by Rachel Johnson
Marriage, relationships, love, broken hearts – these are all deep issues, right? You bet. But just because these topics can often times be tough to discuss, and certainly should be taken seriously, doesn’t mean that there can’t be aspects of joy woven throughout conversations about them – and by that, we mean Joy Eggerichs. (See what we did there? We think that the hilarious Joy is rubbing off on us...) Growing up under the tutelage of parents who advise couples about their relationships through their ministry, Joy was always intrigued in the dynamics of love, marriage, and general coupledom.
It wasn’t until this spunky chick’s world came crashing down after a difficult break-up that she saw how the Lord had a path for her – and while she thought it originally must be to console the broken-hearted, she realized that he had chosen her, a woman with serious heartache, to counsel those in relationships. Read on to learn how Joy has shaped her own ministry into exactly what God had planned for her.
Thanks for having me! My parents started Love and Respect officially around 2000. There’s an incredible story behind my father’s journey from a young adult to age 50. Out of his own parents’ rocky marriage, he knew he wanted to help people in relationships and in marriages so that other children didn’t have to grow up in the environment of instability that he experienced.
My division of this ministry, Love and Respect Now (LRN), began percolating subconsciously in 2005. I stopped pursuing a career in the fashion industry and chose to start directing my parents’ conferences and events. But it wasn’t until a pretty tragic break-up in 2007 that the LRN story really began to unfold.
Q: You share your story in a powerful video. I was so moved when you recounted the advice your dad once gave you – “When you’re this low, Joy, the only thing that you can do is serve.” How did that piece of advice shape your life?
It was huge. What I really respect about my dad is that he didn’t tell me that I had to serve. He didn’t say, “Joy, get your depressed batoosha outta bed and start feeding the homeless now!” Rather, he lovingly and logically highlighted the low place I was in and encouraged me to trust God in my brokenness. He planted a seed.
Metaphorically, my batoosha stayed in bed for a while after that, and then literally after I broke my ankle. But it was in that space that I said, “Okay, God – if you are real and up to something, I am willing to serve, even though I have no idea what I could give.” Sure enough, things started to happen after. As I look back, my future plans were still hazy at the time but I can see now that God was moving and putting people in my life and mind whom I could serve, even when I was physically and emotionally spent.
Q: The tagline of your blog is “If I only knew then, what I know now.” Is this something you’ve personally said to yourself, or was this phrase inspired by someone you’ve met through your research?
This is the real crux of the “why” behind what I am doing. This phrase is hauntingly inspirational – even when I want to ignore it, I can’t. Imagine a little creepy girl ghost that whispers into your ear, “If only…” as she floats by in a white ruffled nightgown. It’s kind of like that. Have I creeped you out yet?
When I began directing my parents’ Love and Respect events, I would meet people coming through the book-signing line at every single conference who would say two things to my parents: “Why didn’t anybody teach us this 20 years ago?” and “If I only knew then what I know now…”
So, in the many months following my own break-up, that little creepy ghost girl started whispering in my ear. Okay, mayyyybe it was the Holy Spirit, but, in any case, that was a catalyst in the eventual development of LRN.
Q: Your inbox must be inundated with questions about relationships. How do you find time to answer them all, and how do you choose which ones to answer via video?
I close my eyes, turn around three times, and then point. Whichever e-mail my finger lands on is the question I choose to answer on my sit.
Truthfully, there is no method. Sometimes if a question is really funny to me or seems to get asked frequently on my site or during speaking engagements, I respond to it. I love asking questions and learning new things as I ponder the questions being asked. By addressing this specific question about guarding your heart, I learned a lot.
Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Joy...