Society & Culture:Relationships
Finding Joy in the Midst of Pain - with Nicole Jacobsmeyer
Finding Joy in the Midst of Pain - with Nicole Jacobsmeyer
Today we are so blessed to have with us one of our new podcast friends. Her name is Nicole Jacobsmeyer. Nicole is a speaker and author and a mom and she is lovely. I loved this conversation that we had today. We talked a lot about joy and what does it mean to have joy? Because so oftentimes y’all, we go through things in our lives and we get knocked down to get back up, maybe in your relationship. You felt like your relationship or your marriage was totally destroyed or you've been knocked down and you're really struggling trying to get back up, getting back in the game of life and going on with what you know that your purpose is.
Nicole has written a book called Take Back Your Joy and I love the subtitle, it's “fighting for purpose when life is more than you can handle.” I don't know about you, but I have been through some seasons of my life where I have felt like it is just too much. Like it's just too much Lord. I don’t know why you think I can handle this. Like Lord I didn't sign up for the strongest warrior battle plan, okay? So, what does it look like to have joy? What does it look like to have peace? What does it look like to know who and whose you are and the midst of going through really, really traumatic times in your life? Here are some snippets of our conversation:
A Broken Christian Home
Nicole: I grew up in a Christian home. I had a wonderful upbringing and then it wasn't until my late teens and early 20s that I just had a lot of awful things happen to me and surrounding me. And one of those was my dad shared that he was living a double life. And so this unfaithfulness our family was very devastating. I had an abusive verbally and mentally abusive volleyball coach, which was really detrimental to my faith and my character. And then shortly after all of this, I had a horrific experience and was actually raped. And this culmination of pain made me really doubt God's consider a joy when trials come my way. And when I read specific scriptures, it didn't feel true. And so, overall these years, then just a few years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer, we lost a baby, we moved across the country, I was single parenting. My husband was in the medical field and he was just so slammed at work. And I just found myself asking those same questions that I did, you know, prior. And so this idea of joy and suffering and becoming who God wants me to be really made me understand that it was through the pain that he started to use these different qualities in me now, which I mean, I wouldn't wish this upon anyone, but I'm very thankful that God is actually doing what he said he will do, which is producing us character and hope and endurance and joy because of the pain that we face like it says in Romans. So it's been a journey. And a hard one.
Dana Che: Wow, it's been a journey for you. So your parents become kind of that that physical representation of who God is to you, so I can understand like when that is broken, it does break the trust that we have with God, like if these people that say that they love me unconditionally who are right here break my trust, then why should I believe that a God who I can't see and who I don't really know for sure is there that he won't break my trust.
When you were vin college, where were you in your faith journey?
Developing a Real Relationship with God
Nicole: Ever since I committed my life to Christ, you know and said this “sinner's prayer," at just such a young age I think our entire life is growing in a relationship of Christ and so I didn't experience a lot of hardships growing up and I while I would like to say that I had a firm foundation It wasn't tested, you know It wasn't tested through the fire to come out more purified living in like the head knowledge and truly loving the Lord, truly wanting to read my Bible and do the right thing and surround myself with good people and go to Wednesday night Bible studies and prayer groups. I wanted to do those things, but I don't think that it's like there's a different aspect into your relationship with Christ and trusting him when pain and trials really do come.
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That experience (the assault) really made me go deep into the word. I've trying to figure out what does this mean because now I no longer just read verses and just think, oh yeah, that's true. It's like, I have to know that I know that I know that, you know, God is good and why and looking back and seeing what he's done for me. And really, maybe I missed the point of the entirety of the gospel at that point in my life. Maybe I missed the sacrifice that he has, you know, given us. And I maybe overlooked that and It was just while I would like to say I was very strong in my faith, I think that I was just so broken after that. That is hard to say exactly where I was. Yeah. So how did you reconcile that whole question? Because that's a real question like God, if you are good and so many people ask this question, right? It's like God, if you are good, why would you allow this to happen? If your word says and we can go in scripture and find all these scriptures about, you know, him being our hiding place and no evil will come to us and all of that. That's right. God, if your word says all of that, how did you reconcile him allowing this thing to happen to you?
Finding Joy in Pain by Asking the Right Questions
Dana Che: I love so much of what you're saying Nicole. I think about a quote Graham Cook says and he says, “instead of asking God why, ask him what? Like ask him what or who do you want to be to me in this?” That changed how I go through trials in my own life. You know, somebody I think it was Joyce Meyer that said, “You know, instead of saying, why me ask why not you?” We are not innocuous to the pain of this world, even though we are believers, even though we know the Lord, it doesn't protect us from everything. But what it does do, I think, is it gives us hope. that, you know, like Paul says, "We don't grieve as those who don't have hope.” We can actually go through things in life and not be completely devastated and depressed to the point that we can't function.
Nicole: I learned 10 years prior to this that I didn't have anything to offer and yet God still saw me in that moment. And I was like, I have to start like writing this out. But as I started processing and writing, it's like this thread of joy, of understanding true joy, and that assurance that God is with me regardless of what I go through, all the highs, all the lows, I can have this firm foundation and nothing can shake me. That seemed like I wanted that. I wanted that. I mean, and it's all throughout the word. And so I was like, what is this I needed? Much into this idea of joy and suffering and what I've been told versus what I'm living out versus what's in the word versus what is being spoken in books and in pastors and all this stuff. And I was like, I've got to find this for myself. So it was a long process.
Dana Che: Oh my gosh. You know, it's joy is like one of those words that has been so butchered in our culture where people think joy is happiness. That's right. So it's hard to be like, well, how can you go through something like that and be happy And that's not what you're saying at all. Like that's not the biblical definition of joy. So if you had to describe or define joy to someone, how would you define that?
The Difference Between Happiness and Joy
Nicole: I first would say what happiness is, it's because that would help us to know what joy isn't. Because I think we just are so, like you said, we're just so quick to say that. And happiness is just fleeting. It's just an emotion, you know, it's just fleeting. Depending on anything, you know, we can be happy one moment, moment, it just comes and goes, but joy, it stays. It has that staying power because Christ is our joy. He is our strength. He is our portion. He is our help. He is our peace. He is all of these things and he's also our joy. And the Holy Spirit, you know, when we're filled with the Holy Spirit, we've got those fruits and one of them is joy. And so I can't, I can't reach for it. I can't strive for it. I can't, you know, have an experience and hope that me joy, it is that we have a relationship with Christ and that is our joy. And so I feel like it's been this back and forth with me of thinking, okay, now this must be joy. Or this must be joy because I'm happy. But then you think of the word, it's like, are you kidding me? Do you think God would tell us to be happy in all circumstances and be it's like going back to his character of who we know him to be and who we and what we read in the word of who we are at the foot of the cross.
Dana Che: Yeah. You know, happiness depends on our happenings, right? So it's like this external circumstantial dependent place that, you know, if life is going well, then I'm happy. But, you know, if my boyfriend breaks up with me, my husband cheats on me, my bank account is drained, then I'm depressed. And that's right. And still have joy, but I hear you saying is that you can still have joy. and the midst of all of those things that are happening to you because you're solid in who you are in Christ and who you know them to be. And so it gives us like this, it's almost weirdly synonymous with like peace, you know, like we have peace, even though we might not be, we might, you can be crying and have joy. You can be grieving and still know that like the joy of the Lord is your strength. You can still know who God is and appreciate what he's capable of. are not full of happiness and smiles and giggles.
Nicole: Exactly. Oh, you nailed that. And I just, I think writing all of this out and processing has been so helpful for me. And I just pray it's helpful for other people. take back your joy, fighting for purpose when life is more than you can handle. Because I don't ever want to tell anybody that God will never give them more than they can handle. Because that is not the truth. I know people mean well, and I know they're just trying to be kind in the moment and don't know what else to say. But I kind of just walk through all these different things that I've been through with the pain and the suffering and the trauma and how God pulled me out. each of those trenches and how we can take these steps and these disciplines with us wherever we go and be able to live that out.
Links Mentioned in this Episode:
Take Back Your Joy by Nicole Jacobsmeyer.
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