My new name is actually not new because I use it on all my social media platforms. Vivjoywriter is now my current blog name and for those who don’t know Joy is actually my middle name (thanks mama)!!
Joy is not the same as happiness…it’s so much more. It’s a deep peace regardless of outward circumstances that God gives to us as we journey through life. Joy can be felt on a mountain top or in a cancer clinic. Joy can be given at the worst of moments because Joy is God’s heart pouring peace upon us at any given time and in His providential way.
Do I have Joy? Joy after being diagnosed with a progressive autoimmune disease? Joy after losing my husband of 24 years to a deadly brain tumor? Joy in the bringing up of four kids by myself?
I can honestly say YES!! But this Joy isn’t from me being happy or keeping my head in the sand and avoiding the hard things. My Joy is a gift from God. He alone gets me up out the bed. He keeps me from total despair, loneliness, heartache, and pain 💔 Because He keeps showing up..He’s always there and that my friends is exactly the Joy I’m talking about. The Joy of the Lord is my strength. The Joy in a full fellowship with Him that makes my heart burst with warmth. Jesus is experienced in our deepest suffering because that is when we fellowship with him in the most intimate way because He suffered too.
So here is my new blog name and I hope as I share my heart and God’s love with you, true Joy will be experienced together as we remember this world is not our home and who is walking with us through every trial we face. God bless you friends and keep you.
A few years ago, I had the priveledge of getting to know Bill Sweeney here on WordPress. Little did I know then, that our brief time here on this blog would bring life-changing comfort at a most challenging time for me personally. I looked forward each month to what Bill had to say and always cherished his words.
Bill was on hospice due to decades of living with ALS. He defied the odds. Decades……catch that? Most people who have that horrible disease die within 2-5 years. But not Bill. He was a fighter, a warrior and persevered until the day he went home to Jesus, Dec. 30, 2020.
Bill made the world a better place. His attitude in the face of extreme suffering was something only few of us could ever have. Not being able to talk, walk, move, eat, and being hooked up to a breathing machine yet maintaining his faith and sense of humor, was a God thing. I loved the way he always seemed to have a chuckle within that he wrote on his blog for us to enjoy. Bill used an eye tracking computer to write his posts which was absolutely amazing! His blogging mission was to a preach the gospel which he always wrote committedly in each blog post while leading others to Christ and helping believers in Jesus who also were suffering. He never mentioned his disease in a sorrowful way, he simply wrote about his life with ALS and the hope he knew in Jesus. His determination to never give up and keep on fighting was personally contagious and I strongly suspect many could confirm the same. Many times I felt as long as Bill was fighting and breathing….. then I could fight too.
Summer of 2020, I reached out to Bill in a message hoping for his address so I could send him and Mary a card. His response to me blew me away. In his email he took the opportunity to encourage me in a way no one ever had. Here’s what Bill wrote…..
Hello, Vivian, I hope this email finds you well, relatively speaking, of course. I will give you our address, but let me tell you something that relates to you. I told you about my friend Les and his horrible TBI. As a result, he has mental, emotional, and physical problems. One of his physical problems is blurred vision and double vision. We know that the Apostle Paul had bad vision and other physical problems. We also know that he had been stoned and beaten several times. I think his blurred vision and other physical problems were likely the result of a TBI. Some scholars believe that his bad vision was his “thorn in the flesh.” We can’t be sure, but… Little sister, His grace will be sufficient for you until you get your healing. Don’t give up on believing for your healing. Let’s agree in prayer, Father, Your daughter Vivian and I come together to ask for you to heal her brain injury. We stand together in believing that You heal her. We ask You this in the name of Jesus. I am praying with you! Bless you, my friend, Bill
This note meant the world to me at a time I was very low physically. I was so humbled that he took the time and used his eyes to write this encouragement. He didn’t have to, but he did. The words he used came at a time I was feeling rather defeated. God knew exactly how to use Bill to help me. And that was Bill. He lived to help others. He prayed with others and supported others. Bill was a global missionary with profound purpose: furthering the Kingdom of God.
I strongly believe that was why God brought Bill into my life and countless others. Bill was God’s tool to grow, encourage, and support His church. Bill was a gifted man who loved God like no one in his condition could. God gave him supernatural grace to push through and finish the race that was set before him. Bill was a miracle.
As I think back on all the interactions I had with Bill, I feel deep gratitude. He understood my TBI and even went as far as to equate my suffering with the apostle Paul’s! No one’s ever done that. He would also check on my posts from time to time telling me he was praying for me which meant the world… I’m honored to have known dear brother Bill and as new tears flow down writing out this post I’ve gained a bit of healing as I have had to say goodbye to a dear friend. It may be sooner or later but one of these days I’ll get to meet dear brother Bill as we worship our Saviour forever in glory.