By Patti Johnson

Patti has been volunteering with Care for Pastors with The Confidante for Pastors’ Wives for 7 years after she and her husband received counsel from Care for Pastors as a way to give back to the ministry. She joined the Care for Pastors staff in January 2020. Patti is one of the administrators of The Confidante Private Facebook group for pastors' wives and is a regular contributor to weekly blogs. She loves to use her gifts and abilities to support the needs of the ministry. Patti has been married to her Pastor husband Keith for 36 years. They have 3 adult children who all to their delight live in Florida.

    You Cannot Take My Joy

    Monday, January 10, 2022

    As each new year is about to begin, I start to ponder a word that I will focus on for that year.

    For 2022 I have chosen JOY. Below is my personal journey of why I am picking this word. Perhaps it could be yours as well.

     “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11

    After a long bout of being bullied, put down, betrayed, and harassed by a woman at church I was ready to give up and just ask her what she wanted from me. I was ready to surrender and just give in and give up. Give up trying to please, trying to appease, trying to dodge bullets, trying to figure out what it was she was after from me. But right before I did that, I confided in a trusted and wise friend what I was thinking. After listening to my frustration and my plan to give in she boldly proclaimed that I did not have to ask her what she wanted. My friend knew. She had been observing this woman’s actions for some time in regards to how she treated me. Sitting on the edge of my seat, I said “WHAT DOES SHE WANT?” Her answer surprised me. She said “She wants to take away your JOY, but she can’t because it’s rooted in Christ.” That did not make sense to me as this woman proclaimed to be a Christian so she should have the same JOY.

    Why did she want to take mine away from me? Jealousy? Pride? Anger? I did not know. But my friend was right. This woman had been doing everything possible to make me lose my JOY. I realized that I was not giving her what she was after. When attacked I did not retaliate.  When sabotaged I just kept going. When gossiped about, I turned a deaf ear. She was not shaking my foundation in Christ and she was not taking my JOY.

    Once I understood this, I prayed for her in a new way. With compassion and even pity that she was so intent on taking my JOY away that she did not know she could live in her own JOY rooted in Christ. Eventually she was no longer an issue in my life as she moved on to another place of worship.

    But I have been refreshed and in awe of the JOY I do have that is firmly rooted in Christ and cannot be taken from me.

    So, for this year of 2022, I will continue in my JOY, focus on the richness of this treasure and do my best to show it, share it and celebrate it! I will study JOY in the scriptures, I will bear JOY as a fruit of the spirit, I will rest in the knowledge that my JOY is firmly rooted in Christ and no one can take it from me.

    I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11



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