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This fall I began taking Bee to a new therapist who has been very effective at helping Bee understand trauma and its effects on her thoughts and actions. I’ve seen Bee grasp things on a much deeper level and she is incredibly motivated to do the hard work of therapy.

I love the way God works. We chose this therapist because she was literally our only local option. As we spent time with her, she said small things that made me wonder if she might be a Christian. Then one day we were talking about suffering and how it can create bitterness that is harmful to us. She suggested that, for homework, Bee might like to read The Hiding Place. Now, that’s pretty unusual homework from a therapist!

I didn’t think Bee would want to read it, so I bought the Audible version and told the therapist that we would listen to it on our drive to and from Seattle. I sweetened the deal for Bee by suggesting that this be her only therapy homework for the week. As we left town on our drive, I turned on the story, eager to see what life-transforming work would take place as a result of Corrie Ten Boom’s words

It wasn’t long before we heard snoring from the backseat.

I was frustrated and wondered if we should turn it off, but I decided that if the Lord wanted Bee to learn something from the life of Corrie Ten Boom, he could handle it.

Russ and I were immediately drawn in; why had I avoided this book for so many years? Bee woke up and listened for awhile, but didn’t seem too interested. That changed on the drive home.

As the story became more involved we were engrossed. We drove into town just as The Hiding Place came to an end.  In the driveway, we got out of the car, and I said, “Bee, what did you learn from this book?” She paused, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “I don’t know.” I said, “Think for a minute, what did you learn?” Then she answered, “Even when they suffered, God was with them,” – long pause –  “And they had to forgive the people who hurt them.”

I smiled, pulled her into a big hug, and said, “That’s exactly right. When we suffer, God is still with us, and forgiveness brings healing.”

Over the past month, we have seen so much growth.  The sweet girl,the real Bee, is beginning to shine through. She often sends me sweet texts and gives me tight hugs, and she recently wrote a long letter to Dimples. I know it’s hard for her to be so vulnerable; it takes tremendous courage.

And do you know what? In the face of so much good change, I’m scared.

Could joy come our way after so much struggle? I want to shield myself from the joy in order to protect myself from pain that seems inevitable. Brene Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, calls this “foreboding joy.” Experiencing joy is a vulnerable act, which takes courage, and that is not always easy to come by. Working through foreboding joy and trusting God is my homework.

Have you felt this? Things seem too good, so we find ourselves waiting from the next hard thing to happen to steal the goodness away. I’m pretty certain I’m not alone.

Take a moment to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Have a great Monday, friends. Encourage one another.


  1. Shari (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    I am so blessed by this post. I am now mother to a child from a tough place and so many times I have seen her create a situation to get in trouble and avoid joy. I have felt so alone as I watched this and wondered what must be going on in her head to create these issues for herself. And how messed up must I be to actually see it this way–to think that my child feels more secure in trouble than not?! Reading this I know I am not alone. Thank you

  2. Chantelle (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    Yes, I totally relate to foreboding joy. It really resonated with me I heard Brene say that. ((hug)) Keep up the good work.

  3. Mary (Owlhaven) (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    SO glad Bee is bravely walking forward.


  4. Karen (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    I love The Hiding Place. Very challenging. Thanking God for fleas? I can't imagine it. It's been a while since I read it, but some parts are still very vivid in my mind. I'm glad Bee learned from it. When I first became a christian I read about every christian biography I could get my hands on. I learned heaps from the lives of others. (My family were not christians and I was 15).

  5. Katie Szotkiewicz Patel (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    Yes!! The "waiting for the other shoe to drop" syndrome……"if I am about to experience joy, then I better saddle up, cause when it gets bad again I'll fall twice as hard" is how my soul sees it. God has shown me that this thinking pattern is really rooted in a mistrust of Him….so hard to let go and be vulnerable without the trusty old back up plan of "holding back for the inevitable crash"…..Lisa your words and insights are such a gift to me. Hugs to you!

  6. Anita (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    So glad to hear this bit of joy. Isn't it interesting how we as parents too (not just our kids from hard places!) hold ourselves back, and guard our hearts from grasping full joy! The Lord can help us, of this I am sure!!

  7. Emily B (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    One of my all-time favorite books.

  8. Angela (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    "Have you felt this? Things seem too good, so we find ourselves waiting from the next hard thing to happen to steal the goodness away."
    Yes! You always know just how to put my thoughts into words! BTW, can't wait to meet you at the Refresh Conference.

  9. adventisthomemaker (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    You're definitely not alone. I totally understand being afraid to feel joy because of what bad thing might happen next. :) Trusting God is so important!

  10. Emily (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    I know FotF has a radio theater version, too…

  11. Margaret (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    Thank you for this. And it is reassuring to read the comments and know that others share that can't relax because something is bound to go wrong, it is all so fragile, feeling.

  12. Tracy Autry (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    "Foreboding joy" Thankful to know I am not the only one who feels this and that there is a term for this! :)
    As a Mom of 4 precious Ethiopian children (home 2 yrs) and 5 precious bios (4 grown) the last year especially I have felt I have "lost" my joy. Everytime I read your posts I am encouraged and pray for your family. Thank you for being vunerable and honest sharing your life with us. We are not alone in this journey and God does give us each other to be His hands and feet.
    So glad for Bee and the healing taking place. :)
    One day at a time…
    Love, Tracy

  13. Tricia (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    You are certainly not alone. Thank you for the reminder. Working hard to enjoy the joyful days and be ok when the tough ones pop back up. I recently blogged on "accepting what is" – I think that is another way to say what you are saying. So glad you are seeing progress for this sweet one.

  14. Emily (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    "Foreboding joy"–what an awesome description. Just having that as a category seems to give hope a little boost.

  15. Deborah (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    I am definately a Master at foreboding joy. I remember a particular life-changing instance (in 2002) when I was truly honestly blissfully happy – and being on the phone with my best friend utterly gushing about how happy I was…… and then thinking my life doesn't work like this – something bad was coming. And boy did it – within a matter of a just a couple of days my entire world crumbled around my ears. I have never forgotten that my happiness and joy was followed by such incredible pain and sorrow…… and I never experience joy without foreboding anymore. I have often said that I would rather expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised, than to expect or anticipate something great and be disappointed. And when things seem to go too well – I wonder "when is the other shoe going to drop"?

  16. amy (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    We have a saying in our church – God doesn't waste hurts. We, as people, may not catch on, and we may suffer over and over in the same hurts, but God won't waste those. Praying for your family.

  17. Kelly (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

    We will be taking our 10 year old son to an Intensive Long Term Residential Treatment Center on Monday for his intake. I am concerned about leaving him but more than that I am concerned about him coming home in the end. I know it will be a while but I have been so hurt by the things that have happened that have brought us to this point that I don't know if I can ever trust him. I have started over with him every single day for 5.5 years only to have him continually mock the love I have for him and break the trust over and over again. This post spoke to me because I will have to bring myself to a place to give him yet another chance but it will be hard without waiting for the "kill joy". Only by the grace of God will I be able to do it but all things are possible with Him!

    • Lisa Qualls (Reply) on Monday 27, 2014

      Yes – you have written words that I share with you. I"m sorry, Kelly, that you have reached this place; I can imagine how difficult life has been every single day. Monday will be hard – and a huge relief all at the same time. I didn't expect the grief that followed, or the worries I've had. It's been a time to rest and heal for the entire family. We look toward the future, and our hearts are heavily hopeful. Does that make sense? We want to hope – and we are terrified. Please let me know how you are doing.