help us...

Holy Spirit fill our hearts

With the peace only You impart

Ev’ry day we grow older

Help us be wise and bolder

Speaking the Gospel we’re to share

With a world in such despair

Help us not to fear or judge

Those hearts that seem not to budge

Hearts hurt by lies they’ve been told

Lies as deep as time is old


guide us...

We can’t do this life alone

When we’re young or even grown

Help us support each other

Walk in love with one another

Help us to live our lives for You

In ev’rything we say and do

Guide us to sow seeds of faith

So we ALL–in Your glory bathed

May one day stand before Your throne

And hear You call us ALL Your own

about the writer

Joan Shackelford is a wife, mother and grandmother who writes to us from California. When asked what her was joy is this was her reply:

"I used to worry and be anxious about a lot of things when I was younger. I have learned that choosing joy is sooo much better. When our son got married the pastor's message was about the "3 G's" being the key to a successful marriage: God, Grace, and Gratitude. I LOVED his message because it's true for joy in daily life too. So I guess my greatest joy comes from times when I live purposefully with gratitude for the grace (undeserved love) God has shown me all my life; when I do that even in a small way the joy He gives me far surpasses any "good" I do. 

Trying to live that way takes a lot of practice because I can be very lazy and somewhat selfish; but it also helps me find joy faster when times are hard-rather than focusing on the negative. I still have a lot of growing to do in that department, but it has helped me recognize the good only God can bring through even the darkest times. People often equate joy with happiness, but they're not the same to me. Joy is more like a peaceful positive feeling that can coexist even in hardship and grief. Happiness is more of a fleeting mountaintop feeling.  

I find everyday joy in God's promises set to music, my family and friends, dancing, and appreciating the little things in life like getting to rock a baby to sleep, having a pet curl up in my lap, and flowers in our yard."

Photography by Cate Autumn Photography. Headshot provided by Joan Shackelford

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