The Fight For Joy {Psalm 5}

Joy doesn't always come automatically or naturally. When changes happen and life gets hard, sometimes we have to fight for joy. #Biblestudy #Psalms #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

{Today’s Good Morning Girls reading is in Psalm 5.}

Psalm 5:11-12

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.

For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.”

I remember when I got to high school, suddenly I started struggling to be the cheerful little girl I once was.  I smiled on the outside but on the inside I was sorting through my faith, boys, grades, and finding my path in life.  I remember purchasing the book by Warren Wiersbe titled “Be Joyful: a study in the book of Philippians because I wanted my joy back.  I knew that my joy would only come from the Lord but life circumstances were stifling that joy.

Then I went into college, got married, began working, having babies and writing.

Life did not get easier — it got more complex.

And that fight for joy –got more complex.

I’ve experienced deep sadness that sometimes turned into anxiety and an outbreak of hives.

I’ve had dark days when tears came easy or I felt like a failure and like quitting everything in life.

I have had to fight for joy.

Statistics say the holiday season is the most depressing season of the year for many.  There is a very real spiritual battle raging  – wanting to steal our joy.

There is NO other time throughout the year when we are focusing so much on giving thanks to God and celebrating the birth of Jesus.  God gets a lot of attention this month and God’s enemy does not want us to find joy in celebrating.

He wants us to buckle under the pressure of turkeys, decorations, bows and cookie trays.  He wants us to mourn the hardships and losses of the past year, without looking up to see the Savior who has come to save us from this lost and empty world!


Easier said than done right?

But this is what I’ve learned…

Rejoicing is a command and it’s a fruit of the Spirit.  Though we may not always “feel” joyful we can–

Choose joy.

Fight for joy.

John Piper writes:

It is crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him. 

This is the way Paul thought in Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” ESV

The key in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him.

This baby,  born in a manger who is Immanuel, God with us — holds us, when we have no strength to hold Him.

This season is a gift where we are reminded to pause – not to reflect on our failures and frustrations and losses –-but to rejoice that we have a God that holds us in the midst of our heartaches.

Fight for joy.

**Chime In**

Have you had to fight for joy this year?

How has God held you in the midst of your struggles?

What are you giving thanks for this Thanksgiving?

Walk with the King,


Happy Thanksgiving

from my family to yours!


  1. It’s REALLY hard to have joy when in physical pain. I’ve had many sleepless nights but the Lord always puts a hymn or praise song in my mind that goes through my mind over and over again all night long that helps me to get through the long, dark nights. Keeping my mind focused upon Him is the medicine He blesses me with! Renewing my mind with God’s promises and spending time in His Word always helps remind me of His grace and love. He is good.

  2. I’ve been meditating on what the Bible has to say about joy and I’m not done but so far, what helps me most is to take my thoughts captive to the truth of Christ. Identify the lie and turn my thoughts to God and let Him lift my head. And the Psalms are great for that.

  3. Wow! You have no idea how much I needed this. I struggle daily with anxiety but it’s worse around the holidays. I have been praying for peace and healing. I know God is working..I just need to trust Him. I’m so thankful for you, Courtney!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  4. Well said. I live far from my family and always get sad missing them and the nostalgia of my childhood and grandparents who have passed on. I get caught up in wishing for that big family gathering we see in movies that I don’t have. So I have to constantly WITH INTENTION focus my mind on God’s blessings in my life. Jesus, my husband and my children. I have my health, a warm home and money to buy silly things like stickers and pens for my papercraft hobbies. But it does require effort to get to that place of gratitude. If I leave my mind to wander… it goes to a not so happy place. Thanks for this post and the great reminder that I NEED God more and to rest in His love and promises.

    1. “So I have to constantly WITH INTENTION focus my mind on God’s blessings in my life.” Oh, Mary, that is so well put!
      I have become aware that it is a choice to find joy, to look for God’s goodness in my life … there is negative, and the enemy delights in pointing it out, especially at this time of year, but oh my, the goodness and grace and provision of God in my life is SO MUCH greater!!

    2. Wow your words really ministered to me. I just googled how to find joy while living with a chronically ill spouse whom I dearly love and stress about all the time worrying that he is never going to get better. I am going to save your comments to remind myself to focus on the blessings of the Lord in our lives and work hard to not let my thoughts spiral downward.

  5. I needed this. As we enter inot this season I have disciplined myself to write daily something i am thanksful for because I am struggling. We are in a financial husband is reitred and at 61 yrs old I am still working fulltime and we aren’t making ends meet. My husband is feeling worth less not being a better provider in his words and our 22 yo daughter is pregnant with her boyfriends child. He is a felon and its caused much stress and conflict between her and us and her 4 siblings. We tried to reach out to him and show him a different life ut he continues to lie and has shown us that he is lazy. So there it is… very negative ..oh yes and our second car’s motor blew up and not paid for and now my husband has drive many at all hours of the day. negative …yes… but redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.

  6. Oh Courtney, I have been wondering how you are doing. I have to be honest and say that I’m having a hard time forgiving Angela, and she didn’t even really do anything to me. I see how she is working with Sally Clarkson, and I have to force myself to stop thinking about how she hurt you and that it is really none of my business how Sally is working with her. I’d love to figure out how to just move away from thinking about this. Seeing how you have shared with us lately has been so good. To see that you are doing your best to work through everything.

  7. This is so timely. I feel that I’m in a strong fight right now for my joy, faith, and peace. Honestly I haven’t been fighting well. I’ve had some wonderful encouragements this year and several times recently. It seems like after any victory or encouragement, the enemy swoops in to steal, accuse, and discourage. Yesterday morning, I was reading in Hebrews 11 on faith and then Hebrews 1 recording what is true about Jesus. Panic overwhelmed me. I quickly ate a small bite in case it was low blood sugar. I had been up for an hour and not eaten yet. My mind began to race, my hands trembled, and my body felt out of control. While this was going on, I quickly pushed out breakfast for my young son and also something for me. It was discouraging and left me feeling defeated, frightened, and self focused. I said with the writer of Hebrews that it would be by faith that I would trust God during this regardless of what my body and mind were telling me and that I would cling to Him. I spent some time this evening typing out questions Jesus asked. One was: why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? -Luke 24:38 I came across several others: Why are you afraid? Why did you not believe me? Why are you reasoning in your hearts? These questions helped me to discern that the thoughts that were swirling in my head were not what He wanted me thinking on. Fear has a way of sounding so true. It is convincing. But I want to have the conviction of faith instead.

  8. This post spoke to me. It really nailed it for me, the fight for joy. Life is so hard. I have a great family but the daily struggles of life get me down. I fail to remember that God is there for me and as it says in the Bible, choose life. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my family and health and my freedom to go to church and worship the Lord. I am gonna try to get my Joy back and keep it!

  9. Dear Courtney,

    Happy Thanksgiving for you and your family. Here in The Netherlands (Europe), we do not celebrate Thanksgiving, but tomorrow night I will tell my children about Thanksgiving and we will give extra thanks for all that God has given us.

    Have a wonderful day,


  10. Thanks Courtney for this message. It’s so timely for me. Right now I am struggling to find joy. Everything seems not to be working in my life. But I am still thankful to God that a part of me still yearn for Him. Though it’s hard for me to pray or read my bible, I still believe God is in charge of my life and He will fix whatever is wrong in my life. God bless you Courtney and your your family. Happy thanksgiving.

  11. Oh Courtney. Such a needed post today. Sooooo many of us feel alone in our struggles and it is easy to look at someone’s blog and think their life is perfect. Thank you for sharing your heart!!!!

    I struggled, too. Everything seems so hard right now. But I think the main problem is MYSELF and my self centered attitude. 🙁 I am VERY thankful for His Word as it cuts and cleans out the ugly in my heart.

    Praying JOY for you and your family!!!


  12. I’ve struggled with joy this past year since dealing with a chronic illness. God has “upheld me with [His] righteous right hand” (Isa 41:10) through my struggles. This has been one of my favorite versus through my ordeal. Although I don’t want this particular illness, I wouldn’t trade it for how much I’ve grown spiritually because of it. I am so thankful this year to God for all my spiritual growth, His presence, peace, love, strength, courage and even joy, as well as how He has made clear to me what it’s truly like to live with His power being made perfect in my weakness. Although joy has been a struggle, I know it is mine because I am His!

  13. WOW! God is truly working through you! I have been struggling for a while now to find my joy. It has affected my marriage, my work, my life as a whole. I’ve been searching for an explanation to why I’ve been feeling like this. Reading scripture on being thankful, praying for forgiveness for having such an ungrateful heart lately,wondering why I can’t just FEEL joyful! Hearing you say you’ve been going through the same thing and how you’re handling it gives my heart such a lift! Words can’t even begin to touch on the relief I’m feeling, I’m not alone. I often feel that I can’t express my joylessness and anxiety to others because I’m a Christian. I guess I expect them to think I should be joyful all the time.
    I’m Thankful for you today!

  14. Fighting for joy is not simple. The world fights back daily and Satan seems to up his game of fighting against joy every day. Thank you for this post. It helps with the joy fight for today and hopefully for the days to come. Now if I can just not read the paper or listen to the radio news.

  15. This year has been HARD!!! My mom went into what seemed like a simple surgery…got septic, and three weeks later died. Three months later, my father-in-law, who is more of a father than an in-law, lost his daughter to suicide and he is in a “bad place” right now. We have been struggling to find joy, but focusing in what God has given me, instead of what I’ve lost has given me the strength to press forward. There’s a say that says that God will never give you something you can’t handle. I believe that the only way to handle everything is relying in god’s grace and infinite love!!!
    Your blog has been an enormous blessing in my life this past couple of months (I found out about it by “accident” 2 months ago). May the Lord continue using you the way he has, so that together we can keep walking with the King!!!

  16. I think that peace is an important component to joy. I woke up on November 9th to find my husband had unexpectedly passed away in his sleep. He was fairly young (56) and it was quite a shock to myself and our two children. The only way I have maintained peace and joy is to stay in the palm of God’s faithful hand. I am standing on His promises for our lives and praying without ceasing. As Thanksgiving rolls around tomorrow, I am confident that we can still fight for the joy as a family and be thankful for the years we had together and know that God still has plans to give us hope and a future with joy included. Be blessed

  17. O Father, let all of us who are hurting and fighting for joy take refuge in you and rejoice. Give us a song of joy to sing. Spread your protection of Your steadfast love and faithfulness over us. Our hearts’ desire is to give you praise and exult in You, but our cares and circumstances are so heavy! I am so grateful that you give ear to my words, and you consider my groanings; that you give attention to the sound of my cry. And You will lead us in Your righteousness; You will make Your way straight before me! Amen.

    Fighting for joy has been especially hard these past four years. My husband left one difficult, stressful position for another difficult, stressful position. We made a cross-country move; I got cancer just months after we moved, and though the cancer is gone, the surgery has caused serious after-effects that have left me basically home-bound and in frequent isolation. It’s a huge change from someone who was leading bible studies, teaching Sunday School, visiting the sick, and “doing”–now I mentor a few women from my home, but I have to completely rest for several hours before the 1.5 hours with the women, and then rest for at least half the day after. I now “teach” by letter and “visit” by card and prayer. I have felt invisible and of little use, and I know that is the enemy.
    Several months ago, while reading through the gospels, I came to Matthew 20 and the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. The master hires some in the morning, then hires more laborers at noon, and in the afternoon. At the end of the day, he pays them all the same. And the ones hired in the morning are upset because they didn’t get more, even though they “contracted” for the amount they got. I’ve heard many sermons on this passage about humility and God’s generosity, but this particular verse knocked me between the eyes. . .
    “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” (v.15)

    I say that I am God’s bondservant. I want to be. That means I don’t “chart my own course.” If God wants me to stay in my home and pray and write letters and encourage from my bed, then I need to accept that assignment joyfully, and rejoice that my Master knows what He is doing.

    It’s a fight. But I truly can “do all things through Him who strengthens me.” All of us can. And we will. Because He is truly Immanuel, God with us.

    1. Your comments here were so uplifting to my heart. I have a similar health situation (the past 28 years) and it is so easy to feel “invisible,” and less than useful. Although I have found ways to remain joyful, hopeful, positive, etc., it often seems that discouragement lurks around every corner. The verse you mentioned is so appropriate! Thank you for sharing it!

  18. This has been a great year for me and have much to be thankful for. The Lord has surely had his arms wrapped tightly around me. I just got remarried to an amazing God loving man that has strengthened my walk with God. I walked away from God for a few years but he has welcomed me back and is letting me cling tightly to Him through prayer and daily Bible study!!!! Even in my difficult times I now give Him praise and thank Him because out of those trials I am built even better and stronger!!!

  19. I am THANKFUL for UNSHAKABLE FAITH…and for joy this holiday season, despite the fact that both my fridge and oven went out just weeks before the holidays. Even now I write that with a smile…as I have peace for the simple fact that I serve a great Provider!

    I wrote the following devo for my Facebook group this morning:


    Affirmation: Today…I shall communicate and demonstrate unshakeable faith. I want it to match the Kingdom that I get to help build!

    Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe… Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)

    It is so easy to take some things for granted, especially when they are freely given. Take, for instance, salvation…it is a free gift that is attained simply by believing. This one act grants full access to an unshakable paradise…the Kingdom of God. The only expectation of those who gain entrance is to express gratitude through worship and reverence toward God. No matter what challenges life brings…just continue to exalt Him, knowing that when all else fails…you will still be standing in the safety of the Almighty One!

  20. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not something we can muster up.
    It comes from abiding in the love Christ has for us.Joy is much different then happiness.
    Happiness can be “stolen” when circumstances change. It could be our weight, relationships, the economy, health, etc… Joy, however, is different. It comes from Christ. It is His nature, not ours!

    One thing Courtney that I can tell you, is I understand disappointments. However, one thing God taught me, was from the story of when Jesus was at the wedding feast. I have often wondered how His first miracle was at a wedding celebration! I mean really? Did He not understand that people were dying in their sins? Or that they were sick and diseased? Some had demons, others had loved ones dying, etc..

    Could He not perceive that His very own would reject Him? Leave Him when He “needed” them the most? Or how about the fact that He would one day have to suffer a horrible death??
    And, yet, He did know. He was very much aware of the needs of the world. He knew His very own would reject Him. He also knew that one day He would have to suffer and die.

    Sooo, the question is, how did Jesus still remain peaceful and joyful?
    I believe it was because even though He knew all of the above, He also knew who He was, why He had come, and how it would all turn out. He also knew that His father was always with Him.

    That is where joy comes from. It comes from knowing who we are in Christ. Life and people will always disappoint us, but God never will.

    You can have joy because of who you are in Christ. When life is about Him, you will have joy. When it is about something or someone else, you will experience happiness only when life plays fair!

  21. Thank you for being so transparent, I have been struggling with joy just this week. And I’ve had to intentionally remember all of the many, many blessings I receive daily. Thank you for sharing, it means the world to know that I am not the only one who struggles in this area from time to time. And not to just stay in this place but to fight for joy — to choose joy!!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!! God uses you in a mighty way! Be encouraged my sister 🙂

  22. Hi, Thank you for being so transparent and honest. I always read your blog and feel like your life seems so wonderful, and you always seem so cheerful, and I want to be like you. I have been having a really hard year filled with depression and anxiety, and today I woke up with it. We lost a dear loved one on Monday (tears flowing, heart aching), and I have to cook the entire-full-on Thanksgiving dinner for tomorrow, clean my tornado disaster zone house, and deal with the worst in-laws ever. Prayers welcomed!

  23. This year I have struggled with chronic pain and lot and lots of fatigue. So I do not get out much and it is very hard for me to wke up joyful. I had 3 deaths in my family last year, 2 of which was my dad and my 25 year old sister.
    A couple of months after I suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. The doctors say the stress and depression all that caused me get this.
    I believe it was Sagan wanting to steal my joy believing that I would fold. Well although it’s hard me to find joy some days I have learned from studying the book of Philippians that we should be joyful even in the mist of pain. If I am in pain in the morning when I get up p, I tell the Lord thank you that I am alive and well and that I am joyful that I will walk. Everyday I find something besides my pain to be joyful for. I rejoice in the Lord.

  24. Many times I look at my present feelings and realize joy is not a fruit that is working/showing in my life. However, I have found the root of it is almost always me not having control over a situation. If I focus on giving over my concerns to God instead of trying to control people in my life or situations the joy returns. Surrender = Joy

  25. Yes, I have had to fight for joy this year and over the past ten years or more as some very difficult things have happened. I can honestly say that God has given me unspeakable joy despite my circumstances. Thankfully, I have learned the importance of being thankful as a step towards having joy. The rest is up to the Lord as it is not something that I can ‘work’ up entirely. I do my part with an attitude of gratitude and God does the rest by giving me the fruit of the Spirit in joy.

    I love your good attitude and wonderful example, Courtney. It looks like your family had a wonderful time for Thanksgiving. What a blessing to be able to get together with your sisters, mother and your kids with their cousins.

  26. This is the very first time that I have left a comment on this blog, though I have been reading your awesome blog for several years off and on! But this subject really hit home, because I too have struggled the last several years with choosing joy in the midst of hard times. It really helped to know I am not the only one! From reading the other comments, I find that a lot of women also struggle in this area, and many of the struggles are from seriously difficult trials. I have not been through the death of a spouse, serious illness, loss of job or income…..I just seem to struggle with the seemingly constant stress of being a pastors wife in a small rural ministry with very few people to help bear the load. How I choose joy each day is too stay in Gods Word, and allow his Words to renew my mind! It also is a matter every day of ” bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) and refocusing my mind on ALL the blessing I have and being thankful! Thank you for your ministry Courtney!

  27. I am a man, and I enjoy your post as well. The Lord told me to serve Him with Joyfulness and with Gladness of Heart for the Abundance of all things, and I have ever since. He modified Deuteronomy 28:47 for me. Good stuff. Thank you for your post.

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