Never Alone

“So many times I’ve questioned certain circumstances or things I could not understand. Many times, in trials, weakness blurs my vision, and my frustration gets so out of hand. It’s then I am reminded I’ve never been forsaken. I’ve never had to stand one test alone. As I look at all the victories, the Spirit rises up in me and it’s through the fire my weakness is made strong.

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy, and the hill would not be hard to climb. He never offered our victories without fighting, but He said help would always come in time. Just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision and the adversary says give in …. Just hold on, our Lord will show up, and He will take you through the fire again. “

Gerald Crabb (“Through the Fire” lyrics Concord Music Publishing LLC)

Watch Joy Bilyeu-Steele sing “Through the Fire.”

I have never been forsaken.

I have been 21; divorced, full of pain, running from Jesus, afraid of myself.

Filling myself with anything that could numb my pain. Refusing to turn to the One who would heal my pain. I felt like I was careening around wildly in the dark.

As crazy as it seems, Jesus was still there.

words + photographs JOY BILYEU-STEELE

I would see Him in the sunset in the evening or the wildflowers scattered along the road. I would hear Him telling me He loved me, always, even in the hard moments. I felt Him reach into my heart through the song above and many others. Lyrics, speaking to me, wooing me, filling me. 

I have never been forsaken.

I have been 25; abused, betrayed, heartbroken, divorced again. 

Angry at myself and angry at Him. Questioning and full of sadness and shame. Determined never to love again or let someone into my heart.

But again, Jesus was still there.

TOP Joy on a family vacation with husband, Geoff, and step-kids: Erin and husband, Tyler; Cameron; and Taylor (black hat). BOTTOM Joy singing with her sister, Robin Rees, and dad, Hosea Bilyeu.

In the love of my family. In the protection of my friends. In the sunshine and song and beauty all around me. His voice was still in my head and my heart. Whispering, “I love you.”

I have never been forsaken.

I have been 27; married to the one created for me. Tentative and not sure of what I was doing. 

A sudden life full of kids and joy and laughter and continued song. New challenges. Old hurts still hovering. Insecurities of parenting and the lies that creep in saying, “Will I continue to be loved?”

Truly, Jesus was there.

LEFT Joy celebrating Christmas in 1997 with her step-children: Erin, Cameron and Taylor. RIGHT Joy working with her husband, Geoff, at the Gillioz Theatre in Springfield, Missouri.  

I felt Him in my husband’s words and deeds and touch. I heard Him in the kids’ laughter and feet running up and down the halls of our house. I saw Him in this beautiful, hard life.

Now I am 51. Every day I see His faithfulness. Some days are incredibly hard. Some are breezy. All are a gift. I am growing each day in the knowledge that He has never left me, nor will He. When I struggle, I choose to walk through my past and remember He has always been with me. I was never alone. I am grateful for His still, small voice whispering His “I love you” every single day of my life. JBS

Joy Bilyeu-Steele is a grateful, messed up lover of Jesus.


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