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