7 Ways to be a Woman of Joy

On my mom’s gravestone it reads WOMAN OF JOY.

It’s no small thing to me that I was raised by a joyful mom.  Of course I didn’t appreciate it as a kid. Yet, as I approach the one-year anniversary of her death, I am in awe of the joy she had throughout life, and throughout cancer, and I am inspired to be more like her.

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Here are 7 ways my mom was a woman of joy (and how you can be too):

1. Always be interested in others. The second you walked into Mom’s house, she would stop what she was doing, grab your face, look you in the eyes, and welcome you. And, although she often complained about forgetting things, she had an uncanny ability to remember details about everyone’s lives. She wouldn’t just say hello. She would ask about the last conversation you had and let you know she’d been praying for you. Somehow she made everyone feel like the most important person on earth. (Phil 2:4)

2. Be “game” for everything. The answer to all requests we made of Mom were an enthusiastic, “Yes!” She did almost everything any of her 5 kids or 12 grandkids asked her to do. She only reluctantly said no if she already had plans. Even if she didn’t feel like doing the activity you asked her do, she did it so that she could BE with and ENJOY you. (I Peter 4:10)

3. Pray and read the Bible without stopping. Mom was faithful in her morning routine of Bible reading, prayer and journaling. Each of her kids had a special prayer day (affectionately called SPD) were she prayed especially for us. A text or phone call would inevitably come that day as she talked to God about us. This was a vital beginning to her morning - a time when she asked God to help her be more joyful. (I Thes 5:17)

4. Do what you enjoy. Although Mom was constantly serving others and looking to their needs above her own, she also took a lot of personal breaks. She loved a glass of coke, snickers bar and a good book. The two places you’d be most likely to find her were in her big, comfy recliner reading, or at her beautiful office desk writing. Both of those things gave her joy and she made sure to do them almost every day. (James 2:8)

5. Don’t give up looking for joyful solutions. Mom was never defeated! If something wasn’t going as she hoped, or she didn’t have all the resources she needed, she loudly proclaimed, “There’s almost always something you can do!” She was hilariously resourceful and didn’t let troubles define her - she found solutions for problems. She looked for joy! (Prov 31:25)

6. Don’t be normal. Mom was not afraid to be her unique self. She was not like other moms; she was fully HER. I remember complaining about something strange she did, and she replied, “Would you want a mom who’s normal?!” Well, yes, in Jr. High I did. But, now, I’m so grateful that she didn’t give into the pressure to be like those around her. She appreciated whom God had made her to be and she lived it fully and joyfully!  (Psalm 139:14)

7. Don’t worry; you’re in the Lord’s hands. Her famous quote throughout cancer was, “I’m in the Lord’s hands.”  She literally said this hundreds of times. As I’ve read through her journals, she told herself this over and over as well. She believed, without a shadow of doubt, that God was holding her. That God loved her. That God was sustaining her. She loved Him and trusted Him so deeply. And this brought her joy. She was not afraid of cancer or death at all. Her attitude was, “Why should I be? I’m in the Lord’s hands!” (Matt 6:34)


I would be honored if my mom’s life and death encouraged you to become a greater woman of joy. Let me know which of these is most difficult for you and how you hope to grow in that area. I’d love for us to encourage each other together in this pursuit of JOY!

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

Kate Hagen1 Comment