Turning Chaos into Joy

Debbie Allen Ed.D is the author of Turning Chaos into Joy. This book will point to Scriptures and Jesus, Himself, the lifter of our heads. He is the One who gives joy in the midst of chaos. He is the One who takes away the sins of the world and sets the captives free.

Section one taps into the spiritual realm and illustrates a true need for His presence embedded deeply into our lives. Section two introduces you to key passages from the Bible and encourage a life filled with joy.

Turning Chaos into Joy provides essential stepping-stones for readers to choose joy, as a life-long foundation for overcoming the fears of present day chaos and unforeseen perils within our future.

Chapter One

Americans can agree on one thing. Our world turned upside down in 2020. The Coronavirus plus more thrusted our way of living into new norms. While subtle in its wake; the strongholds could not have been more relentless. 

I remember its beginning as sullen — No, strange and recall, others, felt that way, too. While waiting outside a local, pizza shop, an acquaintance stepped in line. Her eyes stared off, forlorn. 

That look was familiar. A blank stare, crinkled forehead, and lifeless personality led me to think that she, like so many others, were under duress, unsure of things to come, feeling lost — shaken.  

“Everything is so different,” I said. “How are you?” 

Our eyes met, and compassion introduced another topic. She responded with a light hearted smile, shaking her head, she said, “Chaos.”

How true? Haven’t we all been through so much confusion. One catastrophe after another. After all this time, it’s surreal and a constant reminder that life is not perfect.That look she had was in response to all of this torment. It was a little frightening; yet, more revealing. She was afraid for her future.

I felt a connection and it brought back memories. No, fears of not knowing what to do when your whole world seems shaken. The pain of not knowing what to do makes you feel hopeless and broken. 

As a youth, I knew about brokenness. I lived through it as my mother and I were traumatized by the abuse of her second husband. On one particular day, this man literally choked the life right out of her. Thankfully, we survived, but her story speaks of horror and death.

She recalls the weight of his six, foot frame as he sat on her chest. The grip of his bare hands clenching her throat. Nothing could get in and nothing could get out. My Mother was dying. She fought, but her strength held no comparison. She describes the darkness of his angry assault as black eyes filled with judgment. She said, “I will never let another man control me.”

Her limp body lay there for who knows how long. As it gave way to a pulse, she opened her eyes and in utter shock, his hate turned to fear. With eyes wide open, he gasped, jumped to his feet, and ran out of there. Later, he was found and sentenced to prison. 

After so many battles like this, we had finally won. It was as if relief was scattered throughout many painful wounds. However, the damage had already been done. Our trust and security were always in question. Through time, this damage from his constant assaults would try to gain control to deplete us, giving way to that notable blank stare held by my friend at the pizza shop.

During that time, my Mother tried her best to protect us, but fear held a tight grip, leaving us with caution and a lack of trust for mankind. This fate encompasses panic, defeat, and a constant agitation from the trials we face. Mistrust is an inner conflict. It is always awaiting one more trauma. Just like his personality, things would quickly shift. One minute, everything would be fine and then pow, all hell would break loose. We would once again, find ourselves circling back into another chaotic mode. He was going to get out of jail sooWhen would it ever end?

At times, life seems hard to overcome, and hope rarely appears. Maybe, just maybe, that could be us. But during that time, it was as if hope was on the other side of a vail, hidden from view. It didn’t exist for us, but surely hope was held by others. Not for me but others had it because it was written all over their faces. You could see the hope in their eyes and you could hear the joy in their laughter. They were filled something I didn’t understand. 

As a child, I felt alone and incapable of knowing how to stop this vicious cycle. In looking back, I realize I could not see a clear path to gain control of the chaos surrounding me, but for some reason, we found relief. We found hope, and we found everlasting peace. 

At the time, I didn’t know it was God, but it was God who came through for us. He removed the darkness and brought a small glimmer of hope. In one final blow, God took our assaulter away permanently. 

Out of jail, this evil man swore vengeance to finish what he had started by sending my mother to her grave. Driving in fast pursuit, he was decapitated when he rolled his BMW on a major highway in our hometown. 

In that moment, I felt as if all of our problems had vanished. I knew that something greater than me was watching out for us.Who it was, didn’t matter because all I needed to know was that we were safe, and that whoever that was standing behind the vail, hidden from view was watching out for me. Hope had finally found me, and I was not alone.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
PSALM 91: 1