Experiencing Joy on the Darkest of Days


By: Deborah White Dove

Joy… is not what I felt when a neurosurgeon diagnosed my husband with a severe spinal cord injury. The year was 2003 and we were on a multi-million dollar hazmat project. We were a small team of inexperienced operators and my husband, the supervisor, was the only one with real experience. He could no longer work, so I stepped in to manage the operation by myself, for a whole week.

Prior to that month I had never stepped foot on a hazmat field, let alone a piece of machinery that you have to climb a tall ladder just to sit down at the controls. There were more than a hundred trucks to load each day, and it was a tight schedule. I did it.

I didn't feel joy … I was terrified!

There are only two realities: fear and love. We get to choose which reality we accept as our current reality. One or the other, our choice.

How can I feel JOY when all around me is sheer terror? The threat of death, hanging over my head, like a noose. My greatest life lessons come from Nature…

This is the same sunflower from my own garden as the sunny yellow one pictured at the top of this page. The only difference is that this flower has ripened and is a source of rich nutrients for birds, squirrels, and people throughout the cold months of winter.

Which ones do the birds appreciate the most? The dried up, ripe one, of course! Can there be beauty in death? Can we create beauty out of chaos? Oh yes, and this is JOY's perspective!

I've learned the secret of JOY. It's not dependent on my circumstances but upon my perspective of my circumstances. Long ago I journaled:

"Joy is My way. Release your faith, even through the tears. You cannot imagine the joy that is ours if only you would reach out to receive it. Tell Me your fears, release them to Me. I'll catch them and throw them away.

(At this point, I have a vision of Jesus catching those fears and juggling them around and around in the air, and then skillfully sending them far, far way!)

"You win when these trials don't take you down. I love you, child, more than you can know. It it weren't for those chains of fear holding you down you'd be jumping and flying and dancing with Me.

"Take in more of Me. I'm in the breath you breathe. Breathe deeply; rest in Me. Give me the job of straightening out the crooked. Give me the job of thinking out the solutions. Give me the pain. 

"Bless those who curse you. You can't change them, but I can.

"When you hear evil's voice, don't recognize it as having any authority over you. If you listen to its voice, you'll be scared.  — From my journal, August 2003 – Conversations with Daddy

"Transfer the title," Abba offers me. When I transfer ownership of my life to Abba, that means having an attitude that He can do anything He wants with my little life story. 

Joy is more than good feelings. Joy is the perspective that ALL things work together for GOOD to those who love God.

Joy is knowing that whatever the enemy gets away with today is going to come back to us, doubled. Joy is giving the devil a headache because we're not ignorant of his devices and so we can ignore his taunts.

And so we can experience JOY under the pressures of life… 

Joy unspeakable and full of glory, is your inheritance. Have you transferred ownership of your life to God? Have you given Him the title? I'm not talking about saying a sinner's prayer. I'm talking about abandoning everything, totally submitting yourself to God. It's mainly about releasing control of your life – and that's the hardest thing to do, I believe.

"Full submission to the will and purpose of your Creator removes the footholds of the devil," Papa said to me.

It's a free fall into the heart of God. Each of us, in our life story, will encounter life situations that give us the choice to leap off the cliff, to choose going over the waterfall. Whenever you have such a choice, always choose the white water rapids rather than the peaceful pool! Adversity makes way for greater joy.

Joy is the signature mark of God's presence!

Joy is not the same as happiness in your circumstances; it's having the perspective that LOVE NEVER FAILS and the expectation of a doubled return on anything evil attempts to steal or kill.

Writing Prompt: What story can you write today, in which you can tap into JOY by changing your perspective, looking beyond the facts, and seeing from a new dimension of life?


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With all my love,


Hi, I'm Deborah White Dove. Yes, it's my pen name, and it was given to me by a blind man who shyly whispered it to me in a Divine encounter. Yes, it's my real picture… just an ordinary selfie in my backyard. 

I live with my family in the mountains, surrounded by ancient forests, pure streams, and mighty rivers. I work at a local grocery store to earn my living. My earthly needs are simple as I try to let my inner child lead me, instead of me trying to be what the world says I should be and do.

My kingdom of God career is a Heart Scribe. I love to write from God's heart and have been recording His living Word for the past three decades. It's brought me so much beauty, joy, peace, and happiness! 

I love to inspire trauma survivors to write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into the future. We dip our pens in blood and write the pain away… as God has shown me how to do, in the company of supportive friends and family. We are writing ourselves into a better world and it's the most exciting place to be!

Copyright © 2017 Heart Scribes, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact me. 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

mary July 27, 2014 at 11:08 am

Hi, Susan God placed your letter right on my kindle today.  I just finished a total cleanse as I was toxic from hair chemicals, from doing hair, too much stress, not drinking enough water, and staying stuck, trying to overthink everything for so long, and almost totally ignoring my digestive health to the point of poisoning myself from a blockage in the upper intestine.  I am weak ,but hopeful, physically strong, but did not eat right, and now have a new idea of how to, but I have isolated in my house for so long, that even though I know I was growing, to my oldest daughter, and others, they either gave up, or they didnt know how to help, I ignored, my digestive health, and could have not found information, but God had me find it.   Please use the Sweetmary 52@ live.com, although, really, either email is fine, marywilhelm.52@gmail.com, is fine too, and it is not just one person, I was victomized by, it was many people that I bought that they needed help, and thought I did not matter, I am aware I do, and am wanting the last part of my life to be the best.  You can correspond to either email, if you can teach, I can learn.  I know God wants the best for us. Mary


White Dove July 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Dear Mary,

There are so many of us who have neglected ourselves in every way possible. I'm glad you are feeling a measure of support and have chosen LIFE – a good life, an abundant life, for yourself! 

I love your perspective, of desiring the BEST life in your second half. I believe God will give you the tools, the resources, and the faith to experience joy, strength, and renewed vitality. I'm so glad you have shared part of your journey! 

Thank you, dear heart!


White Dove July 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Dear Mary,

One other thing… have you looked into Kombucha Tea for your digestive health? I have been drinking it for over a year, and it's the BEST health booster I've experienced – I wrote a little story about it at http://loveyourstory.org/health-benefits-kombucha-tea-ptsd/ – I hope it helps in the restoration of your health!


Joyce Lagana April 8, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I love this — so true!  I love that you used sunflowers to illustrate your story.  Sunflowers cleanse the soil, pulling all toxins out and transforming them into a beautiful flower that produces edible seeds and oil.  Isn't that just what joy does to us?  It pulls out all of the toxic emotions and produces usable fruit.  Amazing God!


White Dove April 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm

I'm glad you caught the parallels, Joyce! Sunflowers are absolutely incredible, aren't they? Their lives show us the heart of God 🙂

Thanks for sharing!


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