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Joy Kelly

I was born in Rochester, New York. Shortly after my birth, my family moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where I spent most of my childhood. I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, during high school, and in my first year there, I befriended some Christians and turned my life over to the Lord. A year later, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and as a new child in Christ, I could not understand why God would not heal her. I never stopped believing in God, but I was so angry with Him that I indulged in any ungodly behavior that I could find. This continued through my college years when I attended Sam Houston State University in Texas. Despite my destructive behaviors, I still managed to graduate with honors, and I received my B.S. degree in Psychology and Social Rehabilitation. What irony!

After graduating from college, I was working on my Masters and partying every night. One evening, after I returned home from a party in a "blurry" state of mind, the Lord came to me again and asked me one simple question; "If I could offer nothing worldly to my current friends, would they still be my friends?" Instantly I saw my life with total clarity, and memories of my first year with Him came flooding back. I realized that I had turned my back on a life that included not only His unwavering love, but also the unconditional love of the other believers who had touched my life so strongly in that year. He also showed me memories that I had forgotten of my mother reading the Bible in her final years, and I realized that through her illness she had come to know Him. That night I truly and with complete understanding gave my life to the Lord.

A year later I met my husband Patrick who had come out of a similar lifestyle. He had just graduated from Bible college, and the Lord opened the doors for us to go on staff as Christian counselors at The Family Life Training Center in Texas. We were part of that ministry for 11 years, and we were incredibly blessed to see how the Lord changed the lives of so many people and families dealing with life-controlling addictions. We have been married now for 20 years, and we have six children. Our desire has always been to serve the Lord, and at this time we are eagerly anticipating whatever new endeavor He will lay before us.

The Vision From the Cross

The shadow of the cross was spread out below Him—
Its arms stretching out—north, south, east, and west,
As if trying to embrace the world in entirety—
Encompassing all in His grace at His rest.

As His eyes traveled down on the masses that day—
Drawn to witness His death—most with pleasure,
He could see past their outward appearance of evil
And sacrifice all for the sake of the treasure.

The treasure He saw on that violent hillside
Was the vision first born on the dawn of creation—
That man would be joined in a covenant union
With the Godhead together—the birth of a nation.

As He looked to his right, He witnessed repentance
Brought forth in the heart of a once-hardened soul,
And He knew that His mission was finally completed;
For all generations He accomplished His goal.

Then He looked to His left, and He grimaced with pain
At the heart made of stone that rejected His Word.
For him there would be no room in His kingdom;
He chose his own ways even though he had heard.

With all of this drama unfolding around Him,
Fulfillment of grace was still first in His mind,
For He would return having conquered the darkness,
Return for those masses which once had been blind.

We are those masses He died for that day
As He hung on that cross, and the day turned to night.
Now the question remains to ask of yourself:
Which cross do you hang on—the left or the right?

Copyright©2007 by Joy Kelly