Personal Growth, Stories
Comments 6

Experiencing Joy

My husband’s grandmother, Joy Jones, passed away last week.  She had been struggling with her health for some time and was ready to go home. We expected the phone call, but when death came it still took us by surprise.

Tragedy.  Loss.  Grief.  Sorrow.


“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 (NLT)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

As disciples of Christ, we are promised life in and through Jesus.  We are called to be a people of joy.  But how can we have joy when tragedy strikes?  How are we to experience life when a life has been taken from us?

Upon hearing the news, SoHills staff members offered words of comfort.  They encouraged us to leave as soon as possible to be with family, assuring us they would handle things in our absence.

Our life group stepped in and took care of our dog, not knowing how long we would even be gone.

One of the All Star volunteers insisted we take her more reliable car with new tires to make the 1,200 mile journey. 

Yes, we can always have joy knowing what Christ has done for us.  But God has immeasurably more in mind!  Because of the church, in the face of death, we experienced life giving joy.

1) Are you involved in a life group?  A life group is 6 to 12 people who share a common goal of growing closer to God and do life together.  My life group challenges and encourages me.  If you would like to join a life group, e-mail Ronna Bush at

2) Are you serving?  The SoHills staff members are like family to me and I know they have my back.  Serving bonds people together.  If you aren’t serving in the church and would like to find a place to use your gifts, please leave a comment or contact any staff member.

3) Are you fostering community?  You can be in a life group or serving up a storm and still not be part of a community.  Give yourself a few minutes before you’re elbow deep in diapers to mingle with those you serve alongside.  Contact the members of your life group between meetings.  Ask questions.  Get to know those around you and allow them to know you.  What can you do to foster community this week?

“And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.   So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11b-12 (NLT)

When was a time you experienced joy because of the church?  Share in the comments!

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I am a 34-year-old hipster who enjoys visiting coffee shops with my husband. I am a Creative Arts Pastor at SoHills and am passionate about environments where opportunities are provided to encounter Christ. Anything done excellently captures my attention. And I know my dog is the cutest you've ever seen.


  1. Carol Wilson says

    Thank you for the message Nicole. Thanks to SHCC and the wonderful church family I have, I experience joy abundantly! My Life Group (aka Sister Chicks) gives me a place to learn and grow in Christ as well as an amazing support system. I am excited to be a part of the group studying and learning to become biblical counselors and look forward to serving there. I’ve worked some in the kitchen with Camille Langley and had the privilege of being around her shining spirit. Services on Sunday morning always fill me with joy and Wednesday nights have been a time of great learning. I encourage anyone who isn’t plugged into one or more of the many opportunities and ways to serve at SHCC to do so. Amazing things will happen when we (as Shannon so clearly said) take the first step!

    • I love the Sister Chicks! From my office, I can hear you guys laughing and growing together. It’s AWESOME to see you guys supporting one another with God at the center.

  2. Lindy Moore says

    Joy is my life group. My life group is my family. We have been together since 2005. Sure we have had our up and downs, gains and losses, but I don’t know where I would be spiritually or emotionally without my life group. We truly do life together. I know that I can count on my group for love and support. An ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. I look forward tocontinuing to serve, love, and grow as a family.

  3. Jennifer Walls says

    My mom passed away on Feb 4th. After getting the call on Feb 2nd that she was found unresponsive by our two sons, there was a lot of praying. One prayer was that if this was it, please make a way for Shannon Lovelady to be able to do the funeral. God did and i believe Shannon chose to be the hands and feet of Jesus even when he had zero time & plenty of great reasons (not excuses) not to come 40 miles away the day before taking a flock to Indiana. I would of understood and I was the only one asking him to come as my family’s spiritual journey is different than mine. However, its not about me or Shannon or even my mom. It is about God. He doesn’t waste our pain. Shannon showed up and my family and friends loved him and what he spoke which was the Good News. My aunt said she wants him to do her funeral. Her daughter told me a few weeks ago that she herself has realized she longs for Jesus and the faoth and community I have built up around me. She said Shannon left an everlasting impression on her. How can we not count this all Joy!!!??!!

  4. Jennifer Walls says

    I forgot to mention my aunt lives in Michigan and my cousin is in Illinois. They carried a part of SHCC with them back to their communities. 🙂

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