Grace and Joy

What's Behind Our Names?

When our main office on Arnett Boulevard first opened in the Spring of 1978, we were called The Chapel Guidance Center, a name we inherited when we were given an established nonprofit religious and charitable organization of the same name.

Over the next few years as we grew, developed, and began to reach out, we renamed the organization His Branches and designated the clinical office Grace Family Medicine to identify the grace that had established us and which we were commissioned to share with others.

Then, when we were called to open a satellite office on the NE side of town, we gave it the name Joy Family Medicine to honor our partnership with Joy Community Church and express our desire to help those who are afflicted rediscover the joy that underlies their healing and restoration.

Over the years these names have become more and more meaningful to us.

Simply said, Grace is unmerited favor.

Grace is what happens when you’ve hurt yourself or someone else and forgiveness, healing, support and comfort are offered instead of destructive criticism and abandonment. God is the author and finisher of the amazing grace that wins our hearts and heals us in body, soul, and spirit. Those who serve at Grace Family Medicine are merely His representatives, using what they’ve been given to share His love in tangible ways with others.

Grace is not a passive, feel-good sensation, but a very active principle in the universe. As Ann Voskamp says, “Grace isn’t a mere Pollyanna feeling. It’s a force. It’s a powerful force. As startling as the power of electricity. Grace is the power of God pulsating with this passionate love of God, this jolting, blazing, dangerous love that pierces all of humanity’s pitch black.”

Ann goes on, “Grace always shocks. Grace always stuns. Grace is always what we need. It’s what everyone groping around lost in the dark has to know: turn toward grace and you turn on all the lights. The whole black asphalt at our feet torches with the revelation. And there is more than enough light to see it. How the day’s fresh mercies make even here clean enough. Clean enough for [us to see all those signs around us] of His love.”

What about Joy?

Joy is the unmistakable sign of the presence of God. Unlike happiness, joy is not dependent on pleasant circumstance. In fact, joy’s strength is made perfect in times of weakness and affliction when we need fortitude beyond ourselves to make it through, when we call out to God for help and sense His presence with us through the valleys of life.

Our lives are beset with various trials, losses, sicknesses, and reversals in our fortunes that cause us to reach out for help, often to someone medical. At Joy Family Medicine we understand that the freedom we have as Americans to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” doesn’t always lead to the outcomes we have in mind at the time. We suffer, sometimes patiently and other times with deep frustration: how can we find comfort, rest, peace, healing, and even joy?

One key to understanding joy can be found in the Greek word eucharisteo, from which we derive the word we use for celebrating the Lord’s Supper: Eucharist. The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning (of all things) “grace.” As described in Luke 22.19, Jesus took the bread and saw it and the life he was about to offer for us as gifts of grace and gave thanks. Eucharisteo or thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.

When we learn to give thanks for the grace of God in our lives, moment by moment, we discover that joy is released when we most need it. In other words, deep chara joy is found only at the table of eucharisteo; the table of gratitude and thanksgiving. The holy grail of joy, God set it in the very center of Christianity. The Eucharist is the central symbol of Christianity, where affliction and death have lost their power.

Please join us in apprehending and appreciating His gifts in our lives as we walk through life’s trials together.