Janell Rohlack’s ninetieth birthday was recently celebrated in April, causing her to reflect back on “uncontainable joy and perfect peace” from God. That inspiring part of Scripture from Romans 15:13 has particular significance to Janell.
“Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!”Romans 15:13 TPT
As Janell’s story unfolds, perhaps you will recognize a little bit of yourself or relate to a friend in your life with a similar background.
Growing up in Bartlett, Texas, a rural community northeast of Austin, life was centered on family and faith. Janell’s grandparents, Ed and Louisa Kunz, were farmers. Their acreage was the gathering place for all of life’s big events.
Life in the 1930s had a sweet rhythm. Every Sunday, all of the children and grandchildren went to Sunday School then attended service, together, at St. John’s Lutheran. Then it was off to Grandma’s house for a lunch that started with strawberry jello and bananas topped with fresh cream. There were always fresh vegetables (like black-eyed peas) from their garden, and at the center of the plate was beef or pork, all raised on the farm.
On the most special occasions, Grandma made her angel food cake from scratch. She crafted her frosting using fresh cream and added a touch of coconut. After this special dessert, the five grandchildren would roam the farm, play in the barns, and do a little hunting for crawfish in the nearby creek.
What a sweet remembrance of “uncontainable joy.” No television, cell phones, or busyness got in the way of “perfect peace.”
Now leap to 1995, when Janell began sharing her uncontainable joy with others through the greeting card industry. Over the past twenty-eight years, Janell has consulted the writers and designers of many greeting card companies, including Gracefully Yours—the first company to use The Passion Translation Bible in their cards.
But Janell knows that living a life rejoicing in the uncontainable joy of God does not preclude the grief of heartbreak or tragedy. Most recently, Janell (at eighty-nine) co-created a new assortment of cards titled “In Loving Remembrance.” These four designs were inspired by the passing of Janell’s daughter Nancy. Experiencing grief that never subsides, Janell wanted a card line that would help bring a little comfort during particular days or seasons. From Janell’s experience, grief never really goes away. But God gives comfort, peace, and joy to his children in the midst of grief as well, and we all need to be reminded of that promise.
As we share some of these new greeting cards, we hope to spur on a feeling of resilient joy and comfort to help you through times of heartache. We pray God will “fill you to overflowing” with joy, as he says in Romans 15:13, so you can even share it with others.
The first card in Janell’s new collection displays an extraordinary, angelic cloud formation along with the words “Grief has no expiration date.” The inside message is “Thinking about you today and remembering your loved one,” accented by Romans 15:13 from The Passion Translation: “Now may God fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace.” According to Janell, this is the message to be sent on the birthday or wedding anniversary of a loved one. May we all be encouraged to pray this prayer of the apostle Paul for ourselves and those we love, not just in the good times but especially during the hard times. The “uncontainable joy and perfect peace” God gives is not dependent on happy childhood memories, sunny days, or dreams coming true. It’s deeper and stronger than that, and can be found even amid the grief during difficult anniversaries.
The second card says, “Loved ones can never be replaced.” Inside, the card has the message “Their love, uniqueness and spirit live on. In remembrance.” Again, Romans 15:13 inspires the recipient with the hope of God’s gift of peace.
The third and fourth cards are intended to be sent during any holiday season such as Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. These are times when the absence of loved ones can be felt more keenly, and that’s why it’s a good time to send meaningful messages to friends experiencing such grief to let them know you’re praying for them and haven’t forgotten what they’re going through.
Card three reads “Moving toward healing” and “As you journey forward, I’m thinking of you, especially during this holiday season.” A portion of Hebrews 13:5 brings comfort with “I will never leave you, never.”
“”You always have God’s presence. For hasn’t he promised you, “I will never leave you, never! And I will not loosen my grip on your life!””Hebrews 13:5 TPT
And the fourth card is perhaps the most touching. The outside reads, “Sometimes it’s hard to talk about our loved ones,” while the inside says, “Sharing fond memories this season with a heart of gratitude for those we miss most.” An excerpt of Hebrews 13:5 again leaves the card recipient with a touch of hope.
Janell’s story of ninety years of love, family, and faith are accented by her lifelong quest to inspire others with simple words and simple life. She has experienced uncontainable joy and real depths of grief—and her testimony proves that neither joy nor grief negates the other. What a sweet reminder to us of God’s constant love. We pray you have been encouraged by her story and her message. Hopefully your own heart is a little lighter or you’ve been inspired to reach out with encouragement and prayer to someone you know who is going through a difficult season.
If you would like to wish Janell a happy ninetieth, please send a Gracefully Yours card to Gracefully-Yours, P.O. 1288, Taylor, Texas 76574.