My Secret to Enduring Joy guest post by Carol McClain

My Secret to Joy

by Carol McClain

Has life discouraged you? Does society seem strange? Have we normalized destructive behavior so that we’re confused if we can classify anything as right or wrong?

If the answer to any of these is yes, I’m not surprised. We’re awash with bad news: war, disease, inflation … I can add to the list, but I’d rather count my blessings than the downfalls of our era.

You don’t need any more of this. Neither do I. Life is short, and for me, definitely getting shorter faster than I like. I’m not flooded with despair. God granted me blessings piled on top of blessings, so instead of grousing, I decided to focus on joy.

But how does one see the good when so much is wrong?

This is an odd thing for this woman who was raised with my family’s Belorussian attitude of fatalism. Why hope for the best when you’re going to be stuck with the worst?

Balderdash. Here’s my epiphany on the day that joy finally became my go-to emotion.

On a frosty morning, I drove to my favorite hiking spot in our beautiful Smoky Mountains. I swerved around curves. A glorious stream flowed over rocks and cascaded downhill to my left. Narrow lanes and curving mountain roads caused me not to ogle the jaw-dropping beauty of the overarching rock face of the mountains. Here, icicles clung to the ledges and sparkled in the early morning sunlight.

I raced toward my mission late and fearful my tardiness would upset my hiking buddy. Besides, I’d seen the scenery this before.

As I approached Meigs Falls, two tourists stepped out of their car. With cameras poised, they shot pictures. The falls, in flood stage, roared gloriously. Only one car carrying two middle-aged tourists noticed the roaringly pristine view.

I hurried on, but what was I thinking?

Focused on my destination, I ignored the journey. Teal water falling, forever falling and never running dry, danced over slate-grey cliffs. Spray sparkled in the early morning. A canopy of rocks with water dancing over its ledges in the dawn should never become a humdrum appearance.

Graphic with quote from post.

When my friends first showed me this waterfall, I found the scene a beauty worthy of continual photographs from every conceivable perspective. For many months, I strained to glimpse the falls. That day, though?

Why did I let my vision grow stale?

During this drive, my spirit finally absorbed my favorite scripture. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8, ESV).

A simile jumped to my mind as I thought, “If there is anything worthy of praise,” think about these things like a tourist.

As a visitor (as I am here on earth), I might never get this moment again. Life is fragile. I need to be ready—in season and out. Vacationers come prepared with cameras and clothing and maps. They search, look, and see. The friend I rushed to meet knows and loves me. She would understand if I were delayed. I needed to take my time, to forget the bad things and remember Philippians. I need to concentrate on what is lovely.

As I drove, I switched the radio from the news droning on about the latest crisis in politics and tuned into my favorite Christian station. My favorite group, For King and Country, sang “Joy.” The song made me want to dance because God is good, and I am blessed. I live. I’m loved. The world is beautiful.

So, dance I will.

Practice being a tourist. Focus on joy. You’ll find yourself dancing and singing even when your world falls apart.

Get to Know Carol:

Carol McClain is the award-winning author of four novels dealing with real people facing real problems. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.

Bio picture - Carol McClain

Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, an avid hiker and photographer. She lives in East Tennessee. Her most recent interest are her two baby does Peanut & Buttercup. Like all babies, they love sitting on our laps and. Being bottle fed.

You can find more about Carol McClain at, Facebook,  BookBub, and Goodreads

Check out her latest release Prodigal Lives:

Life keeps piling problems on Meredith Jaynes. She loses her second foster child—one she was scheduled to adopt. Then Parker Snow refuses to marry her. With only her goats and artisan soap to support her, life will get no better.

Cover image for Prodigal Lives by Carol McClain

If she is honest, though, she still has Crystal. Her funny, happy, loveable toddler makes the sun shine and reminds her of the never-failing love of God.

Pearl Solomon loves her life with her grandfather Guy, but every one of her triumphs is overshadowed by her sisters’ lives. With Mama Meredith, they live a life she envies. Because of her jealousy, she refuses to contact them.

Years later, life for both families twist down paths they do not wish to travel. Pearl knows she’s lost what was most precious in life but has no means of fixing things. Left to her own devices, she spirals out of control.

Meredith finds it harder to mask the despair infertility has brought to her life.

Both families believe they must reconcile themselves to their fates as reality shatters their dreams unless they dig deep for the promise of love.

Buy it HERE.

Joy for the Devastated Heart (Habakkuk 3:17-18) Your Daily Bible Verse

Today’s Bible Verse: Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – Habakkuk 3:17-18   Want to listen without the ads? Become a PLUS Member today:   MEET OUR HOSTS:   JENNIFER SLATTERY is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at   Follow Jennifer:    CAROL MCCRACKEN is a Christian communicator who teaches women Biblical truths through real-life application and humor to connect them to their God-given purpose. Carol has been a Bible teacher for twenty years and served on church staff and in women's ministry for three decades.   Follow Carol:   REVEREND DR. KYLE NORMAN is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada.  He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at,,, Renovare Canada, and many others.  He also maintains his own blog  He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.   Follow Rev. Kyle:   JOY A. WILLIAMS is a writer and speaker who is amazed her first name became her life’s mission. As life happens in ways that baffle us or bring us joy, she loves exploring how those moments can bring us closer to God.  She is a member of the “First 5” writing team at Proverbs 31 ministries. As a licensed minister, she serves as a teacher for the Women’s Bible Study and the Married Couples Ministry at her church.  Joy is a wife and mother and she shares encouragement on the “Joy to the Soul” blog.  Subscribe to receive the newest posts and updates at   Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest   Read Joy’s 7-day Bible reading plans: “Live Your Joy Story” and “When Easy Doesn’t Live Here: Living by Faith When Life Is Hard” on the YouVersion Bible app.   JESSICA VAN ROEKEL loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She is the author of Reframing Rejection: How Looking Through a Different Lens Changes Everything.   Jessica and her husband have two adult daughters spreading their wings, and two high schoolers, a son and daughter, fluttering their wings as they edge closer to the nest. Connect with her at and Discover more Christian podcasts at and inquire about advertising opportunities at
  1. Joy for the Devastated Heart (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
  2. At the Temple Wall (Psalm 66:19)
  3. Where Is Your Hiding Place? (Psalm 32:7)
  4. When the Church Is Messy (Matthew 18:15)
  5. Fighting Fear by Experiencing God's Presence (Psalm 27:4)

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