I received this book to review from Worthy Publishing. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Sometimes a book just falls into your lap at just the right time and speaks right to what you are going through at that moment. That’s exactly what happened with Fight Back With Joy by Margaret Feinberg.
As you might recall, I chose the word JOY as my word of the year for 2015. I chose it reluctantly, but can see countless reasons in these first five months of the year why God led me to that word. When I heard about Fight Back With Joy, I knew I needed to read this perspective on joy – and I was overwhelmed by what God taught me through Margaret’s words.
I should tell you first that we’ve had a somewhat turbulent first half of 2015. Plans were made and then turned upside down and we were just along for the bumpy ride. I believe this is why God chose JOY as my word of the year. And it’s also why He had me pick up Margaret’s book.
From the very first words, as Margaret also describes reluctantly choosing the word joy, I knew I would relate and learn from this book. I wrote about what joy really is in my post earlier this year, but I stand by her assertion in the intro:
“Many people live joyless lives because they don’t understand what joy is, what joy does, how to discover joy, and what to do with it once they find it.”
Margaret’s experience with joy was so relatable to me, but our battles have been very different. Fight Back With Joy walks us as readers through her battle with cancer and how she used joy as a weapon to fight off everything negative that came her way. It is extremely poignant, vulnerable, raw…all pointing back to God, the source of all joy.
“Joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us.”
I think I have half the book underlined because Margaret’s words spoke to me SO much, but there was one chapter in particular that jumped out and grabbed hold of my heart.
Earlier this year, I shared our Bible verse of the year and why I thought God had spoken this verse to me. I was so wrong, not about the verse, but about the meaning. Our change in plans this spring means we won’t be moving to the small town by the river. I couldn’t understand what God meant for that verse in our life, hanging in our living room, until I read Chapter 8 in Fight Back With Joy.
If you weren’t with us at the beginning of the year, our verse of the year as a family was:
“They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” -Isaiah 49:10
In Chapter 8, Margaret shares a story from the Bible I didn’t know very well about Caleb’s daughter, Achsah. There comes a point where she is newly married and living in a desert – an actual, physical desert. Instead of wallowing about her dry, awful living conditions, she boldly approaches her father and asks that he give them springs of water. And he grants her request.
When I read those three words – “springs of water” – a chill went through my body and I perked up to see where God was leading this train of thought. Turns out the train was going right where I needed it to go, to this statement…
“In the desert of despair, springs of water unlock reservoirs of joy.”
Our springs of water are usually not physical water. They weren’t for Margaret and they weren’t for me. The springs of water she experienced and the ones I have found are so much more life-giving.
“Achsah’s story serves as a reminder that we can petition God for sweet water when circumstances make us feel like we’re sucking sand. In those moments, we can ask for special favor and expect God to work in powerful ways.”
This chapter prompted me to ask and I fully received new blessings from God in the midst of our desert. Springs of water – and joy – were found in new opportunities, deepening friendships, moments celebrated together.
“A prayer for springs in the desert is a request to discover the fullness of life even when facing trouble and difficulty.”
That fullness of life, when found in Christ, is what joy is all about. God used this book in powerful way to lead me to those springs of water, and they have been filling me with joy ever since.
No matter where life has you right now – in a season of drought or abundance – you will find inspiration in Margaret’s words.
I really want to give every single one of you a copy of Fight Back With Joy. I can’t quite afford that, but I am giving away three copies thanks to Worthy Publishing!
To enter, tell me something that has brought you joy in the past week! For an extra entry, tweet about this giveaway and come back to tell me you did in a separate comment! This giveaway is open until Monday, June 1st at 9PM CDT!