Finding Joy in the Presence of God

“I take time to brew my coffee” is my goto answer when I’m asked the question,

How do you find so much joy when your life is such a mess?

I admit that there are days when knowing a good cup of coffee is waiting for me in the kitchen is the only thing that gets me out of bed. I have become an expert at finding joy when life doesn’t go as planned, and it starts every day with brewing my coffee.

In our I-want-it-now society, we have created all kinds of methods for getting to that first cup of coffee in the morning fast. A selling point for most coffeemakers is how quickly they will get your cup filled. The process of brewing my coffee every morning is a reset for me, and I have become a pour-over girl.

I boil the water to the optimal temperature, grind the beans to the perfect consistency, place them in the pour-over funnel, slowly add the water—swirling around the edges—and then I wait. It takes time and patience to get to that first delicious sip.

You’re probably asking yourself this question right about now, “How does brewing your morning coffee lead to finding joy in the presence of God?” I’m glad you asked!

In 2016, my life fell apart. My husband, a pastor for over thirty years, had a breakdown. He began to struggle with anxiety and depression. When suicidal thoughts joined in, he had to retire early, and our lives changed completely. We sold the house we loved, downsized, and moved into a small apartment attached to my daughter’s house. I lost my identity as a wife and as a pastor’s wife, and my relationship with friends and my children changed.

It took me two years, but in 2018, at 4 a.m., standing at my kitchen counter, putting a pod into my coffeepot, I finally said the words out loud, “My husband struggles with mental illness.”

When the words left my lips, I heard God say to me, “I know, my sweet girl. Come out into the garden and sit with Me.”

Yes, God talks to me. Not in an audible voice, anyone else can hear, but I hear it all the time. I grabbed my cup and my Bible and walked out into my garden.

As I sat sipping my coffee and listening as the world woke up, I asked God, “What happened to my life?” His answer,

“You stopped asking for My help and started taking control!” God’s words surprised me because I felt like it was my job to find answers for everything related to my husband’s survival.

I had to keep him safe, figure out his medications, and most of all, protect him. I began listing out loud all the things I was now responsible for, asking God, “How can You say that I stopped asking for Your help?” I went on to tell God that morning all the things I now did for Him. I read my Bible every morning, I taught Bible studies and life groups every week, and I told everyone how He kept showing up in miraculous ways to take care of us.

God’s answer was, “You’re so busy doing, trying to fix everything. My sweet girl, you have started telling Me all that you’re doing or going to do for Me and stopped asking Me what I want you to do. What I want is for you to have coffee and sit with Me, focus on Me, and listen.”

I told God, “I’m going to need another cup of coffee to process this new information.” God’s response, “Start with the coffee! I want you to dig out of the cabinet your electric kettle, pour-over funnel, and coffee beans. Slow down and take the time to brew your coffee.”

As I stood waiting for the water to boil, my conversation with God continued. He gently reminded me that if I am too busy to brew my coffee, then I’m probably just going through the motions in every other way, including my daily time with Him. As I picked up the steaming cup and walked back outside, I felt relaxed as I anticipated spending the next few moments with God.

I have come to cherish my morning ritual of brewing coffee and talking to God. As my schedule has gotten busier, I now have a travel setup complete with a foldable electric kettle and pour-over funnel that goes with me everywhere. Why? As I brew my coffee each morning, no matter where in the world I happen to be, I am preparing my heart for my daily coffee date with God.

Carole Leathem ( was a Hollywood commercial actress and pastor’s wife. When her husband developed anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, Carole began sharing the chaos and messiness that comes when caring for someone with a mental illness. Her memoir, Finding Joy in My Messy Life (Redemption Press 2021) is already making a huge impact in the lives of men and women across the globe.

When Carole Leathem’s husband, Bill, first began the battle with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, little did she know her years of rejection and identity issues would come to a head.

After all, when you’re the wife of a senior pastor, there are certain expectations that come with it, and imperfection and mental illness are not among them. The pain, uncertainty, and rejection were nearly unbearable at times, but whenever Carole surrendered to God, he showed up time and time again.

Through beautiful storytelling and raw transparency, Carole chronicles her journey of overcoming abuse, addiction, and chaos that had plagued her family for generations, along with the new adventure of caring for a spouse who struggles with mental illness.

Full of heartache, hope, and new beginnings, Finding Joy in My Messy Life shows how to experience joy no matter your circumstances. Carole’s story testifies that God is a personal God, who loves our imperfect selves perfectly and without conditions and sees our trials as gifts. Life may be messy, but as Carole reveals, the joy of Christ can still reign.

Find Carole’s book where all Christian books are sold.

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