We found my sister’s journals after her death, tucked in a bookshelf corner in the office she spent time dreaming in. Endlessly innovative, she spent hours haunting HomeGoods and perusing décor magazines, the journals yet another outlet for her creativity.

When she got breast cancer at age 23, we were stunned but undaunted. She was a young, glowing mother–invincible. But as it re-emerged time and again to wrack her fatigued body, stealing her hair and vitality and lengthening her hospital visits, it was harder to hope.

When she died at 28, a part of me did, too. But buried treasure in the form of her journal, written during the desperate days of her cancer journey, gave me reason to hope again:

“So, how am I emotionally? Well, I choose to have peace. I choose to have joy. And you know what? You can have what you choose. My life is filled with joy, peace, love and usually, patience. He is faithful. My God is faithful.”

In the midst of her pain and confusion over God’s purposes, she chose joy. What circumstances do you need to claim joy in?

Kristin Demery

Author Kristin Demery

Kristin Demery is married to her best friend, Tim, and a mom to three girls. As a grammar geek and Jane Austen addict, her background in journalism has led to everything from managing a social network site for moms to working as an editorial assistant for an academic journal. Now a freelance writer and editor, she writes about mistakes, motherhood, and the power of grace at theruthexperience.com.

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  • Elizabeth says:

    Kristin,
    Today my husband and I went to Mayo for his annual checkup with his hematologist. Despite feeling well, the PET scan showed otherwise. This is number 5. Five times I have heard from his doctor, “I am not happy today” and each time I scream in my head, “What are you doing, God!!??”
    I so desperately want to be like Katrina. I was there. I rubbed her back to relieve the pain. We brought meals. Prayed. I want to know that joy, that peace. All I can see is a mess and it doesn’t make sense.
    But…God. He reaches out in my most desperate hour, through your post, to remind me of a friend whose smile was full of Jesus. He reminds me that the mess I see is the process of Him creating; creating a stronger marriage, creating faith in my children, creating dependence upon Him, creating the life in us that He desires. Nehemiah 8:10
    Blessings…

    • Oh, Elizabeth, my heart aches for you. I’m so glad my post could encourage you, if even a little. Thank you for being a friend to Katrina; we will never forget the many kindnesses people bestowed on us during those hard years. I’ll be praying for you and your family.

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