volume 1 issue 6
“We have to embrace obstacles to reach the next stage of joy.” — Goldie Hawn
The Joy Experiment
the joy of beauty - a visual experience
the joy of belonging
Joy is elusive. It is particularly hard to discover when the sea of troubles is tossing us about. It often can be fleeting, flying in and out like a butterfly looking for a place to land. When we find that place of joy, however, we learn to be content with the "whatever" life brings and to discover beauty in the simple and awe-inspiring things around us.
The only way to sustain a joy-filled life is to find true joy, which is inner joy. Inner joy gives you the ability to rise above it all no matter what. This joy comes from one source: Our Heavenly Father. You cannot buy it, create it, or manufacture it. It comes from Him alone.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
Where is your joy level today? Next month we are dedicating the entire issue of She's Crowned to The Joy Experiment. It's all about finding elusive joy and living life fully alive in the gift of joy. We invite you to join us for The Joy Experiment.
founder, sisters of the crown
straight talk with sissy reese
seasons of rejoicing
seasons of rejoicing by zangi miti
Three months before the pandemic forced the world in a lockdown, I traveled with my only child, my 14-year-old daughter, to Zambia, my home country. For two years before this moment, the Lord had been preparing us for this season. We were to be separated for a time while she attended the same Christian boarding school I had graduated from precisely 20 years earlier. In January 2020, I returned to Kansas City, to an empty home, with no idea that I was entering my own season of separation and preparation.
It’s interesting how time seems to slither at a snail's pace when you're facing a challenge or waiting for a breakthrough. It's like sowing seeds and watching the brown soil every day, sometimes several times a day, looking for a sign of green life breaking through towards daylight. As we watch and wait, we forget that there is death beneath the soil and new life coming forth. The pattern is no different in our lives. Yet, we can find comfort, peace, and joy in God’s promise that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Growth and change can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Often, it means the loss or the shedding of the old and comfortable, making room for the new and unfamiliar. For my daughter, this meant stepping out from under my shadow and taking ownership of her own faith and ability to hear from the Lord. I had to surrender and trust that the Lord always has a plan and purpose beyond my understanding. I also learned that he never abandons us. He sits with us in our pain and discomfort while inviting us to lift our eyes and change our perspective. It's an invitation to know Him and be known by Him, as He draws us into deeper intimacy with Him. When things in our lives die, the One who died and rose again is there to walk us into a resurrected life, renewed thinking, and more profound knowledge of the cost and inheritance that comes with the blood-bought crowns we now carry.
Joy is our inheritance—a fruit of the Spirit accompanying peace and gratitude. It’s a state of mind and an orientation of the heart, a settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope that provides a source of happiness (Theopedia). It’s the joy of the Lord that gives us strength (Nehemiah 8:10) through grief, trouble, and faith-numbing disappointment. In the presence of the Lord, we find the “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11) and truths that remind us of the “joy of [His] salvation” (Psalm 51:12). In the day of trouble, in the darkness of despair, He hides us in His shelter and conceals us under the cover of His tent until the assigned time when He sets us high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5). He hides us in the secret place of His presence, where joy abounds, away from the plots of man (Psalm 21:30). Note, the “plots of man” are not always overtly evil. The plots of man could also be someone else's agenda, vision, or plans for your life or ministry, which do not align with the Lord’s plans for you. He hides us from these traps that often come disguised as half-answered prayers, invitations, and opportunities.
“Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.”
seasons of rejoicing (continued)
Joy is not a prize or reward we earn. It is our inheritance. C.S. Lewis said, “If you want to get warm, you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet, you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone.” So, through our seasons of separation, grief, growth, and change, we must remember that the joy of the Lord is readily available to, and for, us. In the waiting, the wondering and wandering, and in the weeping, He is inviting us into His rest where we can experience Him “rejoicing over us with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17) and receive the overflow of His delight in us—joy.
After 16 months of separation, of wondering and wandering, weeping and hiding in the presence of the Lord, my daughter returned home. There are no words to express the joy that filled my heart as I took in the young woman that returned. The Father’s handiwork was evident. And as if that were not enough, the Lord pulled my daughter into the embrace of the Sisterhood that he blessed me with during this challenging season. On April 16, 2021, surrounded by the love and safety of the Sisters of the Crown, I crowned my only child, my 15-year-old daughter. If there was ever a moment that could describe the fullness of joy, that moment would be at the top of my list. I believe that with every journey the Lord puts us on, there are provisions of love, joy and peace for each stretch.
I pray that you discover His joy in your current season.
straight talk with sissy reese
In July 2020, I became debt free, a huge accomplishment for me. I take no credit really. If it weren't for the Lord, I would have never achieved it. As I followed the biblical principle of tithing everything changed. As a new believer, I very much wanted to follow all of the ways of the Lord. I heard teachings on tithing and had a desire; I just wasn’t quite there due to debt. I started giving what I could and increased when I could. I downsized my apartment, cut out extra bills and still was unable to tithe 10%. During a fast in January 2018, I felt the Lord wanted me to trust Him and go all in regardless of what I thought I could do. So, I did. To my surprise, I was given a raise at work two months later that covered the increase I had made to my giving and then some. Before I knew it, my debt was paid in full.
Recently, I had an issue with my car not having any oil in it. I started to panic because I had decided that I would drive my car until I could no longer drive it. I had money in my savings for the first time and I wanted to continue to build that. It was not in my plan to purchase a new vehicle. I took my car to be serviced and had mentioned the oil issue, however, they found no evidence of anything being wrong with it. Their advice was to keep an eye on it. I was pretty bummed because I had planned on a trip to NC and was going to drive and now that was out. I decided to get some counsel from a friend on what to do about the car situation. I could afford a new car, I just did not want to have debt again (which there is nothing wrong with). I also had an awareness of money and did not want to have an unhealthy attachment to it.
I had a great conversation with my friend. We had discussed how this decision I was to make was essential to everything else…how I move forward. In that moment, I did not understand the significance of what was meant by that statement. A few days later, I was with friends and shared what was going on with my car. One of my friends told me that a car is a vehicle, a way to get around…the Lord wants to give me a new way to get around. The old doesn’t work anymore. A car helps you get from one place to another (destination); it’s how you get from one point to another…the “how” is new. A “new way” to move through life. I felt there was something deeper that I was not “getting” so I looked up the word vehicle. One definition that stood out to me is a means of accomplishing a purpose. I realized that my car represented my ability, what I could accomplish. It was a hindrance to being able to receive what the Lord has for me. There was no real faith required to keep it. The new vehicle is about trusting in and believing for God’s best. It is about not putting limitations on God or myself…it is about expecting the promises of God to be fulfilled. It is about breaking off of the poverty mindset. A much-needed step of faith for what is to come. It is an exercise in the “small” to believe for the big. To move past the smallness of my past and for my thinking to be expansive, my understanding of the Kingdom to be limitless. This is a big step in my decision-making, to shift and realign my thinking so that my capacity to receive is enlarged. This is what my friend meant when she said this decision to buy a new car was essential to everything else. I am in awe of how the Lord used these two friends to show me the depth of His heart for me. His love for me wrecks me on so many levels.
My new vehicle represents a new season with the Lord. Waiting andwatching with hope- filled expectations for what is to come.
the joy of belonging by terri sullivant
Last year I had an especially joyful experience. I was in Ohio with four generations of my family gathered together. It indeed is a rare occurrence for us all with our busy lives. Being with "your people," those you belong to, is super important to create an identification with "Whose" you are. Understanding "Whose you are" is the beginning of understanding "who you are."
If you have a family of origin that isn’t who you really are, you need to form another group identity with a group of people who are like you – that’s where the family of believers in Christ comes in. You can be who God intended you to be regardless of the family you came from.
But it really helps to start out with a family with strong character and love in the family culture. There has been so much joy in it for me as I see the love that’s being communicated down through the generations. It gives me a great confidence that our families will continue to thrive. All the grandchildren were enjoying being part of something bigger than themselves, enabling them to expand and grow. As the family bonds are strengthened, our joy quotient goes up several notches!
Ephesians 3:14-19 is for you and yours, that you might know who you are by knowing Whose you are. You are deeply loved. And there’s never an end to knowing more of that love!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV.
With love and prayers,
Terri Sullivant is an advisor for Sisters of the Crown. You can find more information about Terri on her website, www.terrisullivant.com.
Upper Room with Anoushka RIley
Yahweh, you alone are my inheritance.
You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion.
You hold my destiny and its timing in your hands.
Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places.
I’m overwhelmed by the privileges
that come with following you!
The way you counsel me makes me praise you more,
for your whispers in the night give me wisdom,
showing me what to do next.
Because I set you, Yahweh, always close to me,
my confidence will never be weakened,
for I experience your wraparound presence every moment.
My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory!
Even my body will rest confident and secure.
For you will not abandon me to the realm of death,
nor will you allow your Faithful One to experience corruption.
Because of you, I know the path of life,
as I taste the fullness of joy in your presence.
At your right side I experience divine pleasures forevermore!
Psalm 16:5-11 TPT
I pray for your joy to overflow and abundantly spring forth from your innermost being. Joy, joy, overflowing joy. May the breakers anointing pour the oil of joy over your heart, spirit, soul and mind. May you be refreshed by the aroma of the fragrance of Joy for His Holy Chamber. Joy is yours my precious sisters and fellow daughters of the King.
In Jesus' Name, I pray and declare. Amen.
Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!
Romans 15:13 (TPT)
the joy of beauty - a visual experience by victoria sandage
“Joy in not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God.” — Robert Schuller
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