Ross - ambassador for Arthritis Foundation
Joy Ross, ambassador for the arthritis foundation uses her vision loss for good

I met Joy through the RP Christian Connection, a Facebook support group I co-administer. She always posts encouraging updates and upbeat youtube clips. Inspired by her posts, I asked if she would like to be featured as a guest on my blog.  What a blessing that she agreed to share her story today!

Through the Eyes of Joy

Joy is more than my name. It’s a choice!

I’m sure many of you associate joy with the emotion of happiness, but do any of you realize that joy can be found even in the darkest of times? In order to find joy in every life circumstance, it requires developing a new mindset. I know it can be very easy to get wrapped up in our own pain and problems but we should never forget there is always someone out there who is facing something greater.

Over the past several years, my joy was put to the test. After living in complete darkness after I lost my vision due to uveitis / juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, both of my daughters were diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I also suffered severe nerve damage to my left eye and was plagued by multiple horrific staff infections, which forced me to live on antibiotics, antidepressants and high dosage narcotic such as OxyCotin and methadone for three years.

From the beginning of 2008 up until the end of 2012, our family experienced the worst years of our lives. My vision loss and all the other health issues our family has faced and currently faces have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the core.

Through the eyes of the world, it would have been easy for me to get discouraged and to give up, but I knew in my heart God had a greater plan.

Instead of being angry or bitter towards God for the pain I was living through, I continued to believe and to trust that the best was yet to come.

Don’t get me wrong. There were many days I felt as if I were dying and the pain was too much for me to bear, but I knew God loved me and He would never leave me or forsake me. There was one night I was suffering in excruciating pain, I laid on my bedroom floor and cried out in desperation for God to rescue me! As tears were streaming down my face, I said to God, “If You can bring me through this hell I’m living in, I promise You I will live the rest of my days spreading a message of hope, joy and love to the world.”

I want you to know in that moment, my situation didn’t instantly change but the attitude of my heart changed. I began singing songs of joy and praise for what God was going to do. I couldn’t physically see the circumstances changing, but I could see through the eyes of my heart, as long as I had faith to believe, “All things are possible!”

Guess what happened when I decided to choose joy instead of dwelling on my sorrows?

I found inner healing through helping others.

When you take your eyes off yourself, and begin imparting to others what you have learned, you will then experience what life is all about.

As a family, we decided to take the negatives in our life and turn them into positives. We might not be able to change our circumstances but we can use our circumstances to make a brighter future. I had the power to allow the trials in my life to destroy me, but instead I chose to allow them to empower me to do great things!

I now live every day of my life to make a difference. My husband, daughters and I are ambassadors for the arthritis foundation and as ambassadors, we have had many opportunities to use our story to change lives all over the country.

Joy and her family are ambassadors for juvenile rheumatoid arthristis
Joy and her family are ambassadors for the arthritis foundation. 

When we learn to give to others, we, in return, will be blessed with more joy than our hearts can ever hold. I believe it is time for us all to stop focusing on what we don’t have and begin focusing on what we do have.

I encourage you all to be life changers! Speak life into someone’s life today, even if you’re the one who needs the encouragement.

I promise you when you spread love, you will find true joy and purpose for living! Go  and give, love and live!

I love you all. Have a blessed and joyful day!

Joy

***
You can learn more about and follow Joy Ross on the following links:

Facebook group: Through the Eyes of Joy
Y
ouTube: Videos and Her Story
Twitter: Twitter@blind

Do you know anyone who has suffered from uveitis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis? Have you been tested by difficult circumstances yourself? Are you inspired and encouraged by Joy’s walk? Be sure to leave a comment!  

You have just read, “Through the Eyes of Joy” by Joy Ross. Copyright Joy Ross November 28, 2015.

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Amy

Amy Bovaird is the author of two best-selling books Mobility Matters and Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility.  An accomplished and inspirational speaker, she talks on a variety of topics based on her life experiences and continues to educate and inspire others through her writing and speaking. She lives with a dual disability—progressive vision and hearing loss due to Usher Syndrome. She blogs about the challenges she faces as she loses more vision and hearing and manages to find humor around almost every corner, AmyBovaird.com. Her books are available at Amazon. Follow her on social media at Amy Bovaird, Author.
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9 thoughts on “Friday Friends: Spotlight on Joy Ross

  • November 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    Great idea spotlighting Joy on your blog. I, too, have been encouraged by what she has posted in our group. She is truly an inspiration, and so are you.

    Blessings,

    Matt Harris

  • November 27, 2015 at 10:52 pm
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    Hi Matt,
    So glad you liked her guest post! So glad you are on break and have time to read my posts again. I’d better hurry up and write more before you go back to school! 😉
    Amy

  • November 27, 2015 at 10:56 pm
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    My mother had rheumatoid arthritis, back when there were no treatments for it. This story left me so humbled and inspired. Thank you for sharing it.
    Alana recently posted…Snippets of a Thanksgiving DayMy Profile

  • November 28, 2015 at 11:54 am
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    I met Joy and Antonia and her beautiful daughters and Joy this past summer at our first Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis conference in Orlando. My son Dawson has JA as well as a very rare immune disorder. Joy is the real deal!
    I have enjoyed getting to know her more and following her amazing and sometimes super brave feats and videos that she does. I can see and she’s far braver than I.
    Love that you’re sharing positive vs negatives.
    Thank you so much for helping us.
    Laura Anderson, Florida

  • November 28, 2015 at 4:05 pm
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    Hi Laura,
    Thank you for your comment! Wonderful you were able to meet Joy and her daughters in Orlando. Is that the same conference she sang at? That must have been a pretty big conference. God bless you and your son Dawson. I pray for strength for both of you and your son’s challenges.
    I am learning more about Joy through these comments. I was very inspired by Joy’s story and so happy she joined my online sight support group. She has been a blessing!

    I know someone with rheumatoid arthritis. She lives in Malaysia and goes to India for treatment once or twice a year. She believes strongly in the power of laughter and has started a laughter and yoga group. I just love her!
    Laura, please come back for more positive stories!
    Amy

  • November 29, 2015 at 7:35 pm
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    Hi Kerry,
    I had to look at the title I gave it after reading your comment. I Think the title Joy originally intended for it to have was actually the first paragraph but that was unclear to me. Shorter is better. It is crazy how many illnesses affect eyesight. Amazing how she turned her negatives into positives and she and her family became ambassadors for the Arthritis Foundation.
    Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
    Amy

  • December 4, 2015 at 12:30 am
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    Thank you for sharing Joy’s story (I had to look twice at the name, because my youngest daughter’s name is Joy and maiden name was Ross!) I can relate to the chronic pain of arthritis, especially in my right hip. I have a perpetual limp because of it. My Mom had both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, but I have “just” osteoarthritis.
    K. Lee Banks recently posted…On Giving and Receiving – December 3 DevotionsMy Profile

  • December 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm
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    Hi K Lee,
    Ha ha! What a doubletake! Strange to see your daughter’s maiden name when you’re not expecting it.
    You’re welcome. She is an awesome faithful servant to His kingdom. I feel for you! Though I can relate most to the vision loss,several years ago, I had a ten-day bout with bursitis in one arm and that hurt like the dickens. I went to the doctor about it. I thought I was going to have to change all my eating habits or do something drastic to change my lifestyle. It finally went away. At eighty=six, my mother has terrible arthritis throughout her body Though she is a thin woman, she can’t fit her rings over her knuckles anymore because of the arthritis.
    Have a wonderful day, K Lee, and thanks for taking time to read and comment on my post!
    Amy

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