This post is very near and dear to my heart because it is about my beloved friend, Joy Schroeder. Joy is an amazing woman who has led an amazing life.
Some of the things Joy has done:
- Joy and her husband, Dick, worked at campus missionaries at Montana State University for 30 years
- Joy started a discipleship program called Summer Job Project where students from all over the country could come together for the summer in Bozeman, Montana. (This is where I met Joy and where my love and admiration grew tremendously for her.)
- She wrote a book called Tools for Mentoring, which is so full of wisdom and is so helpful to me now. (I will put a link for the book at the bottom of this post.)
Now, Joy has led an incredibly miraculous life, defying all odds at times, but today we’re going to focus on the miracles she found in herself and in community in one of the most life-changing seasons of her life.
In 1987, Joy was in a car accident, leaving her with a broken neck and paralyzing her from the chest down. She says while it was one of the most challenging times in her life, it was also the most miraculous time of her life where she saw so many prayers tangibly answered.
Joy says that during this time of her life, so many people showed up to help and it really revealed to her how much she was actually loved. Here are some of the ways people showed up for Dick and Joy:
- The days immediately following the accident, when Joy was in critical condition, Dick and Joy’s neighbor kept their kids for 4 days.
- When Dick and Joy had to stay in Los Angeles for physical therapy, different people would come visit every weekend to see them.
- 70 different people signed up to provide meals for Dick and Joy, and for 7 months they had food brought to their house every single day.
- Community members came by the house every day after they got off of work to rebuild parts of their home so that it was wheelchair accesible.
- An injured construction worker worked on building Dick and Joy a porch for days, even though it caused him excrutiating pain.
The way in which Joy’s friends and community all came together to help her and Dick during the hardest time of her life is, indeed, miraculous.
Joy said one of the most miraculous things throughout the entire process though was her ability to remain strong. At a time like this, it would have been so easy for her to begin feeling sorry for herself or to blame God for what happened to her, and while it was tempting at times, she never quite gave into that and never stopped fighting. She says that while her friends helped her, they never felt sorry for her or made her feel incapable, and that kept her going.
My friend Jeremy Farmer also went to Summer Job Project this summer and got to know Joy. Jeremy says that Joy is one of the most joyful people he’s ever met.
“The way that she loves people is by making them feel important.”Jeremy Farmer
Jeremy says that she taught him to be really intentional with making sure in conversation you look people in the eye and learn to be as selfless as possible in order to make them feel important and loved.
“She always says, ‘Be diligent with your work so that you’ll have more time to love and be loved.'”Jeremy Farmer
Personally, Joy really is the most joyous person I’ve ever met. I always tell her that she truly lives up to her name, despite everything she’s been through, and that is just such an incredible and admirable trait about her. Joy’s life has been such a great testament to the idea of miraculous things and how they shape people’s lives afterward.