Reeling from postpartum anxiety and OCD, new mother Lindsay Aerts questioned, “Am I capable of hurting my baby? I must be a monster.” Her trudge toward joy revealed, “Happiness is not only a choice but a skill that we practice over and over.” Her story of hope is one of many in Ganel-Lyn Condie’s newest compilation written by and for women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I Can Choose Joy With God" is the third in a series about partnering with God to make personal improvements. Condie, an accomplished journalist and public speaker, relates the mountains God moved to publish her book and then gives a voice for nine faithful women to inspire readers to launch their own “joy journey.”
While the idea of choosing joy is threaded throughout the book, its main focus is on overcoming obstacles, particularly physical and mental illness. Some stories read like personal diary entries and others like magazine articles. They all tug at the heartstrings. Chapters on unexpected gifts, marriage, gratitude for unanswered prayers and motherhood provide advice and encouragement for women of all ages. The book contains no swearing, violence or sexual innuendo.
Julie Bristow fearlessly addresses her depression and anxiety, distilling relatable descriptions of and coping skills for the illnesses.Comment on this story
“When your capacity for deep suffering increases, the flip side is a greater capacity for intense joy,” she reassures. “Naming my struggles for what they are, speaking my shame, and dismissing the negative self-talk to the best of my ability are helping set me free.”
Latter-day Saint novelist Anita Stansfield experiences chronic suffering, her quest for joy incomplete yet as unbroken as her pain. She compares the elusiveness of joy to a butterfly. It appears suddenly, “taking our breath away and making us smile, and then it flies away as quickly as it came. But even when it’s no longer in view, the memory of it can make us smile again.”
Similarly, Condie’s collection is a quick read but its message lingers.