Return to Joy | Bev DeSalvo

Can You Return to Joy when God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers?

Join me in welcoming Bev DeSalvo, author of Return to Joy: Finding Healing in the Arms of Your Savior, to the blog today. This joy-sister knows suffering and she also knows the healing hand of our Savior. Be encouraged along with me as she reminds us that God is faithful and shares hope for returning to joy even in the midst of suffering.

Can You Return to Joy when God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers?

Guest post by Bev DeSalvo

My world was rocked four years ago when my husband, Gary, was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma, a rare eye cancer that has no known cure and typically metastasizes to the liver. After consulting several well-known specialists, he chose to have his right eye removed and went through a clinical trial at a reputable cancer center. We breathed a sigh of relief with each clear liver scan in the following years and our “scanziety” was finally diminished. Friends and family all over the world had been fervently praying for us, so clearly God was answering our prayers for a miraculous healing…or so we thought. My breath was taken away when Gary’s oncologist gave us the news that his latest scan revealed a suspicious spot on his liver.

After an MRI and biopsy, our greatest fear was confirmed. Gary’s cancer had traveled through his blood and metastasized to his liver. Knowing that statistically this meant that he only had a 10% chance of survival in the following year, we wept in each other’s arms. My heart was broken as I wondered how I would be able to survive without the love of my life (who is a bigger than life man). Gary was deeply troubled because he longs to care for his family, minister to his flock and be with us in the good and bad times to come. We’d spent our lives sharing the joy of the Lord with countless people all over the world. But with this news, we wondered if we would ever be able to experience that joy again.

In my book, Return to Joy, I state that “The strongest force in the first two years of a child’s life is the desire to experience joy in loving relationships. Finding comfort from a nurturing caregiver in the midst of pain brings restoration to a child’s emotional balance, and the child is able to get down and play as if nothing painful ever happened. Psychologists call this returning to joy.”

After several years of counseling and working through painful memories from my childhood, I had found healing from traumatic physical, emotional and sexual abuse. During that journey, there were times when my pain was so excruciating that I felt like I would die. But as I worked through the baggage from my past, my hardened heart slowly softened as God replaced the lies from the evil one with His truth. And as I drew near to His heart in worship I began to nestle into His embrace and find comfort that I’d never known before…and like a small child who finds comfort from her loving caregiver, I was able to return to joy.

Free printable, pageofjoy.com

Enjoy this week’s free Bible verse printable! To save/print simple click on the image above and a .PDF file will begin to download. If you do not see the file please check your internet connection as well as your downloads folder. Copyright 2017 Page of Joy.

But that was healing from past hurts, what about my present situation? Had God’s character changed overnight? Was He still the loving Father that I’d finally learned to trust?

After the initial shock of Gary’s metastasis, I considered my fear and asked myself a hard question:

What attribute of God am I doubting?

Was I doubting that God was sovereign and that this incident happened without His knowledge? Or was I fearful because I didn’t think He was big enough to carry us through whatever the future might hold?

In desperation, I fell on my face before the Holy One and thought about how He had been faithful to me in the past. I remembered that He was with me and would never abandon me and slowly my fears were relieved. And miraculously, I found comfort in my heavenly Father’s embrace and was able to return to joy… even though He didn’t answer my prayer for my husband’s healing.

“But may all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness in You. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, ‘The Lord is great!’ (Psalm 40:16)

Like the Psalmist, when we seek the Holy One in worship our hearts are strengthened as we use our spiritual eyes to see the Lord in all His power and holiness. And when we’re in this place of refuge our joy doesn’t depend on whether God answers our prayers the way we want Him to.

In God’s glorious presence our joy is based on who our heavenly Father is.

So when, not if, your prayers aren’t answered the way you desire, will you choose to doubt God’s attributes and become fearful and downhearted…or will you go into His presence and worship Him? You will find divine comfort in His embrace and be able to return to joy, no matter your circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

Bev DeSalvo
Author | Speaker
Helping Women Return to Joy
Bev DeSalvo describes herself as a worshiping woman who has been on an amazing spiritual journey. Raised in an abusive home that created a deep fear of intimacy, God has used her pain as a magnet to draw her to His heart. Now she takes this message of hope to hurting women all over the world and has a book, Return to Joy, that was released in July, 2016 by NavPress. Find out more at http://bevdesalvo.com/. 

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through one of these links there is no additional cost to you but your support helps to maintain this blog. I only promote products which I believe will benefit you, the reader, however it is your responsibility to perform due diligence before making any purchases. Enjoy!

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Clothed in Strength & Dignity

Free Printable Bible Verse Card

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:25-26, ESV)

Clothed in Strength and Dignity, free printable from pageofjoy.com

 

This verse is more than just a popular quote on social media or the latest Christian t-shirt slogan… May it truly be our prayer today, as women of God!

The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition translates this beautifully:

“Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!

She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].” (Proverbs 31:25-26, AMPC)

Let us eagerly dive into the Word of God, that we might abound in strength and dignity standing securely on the knowledge of God. Let’s be filled with His wisdom so that when we open our mouths it’s kindness, wisdom, and godly counsel that spill out. (#preachingtomyself)

I’ve made a new, free, printable for you today! To download your “Strength & Dignity” verse card simply click on the link below. Be encouraged and feel free to share this beautiful Scripture with friends!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLE VERSE CARD.

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

What is the Gospel?

The Good news of Jesus Christ

Would you enjoy some free printable GOSPEL themed Bible verse cards? Oh, friend, this latest set of free cards that I’ve made for you might be my favorite yet. Click here to get your free set.

Gospel Card Printables from pageofjoy.com

Are you interested in learning more about Jesus and the Bible? Before we dive into this great reading list be sure to begin reading in the BEST resource available, the Bible! Click here to read the Gospel of John entirely for free (a great place to begin learning about the life of Jesus).

Gospel Resources, pageofjoy.com

 

  1. Follow Me (David Platt)
  2. Begin (Ken Ham & Bodie Hodge)
  3. Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Life-Changing Truth For A Skeptical World (Josh McDowell, Sean McDowell)
  4. The Explicit Gospel (Matt Chandler, Jared C. Wilson)
  5. Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)
  6. What Is The Gospel? (Greg Gilbert)
  7. Renewed Joy, 5 Simple Steps To Lasting And Powerful Joy In The Lord (Stephanie Page)

Book number seven, Renewed Joy, is my personal testimony of the power of God to heal and restore a life. If you would like to get to know me better, then I would love for you to pick up a copy.

“Do you ever feel lonely, discouraged or overwhelmed? Have you lost your joy? “Renewed Joy: 5 Simple Steps to Lasting and Powerful Joy in the Lord” is a Christian book that inspires women to discover fresh and lasting joy in the Lord through His Word. If you are walking through life just faking fine, then reading this book will help you unlock true joy!

Consider Renewed Joy your guidebook to the source of powerful joy. Stephanie Page invites you into her story and leads you through the path to joy that is found in the Bible. You do not have to live discouraged or broken. Discover the way to joy in the Lord today!”

 

Salvation Stories from pageofjoy.com

Please comment below and share with us any prayer requests, questions and stories you might have! I love to hear from you and look forward to connecting more.

 

Special thanks to 2 Core Films for donating their time and talent to film and edit this video. Thanks, also, to Narrow Road Productions for donating their studio.

2 Core Films & Narrow Road Productions

 

 

* This post may contain affiliate links, which cost you nothing but help to support this blog.

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one-half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

 

 

Salvation Stories

Christian Women Share How They Came To Know Jesus

Salvation Stories from pageofjoy.com

Enjoy reading these stories from MarJean, Joanna, Jessie and myself about how we came to know Jesus. When you’re through, please comment below and share your salvation story- if you have one! Have any prayer requests or questions? We look forward to connecting with you in the comments section.

MarJean's Salvation Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARJEAN- Christmas Day 1955. All my aunts and uncles gathered in my grandparents’s home to celebrate. I overheard them talk about Jesus in our hearts. I already loved God with child faith, but that day my cousin and I went into Gramma’s bedroom, knelt by her bed, and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. 

At age nine, I stole towels from a public paddling pool with my friend to build a fort. The Holy Spirit greatly convicted me. I returned the towels, fervently asked God’s forgiveness, and sang, Into My Heart over and over. 

By age thirteen I decided I didn’t want to be a “goodie-goodie” Christian. I wanted the acceptance of my classmates more than I wanted Jesus. Again, the Holy Spirit deeply convicted me and one night in church, I knew Jesus wanted ALL of me. I stood in response to the invitation and surrendered my life to Christ in the presence of many classmates. 

The decision to surrender my whole heart to Jesus drastically changed my attitude and the direction of my life. I became more concerned that my friends came to Christ than about their acceptance of me. I stopped fighting with my brother and mouthing off to my parents. My mom noted the change, which surprised me. God did something within me that others observed. A desire to know God’s Word drew me to read it daily and I became more aware of His abiding presence. In college I discovered the power of prayer journaling, which began an almost daily recorded conversation back and forth with God—my thoughts, feelings, and prayers melded together with His words of comfort and direction from the Scriptures.

In sixty-plus years with Christ, I’m engaged in a life-long battle against the world, my fleshly desires, and the devil himself. Jesus said, “…In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV). Every day I learn to trust Him, depend on Him, and love Him more. Every day I live in expectant hope of His soon return and deliverance from this battle. Until then I pray to walk in the light, abide in the Vine, and be strengthened to continue to serve Him. Every day.

In times of joy, I praise God because I don’t take joy for granted in this broken world. I remember, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

I sin in thought, word, and deed. Still. When I sin, I rightfully feel guilt and shame. I thank God for His Son who washes me clean again and reminds me, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. . . if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 Jn 3:20-21 NIV). 

When I feel sorrow, I crawl into Jesus lap and nestle into His Everlasting Arms. He is the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-3-4 NIV. Experience teaches me not to medicate, fight, deny, or run from sorrow, but to allow pain to draw me closer to other people and to God who uses it to conform me to the image of Jesus.

Christ offers hope in the darkest times because “God said, ‘I will never leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid’” (Hebrews 13:5-6). Though age attacks my strength God still purposes to reveal His love and grace through me as long as I live.

 

Joanna's Salvation Story

JOANNA- When I was five or six, my mom put together a “Backyard Bible Club” program at our house. On the last day of the club, there was an invitation to receive Christ. Looking around at all the other little hands up, I shot my hand up as well. We were gathered together and led in prayer by a leader. As a child, that was enough. It was enough to believe what my parents said was true, as truth. So life went on, but then the doubt began to grow it’s way into my little 9 year old heart as night after night I was plagued by nightmares portraying that I would be separated from my family in death. Vivid images of the devil, being trapped and unable to get out, had me waking up in the middle of the night and running to my mother. I remember asking her “Mom am I saved?” and her telling me “I can’t tell you that Joanna. You have to come to that yourself.” I didn’t like that answer – I wanted the assurance from my mom. I wanted the verbal confirmation from someone I trusted that I was saved. God was suppose to love me, so why did I have this fear?

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Not long after that stage of life did I begin to struggle with friendships and my own self image. It’s amazing how early it starts. School began to be a challenge and soon enough the perception I had of myself was, I am unloved, unwanted, worthless and stupid. I grew bitter and angry, lashing out in anger to my family and to my peers. I struggled to trust in friendships and felt burnt every time I seemed to trust in another friendship.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

But then, when I was thirteen or fourteen I was shown grace and love simultaneously by someone. She always gave glory to God and it clicked – if she, in her love and grace gave glory to Christ then that meant…He loved ME regardless of what I looked like, how much I weighed and what I did. He valued me, no matter how smart I was or what I could accomplish. I was worth His death on the cross.  It took one persons example and actions (as well as many prayers from my parents) in the name of Christ for it to click. If I accepted Him and repented, I was His child! If I was His child, not only was I a princess, but I was a priceless cherished daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

“Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”  John 1:12

Understanding truly what that prayer had meant as a child, I rededicated my life to Him and joy replaced my anger and bitterness. Light replaced the darkness and my life changed. Gone were the nightmares and the self hating perception began to break down.

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost begin, praise His holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Psalm 103:1-4

I will never forget the day my mom noticed the change – because it revealed to me just how much God had worked in my life in such a miraculous way. In the kitchen one day, I began laughing at something my mother was doing. Shocked, she looked at me and said “Joanna, what happened? Your laughing.” We went on to talk about the change I felt and whether I had received the Holy Spirit the change was so distinct.

He was, is, and will always be the root of my joy.

My testimony doesn’t end here, God has continued to do a work in me – refining and sanctifying me. There have been times where I’ve struggled – I’ve sinned – but at every stumble, or mistake, He has been right there to pick me back up. He has always drawn me back from sorrow, from points of depression and has always given me a joy that can only come from him.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Knowing where I’ve been, is what helps me hold strong to Him and His truth today. Never wanting to go back, never wanting that joy to slacken. My joy in Christ gives me energy and passion that can only point back to Him and what He has done for me. He gave me my purpose, which is to bring His love and truth to all people – of every nation, tribe and tongue. I’m here to glorify Him and He allows me to do so through the avenue of working overseas as a missionary.

Jessie- Salvation Stories

 JESSIE- Even though I was only seven years old, I can still remember feeling burning heartbreak over the realization of my sin. That was coupled with hope that the only cure, was a relationship with an all knowing Father who loved me unconditionally.  My mother was finally receiving a short but well earned rest after putting four children to bed and was disturbed but ultimately joyous at my outburst.  “Mom I want to ask Jesus into my heart!!”

My relationship with God was immediately one of a deep love and trust, He showed me grace and I felt like a daughter to a very kind and loving “Papa figure”.  In addition to this new kinship, I developed a deep burden for everyone I knew to know this Jesus! I shouted to all who would listen (and sometimes not) about the freedom of living and walking with Him daily.  Compassion and kindness, though not naturally difficult for me to show, were now my entrance into deep relationships with others. I found through childhood and into my teen years I hoping for conversation that would allow me to share the message of salvation and the concept of eternal belonging to others. Looking back, I see how God blessed that young, unfettered desire to reach several for His kingdom.

Like all who walk this earth, sorrows, joy and deep pain have affected my walk with the Lord. In moments I run. Run so far I am unable to find my way back. In other moments, I refuse to yield to His voice that always is.  I know there is always a whisper if i choose to listen.

I think back to a night of loss, it was just Him and I.  Snow under my feet and the starry sky above and we talked, me with a scream and Him with an answer in the way mighty God answers His child back.  With strength and an all-encompassing feeling of knowing me and knowing my heart. In Hebrews it says “ This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” This verse has offered me comfort many times and grounded and assured my faith.

He has told me about parts of my heart I don’t recognize. He has dried my tears. At times He has been patient showing me the way with clarity and peace.  At other times, He has allowed me to choose the difficult path when I think the path to healing is unseen or unwarranted. He watches me crumble underneath the burdens I choose to pick up in my own strength. In times of abandonment, my mother’s death, the loss of a child, sickness, and the confusion of unhealthy relationships I wish my ever present thought was God always faithful and to look to Him.

However, when I relinquish my pride, return to Him and seek His face, He is there, available, merciful and Holy.  In Malachai it says ‘there is healing in His wings…’

In this truth I walk forward, some days in faith and many others in doubt, but believing what Paul tells us in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am CONVINCED that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Stephanie's Salvation Story

STEPHANIE-  Today I’m sharing the first chapter of my book, Renewed Joy, with you as a gift! You’ll read my salvation story and more. Simply click here to download Chapter 1 of Renewed Joy. I pray it encourages you. If you’d like to read the whole story then the book can be found in our online shop or on Amazon!

 

Click here to watch a video about the Gospel!

Urgent Prayer Request

Missing Plane in Alaska, 3 Souls Onboard

*Miraculous Update! The crash site was located just before dark on 1-30-17 and all three passengers have been rescued ALIVE and well! God answered our prayer with a YES and we are singing praise to the One who hears our cries!! Thank you God!*

With tears I write asking you to pray.  As you may know, a portion of each purchase from our shop goes to support SOAR International Ministries. One of SOAR’s board members, along with his son-in-law and granddaughter, went missing in a small aircraft last night. As the search nears the 24 hour mark, I am asking you to please lift them up in prayer. Harsh Alaskan conditions make this search more urgent yet.

May God be glorified no matter what the future holds. No matter what, in Christ our anchor of hope holds and we trust Him. He is sovereign regardless of the outcome.

 Leave a comment below praying for those missing and for the family who is waiting, begging God, for the return of their loved ones. Will you lift these brothers and sisters up in prayer and help carry them through this trial?

Psalm 121:1-2, ESV

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