Forty years ago Joyce felt trapped at the bottom of a dark, deep pit of despair. Walking away with her baby son and only what she could carry, she'd just divorced her husband of five years who'd cheated on, manipulated, and abandoned her. Prior to her marriage, she'd grown up in a home where for 18 years her father sexually abused her and routinely beat her mother. With no place to go, the broken home of her childhood was the only place she now had to turn.
Yet in the months following her divorce, God led Joyce to meet a gentle man named David Meyer, a Christian who'd been specifically praying for God to send him a wife. At first Joyce was harsh and sarcastic toward him, not willing to trust any man. But Dave was patient and Joyce eventually agreed to go out with him. Five dates later, Dave asked Joyce to marry him.
"For my part, I certainly did not know what love was, and was not eager to get involved with another man," Joyce recounts in her book Beauty for Ashes (Warner). "However, since things were getting even worse at home, and since I was living in total panic all the time, I decided that anything would be better than what I was going through at the moment."
Joyce's marriage to Dave didn't solve all her problems, though. She'd become a believer as a child, and with Dave's prompting began attending church. Yet she still struggled with anger, fear, and discontentment that stemmed from her painful past.1