Written by Sally Moore
“Sally, It’s all about the Joy.”
I was hunched over, pulling tumbleweeds which had sprung up, uninvited, in my Tucson, Arizona front yard. Hearing an unexpected voice, I quickly straightening up, startled. I had not heard anyone approaching. Twisting around, my heart in my throat- I found no one was there.
Giving my head a little shake, I adjusted my hat, returning to my solitary work. Perhaps I had been too long in the sun.
It doesn’t take much to dislodge a tumbleweed. With a satisfying yank, the next one came free with a chaotic sprinkle of soil breaking free with the roots.
There was trouble in my home. The financial crash in the fall of 2008 affected many people in the U.S., and we were not exempt. The family budget was stretched too thin, in too many areas. The final straw came when essential overtime pay evaporated at my husband’s job. I sensed other factors were at play, but at the time I attributed all to “temporary” financial stresses. I wasn’t afraid, per se, but I had retreated to my yard work to think through this problem. It looked like we were going to lose our home to foreclosure if something didn’t change quickly. Ok, I’ll admit it. I was worried.
“Sally.” The voice was back. Repeating the identical phrase, “It is all about THE JOY.” This time, the tone of the conversational, male voice was more serious. Spinning around, I looked behind me and scanned the street. Nothing.
Using my name each time, this disembodied voice repeated the message a third time. He had my full attention. Though he didn’t introduce himself. I knew that I knew, this voice was The Lord-Jesus- The Holy Spirit.
Almost immediately, within my spirit was “downloaded” an entire Biblical message complete with scripture references. The inspired lesson ended with a warning that worry proved one didn’t think God was able. I immediately went inside and transcribed the entire exchange which circled back to the fact that Jesus is our Joy. Circumstances come and go. Joy, the Holy Spirit instructed, is eternal and constant.
Raised in an evangelical, mainstream denomination and Christian home, I had taught classes and led folks to Jesus. Absolutely nothing in my experience-other than in Bible stories-prepared me for an audible voice from The Lord. Those things happened to people like Paul, Moses or Daniel. But not to me!
This was my pivot point. I kept my ears tuned to My Shepherd and followed where that joyful voice led, aware on some level I was being fortified for unseen challenges. Soon after, we did lose the house. Thankfully, we had a tiny vacation home in a small town in Colorado-so we retreated there to regroup and get that home on the market. It was meant to be a temporary stop. My pilot husband, would now have an inconvenient and long commute to get to his work.
As we sorted through the uncharted waters of financial devastation-the Lord dropped me into a church with a Spirit filled pastor (where one probably should not have been) I went to school on this old school,New Testament concept of Christianity. Along the way He put in my path, knowledgeable friends and mentors. I took copious notes, read anything I could find and pressed in. Soon, I accepted the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Suddenly everything came to life as this missing piece of my Christianity puzzle fell into place. Like that moment in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy steps from black and white Kansas into full, technicolor Munchkinland- everything I knew about Christ now dropped into a new, fabulous and powerful paradigm: Activated by the Joy!
During this same window, my husband of 34 years went to work one day and never returned, leaving me for a youthful stewardess. (This went a long way towards explaining where our money had gone… but I digress.) I won’t say it wasn’t wretched, but, I knew regardless of personal shipwreck- all would be fine. After all, ahead of the storm- He had called my name and assured me it was ALL about the Joy.
Though not my wish, divorce eventually followed. Since then, forgiveness flowed and my life and heart are restored- a new husband provided. Out of the ashes, I am pursuing a joyful, God-given writing ministry right where He dropped me- ironically, back in the Tucson area- where it all started!
I can testify that no matter what the world claims: We are not feathers in a worldly wind. We are not tumbleweeds waiting for the next ugly gust of surprise. Standing in that dry desert place, My Friend Jesus called me by my name and prepared me for the next phase of our journey together
“Sally, It’s all about the Joy!”