Joy Like Peanut Butter And Jelly

I’m weird, y’all.

I know, I know. That’s not news to most of you.

The vast majority of my readers fall into two categories: those who know me in real life (Mama, Daddy, GG Ruby, Rick, and a couple of ladies from my Dad’s church) and those who “know” me on Twitter.

And especially my Tweeps (my Twitter friends) know me to be, on occasion, very, very silly.

So, for some of you, it might have been a shock to come by my blog and realize that the majority of what I write is fairly serious. In fact, I’d say that I’m often overly serious here. And I think the reason for that is that it’s here that I process the unsilly, unfunny stuff that I deal with on a daily basis. But at the same time, sometimes, if you just read my blog, you would probably draw the conclusion that I don’t have much joy. The truth is, I’m just trying to be real with you and show you both sides of me.

The timing of today’s blog carnival on Joy isn’t a coincidence. If you read my Friday post and my Monday post, you got to see the raw reality of the struggle I’ve gone through over the last several days. But in God’s perfect timing, now I get to come back and show you how I’ve processed the struggle—and continue to process it—with joy.

I can’t write about joy without writing about hope. In my life, they always, always, always go together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or biscuits and gravy. Or pretzels and melted chocolate…

But unlike peanut butter and jelly, I didn’t figure out the joy and hope connection until I was 30-ish and in the mission field. I was doing ministry I loved, with precious people, but I was in emotional agony (and in denial about it). And I thought I was hiding it from others as well as I was hiding it from myself. (Sometimes I’m not so bright.) But my friend Bonnie leaned over and whispered in my ear one morning, “Where’s your hope?!” And suddenly, I knew what I’d been missing all my life. How can you have joy without hope? You can’t!

Coming from a background of abuse and depression, finding hope and joy isn’t an overnight thing. It’s a process built on brilliant little moments that are notes in one big love song from Jesus to us.

There have been some great scriptures that have been touchstones to hold onto and anchors that hold on to me:

Romans 12:12 NIV “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 15:13 NIV “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

But I’d have to say that the single thing that has helped me to find hope and joy the most have been the love songs… Sitting in my recliner with my hands in the air, singing at the top of my lungs (which I can do without interruption because I live alone out in the country)… And letting Him sing back to me in bright red sunsets and rolling green fields of wheat and bushes full of yellow roses with pink delicate pink edges…

And occasionally, we split a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival at my friend Bridget Chumbley’s blog. If you wanna read a bunch of posts on JOY that are probably more insightful than the one you just finished, GO THERE! :o)

About Sarah Salter


  1. I also live alone in the country and relish those times with the Lord …

  2. “And occasionally, we split a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

    Love…love…love this!

    Love to read what you write!

  3. “I can’t write about joy without writing about hope.”

    Love that! Thank you so much … 🙂

  4. I love your raw TRUTH… bring it home.

    keep looking UP.


  5. Joy, unspeakable joy! Sometimes my cup runneth over. Be blessed, my dear.

  6. I love the way you bring Joy into Hope and Hope into Joy and leave me feeling hopeful and joyful!

    Beautiful post.


  7. And in both Hope and Joy is Faith in His presence in our lives.

  8. Great post Sarah. Love the scripture and the writing. Thanks! I found joy in reading it! I too sing from the top of my lungs in my living room….it irritates my wife (because I try to sing melody and harmony at the same time…. its hard to do, but it can be done). Have a great day!

  9. Great post, Sarah. So good!

  10. Hope and joy go hand in hand. Very true.

  11. My wifes’s apple and hot coffee…that’s some serious joy for me! Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

  12. Sarah — we share that hope. And because we do, we share the joy, too.

  13. Wow! I never thought to connect hope and joy, but I think you might just be on to something. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  14. Hope and joy… love this post, Sarah. Praying for you, my friend.

  15. What a great word! Definitely one I needed to hear.

  16. One of my favorite memories is about sharing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a really cute boy on the bus to a track meet when in high school. The sandwich was all squished, but I didn’t have anything and he offered. He said the squished ones are the best.

    I think he was right.

  17. Thanks. We seem to have a lot in common… except for the fact that I never “live” in the country, unless I’m visiting Susan [your first commenter] or hanging in Uganda… the latter hardly ever happens, however. In town, around town. That’s it. However, I DO sing way over the top when I’m hanging around the house, and I DO read the Word very loudly if I’m home alone, and I DO know that my hope, my ONLY hope, is in the Lord. [BTW, have you ever tried pb and dill pickles? … raised on that one, and with the right pickle, it’s a real treat, but not a “sweetness and light” mix such as the “norm”.

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