More than mere whimsy, joy is the weapon we can use to fight life’s greatest battles.
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About the Author
A popular speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst and Thrive, Margaret Feinberg was recently named one of the “30 Voices” who will help lead the church in the next decade, according to Christian Retailing magazine. Her books have received national media coverage from CNN, the Associated Press, and USA Today. Margaret currently lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and her superpup, Hershey.
Read an Excerpt
Fight Back With Joy
Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears.
By Margaret Feinberg
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2015 Margaret Feinberg, LLC
All rights reserved.
WHY WE LIVE JOYLESS LIVES
New Year's resolutions are so last year, according to my friends. Many of them instead choose to live by a single word, one that embodies what they most hope God would do in their lives during the coming year.
My friend Sarah selected love last year, which led her to mend ties with her estranged father. Then there was John, who chose balance. He hung a chart on his kitchen wall to track his days and make sure he spends enough time with his family. And after Patty picked hope, she enlisted friends to help her see the sunny side of every situation. When her pessimistic tendencies emerge, her friends give her a "hope nudge."
Seeing how this practice enriched my friends' lives, I dreamed about which word embodied the work I most wanted God to do in my life.
I had spent years listening for the sacred echoes, the repetitive voice of God in my life. I'd set out to scout for the divine, searching to better understand God through lesser-known biblical texts. And I had worked to shake myself from spiritual slumber and encounter the wonder of God all around.
During these God-journeys, a word kept bubbling inside me and fluttering about everywhere I turned. Only three letters and one tiny syllable: joy.
Could this be my word?
For most of my life, I had thought of joy as a natural byproduct of a life well lived. A complementary add-on, a tacked-on freebie. Like one of those late-night infomercials that promise, "But wait, there's more!" Maybe such a bonus was included: I never seemed to find it amid the packing materials.
With the holidays in my rearview mirror and a New Year just ahead, I determined it was time to pursue a joy-filled life. No need to wait for joy to arrive mysteriously in the mail one day. I needed to try spiritual practices that might nurture joy.
Only a few months in, I was less effective at living out my word than my friends had been. Some joy experiments were disasters—like creating a homemade worry-o-graph that raised my anxiety rather than lowering it, and trying to mandate kindness, which backfired and made me a crabbypants.
The silliest fiasco was the two weeks I committed to saying yes to everything. When I asked select friends and members of my online community to join me, I received a unanimous response: "That is wackytown!" Okay, only one person used that exact phrase, but everyone else hid behind excuses like "spread too thin," "too busy," and "no way I could do that."
Their responses surprised me, because I am that friend—the one always plotting the next caper. I'll call you at midnight to see if you want to try indoor skydiving, go on a ten-day juice fast, or score cheap airline tickets to Iceland. Sometimes I won't ask or tell you what we are going to do; I'll just send details on a treasure map of when and where to meet.
The chorus of "No!" should have alerted me that the Yes Experiment wasn't sustainable. Discouraged but not defeated, I decided to embark on the venture by myself.
I explained the details of the Yes Experiment to my husband, Leif.
"You're doing this? You're crazy, you know that?"
"Of course, but I'm your crazy."
"You're going to say yes to everything?"
"Within reason. Don't worry, I won't sell our house for a dollar."
"Do I have to say yes to everything?" he asked.
"You can say no to anyone and anything you want," I explained. "But I'm agreeing to every request, including e-mails, texts, phone calls, tweets, and mail that's addressed to me."
"Does that mean when I ask you for something the answer is yes too?"
Leif stared at the floor, his mind sprinting through the implications. I wondered how long it would take him to figure out the possibilities for bow chica wow wow.
Within 2.8 seconds, a boyish grin slipped across his face.
Like a Florida kid caught in a Michigan snowball fight, I was ill-prepared for the assault of requests that came from all directions. Coworkers. Friends. Readers. Strangers. Solicitors. Salespeople. In the first few days, I made so many donations I had to start selling furniture and clothes on eBay to fund the Yes Experiment. I helped save animals and refugees and fund microloans. At least I think I did.
"Do you want to donate a dollar to Easter Seals?"
"Would you read my fifty-thousand-word book on North American flora and see if you think it's any good?"
"Would you like to leave a tip on the dollar granola bar you just purchased?"
"Would you like to supersize your order?"
Those types of asks were the most manageable. The great onslaught came from the office. My inbox exploded with requests for Skype calls, book endorsements, reprints, donations, mentoring, coaching, and more. While online, I said yes to every request to click, vote, or post. Within a half hour I knew I needed to stay far, far away from social media.
The Yes Experiment was causing me to do a lot without getting anything done. The unsustainable pace left me exhausted and empty, but my stubbornness prevailed.
I drove downtown to run errands on day four of the experiment. In a congested area of Denver, I noticed a man standing at the intersection, holding a clever cardboard sign that requested money for spaceship parts. As long as the light remained green, I could drive past and not have to buy a muffler for his intergalactic aircraft.
The light blinked yellow, and in a flash, an invisible force overtook my right foot. I stomped on the accelerator and sped through that red light with the gusto of Danica Patrick.
Why did I just do that?
Saying yes to everything was causing me to spend time and energy on the inconsequential, ignoring the people who mattered most. Rather than increase my joy, the Yes Experiment made me hypervigilant to avoid anyone who might ask for anything. This discipline was elbowing me away from the virtue of joy I sought.
My friends were right: this caper was flawed.
* * *
Joy is one of those words that has been overused, distorted into a cliché. Plastered on coffee mugs, necklaces, T-shirts, decorative pillows—even dish soap, this critical quality has been transformed into a trinket we rarely notice and almost never take seriously.
Many people live joyless lives because they don't understand what joy is, what joy does, how to discover joy, and what to do with it once they find it.
C. S. Lewis once described joy as "serious business," yet I assumed I could take joy lightly, capturing it in my free time like fireflies in a mason jar. I learned that you need much more than an experiment to unleash the power of joy. You need chutzpah, you need backbone, you need intentionality—and sometimes you need a crisis.
My crisis came in a flash flood of irony. I set out to conduct a joy experiment, but I became the test subject, the bubbling beaker of blue liquid, the living lab rat. Through a life-shattering diagnosis, I tumbled into uncertainty, anxiety, and pain. Along the way, I discovered what true joy looks like.
My crisis exposed the myths I believed about joy—such as the belief that fullness of joy is only available once we are in heaven and the illusion that joy is an emotion that exists apart from circumstances.
During the last year and a half, I felt my way through the darkness of despair and stared death in the face. Somewhere along the way God unveiled a spectrum of joy I had never experienced—from the joy expressed as lighthearted laughter in an impossible situation to the joy gained from hearing the deep voice of God during times of great pain. Through it all, I learned something startling:
More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life's battles.
Sure, the virtue of joy is an upbeat companion for life, but that is not the whole story. The true power of joy supersedes a chirpy disposition, candy-coated emotion, or saccharine fantasy. It's far more tangible than any magical notion of clicking your heels and discovering your bliss.
Joy serves a useful and mighty purpose. Sometimes it comes through others as a gift of grace, but just as often it requires intentionality.
God is an unconventional teacher. He uses paradox to imbue us with common sense, propels healing through pain, and hauls clarity into our lives through the most confusing circumstances. In my case, God interrupted my misguided joy experiment in order to take me on a joy expedition. This journey was fraught with depression and loneliness, tears and turmoil—using unlikely circumstances to deliver joy instead of destroy it.
But in order to realize that, I had to face the moment everyone fears.CHAPTER 2
A CHOICE THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
As the July sun peeked over the horizon, I received the dreaded call.
My upper arm itched a few weeks earlier, and when I scratched the area, my thumb brushed against a knot. I paused, afraid to reach back and explore further. I willed myself to move. My fingers probed against my right breast, outlining the nickel-sized circumference.
Anxiety clutched my body. A second and third touch confirmed the solid intruder's presence.
Calm down, Margaret. It's probably nothing to worry about. Who gets breast cancer in her thirties?
I turned to my husband of almost a decade—my Leif, always a solid rock of strength in fearful moments—hoping he would say I was overreacting or hallucinating.
"Can you feel this?" I asked, pressing the tips of his fingers against my chest.
Concern shadowed his face. With his nod, I reached for a phone to schedule the mammogram.
Three days later, before a technician, I stood half-naked, skirted in a paper- thin hospital gown with icy bare feet. I initiated chitchat, but what do you discuss with someone tugging at part of your womanhood like it's pizza dough?
"Have you felt anything unusual?" she asked.
"Nothing like this," I said wryly. "I try to keep my lady parts out of pancake makers."
Without cracking a grin, the nurse clarified, "I mean any lumps or bumps."
The details of the discovery stuck in my throat. Maybe if I didn't say it aloud, the lump would disappear. Perhaps if I clung to denial long enough, the mass would vanish.
"Well, there's this, um, one small area," I confessed.
She jotted a note on her clipboard.
"I'm pretty sure it's nothing."
"Most lumps are just thick tissue," she explained. "But we have to be sure. Because you informed me, we're required to schedule an ultrasound."
"Is there a way to uninform you?" I asked.
A letter arrived in the mail two weeks later. The images returned clean: no signs of lumps, bumps, or thick tissue. I later discovered that 20 percent of mammograms miss finding dangerous masses, which is why speaking up is crucial.
Just as the technician predicted, the office insisted I return for an ultrasound. This time I found myself sprawled on a table with my arm raised high above my head like a schoolgirl begging the teacher to recognize her. Only I didn't want to be recognized. I wanted to disappear.
I eyed the screen but had no idea what I was seeing. The click of the digital camera froze a portrait of the lumpy villain I had found weeks before, but it also revealed a second hardened criminal. The radiologist excused herself, returning with the doctor. When I asked, "Is it cancer?" he avoided the question. I needed to schedule a biopsy.
Worst-case scenarios raced through my mind. I thought of a friend who died from cancer the previous summer, her body ravaged by treatment. Now I could see myself in her: the emaciated cheeks, the thin oxygen tube, the inability to lift a spoon to my cracked lips. I clenched my eyes tight, chasing away the mental images.
Time slowed to a leaden pace in the following days as I waited for the next appointment.
* * *
My third visit to the doctor's office played out like Groundhog Day. Again, I raised my hand in uncertainty. Again, I asked about cancer. Again, the doctor dodged the question.
The doctor located the first mass with precision, the image taunting me from the screen. He lined up a gauged needle and shot it through the center of the dark, uneven circle over and over. My chest became a pincushion.
When the doctor located the second mass, an unedited comment slipped from his lips: "This is the one I'm concerned about."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
Unaware he was thinking aloud, the doctor stiffened and backpedaled.
"More than ninety percent of our biopsies turn out to be benign," he said. "You have nothing to worry about."
I knew I did.
Toward the end of the procedure, he asked a nurse to let him see one of the syringes. I strained to catch a glimpse of the narrow tube. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched a somber expression sweep across his face.
That was the moment I knew.
I held out hope that perhaps I was wrong, that maybe I had misread the doctor's countenance. But deep inside, I knew.
The nurse said the weekend would slow results from the laboratory. She instructed me to call on Tuesday afternoon. But Tuesday never came.
Early Monday, the phone rang showing an unfamiliar number. I almost didn't answer. Leif and I were at Mount Hermon Conference Center outside of Santa Cruz, California, where more than forty of Leif's extended family members had gathered for the first family reunion in ten years. I was scheduled to teach morning sessions at the conference center that week, the first of which started in a matter of minutes.
As a rule, I avoid taking phone calls just prior to speaking, but the unknown number piqued my interest. I answered on a whim.
"This is Dr. Jones," the voice said. "Is now a good time?"
No. No, no, no.
As the physician spoke, my head dropped into liquid amber. Time halted. The conversation blurred.
I'm sure he said more, but after carcinoma everything grew fuzzy. After the call, I stared at a wretched souvenir of the conversation: a scrap of paper on which I'd scrawled two recommended surgeons' names.
Dazed, I beelined to the field house, where Leif was busy preparing the PowerPoint slides.
"I have your microphone ready," Leif said.
He glanced up. I couldn't hide my apprehension.
I took his hand, led him outside where we could be alone, and looked into his sky-blue eyes. I never spoke a word. Leif just knew. He always knows. My eyes are his second language.
He cloaked me in his arms and we stood motionless, knowing we had crossed a threshold through which we could never return. In the warmth of his strong embrace, I wondered where God was in all of this.
Did God ignite my heart's desire for joy in preparation for this moment? Is this why so many of the joy experiments didn't work out the way I hoped they would? Perhaps God was pumping the brakes, ever so gently, readying me for this moment, for the hard journey ahead.
"What if we fight back with joy?" I said to Leif.
"We're in this together no matter what," he replied, eyes swollen by tears.
With the morning session minutes away, I phoned my parents to inform them. My sweet, longtime Christian mother responded the way I suspect many moms whose guard is down would: with an expletive.
"Breast cancer doesn't run in our family," she protested.
The diagnosis busted a family myth—cancer happens to other people.
I delivered my talk that morning. Barely. Tears surged down my cheeks with the opening music, and holding myself together required my last ounce of strength. We corralled Leif's family to deliver the news at lunch. Everyone wanted to know what they could do to help.
"More than anything, I need each of you to be your funny, ornery selves," I said. "That's how to help us fight back with joy."
Throughout the rest of the week, Leif and his two bulky brothers exchanged love punches and razzed each other. We toured grand sequoias and took silly photos inside hollowed tree trunks. We threw a Mexican fiesta. Over the course of those precious days, we played Apples to Apples, grilled steaks, and ate way too much Alaskan smoked salmon.
Excerpted from Fight Back With Joy by Margaret Feinberg. Copyright © 2015 Margaret Feinberg, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents.000 | Why We Live Joyless Lives,
.001 | A Choice That Changed Everything,
.002 | The Living, Breathing Gift of Joy,
.003 | Three Simple Words to Set You Free,
.004 | The Biggest Myth about Joy,
.005 | When You're Tearing Your Hair Out,
.006 | How to Throw the Best Party Ever,
.007 | The Side of Joy No One Talks About,
.008 | One Prayer You Don't Pray But Should,
.009 | You've Got to Give This Away,
.010 | When Nothing Means Everything,
.011 | Life Is Too Short Not to Do This,
.012 | Where I Never Expected to Find Joy,
5 Things to Say When You Don't Know What to Say,
8 Things Those Facing Crisis Can't Tell You (But Wish They Could),
6 Lessons I Learned from Crisis,
A Letter from Leif,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When the troubles of this worked darken our days - depression, disease, financial dearth - the ancient temptation “to curse God and die” wells deep within us. In her new book Fight Back with Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less, Stare Down Your Greatest Fears., Margaret Feinberg vulnerably shares her own battle with the deadliest of cancers. She puts skin on the fears and voices questions most of us are too terrified to even speak out loud. However, her beautiful honest struggle isn’t the primary focus of this work. Rather, Feinberg recounts her personal choice to combat overwhelmingly bleak circumstances with the brightest expression of joy. Don’t think of this as a happy-clappy naive approach to having her life ripped away, but rather a difficult and conscience decision to encounter the darkness with light, deep sorrow with deep, lasting joy. No matter your personal fight, your life will be changed through the reading of this hope-filled book. It is, in my opinion, the most important and well written she has ever penned.
Fight Back With Joy will make you laugh, weep, and have many "aha" moments. Margaret Feinberg is a master wordsmith, weaving in Biblical truths to every day experiences. Her battle facing a deadly disease shines light onto the true meaning and purpose of JOY- as a weapon to poke holes in the darkness around you. Something we all could use more of. I especially loved reading all the extras in the appendix: 5 Things to Say When You Don't Know What to Say, 8 Things Those Facing Crisis Can't Tell You (But Wish They Could), and 6 Lessons I Learned from Crisis. She equips you to know exactly what to say and do for those in crisis. Fight Back With Joy is not only a book I will return to again and again, but a book I will be giving to all my loved ones, friends, and church staff. If you ever wanted to understand how to support those facing crisis, this is the book to read.
Fight Back with Joy is a wonderful book! Margaret Feinberg has an amazing gift of captivating her reading audience with a comfortable writing style. Whether you are currently facing your greatest trial or not, this book is beautifully inspiring! Feinberg gives practical ways to fight for joy in the midst of life's struggles. A true gift to anyone wanting to experience more joy in their life!
Fight Back with Joy is a book you will want to read and then reread - and then share it with your friend - and then reread - and then share it with more friends! Beautifully written, Margaret's style is warm, personable, and a pleasure to read. If you want some victory in your life, you will want to read Fight Back with Joy!
Thank You Margaret Feinberg for bringing a real, readable invitation to dig deep into joy and pain, mourning and celebration! A eclectic group by age and life experience is doing the DVD series and is connecting, growing and learning together. The community of pain and celebration is a deeply connecting place that levels the playing field of life as a group and has us walking away feeling supported by shared experience regardless of background, history or specifics. The book, workbook(which includes great group interactive activities) and DVD has all been used as a mix and match based on each individuals style of learning and their time but ALL have benefitted from whatever material in this series they are using! Thank you, thank you! This material is a JOY BOMB!
How many bible studies have you partaken of in your lifetime? Fluff? Fluff? And more fluff? The vast majority of them hit high on the promises, and fall short on the delivery. Skimming the surface of life, family, emotions, and the Bible. Margaret Feinberg, puts the rest to shame. She has been through the fire, she maintained throughout, and arrived on the other side, a grand jewel in the crown of our Lord! She digs in there, she helps you to open it up, examine it, play with it, and put it back together properly (whatever it is) so that we can all be jewels for our Lord. The first week, I was thinking I wouldn't like this study at all, oh my she is way to perky... But that next week after you've started her story... WAY TO GO, Margaret. Teach me to be like you. To harness the Joy that is given me by God's Holy Spirit, to maintain through adversity the reason my joy is there. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to EVERYONE. If your struggling to find the joy, feel as if you've lost the joy, have no clue where to look for the joy... GET this book! The team that has put this together with Margaret, have gone out of their way to support you on your journey, with the additional stuff on the website, the daily encouragement from emails that are not condescending as most are. Truly someone that can help lots and lots of people.
Through her artful craftsmanship of words and emotions, Margaret Feinberg takes the hand of her readers from beginning to end and empowers them with truth to respond as she calls: to Fight Back with Joy. Possessing a rare and beautifully raw voice, Feinberg befriends readers instantly through her candid and expressive account of survival and brings them to places of acceptance, celebration, and peace through a perfect balance of sharing her own personal journey, inspiring Biblical stories, and reflections of God’s plan for us to live joyfully. Defining joy through her unique perspective not only provides fresh insight but also transforms the soul. This book is the perfect source of comfort and mending for the broken-hearted. This book twists and challenges our worldly view of tragedy. This book presents a mission to live through tragedy differently. Share this book. Give it to others, and keep on giving life to others by living with the spirit of fighting back with joy.
A Beautiful Story of Courage, Born of Joy Margaret Feinberg's Fight Back with Joy is a beautifully written and deeply candid book that draws from the writer's first-hand, harrowing experiences in battling cancer to share lessons of Joy applicable to adversities of all kinds we will face in life. Her writing style is rich with images that relate her immediate struggles to the sources of strength that give her courage and peace. A wonderful treasure that I am truly blessed to have read and reflected upon.
Margaret Feinberg is one of my very favorite Christian authors. Our Bible Study group went through her "Wonderstruck" series and that is when I fell in love with her and her writing.She speaks directly to the reader in a very understandable format. Her always positive outlook and beautiful Godly perspective is very refreshing. She can take a horrible disease such as the breast cancer she has been dealing with and turn it into joy. It is a must read for anyone who is feeling rejected or discouraged or for anyone who just needs more joy in their life. One of the passages that spoke to me was "the spiritual growth we experience in trying times, though often more gradual and painful than we'd like, is occasion for celebration. It's not in the absence of difficulties but in their presence that God bestows a mighty blessing on us." Read this book - you will be uplifted and begin to see with a new perspective. Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning!!
Beautiful book. We can talk about joy so casually. This book will make you cry & laugh & realize to fight for your joy every day in every circumstance. Margaret writes vulnerably and openly bringing a deeper awareness of God to our souls. Truly a must read, and read again and again. A book to reach for whenever discouragement comes nipping at our hearts. This is a book we all need to read as it contains a message we all need to embrace!
What can I say? Margaret Feinberg has done it again! Margaret writes from the heart in her new book 'Fight Back with JOY'! She is transparent in revealing her pain, distress, discouragement, and weaknesses. But in so doing, she brings glory to the ONE who has given her JOY over pain, JOY in the midst of suffering, heartache, disappointment, and there's a renewed vitality and strength in the way Margaret is able to communicate as she battles this horrific storm in her life - aggressive breast cancer. The balance of scripture and song is amazingly accomplished! I loved that her husband, Leif Oines, #1 chief caregiver of Margaret, devoted husband, outstanding cook, and M F's best friend, also writes about his experience and the importance of caring for oneself in the midst of caring for the person you love most while going through a life or death struggle. Victory is in Jesus! He has shown Himself strong where Margaret and Leif both felt weak. This book will encourage anyone who loves God and knows that He is with us through anything we encounter to bring us real JOY! It's a testimony of His love and faithfulness where the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. God is triumphant! All who trust in Him, will never be disappointed! Read this book for yourself . . . and see how GREAT is our God!
I purchased this book because I wanted to know how to fight back with joy. It is a beautiful book about joy, and about Margaret's battle with cancer. Cancer is much more than a physical battle, it is emotional too, and this is why Margaret chose to "Fight Back With Joy"! She used all the medical tools available, surgery, chemo, and radiation. Through it all, she chooses joy. Margaret brings you into her life, into her mind, and gives you a gift. She gives you joy. She gives you the weapon needed to fight any battle in life, JOY! Once you read thisbook, you will be able to fight your own battles, with joy. Being a cancer survivor, I identified with many of her feelings, and experiences with harsh cancer treatments. But "Fight Back With Joy" is not just about cancer, it is about any difficult times in life. I have always used prayer in difficult times, but now I will be able to use joy, too.
Margaret did a beautiful job on this book. She didn't just write about fighting back with joy...she lived it! I think that's one thing readers will love most about this book, Margaret doesn't just share the easy days...she shares everything in between too. If you are in search of a book that will remind you that joy is possible even in the hardest of season, this is it!
This book was such an inspiration and encouragement -no matter what the struggle is you are going through. Margaret gives a very real and open account of her battle with cancer and its treatments. I was overwhelmed and moved to tears by the time I finished this book. Highly recommend this book to be able to find hope and joy in the darkest of struggles.
Great book! Not only did it describe how to find your own joy but it also helped in understanding how we can support others in their struggles and in finding their joy when they are going through difficult situations. Margaret described her cancer-fighting journey but she explained her emotions and own joy moments and struggles. A book worth sharing - which I did.
I recently had the privilege to hear Margaret speak at our annual Advent breakfast and left feeling refreshed and challenged to intentionally look for joy each day. I was enjoying the advent morning while four friends stayed home because of serious health issues. I have given each of those friends a copy of the book. One of the friends who is stuggling with an auto-immune disease and depression read it completely in 24 hours. Her spirit has been refreshed and she is rereading the book more slowly now with a new determination to fight back with joy. Everyone has things they are battling some more serious and life threading than others. I'm sure we all have someone in our lives who we could bless with a copy of this book. Praise God for giving Margaret the desire to fight back and to share her journey with us. Many will be blessed and challenged by this book.
I just finished reading Fight Back with Joy...and I absolutely loved it. I laughed and I cried. It was much more personal than Margaret's other books that I've read, and I so appreciated learning about her experience with cancer. There are so many things that I gleaned from her story: how everyone's experience with cancer, trauma, disappointment, etc. is unique; how my response to others' difficulties (and my own) can be powerful and life-changing; how the Bible relates to and informs our most devastating experiences. It wouldn't be a book by Margaret without numerous Biblical references, some familiar, others quite unfamiliar. This is a brave, challenging and inspiring read. I highly recommend it.
Just as the title of her newest book suggests, Margaret's life reflects the secret to finding great joy in life's greatest difficulties. And the secret is really no secret at all, but a hard truth. A hard, but loving truth. Life is a battle and joy is a weapon. It comes with hard work, sweat, tears. Often it's found in the darkest nights and the fiercest battles. If you're looking for someone to tell you that life is rainbows and sunshine, butterflies and unicorns, then I'm afraid Margaret and her book will disappoint. But if you're looking for someone who cares enough and loves enough to be honest, is willing to be vulnerable and share the hard truths, knows how to make you cry and how to make you laugh, and someone who knows what it's like to suffer but refuses to give up, then please take the time to read this book. Allow Margaret to take you on a journey through the dark in order to open your eyes to the joy that's not just found in the morning, but to find the hidden and secret joy that can only be found in our mourning. If you are willing you will find she does not leave us hopeless and in despair, but helps us to "awaken to the deepest reality of our identity as beloved, delightful children of God." Note: While I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from Worthy Publishing for review, I was not paid by the publisher or author to review and feature it. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
What a wonderful book! I meant to leisurely read through and take time to contemplate each chapter, but was so pulled in by Margaret's story and the helpful content that I couldn't put it down! I devoured the book in one sitting. Now I am going back through it to take time to let the content steep as I read slowly. I found it so helpful that I purchased several more copies to share with friends and family that are enduring very difficult circumstances so they could also have some hope and encouragement from this book. One of my friends shared that she is getting many golden nuggets as she reads this book that are helping her in dealing with her husband's Altzheimer's diagnosis.
This is Margaret's finest and most personal study by far. If I could give this 6 stars I would! Every woman needs to go through this study whether or not they feel like they need more joy in their life.
"Fight Back with Joy" has been a life changing, thought changing book for me. Margaret shares her own story of getting cancer and what it has meant in her life. The ups and downs, but mostly, finding joy where ever she can through her faith in God. The greatest thing about this book is how real and honest Margaret is. She shares her story honestly and you feel like you're sitting with her over coffee and getting to know her. I highlighted this book on almost every page. As I'm going through my own health issues, I found her book so helpful and encouraging! It really has helped me to have a new attitude about my struggles. One of my most favorite things she said is this: "The Great Give is parachuting people into your life to remind you that you are not alone. Perhaps you've been distracted by those who have vanished....(then she goes on to say later) Even if you feel alone, God has positioned people waiting in the wings to spring into action. They may not be the faces of those you expect, but if you keep your heart and eyes open you may be surprised by whom God uses." It was almost as though she was reading my journal and my mind. I had been doing exactly that. Distracted by those who have vanished from my life, however, I started to see I had a core group of people who have circled the wagons around me and have never left. The whole book was like this for me. Beautiful pearls of wisdom and insight that have helped me to look at my situation in a whole new light and with joy! Whether you're going through a health issues, a family problem, or anything else, this book will show you how to find joy in your life, have greater faith, and understand that there is joy, even in those dark situation. It will also show you how to reach out to others with joy when they are going through those hard times. In my opinion, this is a must-have book for everyone. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. *This book was provided to me for my honest review by Worthy Publishing
*Fight Back with Joy* is two things at once. First, it's a deeply personal story of Margaret's battle with cancer. My Grammy just dealt with sarcoma cancer, and the details of hospital and chemo were terrifying to read. Cancer is such a scum-sucking disease, and I wish we could rid the world of it. It's not comfortable to read about it, and I can't imagine living it. The phrase "in the trenches" doesn't begin to do it justice. That what makes the second part of this story so incredible. How could a couple dealing with so much pain and devastation possibly decide that JOY was going to be their weapon of choice? When anger, bitterness, resentment, and cynicism could have choked their hearts, how did they embrace joy? And what is this joy they speak of- that they discovered in the agony of cancer treatments, that they sought to pour out on other patients, that they want to grow ever-more aware of in their lives? Margaret says: "C. S Lewis described joy as serious business, yet I assumed I could take joy lightly, capturing it in my free time like fireflies in a mason jar. I learned that you need mush more to unleash the power of joy. You need chutzpah, you need backbone, you need intentionality, and sometimes you need a crisis." Over the course of this book, Margaret unpacks some big ideas. Listen to this bold claim: "Joy is your heritage, identity, and destiny." How could that not move us, not make us thirst for what she describes? Then she moves to lessons that she learned- The journey to Joy begins with acceptance. The journey to Joy advances through adaptability. The journey to Joy leads us to greater dependence on Christ. Joy waits for us in the morning, and comes to us through our mourning. Joy will rarely make sense, but as Rich Mullins might say, it will make life. Reading this made me want to claim her motto as my family's own- Joyful Are We! Thank you Worthy Publishing for my review copy.
Having been an avid Margaret Feinberg reader for several years .... and a three-time breast cancer ... I opened this precious book with eagerness, maybe a touch of fear and wondering how the Lord worked joy in Margaret's heart during what I know could likely have been the challenge of a lifetime. I poured through the pages of Fight Back with Joy with amazement sharing my enthusiasm with anyone I came into contact with including my doctor, physical therapist, friends, family, coaching clients and in my blog! My prayer is that the Lord will use this tender and grace-filled book in the lives of countless people to challenge others, as it did me, to Fight Back with Joy and lean hard on the Lord, as He has us in His grip, His love and His sovereignty. Home-run Margaret! I cannot wait to use this book and the DVD study in retreats, in our women's ministry at church, in Bible studies, in my coaching practice and with women battling cancer and other challenges in their lives to give them hope and a re-focus of Joy in the Lord! Thank you Margaret for being willing to share with us such a private look into your battle with and victory over cancer!
Margaret has done it again! She has written my favorite book of the year! I couldn't put it down! I read it start to finish in just a few days. It's real. It's honest. It's practical. It's challenging. All with her beautiful words that provide just the right visual picture. I bought copies for all my friends and I can't wait to go through her DVD Bible study with the my group in 2015. This book will be a blessing to you or anyone you know. JOY is a topic that I have sought to incorporate into my life for many years, and this book makes the application come alive with practical suggestions. LOVE IT!