Chapter Four - Desire Of Your Heart

Forgiveness is only one of many lessons I learned through Joy’s life. In her story, with all her heart, Joy truly wanted to poison her cruel stepfather. But instead of marching off to the medicine cabinet, she went into her bedroom, and with outstretched arms cried, “Oh, God, please help me. Help me! Give me an understanding heart so I can help other people, so they won’t have to hurt like I do.” That defining moment surged new strength into Joy’s heart. She knew it was a decision coupled with a strong emotion and intent. She knew what she was going to do. This astounding moment of impact had determined her destiny. Joy responded the way she did because the love she had in her heart was greater than the hate around her.

Joy taught me that having hatred and horrible feelings about an offender and an offense is valid and necessary to acknowledge. It is part of the process of forgiveness. However, if hatred is my weapon of defense or I feel it’s the only power I possess in the situation, then I stop short of fulfilling my purpose. I took the baton as she passed it to me and chose to work through the pain of forgiveness. This incredible process became an attitude first for Joy, then for me, and it will for you.

How do you achieve this? How can you have such a connected relationship, grow and live with such a good feeling and sense of well being? Joy and I have found some essential elements that contributed to the extraordinary wealth of our friendship. Good friendships just don’t happen. They are built. The better the principles used, the better the relationship will be.

Joy’s mentoring showed me how to live. You can live your whole life and still not know how to live. Mattie Stepanek died of muscular dystrophy at age 13. Yet he probably lived a life fuller than most may ever see. He lived life because he knew he was dying. He wanted to experienced life, and his mom helped him live it.

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