I looked through tear-filled eyes at the mighty women around the table and knew I would never be the same.
Our broken hearts grieved the unspeakable horrors that had just been spoken. Stories of lives ravaged and broken by violence, sickness, and poverty. These women had not only witnessed the devestating effects, but had lived them, too.
After hearing their stories, I expected my new leader friends to feel defeated. The numbers were too big, the problems too complex. I expected them to be filled with bitterness and hopelessness at the injustice of it all.
What shocked me more than their stories was their joy.
Their eyes lit up and their voices filled with delight as they spoke of a young leader stepping up or God’s provision for a new microfinance project. They oohed and aahed as they passed pictures of their children and grandchildren. They grinned sly smiles when they shared how they worked around broken systems. And oh how they laughed great big belly laughs as they watched me try to learn their dance. (It was quite comical.)
Joy was more than a feeling: joy fueled their resolve and their fight.
And over the course of a week in a small guest house in Nairobi, these strong women led the charge to fight back with joy as we prayed, and strategized, and banded together to make a difference in the lives of women in Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Sudan.
These leaders taught me the power of God’s joy in life and leadership.
My leader friend Margaret Feinberg shares the power of joy in her latest book, Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears. Through vulnerable storytelling, a difficult diagnosis, and a good dose of humor, Margaret reveals how joy is more than whimsy. It’s the weapon you can use to fight life’s battles.
I’ve recommended and shared and gifted Margaret’s books countless times over the years. If you’ve ever struggled to find joy in the middle of the awful, ugly, hard, pick up a couple of copies of Fight Back With Joy. (You’ll have a friend you need to share it with, too. Trust me.) You can find out more by visiting Margaret’s website, checking out the bible study trailer, or ordering the book here. Check out #fightbackwithjoy on Twitter, too.
Leader Friend, I’m praying you are encouraged to choose joy for the battles you are facing today. Whether personal or professional, your difficult struggles have never met a weapon quite like joy.