Friday, September 16, 2011

Choose Joy

Every Friday The Gypsy Mama chooses a topic to write about for 5 minutes.  This idea came from her desire to "paint with words without worrying about staying inside the lines," and she invites her readers to join her.  I have wanted to join the 5 Minute Friday posts before, but I'm usually terrible at writing something in only 5 minutes.  My brain doesn't think that fast!  However, this week I have decided to join the 5 Minute Friday party because the topic is one that is close to my heart.

The topic is "Joy," and this has been inspired by Sara Frankl, our dear Gitzen Girl. She has been suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis for a long time and will soon be leaving this earth.  During her years of blogging she encouraged us to choose joy, and she was a living example of one who is joyful in the midst of suffering.

Here is my 5 Minute Friday post.  Okay, to be honest it took me more like 6 minutes.  I told you I'm bad at writing in 5 minutes.  May I please have an extra minute for my slow brain?  Thank you. :)

This week, when I hear the word “joy” I think of Sara. Joy defined her life. For years she has been homebound due to Ankylosing Spondylitis, but she didn’t let that define her. Compassion and love for others defined her. Love for Jesus defined her. Joy defined her.

Sara has been a huge encouragement to me in the past year and a half since I found her blog. Here was someone who was severely disabled, but didn’t complain! She took the life God gave her and used it for His glory. She made the most out of pain and suffering.

The past year of my life has been incredibly hard, especially last fall when I was homebound, confused, stuck in bed, and at times barely conscious. It was scary. I was facing a difficult part of my illness that I hadn’t faced before. We didn’t know what the future held or if I could recover from the trauma my illness had brought. At times I wondered about the future, what it held, how I would handle being homebound for such a long time.

Sara was an encouragement to me during this time. I saw the hard life she had, and I saw the joy she lived with and the light she shown. Sara found joy in the suffering and in her homebound life. I could too. With the help of Jesus, my homebound life could be defined by joy, just like Sara.


To read what others have written, head over to The Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday: Joy.

I am also linking this post up with Jessica at The Mom Creative where Sara's family is reading the blog posts celebrating Sara's life.


  1. Rachel, I found you through Five Minute Friday...and I am so glad I did. You are a beautiful example of God's incredible grace. Thank you for boldly sharing your struggles with the rest of the blogging world. I will be praying for you.

    I cannot imagine how you feel or how you do what you do to carry on. But I will tell you this. God is shining immensely through you. So much so that I was drawn to reading most of your site in just this one visit!

    I believe in divine appointments and so I praise God for this one. Thank you for choosing inspire me to choose it as well.


  2. Rachel - I found you through Five Minute Friday as well, and so glad. What love-filled words you ladies speak of Sara. I'm astounded at the way God uses other women, broken just like us, to speak truth and beauty into our lives. I'm so glad you have that with Sara, and I'm so glad she has all of you surrounding her.
    Thank you for writing. Please keep it up!
    xo - Amanda @ Life.Edited.

  3. p.s. - I ALWAYS go a little over 5 minutes. Glad to find a fellow rebel. :)

  4. It's kinda beautiful to know the impact that one person can make in the lives of so many even through suffering and pain.

    Hard to articulate....thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt words about Sara.

  5. Rachel, I'm already missing her too. She inspired me also as I began my own journey with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

    We'll keep Choosing Joy together, ok?

  6. Thank you Kelli, Amanda, and Lindsey for your kind comments and encouraging words. It means a lot to me. And, Amanda, I must say that I am so relieved to know that you usually go a little over 5 minutes!

  7. Jennifer, yes! We will keep choosing joy together!

  8. Okay, friend, were you in my brain today? :-D

    I had my pre-op testing done at the hospital today, and all I could think through it was how fortunate I was that I was able to even be in a hospital. Incredible, isn't it? She was stuck in the house over three years, and yet is such a shining example for the rest of us, especially those of us with chronic diseases.

    And of course, dearie, you're welcome to go over five minutes any time you want. Tell 'em Shari said so. ;-P

    Okay, I'll stop with my novel for now. Hope you're having a better week!

  9. That was six minutes very well spent.  Thank you for sharing from the heart.

  10. Thanks for giving me permission to go over 5 minutes! :)


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