Choosing Joy

What do you think of when you hear the word joy? Do you think of the moment when something in your life went right? It can be anything, big or small, from getting that job or into that school, all the way to finding $5 in your pocket you did not know about. It is these fleeting moments that come and go, lighting up our lives for a moment before it burns out and we go seeking the next one. This is actually happiness, which is different than joy. Happiness is temporary, coming from our surroundings, while joy is eternal, coming from a heavenly source.


The theologian and pastor, John Piper, defines joy as the movement of the soul brought on by the Holy Spirit causing us to see Christ in every situation. We were created to be in union with God, and so when we are reconciled and walking with Him, we can find true joy, even in dark situations. In James 1, the author tells his brothers and sisters in Christ to consider it pure joy when we face trials, because these tests produce perseverance and growth in Christ.


Just as God calls us to love, He also commands us to have joy. In Philippians 4:4, it says “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” God does not say just be joyful when you feel like it, when your heart is on a spiritual high. We are supposed to rejoice always.


Joy does not come naturally. We cannot summon it on our own. It is a reaction to our situation that only comes when we seek God and ask Him for it. When we walk in the Spirit, we begin to bear his fruit. The more we spend time with others, the more we become like them. We reflect God’s love joy when we grow closer to Him. This stays with us through the good times and the bad, as we continue to be assured of our hope and security in Him. In this life, we will have the trials, the struggles, the dark moments. Mike Donehey, lead singer of Tenth Avenue North, pens it well in his song the Struggle. “We are free to struggle, but we’re not struggling to be free.” While our path in life will have dark moments, we know that, no matter what happens, our hope and joy is secure in Christ. Whatever is bothering us, though important and relevant to our lives, is not all there is. At the end of the day we know our final stand, and can take joy in the fact that we walk with the Lord.


Joy is choosing to place our affections in Christ above all else. Joy is the delight in our hearts that comes from hope in Christ. While we may not always feel like it, Christians have the task to keep choosing God and seeking after Him.

-Grace Knaus


Faith in the Waiting

I am really wrestling with patience these days.  Whom I am kidding, I almost always am.

Waiting is hard.  It exposes all my idols and shows where my heart and mind really is.

Waiting also exposes my lack of faith or trust.  A call for patience in my life reveals whether I have faith to trust in God’s plan or if I am going to act in impatience and try to obtain or grab something the Lord does not have for me yet, or ever.

In the last week and half, I have been in two weddings.  Both were incredibly beautiful and very representative of Christ and the Gospel.  It was such an honor to stand by two of my sisters in Christ and watch them enter into a covenant with their now husbands.  I am so excited for them both and so ecstatic to see what God is going to do with their futures.

But if I am honest, I am struggling with being patient.  I am tired of waiting.  My heart is longing for marriage.  I am irritated and hurt that God has not brought to me what I am so deeply longing for, and have been for some time now.  I sometimes doubt that He wants good for me.  I sometimes get caught into thinking that my singleness is punishment for past sin.  Just yesterday I told God I did not know how to be patient anymore.  I told Him I did not have it within me to have faith for this anymore.  But then my friend Elizabeth called me.

I wish I were “techy” enough to know how to put an audio file into a Word document so you could hear all the beautiful truth she shared with me.  She literally was His mouthpiece in that voicemail she left on my phone.  She reminded me that God has heard my cries.  He has heard my prayers.  She boldly charged me to stop asking God for my heart’s desires, and start thanking Him instead for giving them to me, EVEN BEFORE THEY HAVE ARRIVED.  That is faith, my friends.  THAT is patience.

Being patient means have faith in the waiting.  Being patient is trusting God with your unfulfilled desires and dreams.  Being patient trusts in God’s plan over your own.

But again, if I am honest, this still does not make it easy.  I struggle with being patient because I feel like I will look dumb waiting for something I do not know if God will give me.  However, those thoughts I often have about patience are not found in Scripture.  Scripture teaches that patience, or hope, does not put one to shame.  Look at just one example: “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

I love that my friends here at Woven Together are walking this week through the Fruit of the Spirit.  The Fruit of the Spirit passage in Galatians 5:22-23 must be read in the context of its whole passage.  Really the best interpretation of this passage can be found within the entire letter of Galatians, or at least in 5:16-26.  (Please excuse my Seminary student coming through! )  But for us, let us just look at the verse that follows 5:22-23. “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)

If I belong to Christ, if the Spirit lives within me, if I am producing His fruit, I will have experienced the crucifixion of my flesh, with its passion and desires.  No, all my passions and desires are not bad.  Some are not all evil or unholy.  My desire for marriage is not unholy!  But it becomes unholy when I am impatient and lack faith in God’s timing and plan for me.  Check out what another passage in Romans says:

“For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.  But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old ways of the written code.” (Romans 7:5-6)

When I live in the flesh, I bear the fruit that leads to death.

But when I crucify the flesh, I serve in the new way of the Spirit.

We know that this “new way of the Spirit” looks like having love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  These are all character traits, not specific actions.  It is important to note that it is not the “fruits” of the Spirit, but instead the “fruit” (singular) of the Spirit.  You cannot be in Christ, full of the Holy Spirit, and only possess one of these character traits.  If you have the fruit of His Spirit, you will have them all.  No you will not exhibit or display them all perfectly, but you will possess them all because you have His Spirit.

For me bearing the fruit of the Spirit is looking the most like patience right now.  But it may look different tomorrow.  You will not always “feel” all of the fruit.  But know that each are at work and present within you if you have crucified the flesh and the Spirit lives within you.

So I am choosing patience today.  For all I know it may still be a long road ahead of me.  I am choosing to have faith that it’s a better road though than the one that bears the fruit of death.

-Beth Joseph

Perfecting Your Patience

Sitting at my computer, looking at the verses stating the fruits of the spirit, pondering what I wanted to write on, I saw the word forbearance (patience) and I thought, “Hmm.. I’m going to Google that, I wonder what the actual definition is.”

As I read the definition of forbearance, I chuckled to myself; It is kind of comical how God works sometimes. I have been going through a yearlong trial of this word Forbearance, and here I am writing about it so bear with me, I am no expert.




Patient self-control; restraint and tolerance


The action of refraining from exercising a legal right, especially enforcing the payment of debt.


There are so many different ways I could go with this word but I will stick with one for now.

The word patient self-control, really stuck out to me.  We go through things in our life that force us to wait. How are you in that waiting period? Are you forbearing? Is forbearance a part of who you are?

I think, for me, all along I thought I was forbearing until I got my socks knocked off and my character was really tested.

That is when I realized I was not forbearing at all. I praise the Lord for opening my eyes to that, it is made me a stronger person but now that I am coming out of that long trial in my life I am looking back.

I was waiting, not patiently though. I thought I was being patient at the time but you cannot see clearly when it is raining right?!

I was being forced to wait but I was not doing it patiently, enduringly, lovingly, long-sufferingly, THANKFULLY.

I challenge you today to examine your mindset. Are you being still in whatever God has called you to go through, with an open heart and mind to learn whatever it is he is wanting to teach you?

There are several translations of the word Forbearance but they all are along the lines of be still, be silent, restraint, endure.

Forbearance has another side to it: others, how you treat others.

Luke 6:33 “And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.”

Nowadays, it is so easy to go on a rant or start an argument over social media with others who have a different view than us. There are so many things going on around the world, in the U.S. alone and with media spreading the issue, there are so many opportunities for us to voice our own opinions.

Although sometimes we can get caught up in the heat of the moment and want to share our opinion, the Lord tells us to show love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

In the end, I am always thankful the Lord allows me to endure trials because always I learn from them if I am open to receive.

God is love and love.. “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7


Libby Perritt

Founder Faithfully Fit Army

The First Fruit

“I love you!”

Walking into any card store, there are row after row of cards professing ones’ love for another.  Browsing through any department store, there are clothes with the word love printed on them.  You can find love on coffee mugs, house décor and bumper stickers.  The word love is all around us.

We tell our family and closest friends we love them.  We wave “I love you” in sign language when passing or leaving those we know.  It is our way of expressing what we feel in our hearts toward those we care for.

But what does it look like to truly love as fruit of the Spirit?

To truly love is give love to others even though you may get nothing in return.  To reach out in love to others even though they may reject you when you do.  Love even when you are wronged.  Love those that society and others shun.  Love those that hate you.

It is said that “love hurts”, so people allow their love to grow cold because they do not want to deal with the pain they believe comes from love; but it is not Love that hurts, it is rejection that hurts.

Love heals and comforts, encourages and serves.  Love is patient and kind, selfless and forgiving.  Love is not prideful, is not easily angered and is not jealous.

Love never fails.

Jesus knew when he prayed in the Garden Gethsemane before the cross what was ahead for Him, yet chose to go with the soldiers when they came for Him.

Jesus chose to carry His cross even after all the suffering He had been through.

When Jesus was on the cross, He could have moved and gotten down, yet He stayed.  The two criminals on either side of him had no choice but to stay on the cross.  Jesus, however, did have a choice.

Jesus was in spiritual, emotional, mental and physical pain – through all of this had to choose to stay where He was at.

What would cause Jesus to make the choice to stay?


Only Love is powerful enough.

As you walk through life’s journey always pursue Love.

There will be times when it will easier to not be kind, not to forgive, to be angry, to be jealous, to be boastful and selfish, especially when you have been wronged or hurt. Choose to Love anyway.

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8


Kena Campbell

Fight the War to Freedom


The Heart Behind The Fruit

I am a mom of littles.  My daughter Harper is 3 ½, Ellisyn is 2 ½, and my son Zeke is 2 months.  Needless to say, I am in the throes of Motherhood.  I just looked up the definition of “throe” to see if that was the correct word choice (it is the English teacher in me).  According to a quick Google search, throes is a noun meaning “intense or violent pain and struggle, especially accompanying birth, death, or great change.” Yup, that sounds about right!

I am sometimes amazed at the sheer amount of times the words and phrase “No,” “Stop,” and “If you do that one more time there is going to be a consequence” comes out of my mouth.  I look at the vast array of blocks, princess dresses, books, and crayons at the disposal of my girls and am dumbfounded that instead of enjoying these gifts to their full measure, they instead are constantly pushing the boundaries and deciding to use them opposite of their intended use.  Is coloring on the wall really more fun than coloring in the coloring books?  Must you smash the play dough into the hardwood floor crevices instead of rolling it into snakes and pretend food on the kitchen counter?  Can you just enjoy wearing the Belle dress for now – instead of throwing a tantrum – and you can wear the Elsa dress when it is out of the wash?  (and please, do not remind me that it has been in the wash for two weeks…)

Recently an interesting shift has taken place with my older daughter Harper.  Instead of pushing the boundaries of how her toys are used, she has instead been asking permission for almost everything.  “Is it okay if I share my Lamby with Ellie?”  “Can I dance to ‘Let it Go’?” “Can I color this page, put away the markers, and then drink some water?” (Yes, she gets painfully specific).  I have been finding myself telling her over and over “you don’t need to ask permission for that, sweetheart.”  The simple pleasures of coloring in coloring books, dancing on open floors, and playing with dollies are not ones that require permission in our house.

While this has been a welcomed change from the previous stage of constant reprimands and re-directions, it is exhausting nonetheless.  I wonder why my girls can not find a happy balance of simply enjoying the gifts and toys that they have.  Somewhere in between coloring on the walls and asking for permission to color in a coloring book lies the simple joy of, well, coloring.  Somewhere in between dancing by way of jumping off the couch and onto sleeping baby brother and asking permission to dance on the open floor is the thrill found in, you guessed it, simply dancing.  I want my girls to freely enjoy their toddler activities and toys within their intended use.

I wonder if this is exactly what God thinks when he looks at me and all of the things he has given me “richly to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).  Galatians 5:1 reminds me “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”  Personally, I often find myself acting like my Harper.  I love rules and the safety they provide.  But sometimes I make decisions – yes, even good decisions – that are based on rules rather than on a heart that loves Jesus and wants the overflow of that love to result in good fruit.

When the Spirit is alive in us, we produce good fruit. This has been a truth that I have reminded myself of in my work with Freedom 4/24.  I have asked myself “Why am I doing this?”  Is it because it is something I feel like I have to do / should do otherwise God might punish me or be disappointed in me?  Or is it something that I am compelled to do because of the Spirit working in me? If I function out of the first, I am working on an empty tank and everything that comes from me is of me and not of Christ.

But if I function out of the Holy Spirit’s work in me, He is the one who fills me and there can be no doubt that anything good that comes from me is a direct result of His work in and through me, a simple jar of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7). Jesus set us free from the yoke of slavery (to the law) for FREEDOM.  Many laws are good and are for our protection, but we have to keep them in check so that we fully enjoy the freedoms we have in Christ and aren’t constantly worried we’re doing the wrong thing or doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Only then will our lives joyfully bear the fruit that Galatians 5:22-23 mentions – 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

-Christine Gelatt, Founder of Freedom 4/24


Standing on God’s Word

“The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me! I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E!”

We all are familiar with this catchy tune we grew up singing too in church. It was and still is one of my all-time favorite children’s songs I learned. Now as an adult I look back on the song and realized the real truth in the song. When you are a kid, they teach you really catchy tunes to remember, often leaving us completely blinded that there is a meaning and truth in this song.

I stand alone on the Word of God

So I had to sit back and ask myself what it means… and what does this look like in my everyday life? I often worry with how situations that I struggle with will turn out. I would ask God how He was going to take care of this situations.  All I can do is look back and see how foolish I was.

First off, I was taking things into my own hands trying to control the outcome. Second, I was not relying on God nor on God’s word. All what I wanted to do was speak death over my situation, and be negative.

Mark 11:22-24:”And Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, who-ever says to this mountain, be taken up and thrown into the seas,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believers that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

  1. Have faith in God

There is one thing I struggled with in all those times I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. My flesh goes back to sinking into a hole of doubting God and speaking death in my situations. But Jesus said, “Have faith.” Faith is seeing without belief. I pray that we will be able to tell our mountains today to be thrown into the sea (in this metaphor, the metaphor represents what seems impossible). So today, as I throw my mountains in the sea, I encourage you to do the same.

  1. Pray, believing that you have received it.

Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. I have learned that there is power in my tongue. I can either speak death over my situations or life. A dear friend of mine once pointed out the truth to me. She said, “Katie, you have to stop speaking death into your situation. If you keep speaking death it’s not going to happen. Instead give it to God, speak truth over every situation you have, and have faith that it will come true.”

She was absolutely right. I can either speak death in my impossible situations, or I can speak truth over them, knowing I serve a God with whom nothing is impossible. So I encourage you to join me in this journey of speaking life over each situation you may be facing. Speak truth over it because we stand alone on the Word of God. I am so thankful for the Word of God that I can to speak life in my situations.  You can be too. Remember, He is a Promise Maker and keeper,  not a promise breaker.

“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26


Selflessly Present

I have always been a morning person and honestly, I love it that way. Many days, I wake up before my other roommates. One particular day, I woke up early, sat outside and watch the sun come up, seeing God’s glory in the unfolding of a new day.  Meanwhile, I was reading my Bible and I was taken back by a thought. It amazes me that Jesus was sinless, like how did He do it? My particular thought was about the simple ways we hurt people and how Christ was the ultimate example of the right way to act.

I walk around with pride, anger, bitterness, and hidden motives often. Sometimes I see people and I get annoyed that they are needy or will not leave me alone. When Jesus saw people, He had compassion for them. One portion of scripture that I believe exemplifies this is Matthew 14:14, “As [Jesus] stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd, felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.”

The backstory to this verse is that John the Baptist had been beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just found out.  Jesus went away by Himself to grieve (which would be the healthy and normal thing to do). I tried to wrap my mind around the next part of the story because Jesus had grieved for a little while but was then thrust right back into ministry. The crowd was waiting on Him and immediately, as He saw them, He had compassion and started healing their sick.

This struck me deeply because I know when I go throughout my day, especially when I am having a really hard day, compassion for others is usually the last thing on my mind. Jesus, at one of the hardest points in His life up to that point, could have said He needed more time to grieve or that He was not feeling ministry that day. The Jesus that we put our faith in was so selfless in His way of living that He immediately started helping them when He stepped out of the boat.

I pray that God would awaken my heart to stop being so selfish and see people with compassion, no matter where I am at in life. Every time a person or crowd comes into my life is another opportunity for God to work a miracle through me. Yes, grieving and bad days have their place, but it comes to a point of holding on to that grief when one needs to let it go.

Jesus found time to be alone to rest and to grieve which is important for a healthy mindset in general. He also knew that His Father was His sustainer. God is the One who give rest and vital strength to keep going. God is our strength. He is the One who it mighty to save.  He is the one who gives us our manna every day to keep going.

As Jesus showed me this I saw myself in every-day life. How do I act towards people? When I am having a hard day, am I selfless or selfish? God is our provider and the One in whom we put our trust. He will provide strength and healing no matter what. We must not forget that our purpose on this earth is to represent the Gospel to the people around us.

This world needs Jesus.  It needs me, it needs you, it needs us Christians to realize the source of our identity, our strength, and our healing so that we can continue to step out and see people with compassion and share the Gospel.

Just like Jesus, realize the true source of your every-day strength and identity. Hard days will come and bad things will happen but cling to the One who is the author and perfecter of your Faith. He is able, He is with you.

With Love,


As always, the Woven Together team is here for you. If you would like to contact us for prayer, encouragement, advice, or just someone to talk to, you can reach us on our  Facebook, Instagram ( @_woventogether) or Twitter ( @_woventogether). You can also email us at