Joy is a woman who lives up to her name. Her character is marked by graceful actions proceeding from an attitude of joyful faith. She is kind, giving, loving, and merciful. She is human, not perfect, but she lives in dedication to Jesus. Though some might deride her because of her faith, no one questions that her faith is genuine. However, this wasn’t always true of Joy and as a young non-believer she was a very different kind of person. Raped at five, again at fourteen, and thrown out of the house at 16 where she became the victim of many crimes and committed many crimes in response, Joy at the age of 17 was a very hard, angry young woman. In the seat where joy sits now, sat Malice as the defining spirit of her character. Anyone who knew anything about her childhood didn’t question her need for revenge but the insanity of it also couldn’t be denied. Back then, Joy was a destructive force, a hurricane of rage creating ruin and demolishing her life. Her rage kept her alive as Malice drove her to a certain bad end, the sure consequence of her wild life.
When God intervened and reached down to save her through Jesus, Malice was pushed out of the driver’s seat and righteous joy took the wheel. Joy being ashamed of the girl who’d been possessed by Malice, pushed the girl she’d been into the shadows with her. Malice continued to sulk and stalk Joy’s every step. Malice was satiated by Joy’s sacrifice of the child she’d been and accepted this bargain as Joy denied her past and moved forward to try to be a different woman and live a new kind of life. She was successful in re-creating herself and becoming a woman guided by the Bible rather than raging emotions but something was missing and no matter how hard she tried to leave the past behind, she was haunted by the things she’d suffered and the sins she committed in response. Malice dogged her every step and waited for the opportunity to re-inflict pain from the past. Joy loved Jesus! However, Joy still lived in fear because God’s love hadn’t yet been perfected in her. Joy lived in constant terror of being found out and of coming in contact with those who had damaged her as a child. Malice jabbed her in the ribs anytime someone asked her about the high-school she attended, her prom, and all the other normal experiences of childhood that Joy wasn’t able to enjoy. Malice could no longer possess Joy but through her denial, she oppressed her and kept the past she was trying to outrun continually, in her present thoughts. Joy loved Jesus, was grateful to Him, and wanted to please Him but the truth was that Joy had only given Jesus half of herself and sacrificed the other half to Malice, in hopes of appeasement. The joy she possessed in Jesus couldn’t be fully actualized until, she allowed Jesus to reclaim the broken little girl inside that continually, cried out for the love and acceptance she’d never known.
Joy’s life changed and Malice was driven further into the shadows, when Joy embraced the little girl within and tended to her wounds by applying truth as disinfectant. The power of her painful past was diminished as she cast denial aside, along with pretense, and brought all the events she’d hidden in darkness into the true light that is Jesus. Each one became a light that produced enlightenment in her and also, became light to lead others out of the darkness of sin and abuse. The lost, damaged, thrown-away, little girl found purpose in Jesus and Joy found wholeness in self-acceptance. Joy became a more effective follower of Christ, as all the spiritual fruits began to reproduce in abundance in her life. The joy that Joy possesses in Jesus is no longer diminished by ghosts and demons from her past. Though Malice still shadows Joy, she can’t find a foothold for oppression because Joy no longer lives in fear. Every part of her is surrendered to Jesus and perfect Love liberated her from the fear of her past.