Finding Joy in the Hard Places

This year I wrote a lot about getting unstuck from the past and from the labels that threaten our victory. I wrote about overcoming the hard things in life and of shedding the shame that keeps us distant from Christ. And I wrote about the hope and joy we can find in the one and only Jesus.

This month as I focus on joy, I’ve reflected on the unique parallel track on which both joy and sorrow run.

They coexist. Without one, we simply cannot fully grasp the other. To feel the fullness of joy, we must know the depths of emptiness and depravity. In our humanity, we would become numb to joy if it was our only experience. We would take it for granted and, sadly, become bored.

To know the fullness of joy, we must also know the depths of emptiness and depravity #hope #joy #giveaway Click To Tweet

For this reason, Jesus was born on Christmas night. We needed a savior to deliver us from the pain and the sorrow. The depravity and emptiness. We needed joy to shine out from our darkness and to rise above all else.

Finding Joy Podcast

Not too long ago I was given the gift of sitting down and sharing my story of joy with Lauren Gaskill. Lauren is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast.  But more than that, she’s a girl who loves big and follows after Jesus with all her heart!

In our talk, I shared parts of my story. The not-so-pretty parts of the girl who didn’t know Jesus well enough to grasp His unfailing love for me. The girl who was searching for her worth in the things and people of the world, but coming up short every time.

It's a story of a girl searching for worth in the things & people of the world,yet coming up short every time #joy #hope #giveaway #findingjoypodcast Click To Tweet

But after that, I got to share about the joy and hope I found in Jesus.  About how life changed and what that journey looked like. I’d love it if you would follow me over there to listen to my story or find Lauren’s Finding Joy Podcast on iTunes! I pray that if your holiday is tinged with sadness, grief, or regret, the story God wrote of my life gives you hope to know that His joy is always present and always possible.

In this episode, Lori and I talk about: The dangers of people pleasing and looking to others for worth and approval. Learning to substitute the labels others give us for the labels Christ gives us. The difference between knowing and believing God. How God heals us by peeling back layers of our “onion” to help us get to the core of who we are in Him. The joy that is found when we say, “Lord, Thy Will be Done.” How to fight the enemy and keep Him from stealing your joy. Finding Joy - Lori Schumaker

More Favorite Things Giveaways

In the meantime, don’t forget about the giveaways I am hosting here this month with each Holding onto Joy During the Holidays post! Our first and second giveaways have come to an end with friend and reader Sherry winning The Star from Afar and Fibi winning Rad Joy’s Surrender Cross! Congratulations, friends!

But don’t give up yet because there are still more giveaways to enter!

My last post, 10 Ways to Bring Joy to Someone Who is Grieving was a guest post written by dear friend and author Kathe Wunnenberg. She is giving away a 3 of her hope-filled books as a set! Enter here.

And today I am thrilled to offer you a beautiful Ashley bracelet from Fashion and Compassion! This bracelet is purposefully made by women overcoming injustice in Charlotte, N.C.


Since this bracelet is gorgeous and comes from a fantastic company that encourages women to be overcomers, I know you will want to enter to win! How? Just enter the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally, come back Thursday for the final giveaway! I can’t wait!

Library of Hope

Need a reminder to stop by for the final giveaway of the month? Just sign up here! Plus you will get special access to the Library of Hope where you will find resources (like the printable set of my favorite hope-filled Bible verse cards) to help you live a more hope-filled life!

#MomentsofHope Link-Up

Joy that lasts comes from the Father, yet it’s not something that simply falls into our laps. It’s something we have to choose to work at. One of those things is choosing to embrace new seasons of life. Part of the story I shared in the Finding Joy Podcast was learning to embrace the difficult during our family’s adoption process. There were dreams I had to let go of in order to embrace reality and find the joys I didn’t realize were right in the middle of that reality.

When I read Karrilee’s post When New Traditions Take Root, I was reminded of that powerful act of letting go in order to embrace the new. I was reminded of the bittersweet of saying good-bye while welcoming a new kind of joy. Karrilee blogs at Abiding Love Abounding Grace and is one of my favorite spirit-filled encouragers. Make sure to give her some extra love when you stop by her place!

IncouragePostChristmas - Karrilee - Abiding Love Abounding Grace

Finally, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! This is my final #MomentsofHope Link-Up for 2016 (but I’ll be back Thursday with my regular post and final giveaway)! I am so thankful for each of you. I am thankful you have come alongside me to share the hope of Jesus with the world. Your words are making a difference and your kindness has been such an encouragement and gift to me.
When I began this blog, it was with a message God had given me to share. I didn’t know the incredible gifts of encouragement, love, and friendship I would be given in return. Gulp! No words, my friends. Just my ♥ and my deepest feelings of gratitude for each and every one of you.

Have u entered to #win?Join us today at #MomentsofHope #bracelet #books #linkup #giveaway #hope Click To Tweet

#MomentsofHope Link-up;; Read, share, and together hope for tomorrow.

Note: You can now link 2 posts that resonate with HOPE each week. My heart desires to visit each of you every week, however I pray you will extend grace and still know how much you matter even when I run short on time! 

#MomentsofHope Link-up;; Read, share, and together hope for tomorrow.What I ask of you:

1. Share up to 2 URLs  (to a blog post, not the actual blog) that resonates with the topic of HOPE. Anything that gives us hope for tomorrow. Hope for victory. The little things and the big. Anything that inspires us to lean into Jesus and let Him carry us through.

2. Important: If you don’t have a blog post or podcast that resonates with HOPE, join in other ways as you pray and encourage others with a comment or a prayer.

3. Please leave a comment on the link just before each of your links. Would you love on them well? Encourage them in their efforts to share the hope of Jesus. If you have time, stop by more than one sweet writer’s little corner of the blog world!

4. Of course, I would love it if you would follow me via my blog and/or social media channels! Signing up to join the Searching for Moments Community gets you access to the Library of Hope along with post updates and freebies!

5. If this gives you hope, would you consider sharing it with others to give them hope, too?

6. Please either grab the #MomentsofHope button found here or link back to me to encourage new linkers.

[inlinkz_linkup id=684162 mode=1]

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  1. I am a fan of both you and Lauren, and I will definitely check out the podcast. Thank you for hosting this giveaway…it is a beautiful bracelet!

    1. Thank you, Sarah! Lauren is pretty awesome. I love how she finds the joy in the everyday moments and pursues Him with passion! How cool is it that you WON the bracelet!!!
      Blessings and smiles,

  2. I love your wording about those parallel tracks.
    And I’m enjoying the podcast as well! Thanks for branching out!

  3. Lori- hoping you have a wonderful Christmas!


  4. I was really inspired by what you shared on the Finding Joy podcast, Lori. You have some amazing God stories! I’d love to win this bracelet! Thanks for hosting this wonderful link up each week.

    1. Thanks so much, Dawn! I pray God uses my stories for His good ♥ I am so thankful for you!

  5. This is so true Lori! As always I love your heart for pointing people to hope and joy in the Lord 🙂

  6. I am in the midst of learning this lesson about joy myself. These past two weeks have been some of the hardest ones and yet there is so much good that is coming from them. Even in the pain, I am feeling the joy that never fades. Thank you for your encouraging words Lori!

  7. I love learning about the things that bring you joy, Lori! You are such an amazing encourager. Thanks so much for hosting us each week and for this beautiful giveaway.

    1. I just love you to pieces, Deb ♥ Thank you so much ♥

  8. You and Lauren both SHINE the joy of the Lord in incredible ways; I’m amazed at Lauren’s story and the way that you both encourage so many ladies.

    1. You are so sweet, Emily! Thank you! I pray we encourage you to always have hope and to hold onto joy with our stories!
      Blessings and smiles,

  9. Yes, joy and sorrow do coexist, don’t they? Sometimes it’s hard to know what to feel as we share both each others joys as well as burdens. Going now to find the podcast so I can listen to more of your story! Thanks for sharing with us, Lori.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I always love when you visit!

  10. ‘To feel the fullness of joy, we must know the depths of emptiness and depravity.’ So true, Lori, so true! Thanks so much for your beautiful messages that kindle hope in so many. Have a blessed Christmas!

    1. Hi Carlie,
      I’m so grateful for online friends like you! You have blessed my life so richly and I look forward to 2017 and even deeper connections.
      Blessings and smiles,

  11. I listened to Lauren’s podcast this morning and really enjoyed hearing more of your story! It is encouraging to know other women have set out on the same journey to find joy and have found it.

    1. Hi Kira,
      I’m so glad you were encouraged by my story. God is always good and always there to fill our hearts with His never-ending joy, if only we keep pursuing Him in the midst of all circumstances! Thanks so much for visiting!
      Blessings and smiles,

  12. Joy AND a giveaway. Does it get any better than this?
    Thanks for this great joy-filled post today, Lori. You warm my heart with your words and these #momentsofhope.
    Blessings and smiles!

    1. Marva,
      Thank you ♥ You are such a blessing!

  13. Such a beautiful reminder for us to hold onto Jesus, our Living Hope this Christmas. Have a blessed time with loved ones, Lori. Glad we were able to “meet” this year. 🙂

    1. Me, too, Nicki! I look forward to 2017 and connecting more!

  14. My gym workout went by so fast because I was enjoying every minute of your podcast. I just love your testimony! You speak so naturally and with so much love and didn’t even sound nervous. I got teary and also related to many parts. I remember the times I overreacted to my children’s behavior because I felt like it made me look and feel like a bad mom, all stemming from past insecurity. It’s so good to to recognize that hold on our lives and live free in Jesus Christ. My joy story is God continually showing me in my life that He cares and loves me. It’s having the blessing to be called “mom” when I never thought I would. It’s learning to grow as a wife and in my marriage throughout the years. Thanks for always being an inspiration to me Lori!

    1. Valerie,
      What would I do without you? You bless me so very much! Thank you, sweet friend. I am smiling as I think of you working out and listening to me! I hope to get motivated again in 2017 to get fit. It was always a way of life for me until getting so sick. Now that I am feeling so much better, I need to get back into a good routine with it. You may have push me a little 🙂
      Blessings and smiles,